Northerners claim ownership of cricket and shock England


The English don’t like people to question traditions. So when the damned French dare to claim the paternity of a sport as popular as cricket across the Channel, we are not far from the rhyme of lèse-majesté. Because to say that cricket is of French origin is a little as if the Basque pelota had been created in Germany.

The word cricket first appeared in France

The crux of the problem is historical. The oldest worldwide testimony related to cricket has indeed been found in a letter of grievances, addressed to King Louis XI, which mentions a death during a match organized on October 25, 1478 in the park of the Château de Liettres, a small town in the Pas-de-Calais.

“This is the oldest written record that mentions the name ‘locust’. This text was found more than ten years ago by an English historian. And inevitably, when the English learned that, it made people talk, especially since the oldest British text on cricket only arrived in 1550 ”, says Philippe Dethoor, president of Lille Cricket.

The English press widely covered the event – DR

English newspapers vigorously protested

With their usual sense of moderation, the English have mounted their high horse in attempting to dismantle a French theory that claims nothing more than a written record. “Be careful, we do not boast of having invented cricket. We know very well that it was the English who codified it. Everyone agrees on that to recognize it. But the oldest written record is French, ”continues the Lille leader. However, the media stunt is successful.

A successful media stunt

By bringing out this story on the origins of cricket, Lille Cricket has achieved its goal: to make people talk about it. This weekend, the club is hosting an international tournament to commemorate the event. Besides Lille, the Belgians of Ghent and… the English of Whitstable will make the trip to Liettres, this northern village of 300 inhabitants from which the controversy started.

“It will allow us to highlight this confidential sport in France with around 1,300 licensees and 40 clubs. By way of comparison, the Kent region in England alone has 600 clubs, ”explains Philippe Dethoor. Much less practiced than among our neighbors, French cricket is nonetheless older. And too bad if it annoys the English.

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