Little Bits of History

The Ashes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 29, 2011

The Ashes urn

August 29, 1882: According to The Sporting Match, English cricket dies. The Ashes is a Test cricket series played by cricket’s greatest international rivalry – Australia and England. Cricket is a summer game and The Ashes is a biennial event. However, summer does not occur at the same time in the two countries. The Ashes is therefore played every 18 or 30 months in a bid to find the new home for the urn.

The Sporting Match published an obituary stating that English cricked had died when Australia beat England on their home field. “The body would be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia” according to the obit. The media played up the need to regain the ashes when England next played in Australia calling the 1882-1883 season the “quest to regain The Ashes.” And so began the tradition.

The first urn contained ashes from some piece of cricket equipment and was presented to English captain Ivo Bligh when they played their next match in Melbourne. It was made of terra cotta and he forever thought of it as a personal gift. Replicas are seen today holding the ashes. It is not a trophy, per se. Since 1998 there has been a trophy that is presented to the winner and it is made of Waterford crystal. Australia is the current title, trophy, and ash holder with the next match scheduled for 2009.

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. It is played on an oval field with two teams of eleven members each. In the center of the oval is a flat strip of ground 22 yards  long called a pitch. There is a wicket set up at each end. A bowler throws a ball to the man protecting his wicket who bats the ball into the playing field. If the ball remains in play and the wicket remains standing, the batsman and the non-striker (a second batsman at the opposing end of the pitch) run between the wickets to score runs. The highest score wins.

“By bringing the Ashes back after so long you have given cricket a huge boost and lit up the whole summer.” – Tony Blair

“My warmest congratulations to you, the England cricket team and all in the squad for the magnificent achievement of regaining the Ashes.” – Michael Vaughan

“It has brought cricket alive in Britain and even around the world. And what’s more the players have been great sporting role models for kids. The Ashes victory is great for the sport.” – David Folb

“Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being ended sooner.” – George Bernard Shaw

Also on this day:
Have You Hugged Your Hog Today? – In 1885, Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler patents the motorcycle.
Last Man Standing – In 1911, Ishi was found.

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