Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Ashes History

The Ashes dates back to 1882 and is Cricket's (and one of sports) most celebrated rivalries. It consists of five 5 day test matches between Australia and England.

The series takes place every two years and the venue alternates between the two countries. If the series ends in a draw the country holding the ashes retains them.

The ashes series takes it's name from a front page story from "The Sporting Times". The front page was a satirical obituary to English cricket as written below:

In Affectionate Rememberance
29th August, 1882
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing
friends and acquaintances.
N.B.-The body will be cremated the
ashes taken to Australia.

The satirical obituary was in response to England's first loss to Australia on English soil. Little did they know that England would endure many more defeats at the hands of Australia (especially during the time that I got hooked on cricket, which was around 1986 the last time England won the ashes prior to the 2005 series; it is a wonder that I love the sport). After the above front page story the English media named the next England tour of Australia as the "quest to regain the ashes".

During the tour of Australia in 1883, a small urn was presented to the then England captain Ivo Bligh, by a group of women from Melbourne.

The contents of the urn are reportedly the remains of a piece of cricketing equipment such as a bail, ball or stump.

The urn is not, as some people believe the ashes trophy, it has never been formally adopted as the trophy and Mr Bligh always considered it to have been a personal gift that was presented to him.

Although replica's are often given to the winning side as a trophy the real urn has never been awarded and remains in the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lords; it was given to the MCC by Ivo Bligh's widow after his death.