- Cricket at the 1900 Summer Olympics
at the Games of the II Olympiad
Venue Vélodrome de Vincennes Date August 19–20 Competitors 24 from 2 nations Medalists Devon and Somerset Wanderers
French Athletic Club Union
A cricket tournament, played as part of the 1900 Summer Olympics, took place on 19–20 August at the Vélodrome de Vincennes. The only match of the tournament was played between teams representing Great Britain and France, and was won by 158 runs by Great Britain.
Originally, teams representing Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands were scheduled to compete in the tournament. Belgium and the Netherlands pulled out of the competition, leaving Great Britain to play France. Neither team was nationally selected. The British side was a touring club, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, while the French team, the French Athletic Club Union, consisted mainly of British expatriates living in Paris.
The two-day game commenced on 19 August 1900. Great Britain batted first and scored 117, and bowled France out for 78. Great Britain then scored 145 for 5 in their second innings, setting the hosts a target of 185. The tourists bowled out France for 26 to win the match by 158 runs, a significant margin, but with only five minutes of the match remaining. The Great Britain team was awarded silver medals and the French team bronze medals, together with miniature statues of the Eiffel Tower. The match was formally recognised as being an Olympic contest in 1912, and the medals were later reassigned as gold and silver.
Cricket had been scheduled as an event at the first modern Olympics, the 1896 Summer Olympics, being listed in the original programme for the Athens Games. Due to an insufficient number of entries, the event was cancelled. Four years later, at the Paris Games, there was also a shortage of entries. Belgium and the Netherlands, who for a time had been considered as possibilities to co-host the Olympics with France, withdrew from the cricket tournament when their co-hosting bids fell through. Their withdrawal left only Great Britain and the host nation, France.
The slightly haphazard nature of the cricket tournament was mirrored in the rest of the 1900 Olympics. Events took place throughout a six-month period from May through until October, and like the Games themselves, were often considered part of the Exposition Universelle, a world's fair held in Paris from 15 April until 12 November 1900.
Neither side was nationally selected, nor representative. Great Britain, or England as they were called in the advertising handbills, were represented by a touring club side, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers. The side, formed by William Donne in 1894 for a tour of the Isle of Wight, had completed five other tours before travelling to France. The Wanderers were primarily formed from players of Castle Cary Cricket Club, five of whom played in the match, and also included four former pupils of Blundell's School, a public school in Devon. The side was completed by a number of players from the surrounding areas who were able to get away from business and personal commitments for the two week period of the tour. Writing in the Journal of Olympic History, Ian Buchanan describes that both sides "were made up of distinctly average club cricketers". Only two members of the Wanderers side, and none of the French side, played first-class cricket. Montagu Toller played six times for Somerset County Cricket Club, all in 1897, while Alfred Bowerman played for Somerset once in 1900, and again in 1905.
The French side was officially drawn from all the member clubs of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques. Few of these clubs actually sported cricket teams, and so the eventual side was selected from just two clubs: the Union Club and the Standard Athletic Club. Both sides had strong English influences, and the majority of the team that competed for France in the Olympic match were British expatriates. The Standard Athletic Club had been formed ten years earlier by English workers who had moved to the country to help build the Eiffel Tower.
The match had been intended to be a standard eleven-a-side contest, but by mutual agreement from the captains this was increased to twelve-a-side, a move which the scorecard printers had not expected, resulting in the extra name having to be added by hand. Play commenced at 11:00AM on Sunday, 19 August with the touring Wanderers batting first. They were bowled out for 117, with only four members of the team reaching double figures. Frederick Cuming, one of the four Old Blundellians, top-scored for the side with 38, followed by their captain, and Exeter Cricket Club opening batsman, C. B. K. Beachcroft with 23. The French were then bowled out for 78, the bowling led by Frederick Christian who claimed seven wickets. Play closed at 5:00PM after both sides had completed their first innings, and the Wanderers had a lead of 39 runs. The Wanderers batting improved the following morning, and they added 145 runs for the second innings, declaring their innings closed with five wickets down. Beachcroft was again successful, reaching a half-century, a feat also achieved by Bowerman, who top-scored with 59 runs. The French required 185 runs to win, but lost their first ten wickets for eleven runs. At this point they attempted to play out time, which would have meant the match was drawn. They succeeded for a time, and the match was just five minutes from the end when their eleventh, and final, wicket fell, granting the Wanderers a 158-run victory. Toller was the pick of the Wanderers bowlers in the second innings, claiming seven wickets and conceded nine runs.
After the match, the English side were awarded silver medals, and the French side were given Bronze medals, and both teams were also given miniature statues of the Eiffel Tower. The match was not covered in any national newspapers in England, although some of the local Devon papers did publish reports.
Great Britain First innings Second innings Batsman Method of dismissal Runs Method of dismissal Runs C. B. K. Beachcroft b Attrill 23 run out 54 Arthur Birkett b Anderson 1 John Symes c Anderson b Robinson 15 c Attrill b Roques 1 Frederick Cuming c Browning b MacEvoy 38 c Attrill b MacEvoy 18 Montagu Toller b MacEvoy 2 Alfred Bowerman b Anderson 7 b Roques 59 Alfred Powlesland c Browning b Robinson 10 b Roques 4 William Donne run out 6 Frederick Christian b Anderson 0 George Buckley b Attrill 0 Francis Burchell not out 0 Harry Corner lbw Anderson 4 not out 5 Extras 9 4 Totals 117[a] 145-5d France First innings Second innings Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Overs Maidens Runs Wickets William Attrill ? ? ? 2 – – – – William Anderson ? ? ? 4 – – – – Arthur MacEvoy ? ? ? 2 ? ? ? 1 Douglas Robinson ? ? ? 2 – – – – F. Roques – – – – ? ? ? 3 France First innings Second innings Batsman Method of dismissal Runs Method of dismissal Runs Timothée Jordan c Corner b Christian 11 b Toller 0 A.J. Schneidau b Christian 8 b Powlesland 1 Robert Horne c Buckley b Christian 15 b Powlesland 1 Henry Terry c Cuming b Powlesland 2 b Toller 1 F. Roques b Powlesland 0 b Toller 0 William Anderson b Christian 0 b Toller 8 Douglas Robinson b Christian 0 b Powlesland 0 William Attrill lbw Christian 0 b Toller 0 W. Browning b Christian 0 b Toller 0 Arthur MacEvoy b Bowerman 1 c Christian b Corner 0 Philip Tomalin not out 3 not out 6 J. Braid run out 25 b Toller 7 Extras 11 2 Totals 78[a] 26 Great Britain First innings Second innings Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Frederick Christian ? ? ? 7 – – – – Alfred Powlesland ? ? ? 2 ? ? 15 3 Alfred Bowerman ? ? ? 1 – – – – Montagu Toller – – – – ? ? 9 7 Harry Corner – – – – ? ? ? 1
- Scorecard notes
- a. ^ The published totals in both teams' first innings do not match up with the sum of the batsmen's runs.
- b. Bowling details for overs, maidens and runs conceded are unavailable for all innings, with the exception of the runs conceded in France's second innings, where some information has been recorded.
The Devon and Somerset Wanderers played two further matches during their tour of France, both one-day contests, and won them both. They were not impressed by the French, who a journalist at the time described as "too excitable to enjoy the game".
Neither of the teams realised that they had competed in the Olympic Games, with the match advertised as part of the world's fair. The event was retrospectively recognised as an Olympic contest by the International Olympic Committee in 1912, and the medals won by the teams were upgraded to Gold for Great Britain and silver for France. The scheduled competition at the 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St Louis, was cancelled at short notice due to a lack of facilities, and the sport has not been played in the Olympic Games since.
Event Gold Silver Cricket Devon and Somerset Wanderers
Great Britain (GBR)
C. B. K. Beachcroft (captain)
French Athletic Club Union
Reference: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- List of Olympic venues in discontinued events
- "Final: France v Great Britain at Vincennes, Aug 19–20, 1900". Cricinfo. ESPN. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/320838.html. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- "France v Great Britain in 1900". CricketArchive. http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/104/104760.html. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- ^ a b c d e f Buchanan, Ian (1993). Mallon, Bill. ed. "Cricket at the 1900 Games". Journal of Olympic History (International Society of Olympic Historians) 1 (2): 4. http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/JOH/JOHv1n2/JOHv1n2c.pdf.
- ^ a b c d e f g Williamson, Martin (2008-08-09). "The ignorant Olympians". Cricinfo. ESPN. http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/134962.html. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- ^ "Olympic medals won in Cricket". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/olympics/2008/results/historical/events/199.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
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