Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I say - cricket origins might not be British

Exciting news regarding a report with new academic research claiming that cricket isn't English (gasp!) but imported from northern Belgium.

The basis for this conclusion was a poem thought to have been penned in 1533, suggesting that its humble beginnings were in Flanders. The word attributed to one John Skelton, Flemish weavers are labelled "kings of crekettes" challenging the assumption that the sport evolved from English children's games, according to Paul Campbell of the Australian National University.

King of crekettes? Perhaps - just perhaps - the term didn't refer to cricket but - wait for it - croquettes, the food! I mean, the Belgians are known for their waffles. Somehow, maybe there was a cross or mixup...

Anywaaaaay...to get back to this surprising discovery... The first references to cricket turned up in England in the 1600's when fines were given out for people who opted to play cricket and missed church. A game played by a lot of Englishmen ended up in public schools and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the following century. Furthermore, the first cricket club was formed in Hambledon in the 1760s and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787.

So now we all know the British origin of cricket. However...

German academic Heiner Gillmeister and an Australian colleague, claim the discovery proves the quintessential English pastime is anything but English.

In an apparent reference to cricket in the 16th Century work, The Image of Ipocrisie, attributed to the English poet John Skelton, refers to Flemish weavers who settled in southern and eastern England described as "kings of crekettes."

Again? Perhaps these Flemish weavers enjoyed croquettes for lunch, but does that make the game Flemish?

The assumption is that the weavers brought the game to England and played it close to where they looked after their sheep, using shepherd's crooks as bats.

Or perhaps they used over-cooked croquettes as balls or something... Go know!

Research conducted by one Mr. Campell, was based on earlier investigations by German academic, Gillmeister, a linguist from the University of Bonn, who believes that cricket couldn't have originated in England.

"There is no way to relate the term to any existing English word," he told the BBC.
"I was brought up with Flemish children and I know the language well. I immediately thought of the Flemish phrase 'met de krik ketsen' which means to 'chase a ball with a curved stick'."
In response, cricket historian David Frith said, "It is hard to deny that this is a breakthrough. This discovery points to an addition to the great history of cricket. It's exciting we haven't yet written the final word on it."

I don't know if this news falls in the "exciting" category but it's thought-provoking. Cricket...croquettes...makes one think, yes?

No comments: