History of British Sports Given To The World

26/09/2012 13:12

History of British Sports Given To The World




  • Inventor of the Pea Whistle by Englishman Joseph Hudson ( 1848-1930 )
  • Jigsaw Puzzles – An English Iconic Game - 1776
  • Village of Wenlock, England – A Modern Olympic Games – 1850
  • Centuries of English Cricket History – 990AD
  • Twenty20 Cricket – It's Founding and History - 2003
  • History of Horse Racing – 12th. Century England
  • History of The Grand National – England 1839
  • The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – It's Fun History
  • Commonwealth Games – The Friendly Games
  • Darts – British 16th Century History
  • World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar
  • English Football - It's History from 1280 AD
  • English Football Premier League – History
  • English Rugby – History
  • Snooker and Billiards – History
  • British Boxing – It's History
  • Golf – Its British History
  • The Ryder Cup Golf Competition – History
  • English Field Hockey - 1363 AD History
  • Badminton and it's English History
  • Table Tennis and Its English History
  • The Sport 0f Squash - It's English Historical Beginnings
  • History of Cribbage – An English Iconic Game
  • History of English Lawn Bowls  












Inventor of the Pea Whistle by Englishman Joseph Hudson (1848-1930)

as a fan of most sports I thought I would write about how the first referee's Pea Whistle was invented and by whom. Way back in the 1860s, Joseph Hudson, who was originally a Farm Worker from Derbyshire who moved to Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution. He later trained as a toolmaker and converted his humble wash room at St. Mark’s Square, Birmingham which he rented for 1s. 6d. (one shilling and six pence per week) into a workshop where he could supplement the family income by watch repairing and to cobbling shoes.

Joseph Hudson was well known as an inventor in Birmingham, England during the late 19th century and the founder of J Hudson & Co. in 1870 later to become the world largest whistle manufacturer.

He entered a competition held by the Metropolitan police force in London in 1883 to design a better way of attracting people's attention. He won a contract to supply the police with their new devices, a small but loud 'Whistle'.

Prior to this time the police force had to rely on hand rattles and whistles were only thought of as musical instruments or toys, his whistle is still used by the force and many others world side.

He later invented the first referee whistle for football matches, prior to this handkerchiefs were used at games. Hudson also invented the 'Acme Thunderer' (first ever pea whistle) which has been, and remains, the most used whistle in the world, from train guards to dog handlers, party goers to police officers.

Joseph Hudson set up his whistle factory in Birmingham, England in 1870. Around 1878, his ACME Whistles were the first to replace the handkerchiefs and sticks of football referees.

In 1883 the Home Secretary invited competition from companies to replace the hand rattle that the London Metropolitan Police of the time relied on. Joseph Hudson, basing a new whistle on the sound he had heard when a violin broke from a fall, was awarded the contract for over 7,000 whistles. During testing on Clapham Common, the sound of the whistle was heard over a mile away.

In 1884, the company continued their whistle revolution, inventing the first reliable pea-whistle, the ACME Thunderer which is still the most popular whistle today and has sold in the hundreds of millions. Today Acme whistles are recognized as some of the finest whistles manufactured in the world today.

Jigsaw Puzzles – An English Iconic Game - 1776

I thought as Jigsaw Puzzles was invented by us English I thought I would tell its history. The first jigsaw was made by John Spilsbury (an Englishman) in 1766 who was a renowned mapmaker and engraver from London who mounted a map of England on a thin sheet of mahogany board, used a hand held fretsaw to cut round the county boundaries and sold the boxed pieces for children to assemble. They were known as "Dissected maps". The result was an educational aid, which could be used for teaching Geography to children.

John Spilsbury certainly spotted a great  business opportunity. In the space of two years he marketed the eight map subjects most likely to appeal to upper class English parents: The World, the Four Continents then known (Africa, America, Asia and Europe), England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

During the next 40 years several other manufacturers (including individuals in Holland) copied John Spilsbury's ideas and introduced historical scenes to compliment his map subjects. In the early part of the century, puzzles were made almost exclusively for wealthy children and almost always with education in mind.

To save on cutting labour the puzzles consisted of only a few large pieces and only the outside interlocked – the rest was cut quickly with straight or wavy lines. The wood used was usually Mahogany or Cedar. The jigsaw named “The Parable of the Sower” on the right was cut by Betts in about 1870 and typifies the style of jigsaws up to that date. Only the outside pieces interlock and the quality of the print is very poor by modern standards.

Towards the end of the century great strides were made in many manufacturing techniques and three of these influenced jigsaws:

Treadle operated jigsaws were invented.

Techniques were developed to produce THIN sheets of wood.

Printing improved in leaps and bounds.

These technological advances enabled jigsaws to be made that were much more intricate, durable and colourful. Adults became interested in doing jigsaws and this spurred the manufacturers to widen the range of subjects available and to make them more difficult to do.

It became evident that colourful, complex jigsaws held a fascination for many people.
In the late 1800’s a German furniture dealer named Raphael Tuck and his two sons developed 4 techniques that set the scene for jigsaw development into the next century:

2)    Their subjects included many varied and colourful topics.

3)    Cutting was made more intricate and included "Whimsies" – individual pieces cut into recognisable shapes like animals and household goods.

4)    Plywood and thick card started to be used instead of expensive hardwood.

5)    Attractive boxes (that for the first time included an image of the uncut puzzle) were introduced.

Those with an interest in history might like to know that Raphael Tuck was also instrumental in the development of other industries – he is credited with the first commercial production of Christmas cards and also the first picture postcards. He set up printing establishments in London, Paris and New York and in 1893 he received the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria for printing the Queen’s letter to the nation on the occasion of the death of the Duke of Clarence.

Village of Wenlock, England – A Modern Olympic Games - 1850

Before the Modern Olympics began there was an Olympics in the Village of Wenlock, Shropshire, England which was run by Dr. William Penny Brookes from 1850 and every year thereafter. He has been widely recognised as the founding father of the modern Olympic Games, but surprisingly not that many people are aware of him or his remarkable life. We in Britain have given the World over 100 Sports and Games and the Wenlock Olympics are still held every year.

In 1850, the Agricultural Reading Society resolved to establish a class called "The Olympian Class", "for the promotion of the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wenlock and especially of the working classes, by the encouragement of outdoor recreation, and by the award of prizes annually at public meetings for skill in Athletic exercise and proficiency in Intellectual and industrial attainments".

The first meeting was held in October 1850, and included athletics and country sports such as quoits, football and cricket. The event quickly expanded, and within a few years attracted competitors from as far away as London and Liverpool.

When the first Wenlock Olympian Games were staged in 1859, there was heavy criticism of Brookes' insistence that the Games be open to "every grade of man". It was felt that such an event would cause rioting, lewd behaviour, and that men would leave their wives. Brookes tirelessly avoided requests to limit the Games to only the pupils of public schools and the sons of professionals. The Games were a huge success and none of the threatened disturbances occurred.

In 1859, Brookes established contact with the organisers of an Olympic Games revival in Athens sponsored by Evangelis Zappas. In 1860, the Class officially became the Wenlock Olympian Society, adopted some of the athletics events from the Athens games, and added them to their program. The first athlete to be listed on the honour roll of the Society was Petros Velissariou (an ethnic Greek from Smyrna, in the Ottoman Empire who was one of the first international Olympians.

In 1865, Brookes helped establish the National Olympian Association (NOA) based in Liverpool. Their first Olympic Games, a national event, held in 1866 at the Crystal Palace, London, were a success and attracted a crowd of over 10,000 spectators. W.G. Grace, the famous cricketer (before he became famous), competed and came first in the hurdles event. The Amateur Athletic Club, later to become the Amateur Athletics Association was formed as a rival organisation to the NOA.

In 1877, he requested an Olympian prize from Greece in honour of Queen Victoria’s jubilee. In response, King George I of Greece sent a silver cup which was presented at the National Olympian Games held in Shrewsbury. This brought Brookes into contact with the Greek government, but his attempts to organise an international Olympian Festival in Athens in 1881 failed.

In 1889, he invited Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the organizer of an International Congress on Physical Education, too Much Wenlock. Meetings between William Penny Brookes and Baron Pierre de Coubertain took place at The Raven Hotel (as did the feast which concluded each year’s Olympian Games), and today in The Raven Hotel there are displayed many artefacts from those early years, including original letters from Baron Pierre de Coubertain to William Penny Brookes. A meeting of the Wenlock Olympian Games was held in de Coubertin's honour in 1890, with much pageantry. On his return to France, de Coubertin gave a glowing account of his stay in an article, "Les Jeux Olympiques à Much Wenlock", and referred to his host's efforts to revive the Olympics.

He wrote: "If the Olympic Games that Modern Greece has not yet been able to revive still survives today, it is due, not to a Greek, but to Dr W P Brookes.

Dr. W.P. Brookes died four months before the Athens 1896 Olympic Games, under the auspices of the IOC which was held in Athens in 1896.

The Wenlock Olympian Society maintains his original ideals, and continues to organise annual games. The William Brookes School in Much Wenlock is named after him. In 2012 you could say the modern Olympic Games are coming home to London.

Centuries of English Cricket History from 900 AD

Imbued in English culture is a love and Creator of Sports of all kinds. I was born just a few miles from the oldest cricket club in the world – Hambledon Cricket Club in Hampshire, England.
Our national summer game is Cricket which it is believed was first played over 1,000 years ago in English villages in an area of England called The Weald which borders Sussex and Kent.    The game was played by children for hundreds of years before adults played the game . Its beginning is lost in the mists of history, but bat hitting games were played in Saxon England before the Norman Conquest.

There are stories that villager's played against villager's on village greens throughout our history, including up to today. There is nothing like a hot, sunny, summer day with the sound of leather ( The ball ) hitting willow ( The Bat ) in an English village.

What is agreed is that by Tudor times cricket had evolved far enough from club-ball to be recognisable as the game played today; that it was well established in many parts of Kent, Sussex and Surrey; that within a few years it had become a feature of leisure time at a significant number of schools; and - a sure sign of the wide acceptance of any game - that it had become popular enough among young men to earn the disapproval of local magistrates.

Important Known Historical Dates of Cricketing Events:

(approx.) English Children Play bat and ball games which are the pre-cursors to Cricket, Tennis, and Baseball.                                                                                                                              1550 (approx.) Evidence of cricket being played in Guildford, Surrey.
1598 Cricket mentioned in Florio's Italian-English dictionary.
1610 Reference to "cricketing" between Weald and Upland near Chevening, Kent.       1611 Randle Cotgrave's French-English dictionary translates the French word "crosse" as a cricket staff.
Two youths fined for playing cricket at Sidlesham, Sussex.

1624 Jasper Vinall becomes first man known to be killed playing cricket: hit by a bat while trying to catch the ball - at Horsted Green, Sussex.
1676 First reference to cricket being played abroad, by British residents in Aleppo, Syria.
1694 Two shillings and sixpence paid for a "wagger" (wager) about a cricket match at Lewes.
1697 First reference to "a great match" with 11 players a side for fifty guineas, in Sussex.
1700 Cricket match announced on Clapham Common.

1709 First recorded inter-county match: Kent v Surrey.
1710 First reference to cricket at Cambridge University.
1727 Articles of Agreement written governing the conduct of matches between the teams of the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick of Peperharow, Surrey.
1729 Date of earliest surviving bat, belonging to John Chitty, now in the pavilion at The Oval.
1730 First recorded match at the Artillery Ground, off City Road, central London, still the cricketing home of the Honourable Artillery Company.

1744 Kent beat All England by one wicket at the Artillery Ground.
First known version of the Laws of Cricket, issued by the London Club, formalising the pitch as 22 yards long.
1767 (approx) Foundation of the Hambledon Club in Hampshire, the leading club in England for the next 30 years. ( I used to live just a few miles away from this excellent cricket club).
1769 First recorded century, by John Minshull for Duke of Dorset's XI v Wrotham.
1771 Width of bat limited to 4 1/4 inches, where it has remained ever since.
1774 LBW law devised.
1776 Earliest known scorecards, at the Vine Club, Sevenoaks, Kent.
1780 The first six-seamed cricket ball, manufactured by Dukes of Penshurst, Kent.
1787 First match at Thomas Lord's first ground, Dorset Square, Marylebone - White Conduit Club v Middlesex.
Formation of Marylebone Cricket Club by members of the White Conduit Club.
1788 First revision of the Laws of Cricket by MCC.
1794 First recorded inter-schools match: Charterhouse v Westminster.
1795 First recorded case of a dismissal "leg before wicket".
1806 First Gentlemen v Players match at Lord's.
1807 First mention of "straight-armed" (i.e. round-arm) bowling: by John Willes of Kent.
1809 Thomas Lord's second ground opened at North Bank, St John's Wood.
1811 First recorded women's county match: Surrey v Hampshire at Ball's Pond, London.
1814 Lord's third ground opened on its present site, also in St John's Wood.
1827 First Oxford v Cambridge match, at Lord's. A draw.
1828 MCC authorise the bowler to raise his hand level with the elbow.
1833 John Nyren publishes his classic Young Cricketer's Tutor and The Cricketers of My Time.
1836 First North v South match, for many years regarded as the principal fixture of the season.
1836 (approx) Batting pads invented.
1841 General Lord Hill, commander-in-chief of the British Army, orders that a cricket ground be made an adjunct of every military barracks.
1844 First official international match: Canada v United States.
1845 First match played at The Oval.
1846 The All-England XI, organised by William Clarke, begins playing matches, often against odds, throughout the country.
1849 First Yorkshire v Lancashire match.
1850 Wicket-keeping gloves first used.
1850 John Wisden bowls all ten batsmen in an innings for North v South.
1853 First mention of a champion county: Nottinghamshire.
1858 First recorded instance of a hat being awarded to a bowler taking three wickets with consecutive balls.
1859 First touring team to leave England, captained by George Parr, draws enthusiastic crowds in the US and Canada.
1864 Overhand bowling authorised by MCC.
John Wisden's The Cricketer's Almanack first published.
1868 Team of Australian aborigines tour England.
1873 W G Grace becomes the first player to record 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a season.
First regulations restricting county qualifications, often regarded as the official start of the County Championship.
1877 First Test match: Australia beat England by 45 runs in Melbourne.
1880 First Test in England: a five-wicket win against Australia at The Oval.
1882 Following England's first defeat by Australia in England, an "obituary notice" to English cricket in the Sporting Times leads to the tradition of The Ashes.
1889 South Africa's first Test match.
Declarations first authorised, but only on the third day, or in a one-day match.
1890 County Championship officially constituted.
Present Lord's pavillion opened.
1895 W G Grace scores 1,000 runs in May, and reaches his 100th hundred.
1899 AEJ Collins scores 628 not out in a junior house match at Clifton College, the highest individual score in any match.
Selectors choose England team for home Tests, instead of host club issuing invitations.
1900 Six-ball over becomes the norm, instead of five.
1909 Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC - now the International Cricket Council) set up, with England, Australia and South Africa the original members.
1910 Six runs given for any hit over the boundary, instead of only for a hit out of the ground.
1912 First and only triangular Test series played in England, involving England, Australia and South Africa.
1915 W.G. Grace dies aged 67.
1926 Victoria score 1,107 v New South Wales at Melbourne, the record total for a first-class innings.
1928 West Indies' first Test match.
AP "Tich" Freeman of Kent and England becomes the only player to take more than 300 first-class wickets in a season: 304.
1930 New Zealand's first Test match.
Donald Bradman's first tour of England: he scores 974 runs in the five Ashes Tests, still a record for any Test series.
1931 Stumps made higher (28 inches not 27) and wider (nine inches not eight - this was optional until 1947).
1932 India's first Test match.
Hedley Verity of Yorkshire takes ten wickets for ten runs v Nottinghamshire, the best innings analysis in first-class cricket.
1932-33 The Bodyline tour of Australia in which England bowl at batsmen's bodies with a packed leg-side field to neutralise Bradman's scoring.
1934 Jack Hobbs retires, with 197 centuries and 61,237 runs, both records. First women's Test: Australia v England at Brisbane.
1935 MCC condemn and outlaw Bodyline.
1947 Denis Compton of Middlesex and England scores a record 3,816 runs in an English season.
1948 First five-day Tests in England.
Bradman concludes Test career with a second-ball duck at The Oval and a batting average of 99.94 - four runs short of 100.
1952 Pakistan's first Test match.
1953 England regain the Ashes after a 19-year gap, the longest ever.
1956 Jim Laker of England takes 19 wickets for 90 v Australia at Manchester, the best match analysis in first-class cricket.
1957 Declarations authorised at any time.
1960 First tied Test, Australia v West Indies at Brisbane.
1963 Distinction between amateur and professional cricketers abolished in English cricket.
The first major one-day tournament begins in England: the Gillette Cup.
1969 Limited-over Sunday league inaugurated for first-class counties.
1970 Proposed South African tour of England cancelled: South Africa excluded from international cricket because of their government's apartheid policies.
1971 First one-day international: Australia v England at Melbourne.
1975 First World Cup: West Indies beat Australia in final at Lord's.
1976 First women's match at Lord's, England v Australia.
1977 Centenary Test at Melbourne, with identical result to the first match: Australia beat England by 45 runs.
Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, signs 51 of the world's leading players in defiance of the cricketing authorities.
1978 Graham Yallop of Australia wears a protective helmet to bat in a Test match, the first player to do so.
1979 Packer and official cricket agree peace deal.
1980 Eight-ball over abolished in Australia, making the six-ball over universal.
1981 England beat Australia in Leeds Test, after following on with bookmakers offering odds of 500 to 1 against them winning.
1982 Sri Lanka's first Test match.
1991 South Africa return, with a one-day international in India.
1992 Zimbabwe's first Test match.
Durham become the first county since Glamorgan in 1921 to attain first class status.
1993 The ICC ceases to be administered by MCC, becoming an independent organisation with its own chief executive.
1994 Brian Lara of Warwickshire becomes the only player to pass 500 in a first class innings: 501 not out v Durham.
2000 County Championship split into two divisions, with promotion and relegation.
2001 The Laws of Cricket revised and rewritten.
2003 Twenty20 Cup, a 20-over-per-side evening tournament, inaugurated in England.
2005 The ICC introduces Powerplays and Supersubs in ODIs, and hosts the inaugural Superseries.                                                                                                                                2007 The inaugural 20/20 World Cup. Also the creation of the Indian 20/20 Premier league.          2010 England reach the 20/20 Cricket Final.

Twenty20 Cricket – It's Founder and History

I thought I would write about the latest sport given to the world which is proving a great success with the world - Twenty20 Cricket and its history.

Twenty20 is a form of cricket originally introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams; each has a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket.

A Twenty20 game is completed in about three and half hours, with each innings lasting around 75 minutes, thus bringing the game closer to the timespan of other popular team sports. It was introduced to create a lively form of the game which would be attractive to spectators at the ground and viewers on television and as such it has been very successful. The ECB did not intend that Twenty20 would replace other forms of cricket and these have continued alongside it.

The idea of a shortened format of the game at a professional level was discussed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 1998 and 2001.

When the Benson and Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one day competition to fill its place. The cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game. Stuart Robertson, the marketing manager of the ECB, proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11-7 in favour of adopting the new format. A media group was invited to develop a name for the new game and Twenty20 was the chosen title. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket.

Historical Dates of Twenty20

1) Twenty20 Introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003.

2) On 10th January 2005 Australia's first Twenty20 game was played at the WACA between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sell-out crowd of 20, 700.

3) Starting 11th July 2006 19 West Indies regional teams competed in what was named the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The event has been financially backed by billionaire Allen Stanford who gave at least US$28,000,000 funding money. West Indies legends also backed the programme, and several "looked after" the teams during their stay in and around the purpose built ground in Antigua. It was intended that the tournament would be an annual event. Guyana won the inaugural event, defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 5 wickets. The top prize for the winning team was US$1,000,000, but other prizes were given throughout the tournament, such as play of the match (US$10,000) and man of the match (US$25,000).

4) On 1st November 2008 the Superstars West Indies team (101-0/12.5 overs) beat England (99/all out) by 10 wickets. England slumped to 33-4 and then 65-8 after 15 overs before Samit Patel's 22 took them to 99 in 19.5 overs, still easily their lowest Twenty20 total. Chris Gayle scored an impressive 65 runs not out.

5) On 5th January 2007 Queensland’s Bulls played the New South Wales Blues at The Gabba, Brisbane. A crowd of 11,000 was expected based on pre-match ticket sales. However, an unexpected 16,000 turned up on the day to buy tickets, causing disruption and confusion for surprised Gabba staff as they were forced to throw open gates and grant many fans free entry. Attendance reached 27,653.

6) For 1st February 2008's Twenty20 match between Australia and India, 84,041 people attended the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground involving the Twenty20 World Champions against the ODI World Champions.

7) Twenty20 attracted billions of fans to the game through the Indian Premier League.   The first Indian Premier League which was staged in India in 2008 changed the face of the game. The league involved over hundreds of players contracted and over billion dollars investment. It was won by Rajasthan Royals with the Chennai Super Kings finishing as runners-up.

8) The second edition was staged in South Africa which was won by Deccan Charges beating the Royal Challengers in the final.

9) The third edition was played in India despite the many challenges and controversies surrounding the league which was won by the Chennai Super Kings with Mumbai Indians finishing as the runners-up.

10) On 17th February 2005 Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men's full international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland.

11) The first Twenty20 international in England was played between England and Australia at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire on the 13th June 2005, which England won, by a record margin of 100 runs.

12) On 9th January 2006 Australia and South Africa met in the first international Twenty20 game in Australia. In a first, each player's nickname appeared on the back of his uniform, rather than his surname.

Since its inception the game has spread around the cricket world. On most international tours there is at least one Twenty20 match and most Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition. The inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India winning by five runs against Pakistan in the final. Pakistan won the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 defeating Sri Lanka by eight wickets. England won the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 defeating Australia in the final by 7 wickets.

In June 2009, speaking at the annual Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's, a former Australian wicket-keeper pushed for Twenty20 to be made an Olympic Sports. "It would," he said, "be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world."

History of Horse Racing – 12th. Century England

I thought as English Horse Races are famous worldwide I thought my article on the earliest English horse races would be of interest to horse lovers and readers from all over world.  The origins of modern racing lies in the 12th century, when English knights returned from the Crusades with swift Arab horses.

Over the next 400 years, an increasing number of Arab stallions were imported and bred to English mares to produce horses that combined speed and endurance. Matching the fastest of these animals in two-horse races for a private wager became a popular diversion of the nobility.

Horse racing began to become a professional sport during the reign (1702-14) of Queen Anne, when match racing gave way to races involving several horses on which the spectators wagered. Racecourses sprang up all over England, offering increasingly large purses to attract the best horses. These purses in turn made breeding and owning horses for racing profitable.

With the rapid expansion of the sport came the need for a central governing authority. In 1750 racing's elite met at Newmarket to form the English Jockey Club, which to this day exercises complete control over English racing.

The English Jockey Club wrote complete rules of racing and sanctioned racecourses to conduct meetings under those rules. Standards defining the quality of races soon led to the designation of certain races as the ultimate tests of excellence. Since 1814, five races for three-year-old horses have been designated as "classics." Three races open to male horses (colts) and female horses (fillies), make up the English Triple Crown: the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby (see DERBY, THE), and the St. Leger Stakes. Two races, open to fillies only, are the 1,000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks.

The Jockey Club also took steps to regulate the breeding of racehorses. James Weatherby, whose family served as accountants to the members of the Jockey Club, was assigned the task of tracing the pedigree, or complete family history, of every horse racing in England. In 1791 the results of his research were published as the Introduction to the General Stud Book. From 1793 to the present, members of the Weatherby family have meticulously recorded the pedigree of every foal born to those racehorses in subsequent volumes of the General Stud Book.

By the early 1800s the only horses that could be called "Thoroughbreds" and allowed to race were those descended from horses listed in the General Stud Book. Thoroughbreds are so inbred that the pedigree of every single animal can be traced back father-to-father to one of three stallions, called the "foundation sires." These stallions were the Byerley Turk, foaled c.1679; the Darley Arabian, foaled c.1700; and the Godolphin Arabian, foaled c.1724.

Overseas Horse Racing

The British settlers brought horses and horse racing with them to the New World, with the first racetrack laid out on Long Island as early as 1665. Although the sport became a popular local pastime, the development of organized racing did not arrive until after the Civil War. (The American Stud Book was begun in 1868.) For the next several decades, with the rapid rise of an industrial economy, gambling on racehorses, and therefore horse racing itself, grew explosively; by 1890, 314 tracks were operating across the country.

In 1894 the America's most prominent track and stable owners met in New York to form an American Jockey Club, modelled on the English Jockey Club, which soon ruled racing with an iron hand.

History of The Grand National – England 1839

I thought as The Grand National is an Iconic English  Horse race, I thought it would be interesting to fans of English Horse racing to know its history. The origins of the Grand National can be traced back to the first official races at Aintree which were initiated by the owner of Liverpool's Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn. Lynn who leased the land from Lord Sefton, built a course, built a grandstand and staged the first Grand National on Tuesday February 26th 1839 and Lottery became the first winner of The Grand National. In those days the field had to jump a stone wall (now the water jump), cross a stretch of ploughed  land and finished over two hurdles.

The Grand National in the days of the Topham family owned substantial tracts of land around Aintree and had been involved with the management of the course since the early years of the Aintree Meeting. In 1949 Lord Sefton sold the course to the Tophams who appointed ex-Gaiety Girl Mirabel Topham to manage it. Mrs Topham built a new track within the established National Racecourse and named it after Lord Mildmay, a fine amateur jockey and lover of the Grand National. The Mildmay course opened in 1953, the same year as the motor circuit which still encircles the track.

The motor circuit was another of Mrs Topham's ideas and it quickly gained a reputation as one the best in the world hosting a European Grand Prix and five British Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix on it in 1955 while Jim Clark won the 1962 event.

Aintree Racecourse suffered some lean times in the post-war years and in 1965 it was announced that the course would be sold to a property developer. In 1973 the Tophams finally sold the course to property developer Bill Davies who gave a commitment to keep the race going however he was not a real racing fan. As a result the attendance at the 1975 Liverpool Grand National was the smallest in living memory (Davies had tripled the admission price) and the great race reached its lowest point.

Ladbrokes, the bookmaker made a bold bid in 1975 and signed an agreement with Davies allowing them to manage the Grand National.

Ladbrokes, like all true racing professionals, had a genuine love for the National and were determined to keep it alive. Their task stretched over the next eight years and they set about it admirably but Davies was reluctant to renew their contract. He was determined to sell Aintree.

Racing and the public in general finally realised that after so many years of "crying wolf" the threat was serious and a huge campaign was launched to rescue the race once and for all.

Donations from the public helped the Jockey Club pay Davies' price and in early '83 he finally sold the racecourse. That year the Grand National was sponsored by the Sun newspaper but in '84 Seagram Distillers stepped in to provide the solid foundation on which Aintree's revival has been built.

The last Seagram-sponsored National was in 1991 when the race was won by a horse which chairman Straker twice had the opportunity to buy; the horse's name was Seagram.

The Seagram subsidiary, Martell, took over sponsorship in 1992. Martell backs the whole three-day Grand National meeting. Around 100,000 people will be at Aintree to watch the top horses battle for honours.

By far the most successful and my favourite horse in Grand National history was Red Rum, the only horse to win three times, in 1973, 1974, and in 1977. He also came second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976. In 1973, he beat the champion Crisp who had to carry 12 stone, in what is arguably the most memorable Grand National of all time.

Aintree racecourse has overcome all the obstacles and today enjoys its most successful period in modern times. Future plans include a new grandstand, a Heritage Centre and a strong ambition to establish Aintree as an international tourist attraction on non-race days.

Below is a list of the Past Winners of the Grand National:



1839 Lottery                  1840 Jerry                     1841 Charity                  1842 Gay Lad               

1843 Vanguard  1844 Discount   1845 Cure-All     1846 Pioneer

1847 Mathew     1848 Chandler   1849 Peter Simple         1850 Abd-El-Kader

1851 Abd-El-Kader        1852 Miss Mowbray       1853 Peter Simple        1854 Bourton

1855 Wanderer  1856 Freetrader 1857 Emigrant   1858 Little Charley

1859 Half Caste 1860 Anatis                   1861 Jealousy   1862 Huntsman

1863 Emblem    1864 Emblematic           1865 Alcibiade  1866 Salamander

1867 Cortolvin   1868 The Lamb  1869 The Colonel           1870 The Colonel

1871 The Lamb  1872 Casse Tete            1873 Disturbance          1874 Reugny

1875 Pathfinder 1876 Regal                    1877 Austerlitz   1878 Shifnal

1879 The Liberator         1880 Empress   1881 Woodbrook          1882 Seaman

1883 Zoedone   1884 Voluptuary            1885 Roquefort 1886 Old Joe

1887 Gamecock            1888 Playfair                 1889 Frigate                  1890 Ilex

1891 Come Away          1892 Father O'Flynn

1893 Cloister                 1894 Why Not   1895 Wild Man From Borneo

1896 The Soarer            1897 Manifesto 1898 Drogheda 1899 Manifesto

1900 Ambush II 1901 Grudon                 1902 Shannon Lass

1903 Drumcree  1904 Moifaa                  1905 Kirkland    1906 Ascetic's Silver

1907 Eremon     1908 Rubio                   1909 Lutteur III   1910 Jenkinstown

1911 Glenside   1912 Jerry M                 1913 Covertcoat            1914 Sunloch

1915 Ally Sloper            1

1916 1916–18 see below::

For three years during World War 1, the Grand National could not be run at Aintree, and so a substitute event was held at another racecourse, Gatwick. This venue is now defunct, and it is presently the site of Garwick Airport. The course was modified to make it similar to Aintree, and the races were contested over the same distance, with one less fence to be jumped.

The 1916 running was titled the Racecourse Association Steeplechase, and for the next two years it was known as the War National.

Year                                                     Winner

1916                                                     Vermouth

1917                                                     Ballymacad

1918                                                     Poethlyn

Past Winners of the Grand National – Contd –

1919     Poethlyn           1920     Troytown           1921     Shaun Spadah  1922     Music Hall

1923     Sergeant Murphy           1924     Master Robert   1925     Double Chance

1926     Jack Horner      1927     Sprig                1928     Tipperary Tim    1929     Gregalach

1930     Shaun Goilin                 1931     Grakle               1932     Forbra

1933     Kellsboro Jack  1934     Golden Miller                 1935     Reynoldstown

1936     Reynoldstown   1937     Royal Mail         1938     Battleship

1939     Workman          1940     Bogskar            1941     1941–45 no race [b]

1946     Lovely Cottage  1947     Caughoo           1948     Sheila's Cottage            1949     Russian Hero

1950     Freebooter        1951     Nickel Coin       1952     Teal                              1953     Early Mist

1954     Royal Tan         1955     Quare Times      1956     E.S.B.                          1957     Sundew

1958     Mr What            1959     Oxo                  1960     Merryman II                   1961     Nicolaus Silver

1962     Kilmore 1963     Ayala                1964     Team Spirit                   1965     Jay Trump

1966     Anglo               1967     Foinavon          1968     Red Alligator                 1969 Highland Wedding

1970     Gay Trip            1971     Specify 1972     Well to Do                    1973     Red Rum

1974     Red Rum          1975     L'Escargot        1976     Rag Trade                     1977     Red Rum

1978     Lucius               1979     Rubstic 1980     Ben Nevis                     1981     Aldaniti

1982     Grittar               1983     Corbiere            1984     Hallo Dandy                  1985     Last Suspect

1986     West Tip           1987     Maori Venture    1988     Rhyme 'n' Reason         1989     Little Polveir

1990     Mr Frisk            1991     Seagram           1992     Party Politics                1993     race void [c]

1994     Miinnehoma      1995     Royal Athlete                1996     Rough Quest                 1997     Lord Gyllene

1998     Earth Summit    1999     Bobbyjo           2000     Papillon            2001     Red Marauder

2002     Bindaree           2003     Monty's Pass                2004     Amberleigh House         2005     Hedgehunter

2006     Numbersixvalverde        2007     Silver Birch       2008     Comply or Die   2009     Mon Mome

2010     Don't Push It                 2011     Ballabriggs       2012     Neptune Collonges       

The 1843 winner Vanguard was trained at Lord Chesterfield's private stables at Bretby Hall. The race was abandoned from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II the 1993 running was declared void because some of the horses failed to be called back after a false start.

Unofficial winners Pre-1839

the first official running of the "Grand National" is now considered to be the 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. There had been a similar race for several years prior to this, but its status as an official Grand National was revoked sometime between 1862 and 1873.

Year  and   Winner’s

1836                 The Duke          1837     The Duke          1838     Sir William

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – It's Fun History

I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the history of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race as it’s one of the most famous boat races in the world and is one of England's greatest sporting Icon competitions.

The event generally known as "The Boat Race" is a rowing race in England between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club. The teams comprised of eight rowers in each team with a cox in the bow who would control the speed of the boat.

The race is between competing eights, each spring on the Thames in London. It takes place generally on the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April.

The formal title of the event is the Xchanging Boat Race, and it is also known as the University Boat Race and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

The event is a popular one, not only with the alumni of the universities, but also with rowers in general and the public. An estimated quarter of a million people watch the race live from the banks of the river, around seven to nine million people on TV in the UK, and an overseas audience estimated by the Boat Race Company at around 120 million, which would make this the most viewed single day sporting event in the world. However, other sources estimate that the international audience is below 20 million.

Members of both teams are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a “Blue Boat” with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. The first race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars.

Although the heavyweight men's eights are the main draw, the two universities compete in other rowing boat races. The main boat race is preceded by a race between the two reserve crews (called Isis for Oxford and Goldie for Cambridge).

The women's eights, women's reserve eights, men's lightweight eights and women's lightweight eights race in the Henley Boat races a week before the men's heavyweight races. There is also a 'veterans' boat race, usually held on a weekday before the main Boat Race, on the Thames between Putney and Hammersmith.

Commonwealth Games – The Friendly Games

The Commonwealth games is a sporting event that appears every 4 years and over 70 countries are represented. The Commonwealth Games are called the friendly games and the atmosphere is completely different to the Olympics. The sporting competition brought together the members of the old British Empire was first proposed by the Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire.".

In 1911, the Festival of the Empire was held in come London to celebrate the Coronation of King George V. As part of the festival an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics.

In 1928, a key Canadian athlete, Bobby Robinson, was given the task of organizing the first ever Commonwealth Games. These Games were held in 1930, in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and saw the participation of 400 athletes from eleven countries.

All other nations march in English alphabetical order, except that the first nation marching in the Parade of Athletes is the host nation of the previous games, and the host nation of the current games marches last. In 2006 countries marched in alphabetical order in geographical regions.

Since then, the Commonwealth Games have been held every four years, except for the period during the Second World War. The Games have been known by various names such as the British Empire Games, Friendly Games and British Commonwealth Games. Since 1978, they have been known as the Commonwealth Games. Originally having only single competition sports, the 1998 Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur saw a major change when team sports such as cricket, hockey and netball made their first appearance.

In 2001, the Games Movement adopted the three values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny as the core values of the Commonwealth Games. These values inspire and connect thousands of people and signify the broad mandate for holding the Games within the Commonwealth.

The Games were originally known as the British Empire Games. The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 at Hamilton, Canada. The 10th Commonwealth Games were held at Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974, the 11th in Edmonton (Canada) in 1978, the 12th in Brisbane (Australia) in 1982, the 13th in Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1986, the 14th in Auckland (New Zealand) in 1990 and the 15th in Victoria (Canada) in 1994, where about 3,350 athletes from a record 64 nations (including South Africa, which joined the family of Commonwealth athletes after 36 years) participated. Namibia also, which gained its independence in 1990, made its debut while Hong Kong made its final appearance in the Games before being ceded to China in 1997.

Table of Past Commonwealth Games

...................Venue.............                  Year........Number of Countries

1 Hamilton, Canada                   1930               11

2 London, England                                 1934               16

3 Sydney, Australia                   1938               15

4 Auckland, N Z                        1950               12

5 Vancouver, Canada                1954               24

6 Cardiff, Wales                        1958               35

7 Perth, Australia                       1962               35

8 Jamaica, West Indies              1966                34

9 Edinburgh, Scotland               1970                 42

10 Christchurch, N Z                  1974                 38

11 Edmonton, Canada               1978              48

12 Brisbane, Australia                1982              47

13 Edinburgh, Scotland             1986             26

14 Auckland, N Z                       1990              55

15 Victoria, Canada                   1994               64

6 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia                      1998               70

17 Manchester, England            2002               72

18 Melbourne, Australia             2006               76

19 New Delhi, India                    2010                 72

20 Glasgow, Scotland               2014

After Olympics, Commonwealth Games is the second largest sports festival in the world. The Games are held once in four years but only in between the Olympic years.

The three nations to have hosted the games the most number of times are Australia (4), Canada (4), and New Zealand (3). Furthermore, five editions have taken place in the countries within the United Kingdom. Two cities have held the games on multiple occasions: Auckland (1950 and 1990), and Edinburgh (1970 and 1986).

After the Olympics the Commonwealth Games is the second largest sports festival in the world. The Games are held once in four years but only in between the Olympic years.

Darts – British 16th Century History

Britain is famous for the game of Darts. I thought it would be of interest to write this article about Darts – It's English beginnings and history.

The sport of darts began as training in the martial arts, (well, the martial art of archery). Darts began in Medieval England. Historians surmise, because they don't know for certain, that those teaching archery shortened some arrows and had their students throw them at the bottom of an empty wine barrel.

It is said that darts even came to the new world on the Mayflower. Darts in America didn't really become popular until the late nineteenth century when immigrants from England came over and brought the game with them. Like much of American History, the roots of darts in America can be traced to the Pilgrims. These hardy colonizers were reputed to have played the game on the Mayflower as it made its ocean crossing. Like the game of horseshoes it was then played avidly in America whenever leisure time was available.

In fact the game of darts that we know today originated in English pubs hundreds of years ago and is still called English darts by many when referring to the modern day game of darts.

The fact that the bottom of an empty wine barrel was used is a clue to how the game developed into a pastime. It is thought that the soldiers took their shortened arrows with them to the local drinking establishment to both exhibit their skill and have fun at the same time. When the bottoms of wine barrels proved to be inconvenient or in short supply, some inventive dart thrower brought in a cross-section of a moderate sized tree.

The "board" provided rings, and when it dried out, the cracks provided further segmentation. This cracked and dried board began to evolve into what we think of as the current dart board.

A game as fun as darts could not be hidden from the upper classes and they soon put their own stamp on the game. The oft married Henry VIII was reputed to enjoy the game immensely. So much so, that he was given a beautifully ornate set by Anne Boleyn.

However, darts remained largely an Anglo-American sport until the Victorian age when it was spread world-wide by the great expansion of the British Empire. It seems that the "sun never set on the British Empire". At the same time, there was never a time when a dart was not in the air. Many native populations were exposed to the game and found enjoyment in it.

The international throwing line of 7 ft. 9 1/4 inches was established in the 1970s to make it standard for international competitions; depending on the country (or at times, even the venue), the throwing line was anywhere from 7 ft. 6 in. to 8 ft. Also, throughout the early part of the 20th  century, there were many different types of dartboards until the 'clock' board became the standard...It really wasn't until after WWII that many of the rules of darts became standardized. Now people all around the world can enjoy the sport of darts in international competitions, in leagues, or in private parties and all be on an equal footing.

So the next time you put your toe to the line and raise a dart to the board, remember that there is a rich history behind this engrossing sport.

The throwing distance also became standardized during this time. There was a brewery named Hockey and Sons who supplied beer to much of the South west of England. The length of three Hockey and Sons kegs placed end to end became the standard throwing distance. This is generally believed to be where the phrase "toeing the hockey" comes from.

It was also during this time that the game really started to gain in popularity, especially in pubs. There is a fun story that happened in 1908. At this time, in England, games of chance were illegal and a pub owner in Leeds was brought into court for allowing darts to be played there because it was believed to be a game of chance. If the legend is true, when the pub owner appeared in court he brought along a dartboard and some darts. He then asked one of the officers of the court to name a number on the board, the officer obliged and the pub owner then hit that number with three darts. The pub owner then challenged anyone in the court to do the same. A court clerk attempted and failed and the judge immediately dismissed the case because it was obviously a game of skill and not of chance.

As the game grew more popular, more pub owners put up dartboards and the game continued to spread and gain in popularity. Naturally, as more and more people played, they started to form leagues and organizations. The very first organization was formed in 1924 in England. An English newspaper started sponsoring local competitions which later grew into regional competitions and then national tournaments. At one point the game grew so popular that the Scottish government tried to ban the game in pubs, saying that it encouraged bad habits. The public didn't stand for it and the ban never took place.

The game continued to grow in popularity in the twentieth century. Annual tournaments were held in England sponsored by the News of the World newspaper; these tournaments really helped to boost the popularity of the game and these tournaments ran from 1947 to 1990. During this time the game was also growing in popularity in Great Britain and in America.

In the mid-seventies darts had become so popular in Great Britain that the tournaments were being televised. With this kind of publicity the game was turning into a serious sport with professional players. This led to more players and larger prizes at the tournaments. This huge growth of popularity led to the creation of major national organizations that governed the tournaments, promoted the sport, and attracted more sponsors.

The first of these organizations was the British Darts Organization which was founded in 1973. The American Darts Organization followed in 1975, as well as dozens of other countries. There is also the World Dart Federation (WDF) which almost all the national darts organizations belong to; the WDF was formed in 1976 and is considered the official governing body for the sport of darts.

Technology hasn't ignored the game either. Today we have electronic dartboards which can keep score automatically for you, have dozens of games built into them, electronic scoreboards, and some of the boards will even talk to you. These technologic advancements have only furthered the popularity of the sport making the game much more accessible.

World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar

As football is England's favourite sport and is called England's national game I thought I would write about the World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar who was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester, England on 2nd June 1857.

It has recently come to light that Elgar wrote music to the world's first football chant for his favourite football team Wolverhampton Wanderers which was called “He Banged The leather for Goal” ( The Leather was shorthand for the Football which was made of leather and if you tried to head it when wet, it nearly took your head off )!! Elgar went to his first football match in February 1898 and became hooked on the atmosphere and the football and became a fan of Wolves for the rest of his life.

Edward Elgar was an English Composer who was famous for his orchestral works including the “Land of Hope and Glory”, “Enigma Variations”, the “Pomp and Circumstance Marches”, “concertos for violin and cello” and two symphonies. He also composed oratorios, including “The Dream of Gerontius”, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the Kings Music in 1924. Despite the fluctuating critical assessment of the various works over the years, Elgar's major works taken as a whole have in the twenty-first century recovered strongly from their neglect in the 1950s. The Record Guide in 1955 could list only one currently-available recording of the First Symphony, none of the Second, one of the Violin Concerto, two of the Cello Concerto, two of the Enigma Variations, one of Falstaff, and none of The Dream of Gerontius. Since then there have been multiple recordings of all the major works.

More than thirty recordings have been made of the First Symphony since 1955, for example, and more than ten of The Dream of Gerontius. Similarly in the concert hall, Elgar's works, after a period of neglect are once again frequently programmed. The Elgar Society's website, in its diary of forthcoming performances, lists performances of Elgar's works by orchestras, soloists and conductors across Europe, North America and Australia.

Edward Elgar died on the 23rd February 1934.

Elgar's statue at the end of Worcester High Street stands facing the cathedral, only yards from where his father's shop once stood. When I visited Malvern in 2011 I came across another fab statue of the composer at the top of Church Street in Malvern, overlooking the town and giving visitors an opportunity to stand next to the composer in the shadow of the Hills that he so often regarded. In September 2005, a third statue sculpted by Jemma Pearson was unveiled near Hereford Cathedral in honour of his many musical and other associations with that city. It features Elgar with his bicycle.

English Football - It's History from 1280 AD

Our national game is Football which it is believed was first played over 1,000 years ago in English villages up and down the country. There are stories that villager's played against villager's and the aim of the game was to get the ball passed the opposing village boundary line. The rules included kicking, punching, scratching the opposition over and above the kicking of the ball.

1280 AD - Earliest form of ball kicking

The earliest recorded form of ball kicking was recorded in England in 1280 AD at Ulgham near Ashington in Northumberland. A player was killed by running into an opposing player’s dagger.

1314 AD - The first banning of Football

In 1314, comes the earliest reference to a game called football when Nicholas de Farndone Lord Mayor of the City of London issued a decree on behalf of King Edward II banning football. It was written in the French used by the English upper classes at the time. A translation reads: "For as much as there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large foot balls in the fields of the public from which many evils might arise which God forbid: we command and forbid on behalf of the king, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in the future."

1409 AD – First banning of betting on Football

In 1409 King Henry IV of England gives us the first documented use of the English word "football" when issued a proclamation forbidding the levying of money for "foteball".

1481 AD - Earliest description of Football Game At the end of the 15th century comes the earliest description of a football game. This account in Latin of a football game contains a number of features of modern football and comes from Cawston, Nottinghamshire, England. It is included in a manuscript collection of the miracles of King Henry VI of England. Although the precise date is uncertain it certainly comes from between 1481 and 1500. This is the first account of an exclusively "kicking game" and the first description of dribbling. "The game at which they had met for common recreation is called by some the foot-ball game. It is one in which young men, in country sport, propel a huge ball not by throwing it into the air but by striking it and rolling it along the ground, and that not with their hands but with their feet... kicking in opposite directions" The chronicler gives the earliest reference to a football field, stating that: "The boundaries have been marked and the game had started.

1526 AD - First Football Boots In 1526 comes the first record of a pair of football boots occurs when Henry VIII of England ordered a pair from the Great Wardrobe in 1526. Unfortunately these are no longer in existence.

1581 AD - First organised Team Sport In 1581 comes the earliest account of football as an organised team sport. Richard Mulcaster, a student at Eton College in the early 16th century and later headmaster at other English schools provides the earliest references to teams ("sides" and "parties"), positions ("standings"), a referee ("judge over the parties") and a coach "(trayning maister)". Mulcaster's "footeball" had evolved from the disordered and violent forms of traditional football:

[s]ome smaller number with such overlooking, sorted into sides and standings, not meeting with their bodies so boisterously to try their strength: nor should ring or shuffing one another so barbarously ... may use footeball for as much good to the body, by the chiefe use of the legges.

Mulcaster also confirms that in sixteenth century England football was very popular and widespread: it had attained "greatness. .. [And was] much used ... in all places"

Despite this violence continued to be a problem. For example, the parish archives of North Moreton, Oxfordshire for May 1595 state: "Gunter's son and ye Gregory’s fell together by ye years at football. Old Gunter drew his dagger and both broke their heads, and they died both within a fortnight after."

1600 AD - First reference to Scoring a Goal

the first direct references to scoring a goal come from England in the 1600s. For example, in John Day's play 'The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green (performed circa 1600; published 1659): "I'll play a goal at camp-ball" (an extremely violent variety of football, which was popular in East Anglia. Similarly in a poem in 1613, Michael Drayton refers to "when the Ball to throw, and drive it to the Goole, in squadrons forth they goe".

1602 AD – First reference to Passing the Ball

 In 1602 the earliest reference to a game involving passing the ball comes from Cornish hurling. In particular Carew tells us that: "Then must he cast the ball (named Dealing) to some one of his fellowes". In this case, however, the pass is by hand, as in rugby football. Although there are other allusions to ball passing in seventeenth century literature, this is the only one which categorically states that the ball was passed to another member of the same team. There are no other explicit references to passing the ball between members of the same team until the 1860s, however, in 1650 English puritan Richard Baxter alludes to player to player passing of the ball during a football game in his book Everlasting Rest: "like a Football in the midst of a crowd of Boys, tost about in contention from one to another".

1608 AD – Outlawing of Football in Cities

Football continued to be outlawed in English cities, for example the Manchester Lete Roll contains a resolution, dated 12 October 1608: "That whereas there hath been heretofore great disorder in our towne of Manchester, and the inhabitants thereof greatly wronged and charged with makinge and amendinge of their glasses windows broken yearlye and spoiled by a company of lewd and disordered that unlawful exercise of playing with the football in ye streets of ye said toune breaking many men's windows and glasses at their pleasures and other great enormities. Therefore, wee of this jury doe order that no manner of psons hereafter shall play or use the footeball in any street within the said toune of Manchester, suspend to everyone that shall so use the same for every time played".

Although football was frequently outlawed in England, it remained popular even with the ruling classes. For example, during the reign of King James I of England James Howell mentions how Lord Willoughby and Lord Sunderland enjoyed playing football, for example: “Lord Willoughby, and he, with so many of their servants ... played a match at foot- ball against such a number of Countrymen, where my Lord of Sunderland being busy about the ball, got a bruise in the breast.

1624 AD – First concept of Football Teams

the concept of football teams is mentioned by English Poet Edmund Waller in c1624: He mentions an "a sort [i.e. company]of lusty shepherds try their force at football, care of victory... They ply their feet, and still the restless ball, Toss'd to and fro, is urged by them all". The last line suggests that playing as a team emerged much earlier in English football than previously thought.

1638 AD - Popularity of Football

Football continued to be popular throughout seventeenth century England. For example in 1634 Davenant is quoted (in Hones Table-Book) as remarking, "I would now make a safe retreat, but methinks Jam stopped by one of your heroic game called football; which I conceive (under your favour) not very conveniently civil in the streets, especially in such irregular and narrow roads as Crooked Lane. Yet it argues your courage, much like your military pastime of throwing at cocks, since you have long allowed these two valiant exercises in the streets". Similarly in 1638 Thomas Randolph suggests this in the following lines from one of his plays: "Madam, you may in time bring down his legs to the just size, now overgrown with playing too much at foot-ball".

1660 AD – First Objective study of Football

 In 1660 comes the first objective study of football, given in Francis Willughby's Book of Sports, written in about 1660. This account is particularly noteworthy as he refers to football by its correct name and is the first to describe the following: goals and a pitch ("a close that has a gate at either end. The gates are called Goals"), tactics ("leaving some of their best players to guard the goal"), scoring ("they that can strike the ball through their opponents' goal first win") and the way teams were selected ("the players being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness"). He is the first to describe a law of football: "They often break one another's shins when two meet and strike both together against the ball, and therefore there is a law that they must not strike higher than the ball". His book includes the first (basic) diagram illustrating a modern football pitch.

Football continued to be played in the later seventeenth century, even in cities such as London. The great diarist Samuel Pepys, for example, states in 1665 that in a London street "the street being full of footballs"

1840's AD - Codified Football England was the first country in the world to develop codified football, coming about from a desire of its various public schools to compete against each other. Previously, each school had its own rules, which may have dated back to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. The first attempts to come up with single codes probably began in the 1840s, with various meetings between school representatives attempting to come up with a set of rules with which all would be happy. The first attempt was The Cambridge Rules, created in 1848; others developed their own sets, most notably Sheffield F.C. (1855) and J.C. Thring(1862). These were moulded into one set in 1863 when the Football Association was formed; though some clubs continued to play under the Sheffield Rules 1878, and others dissented to form Rugby Union instead. The 1863 rules of the Football Association provides the first reference in the English Language to the verb to "pass" a ball.

1866 AD – First Player to be Ruled Offside C.W.Alcock became the first footballer ever to be ruled off side on 31 March 1866, confirming that players were probing ways of exploiting the new off side rule right from the start. The offside rule was introduced in 1866 into the Football Association rules. It was almost identical to the one that had been part of the Cambridge Rules.

The early Sheffield Rules were particularly important as their offside system allowed poaching or sneaking and thus demonstrated the use of the forward pass: Players known as "kick through" were positioned permanently near the opponent’s goal to receive these balls. According to C.W. Alcock the Sheffield style gave birth to the modern passing game. The Sheffield Rules of 1862later included both crossbars and half time and free kicks were introduced to their code in 1866.

1867 AD – The Oldest Football Cup in the World

 The Youdan Cup was an association football competition played in Sheffield, England. A local theatre owner Thomas Youdan sponsored the competition and provided the trophy. The trophy itself was made of silver, and although Thomas Youdan awarded a £2 prize to the winner of a competition to design the trophy, it was not completed in time to be presented on the day to the winners.

The format of the competition was drawn up by a committee and played under Sheffield Rules. The first two rounds were on a knock-out basis, however the final was contested between three teams playing each other in turn.

The final was played at Bramell Lane, Sheffield on 5 March 1867 and attracted 3,000 spectators, each paying 3d admission. The game used the concept of 'rouges' (a rouge was scored when an attempt at goal, using a goal only 4 yards wide, missed, but would have gone into an 8 yard wide goal: rouges were only considered in the case of a drawn match), and Hallam beat Norfolk and Mackenzie to finish first, while Norfolk beat Mackenzie and finished second. The Runners-up were presented with a two-handed silver goblet encircled with athletic figures that had been purchased with the proceeds of the gate money and had been completed. Sadly Youdan was unable to present it personally as he was ill.

1870 AD – The first International

 England was home to the first ever international football match on the 5 March 1870. The first match ended in a draw and was one of a series of four matches between representatives of England and Scotland at The Oval, London. These matches were arranged by the Football Association, at the time the only national football body in the world.

The origin of these games came in 1870 when CW Alcock challenged home-grown contenders in Scotland against an English eleven. These challenges were issued in Scottish newspapers, including the Glasgow Herald. He received no response to these adverts. One response to Alcock's challenges illustrates that soccer was eclipsed in Scotland by other codes:

"Mr Alcock's challenge to meet a Scotch eleven on the borders sounds very well and is doubtless well meant. But it may not be generally well known that Mr Alcock is a very leading supporter of what is called the "association game"...devotees of the "association" rules will find no foemen worthy of their steel in Scotland".

As a result he was forced to draw upon London-based players with Scottish origins. One notable Scottish player of the 1870 and 1871 games was Smith, a player of Queens Park FC. This suggests that southern teams were not so isolated from Glasgow players and style of play as originally thought. Alcock was categorical that although most players were London based, this was due to lack of response from north of the border:

"I must join issue with your correspondent in some instances. First, I assert that of whatever the Scotch eleven may have been composed the right to play was open to every Scotchman [Alcock's italics] whether his lines were cast North or South of the Tweed and that if in the face of the invitations publicly given through the columns of leading journals of Scotland the representative eleven consisted chiefly of Anglo-Scots ... the fault lies on the heads of the players of the north, not on the management who sought the services of all alike impartially. To call the team London Scotchmen contributes nothing. The match was, as announced, to all intents and purposes between England and Scotland". The first official ( i.e. currently recognised by FIFA) international match would take place between Scotland and England on November 30th. 1872. This match was played under the Football Association rules.

1871 AD – The F.A.Cup the F.A. Cup was the first nationally organized competition. A knockout cup, it began 1871, with the first winners being the Wanderers. In those days professionalism was banned, and the cup was dominated by service teams or old schoolboys' teams (such as Old Estonians). In the early 1870s the modern team passing game was invented by the Sheffield FC, Royal Engineers A.F.C. and Scottish players of the era from Queens Park FC. This was the predecessor to the current passing, defensive game which was known as the Combination Game and was spread around the world by British expatriates.

1888 AD – Worlds First Football League

 The new professionals needed more regular competitive football in which they could compete, which led to the creation of the Football league in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor . This was dominated by those clubs who had supported professionalism, and the twelve founding members consisted of six from Lancashire (Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers, Accrington, Everton and Preston North End) and six from the Midlands (Aston Villa, Derby County, Nott’s County, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers). No sides from the South or London initially participated.

Preston North End won the first ever Football League championship without losing any of their 22 fixtures, and won the FA Cup to complete the double. They retained their league title the following year but by the turn of the 20th century they had been eclipsed by Aston Villa, who had emulated Preston's double success in 1897. Other Midlands sides, such as Wolves (1893 FA Cup winners) and West Bromwich Albion (1888 & 1892 FA Cup winners) were also successful during this era, as were Blackburn Rovers, who won five FA Cups in the 1880s and 1890s. In 1892 a second division was added and in 1920 a third division was added.

1891 AD – Creation of Football Net In 1891 Liverpool engineer John Alexander Brodie invented the football net.

1991- Present In 1991 the English Premier league was formed of 20 clubs and with its links to Sky television and the increase in revenues by 2001 The Premier league was the richest league of any kind of sports in the world. At the present day, the league's TV rights have reached over 2 Billion Pounds. The argument at present is when technology will be used around the goal to confirm problem goals by Video replay.

It always amazes me how from a little Island like England we created and gave the world over 100 sports and games that have dominated the world.

English Football Premier League – History

I have decided to write the history of the Premier League as it is the world's most popular and valuable league of any sporting kind.

Promoted as "The Greatest Show On Earth", the Premier League is the world's most popular and most watched sporting league, followed worldwide by over half a billion people in 202 countries, frequently on networks owned and/or controlled by Newscorp who also own Sky Sports. In China a Premier League match is watched from between 200-400 Million people.

The Premier League is watched by many countries around the world including : United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong.
At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal for the establishment of a new league was tabled that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League. The newly formed top division would have commercial independence from the Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League license to negotiate its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. The argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe.

In 1992 the First Division clubs resigned from the Football League en masse and on 27th  May 1992 the FA Premier League was formed as a limited company working out of an office at the Football Association's then headquarters in Lancaster gate. This meant a break-up of the 104-year-old Football League ( Since 1888) that had operated until then with four divisions; the Premier League would operate with a single division and the Football League with three. There was no change in competition format; the same number of teams competed in the top flight, and promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the new First Division remained on the same terms as between the old First and Second Divisions.

There are 20 clubs in the Premier League. During the course of a season (from August to May) each club plays the others twice (a double round robin system), once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 38 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Football League Championship and the top two teams from the Championship, together with the winner of play-offs involving the third to sixth placed Championship clubs, are promoted in their place.

As of the end of the 2009–10 season, there had been 18 completed seasons of the Premier League. The league held its first season in 1992-93 and was originally composed of 22 clubs.

The first ever Premier League goal was scored by Brian Deane of Sheffield United in a 2–1 win against Manchester United. Due to insistence by FIFA, the international governing body of football, that domestic leagues reduce the number of games clubs played, the number of clubs was reduced to 20 in 1995 when four teams were relegated from the league and only two teams promoted.

The league changed its name from the FA Premier League to simply the Premier League in 2007.

British Television rights alone for the period 2010 to 2013 have been purchased for £1.782 billion. Worldwide Television rights were sold for the 2010 to 2013 season for over £600 Million which added to the British rights total £2.282 Billion over 3 years. This has created the most watched and valuable league in the world.

English Rugby – History

Imbued in English culture is a love and creator of Sports of all kinds.

One of our favourite sports is Rugby Football which it is believed was first played in English villages up and down the country. There are stories that villager's played against villager's and the aim of the game was to get the ball passed the opposing village boundary line. The rules included kicking, punching, scratching the opposition over and above the running with the ball and kicking of the ball.

While it is true that such games as Rugby did exist for centuries, there may be a kernel of truth to the William Webb Ellis legend that a football match was being played when Web Ellis picked up the ball and created Rugby. As far as most historians can tell, the earliest form of football with much similarity to rugby as we know it today, did originate at Rugby School around Ellis's time. Whether he was the actual creator of the game or the game simply evolved into something like the modern game during his time is still a point for debate.

Most probable is the slightly different version of the legend that the English Rugby Union relates. According to the English Rugby Union, the type of football played at Rugby School in Ellis's time was not soccer, but a game with a mixture of both soccer and rugby rules. Handling the ball was prohibited unless the ball was airborne, when the player was permitted to catch it. After catching the ball he would stand still, as did all the other players, and had the option of kicking it wherever he chose, or placing it on the ground and kicking for goal.

It is also very important to remember that in those days at English Public Schools, students often developed their own rules for the games of football they played on the spot as there was very little official refereeing. So it is possible that William Webb Ellis did in fact pick up the ball and run with it during an impromptu game of football, which set an example for others. But one thing does remain, it is highly dubious that rugby originated from soccer as we know it today. It is far more likely, and most historians tend to agree, that both rugby and soccer developed roughly side by side as rules became more formalized and documented.

Whatever the case, the story of William Webb Ellis is too good not to be held on to and cherished. William Webb Ellis has an official headstone on the grounds of Rugby School with the following inscription:

"This stone commemorates the exploit of William Webb Ellis who with a fine disregard for the rules of football, as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game A.D. 1823"

By the 1840s running with the ball had become the norm, and by the 1870s rugby clubs had sprung up all over England and in the colonies. But just as it was during the earliest days at the public schools, different rules were being used by different clubs with no official codification of the rules being laid down. To try and remedy this situation and provide a more uniform set of laws, a meeting was held in January 26, 1871, attended by the representatives of 22 clubs. It was at this meeting that the Rugby Football Union was founded.

The meeting was called by Edwin Ash, then secretary of the Richmond Club. He sent a letter to the newspapers which stated: "Those who play the rugby type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play".

Following the founding of the Rugby Football Union, a committee was formed consisting of three ex-Rugby School pupils who were invited to formulate a set of laws to help govern and unify the game. By June 1871 they had accomplished their task.

Soon after the Scottish members of the Union challenged the English to a match. This was by all accounts the first international match between England and Scotland, perhaps between anyone, and took place at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on March 27, 1871, resulting in a win to Scotland.

The "Great Schism" and the Start of Rugby League. The rugby football union at this time believed strongly in maintaining the games amateur status. Despite this commitment, in 1893 reports of some players in the north of England receiving payments for playing reached the RFU, and it attempted to obtain evidence. The Union set up an inquiry into the matter, but was warned that if the club involved was punished, all the chief clubs in Lancashire and Yorkshire would secede from the Rugby Football Union.

The inquiry went ahead and the club concerned was suspended. Two general meetings resulted at which the Northern Unions lobbied for the right to pay player "broken time" wages to help cover any lost wages players incurred by skipping work to play in matches. It is important to note that many of the Northern Union clubs had a strong mining and blue collar constituency and lost pay was a serious concern for them. The Northern Union's request was denied and in August 1895 twenty two of the northern clubs seceded from the Rugby Football Union and formed the Northern Union, later to become known as the Rugby League.

The Rugby League quickly adopted rules to make the game more attractive to spectators in order to draw crowds to help pay the men's broken time wages. This is where the reduction of players to 13 came into effect as well as the move to a multiple downs style of play. As a result, Rugby League is very distinctive from Rugby Union in both appearance and strategies employed.

Rugby Union Becomes Professional

As the years wore on, the IRB and the Rugby Football Union clung to their amateur roots and traditions tightly, but there were growing cries from around the globe to turn professional. Ironically many of these reasons shadow the reason the Northern Union split away in the first place, namely increased demands on player’s time as well as increased media attention on the sport and revenues generated as a result. Many felt it was simply unfair to have so much money generated and the players receive none of it in spite of all of their sacrifices for club and country.

Along with this was a growing "hidden professionalism" in Rugby Union. While open air payments were unlikely, it became clear that most players were receiving a number of perks for playing such as houses, cars, and other under the table deals.

Realizing that the sport needed to move to a professional model if it was to remain intact, the IRB and RFU accepted professionals in Rugby Union in August 1995.

Snooker and Billiards – History

One of the most popular British sports is Snooker and Billiards which It is believed was first played over a 600 years ago by British Soldiers.

1470 - Billiard tables evolved as a replacement to the lawn of a croquet game. Although billiards tables initially could only afforded by nobility and the rich.

1516-1558 - It was reported that Bloody Queen Mary of Scotland 1516 – 1558 had a Billiards Table and was a great fan of the game.

1674 - The first book discussing about the rules of Billiard was named as `The Complete Gamester` and was written by Charles Cotton. The book was published in England in the year 1674. Almost all the towns in England had public Billiard Tables, during that period. Billiards became quite familiar to the public and several writers of that period also started to mention about the game in their writings.

1875 - It was in 1875 that Neville Chamberlain ( No, not that Appeasement British Prime Minister ) created snooker. During the rainy season, young officers spent much of their time in the billiards room, and several of the games they played allowed for gambling. Two of the most popular games were ' pyramids' and 'black pool’. There were 15 reds, arranged in a pyramid, and each time a player potted a red his opponent had to pay a forfeit. In 'black pool', each player had a different coloured cue ball, and when an opponent potted potted it they had to pay a fee to re-join the game. If the opponent potted the black ball after an opponent’s ball, the fee was greater.

Chamberlain combined elements of these two games to create a new game, which he persuaded his fellow officers to try. One day, when a player missed an easy shot, Chamberlain remarked that he was a 'snooker' - this was slang for a new recruit at Woolwich Military Academy. Chamberlain went on to say that they were all snookers at this game, and the name stuck.

Chamberlain had various postings throughout India, and introduced the game wherever he went. He was stationed in Madras from 1881 to 1885 and the game became very popular at the Ootacamund Club there. This is where the rules were worked out in detail for the first time.

During a visit to India in 1885, John Roberts, the world billiards champion, sought out Chamberlain in order to learn the game of snooker. He then introduced the game to England.

Chamberlain was promoted to captain in 1885, major shortly afterwards, and lieutenant-colonel in 1887. He was military secretary to the Kashmir government between 1890 and 1897, when he reorganised the Kashmir army. In 1899 he was promoted to colonel.

As well as India, Chamberlain also served in South Africa and Ireland. He died at his home in Ascot in 1944.

The Name Snooker received its name in the 1800's by the British Armed Force who always called losing players "snooker". The name stuck and the billiards game has remained under the same name of snooker for all of these years. The first organized tournament which was played wasn't until 1916 when snooker introduced the Amateur English Championships. The World Snooker Championships was released soon after with the help of Joe Davis in 1927. Throughout the 1930's snooker quickly became the most popular billiards game played throughout many countries.

1885 - The first governing body of the game, the English Billiards Association was formed in the UK in 1885, a period that saw a number of sporting bodies founded across the British sporting world. By the mid-20th century, the principal sanctioning body was the Billiards Association and Control Council (later the Billiards and Snooker Control Council).

1927 - The history of Billiards in India can be traced back to the first half of the nineteenth century, when the British rulers were ruling India. The game was brought to India by the British armed services.

British Boxing – It's History

One of the most popular British sports is Boxing which It is believed was first played over a 500 years ago in English villages up and down the country.

British Prize Fighting was popular in the 16th century in England and became especially popular during the championship reign of James Figg, who held the heavyweight title from 1719 through 1730. The first documented account of a bare-knuckle fight in England appeared in 1681 in the London Protestant Mercury, and the first English bare-knuckle champion was James Figg in 1719. This is also the time when the word "boxing" first came to be used. It should be noted, that this earliest form of modern boxing was very different. Contests in Mar. Figg's time, in addition to fist fighting, also contained fencing and cudgeling. Boxing became a workingman's sport during the Industrial Revolution as prize-fights attracted participants and spectators from the working class. Organization was minimal at first, and the bouts of those eras resembled street fights more than modern boxing.

The second heavyweight champion, Jack Broughton of England, drew his own set of rules for his own fights, and these were recognized in 1743. They outlawed some of the gorier aspects that the sport had acquired, such as hitting below the belt line. Instead of a ring of spectators--hence, the name ring--Broughton insisted upon a squared-off area. His rules governed what is known as the "bareknuckle era."

In 1866 the Marquis of Queensberry gave his support to a new set of rules, which were named in his honour. These rules limited the number of 3-minute rounds, eliminated gouging and wrestling, and made the use of gloves mandatory.

Bareknuckle bouts did not cease immediately but did begin to decline. A new era dawned in 1892, when James J. CORBETT defeated the last of the great bare-fisted fighters, John L. SULLIVAN, under the new rules

With the growing popularity of boxing, especially in the United States, weight classes other than the unlimited heavyweights emerged. These classes became popular as world championships were held at the new weights. Currently, there are eight major professional divisions: flyweight (up to 112 lb./50.8 kg); bantamweight (118 lb./53.5 kg); featherweight (126 lb./57.2 kg); lightweight (135 lb./61.2 kg); welterweight (147 lb./66.7 kg); middleweight (160 lb./72.6 kg); light heavyweight (175 lb./79.4 kg); and heavyweight (unlimited). In recent years there has been some recognition of junior weights, or between-weights, such as junior lightweight and cruiserweight.

Because of its violent nature and its identification with betting, boxing has had a controversial history. There have been periodic efforts to outlaw the sport.

In 1867, the Marquis of Queensbury Rules were drafted by John Chambers for amateur championships held at Lillie Bridge in London for Lightweights. Middleweights and Heavyweights. The rules were published under the patronage of the Marquis of Queensbury, whose name has always been associated with them.

The June 1894 Leonard–Cushing bout. Each of the six one-minute rounds recorded by the Kinetograph was made available to exhibitors for $22.50. Customers who watched the final round saw Leonard score a knockdown.

There were twelve rules in all, and they specified that fights should be "a fair stand-up boxing match" in a 24-foot-square ring. Rounds were three minutes long with one minute rest intervals between rounds. Each fighter was given a ten-second count if he was knocked down and wrestling was banned.

The introduction of gloves of "fair-size" also changed the nature of the bouts. An average pair of boxing gloves resembles a bloated pair of mittens and are laced up around the wrists. The gloves can be used to block an opponent's blows. As a result of their introduction, bouts became longer and more strategic with greater importance attached to defensive manoeuvres such as slipping, bobbing, countering and angling. Because less defensive emphasis was placed on the use of the forearms and more on the gloves, the classical forearms outwards, torso leaning back stance of the bare knuckle boxer was modified to more modern stance in which the torso is tilted forward and the hands are held closer to the face.

The English case of Rv. Coney in 1882 found that a bare knuckle fight was an assault occasioning actual bodily harm despite the consent of the participants. This marked the end of widespread public bare-knuckle contests in England.

The first world heavyweight champion under the Queensberry Rules was "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, who defeated John L. Sullivan in 1892 at the Pelican Athletic Club in New Orleans.

Throughout the early twentieth century, boxers struggled to achieve legitimacy, aided by the influence of promoters like Tex Rickard and the popularity of great champions from John L. Sullivan to Jack Dempsey. Shortly after this era, boxing commissions and other sanctioning bodies were established to regulate the sport and establish universally recognized champions.

Golf – Its British History

One of Britain's favourite Sports is Golf which It is believed a form of ball and club sport called 'Paganica' was first played in Londinium ( London, England ) by the Romans over 1500 years ago.

Whilst the argument continues on who first invented the sport of Golf, the one certain fact concerning the origins of golf, is that golf was first played in Scotland in the form we know of today. It would appear that in around 1353, golfers adopted the principle of allowing each team to hit a second uninterrupted shot. Previously, teams of players would alternate hitting a ball back and forth across the links in Fife.

The history of golf shows that golf also rapidly acquired such a popularity, that it eclipsed the sport of archery. Archery was so vital to Scotland's national defence, that the playing of golf in Scotland was made a criminal offence punishable by hanging. The modern game of golf we understand today is generally considered to be a Scottish Invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th-century Acts of the Scottish Parliament, prohibiting the playing of the game of golf because it was taking time from archery practice, which was necessary for national defence.

The modern game of golf originated and developed in Scotland: the first permanent golf course originated in Scotland, as well as membership in the first golf clubs. The very first written rules originated there, as did the establishment of the 18-hole course. The first formalized tournament structures developed and competitions were held between various Scottish cities. Before long, the modern game of golf had spread from Scotland to England and from there to the rest of the world. The oldest playing golf course in the world is The Old Links at Musselburgh Links. Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672, although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567.

In 1603 James VI of Scotland succeeded to the throne of England. He and his courtiers played golf at Blackheath, London, from which the Royal Blackheath Golf Club traces its origins. There is evidence that Scottish soldiers, expatriates and emigrants took the game to British colonies and elsewhere during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Royal Calcutta Golf Club and the club at Pau in south western France are notable reminders of these excursions and are the oldest golf clubs outside the British Isles and the oldest in continental Europe respectively. However, it was not until the late 19th century that Golf became more widely popular outside of its Scottish home.

By the 1860s there were regular services from London to Edinburgh. The royal enthusiasm for Scotland, the much improved transport links and the writings of Sir Walter Scott caused a boom for tourism in Scotland and a wider interest in Scottish history and culture outside of the country. This period also coincided with the development of the Gutty; a golf ball made of Gutta Percha which was cheaper to mass produce, more durable and more consistent in quality and performance than the feather filled leather balls used previously. Golf began to spread across the rest of the British Isles. In 1864 the golf course at the resort of Westward Ho! became the first new course in England since Blackheath. In 1880 England had 12 courses, rising to 50 in 1887 and over 1000 by 1914. The game in England had progressed sufficiently by 1890 to produce its first Open Championship, John Ball. The game also started to spread further across the British Commonwealth and at British Tourist destinations.

By the 1880s golf clubs had been established in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Singapore followed in 1891. Courses were also established in several continental European resorts for the benefit of British visitors.

The word golf was first mentioned in writing in 1457 on a Scottish Parliamentary Statute on forbidden games as gouf, possibly derived from the Scots word goulf (variously spelled) meaning "to strike or cuff". This word may, in turn, be derived the Dutch word Kolf, meaning "bat," or "club," and the Dutch sport of the same name.

Timeline of the history of golf from 150 AD to 1900 AD:

·       150 AD ball and club sport called 'Paganica' was first played in Londinium ( London, England ) by the Romans.

·       1354 - The first recorded reference to "chole", the probable antecedent of golf. It is a derivative of hockey played in Flanders.

·       1421 - A Scottish regiment aiding the French against the English at the Siege of Bauge is introduced to the game of chole. Hugh Kennedy, Robert Stewart and John Smale, three of the identified players, are credited with introducing the game in Scotland.

·       1457 - Golf, along with football, is banned by the Scots Parliament of James II to preserve the skills of Archery by prohibiting gowf on Sundays because it has interfered with military training for the wars against the English.

·       1470 - The ban on golf is reaffirmed by the Parliament of James III.

·       1491 - The golf ban is affirmed again by Parliament, this time under James IV.

·       1502 - With the signing of the Treaty of Glasgow between England and Scotland, the ban on golf is lifted.

·       James IV makes the first recorded purchase of golf equipment, a set of golf clubs from a bow-maker in Perth.

·       1513 - Queen Catherine, queen consort of England, in a letter to Cardinal Wolsey, refers to the growing popularity of golf in England.

·       1527 - The first commoner recorded as a golfer is Sir Robert Maule, described as playing on Barry Links, Angus (near the modern-day town of Carnoustie).

·       1552 - The first recorded evidence of golf at St. Andrews, Fife.

·       1553 - The Archbishop of St Andrews issues a decree giving the local populace the right to play golf on the links at St. Andrews.

·       1567 - Mary, Queen of Scots, seen playing golf shortly after the death of her husband Lord Darnley, is the first known female golfer.

·       1589 - Golf is banned in the Blackfriars Yard, Glasgow. This is the earliest reference to golf in the west of Scotland.

·       1592 - The Royal Burgh of Edinburgh bans golfing at Leith on Sunday "in tyme of sermonis." (Eng.: sermons)

·       1618 - Invention of the featherie ball.

·       King James VI of Scotland and I of England confirms the right of the populace to play golf on Sundays.

·       1621 - First recorded reference to golf on the links of Dornoch (later Royal Dornoch), in the far north of Scotland.

·       1641 - Charles I is playing golf at Leith when he learns of the Irish rebellion, marking the beginning of the English Civil War. He finishes his round.

·       1642 - John Dickson receives a licence as ball-maker for Aberdeen.

·       1659 - Golf is banned from the streets of Albany, New York-the first reference to golf in America.

·       1682 - In the first recorded international golf match, the Duke of York and John Paterstone of Scotland defeat two English noblemen in a match played on the links of Leith.

·       Andrew Dickson, carrying clubs for the Duke of York, is the first recorded caddy.

·       1687 - A book by Thomas Kincaid, Thoughts on Golve, contains the first references on how golf clubs are made.

·       1721 - Earliest reference to golf at Glasgow Green, the first course played in the west of Scotland.

·       1724 - "A solemn match of golf" between Alexander Elphinstone and Captain John Porteous becomes the first match reported in a newspaper. Elphinstone fights and wins a duel on the same ground in 1729.

·       1735 - The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh is formed.[1]

·       1743 - Thomas Mathison's epic The Goff is the first literary effort devoted to golf.

·       1744 - The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is formed, playing at Leith links. It is the first golf club.

·       The Royal Burgh of Edinburgh pays for a Silver Cup to be awarded to the annual champion in an open competition played at Leith. John Rattray is the first champion.

·       1754 - Golfers at St. Andrews purchase a Silver Cup for an open championship played on the Old Course. Bailie William Landale is the first champion.

·       The first codified Rules of Golf published by the St. Andrews Golfers (later the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews).

·       1759 - Earliest reference to stroke play, at St. Andrews. Previously, all play was match.

·       1761 - The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society of Edinburgh is formed.[2]

·       1764 - The competition for the Silver Club at Leith is restricted to members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

·       The first four holes at St. Andrews are combined into two, reducing the round from twenty-two holes (11 out and in) to 18 (nine out and in). St. Andrews is the first 18-hole golf course, and sets the standard for future courses.

·       1766 - The Blackheath Club in London becomes the first golf club formed outside of Scotland.

·       1767 - The score of 94 returned by James Durham at St. Andrews in the Silver Cup competition sets a record unbroken for 86 years.

·       1768 - The Golf House at Leith is erected. It is the first golf clubhouse.

·       1773 - Competition at St. Andrews is restricted to members of the Leith and St. Andrews societies.

·       1774 - Thomas McMillan offers a Silver Cup for competition at Musselburgh, East Lothian. He wins the first championship.

·       The first part-time golf course professional (at the time also the greenkeeper) is hired, by the Edinburgh Burgess Society.

·       1780 - The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen (later the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club) is formed.

·       1783 - A Silver Club is offered for competition at Glasgow.

·       1786 - The South Carolina Golf Club is formed in Charleston, the first golf club outside of the United Kingdom.

·       The Crail Golfing Society is formed.

·       1788 - The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers requires members to wear club uniform when playing on the links.

·       1797 - The Burntisland Golf Club is formed.

·       The town of St. Andrews sells the land containing the Old Course (known then as Pilmor Links), to Thomas Erskine for 805 pounds. Erskine was required to preserve the course for golf.

·       1806 - The St. Andrews Club chooses to elect its captains rather than award captaincy to the winner of the Silver Cup. Thus begins the tradition of the Captain "playing himself into office," by hitting a single shot before the start of the annual competition.

·       1810 - Earliest recorded reference to a women's competition at


·       1820 - The Bangalore Club is formed.

·       1824 - The Perth Golfing Society is formed, later Royal Perth (the first club so honored).

·       1826 - Hickory imported from America is used to make golf shafts.

·       1829 - The Dum Dum Golfing Club, later Calcutta Golf Club (and later still Royal Calcutta) is formed.

·       1832 - The North Berwick Club is founded, the first to include women in its activities, although they are not permitted to play in competitions.

·       1833 - King William IV confers the distinction of "Royal" on the Perth Golfing Society; as Royal Perth it is the first Club to hold the distinction.

·       The St. Andrews Golfers ban the stymie, but rescind the ban one year later.

·       1834 - William IV confers the title "Royal and Ancient" on the Golf Club at St. Andrews.

·       1836 - The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers abandons the deteriorating Leith Links, moving to Musselburgh.

·       The longest drive ever recorded with a feathery ball, 361 yards, is achieved by Samuel Messieux at Elysian Fields.

·       1842 - The Bombay Golfing Society (later Royal Bombay) is founded.

·       1844 - Blackheath follows Leith in expanding its course from five to seven holes. North Berwick also had seven holes at the time, although the trend toward a standard eighteen had begun.

·       1848 - Invention of the "guttie," the gutta-percha ball. It flies farther than the feathery and is much less expensive. It contributes greatly to the expansion of the game.

The Bangalore golf club was formed in 1868 and not 1820 as stated in timeline.[


The Prestwick Golf Club is founded.


The Royal Curragh Golf Club is founded at Kildare, the first golf club in Ireland. Pau Golf Club is founded, the first on the Continent.

A rule change is enacted that, in match play, the ball must be played as it lies or the hole be conceded. It is the last recorded toughening of the rules structure.


"The Golfer's Manual", by "A Keen Hand" (H. B. Farnie), is published. It is the first book on golf instruction.

The Prestwick Club institutes the first Championship Meeting, a foursomes competition at St. Andrews attended by eleven golf clubs. George Glennie and J.C. Stewart win for Blackheath.


The format of the Championship Meeting is changed to individual match play and is won by Robert Chambers of Bruntsfield.

Allan Robertson becomes the first golfer to break 80 at the Old Course, recording a 79.

The King James VI Golf Club is founded in Perth, Scotland.


The first Amateur Championship is won by George Condie of Perth.

Death of Allan Robertson, the first great professional golfer.

[edit] 1860–18701860

The Prestwick Club institutes a Professional Championship played at Prestwick; the first Championship Belt is won by Willie Park, Snr.


The Professionals Championship is opened to amateurs, and the Open Championship is born. The first competition is won by Old Tom Morris.


The North Devon Golf Club is founded at Westward Ho!


The Ladies' Golf Club at St. Andrews is founded, the first golf club for women.


The Liverpool Golf Club is founded at Hoylake, later Royal Liverpool.

Young Tom Morris, age 17, wins the first of four successive Open Championships. His streak would include an 11-stroke victory in 1869 and a 12-stroke victory in 1870 (in a 36-hole format). His 149 in the 1870 Open over 36 holes is a stroke average that would not be equalled until the invention of the rubber-cored ball.

[edit] 1870–18801870

Young Tom Morris wins his third consecutive Open Championship, thus winning permanent possession of the Belt. The Royal Adelaide Golf Club is founded, the first golf club in Australia.


The Otago Golf Club is formed, the first club in New Zealand.


The Open Championship is reinstituted when Prestwick, St. Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers offer a new trophy, with the Open Championship to be hosted in rotation by the three clubs. Young Tom Morris wins his fourth consecutive Open Championship.


The Christchurch Golf Club is formed, the second club in New Zealand.

The Royal Montreal Golf Club is formed, the first club in Canada.

The Open Championship is held for the first time at the Old Course.


The Oxford and Cambridge University Golf Clubs are founded.

Young Tom Morris dies at age 24. He did not emotionally recover from the death of both his wife and their daughter in childbirth earlier that year.

Vesper Country Club is formed in Tyngsboro, MA.


The first University Match is played at Wimbledon, won by Oxford.


Royal Belfast is founded.

The use of moulds is instituted to dimple the gutta-percha ball. Golfers had long noticed that the guttie worked in the air much better after it had been hit several times and scuffed up.


Bob Ferguson of Musselburgh, losing The Open in extra holes, comes one victory shy of equalling Young Tom Morris' record of four consecutive titles. Ferguson ends up later in life penniless, working out of the Musselburgh caddy-shack.


The Oakhurst Golf Club is founded at White Sulphur Springs. The first hole at The Homestead survives from this course and is the oldest surviving golf hole in America.


The Amateur Championship is first played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.

The Royal Cape Golf Club is founded at Wynberg, South Africa, the first club in Africa.


A.J. Balfour is appointed Chief Secretary (Cabinet Minister) for Ireland; his rise to political and social prominence has an incalculable effect on the popularity of golf, as he is an indefatigable player and catalyses great interest in the game through his writing and public speaking.


"The Art of Golf" by Sir Walter Simpson is published.


The Foxburg Country Club is founded in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, the oldest golf course in the United States in continuous use in one place.

1888 Kebo Valley Golf Club is the 8th oldest Golf course in the US.


The St. Andrew's Golf Club is founded in Yonkers, New York, the oldest surviving golf club in America.

[edit] 1890–19001890

John Ball, an English amateur, becomes the first non-Scotsman and first amateur to win The Open Championship.

Bogey is invented by Hugh Rotherham, as the score of the hypothetical golfer playing perfect golf at every hole. Rotherham calls this a "Ground Score," but Dr. Thomas Brown, honorary Secretary of the Great Yarmouth Club, christens this hypothetical man a "Bogey Man," after a popular song of the day, and christens his score a "Bogey." With the invention of the rubber-cored ball golfers are able to reach the greens in fewer strokes, and so bogey has come to represent one over the par score for the hole.


The Golfing Union of Ireland is founded on 12 October 1891 and is the oldest Golfing Union in the world.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is founded on Long Island.

Warkworth Golf Club is founded in Northumberland, designed by Old Tom Morris


Palmetto Golf Club established in Aiken, South Carolina.

Glen Arven Country Club golf course established in Thomasville, Georgia USA; the oldest course still in use in Georgia.

Gate money is charged for the first time, at a match between Douglas Rollard and Jack White at Cambridge. The practice of paying for matches through private betting, rather than gate receipts and sponsorships, survives well into the 20th Century as a "Calcutta," but increasingly gate receipts are the source of legitimate prize purses.

The Amateur Golf Championship of India and the East is instituted, the first international championship event.


The Ladies' Golf Union of Great Britain and Ireland is founded and the first British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship won by Lady Margaret Scott at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.

The Irish Ladies' Golf Union is founded and is the oldest Ladies Golf Union in the world.

The Chicago Golf Club opens the United States' first 18-hole golf course on the site of the present-day Downers Grove Golf Course. The Chicago Golf Club moved to its current location in 1895.

Victoria Golf Club is formed and remains the oldest course west of the Mississippi on its original site.

The Segregansett Country Club opens in Taunton, Massachusetts. This course is still in operation.


The Open is played on an English course for the first time and is won for the first time by an Englishman, J.H. Taylor. Taylor, along with Harry Vardon and James Braid (together known as the Great Triumvirate) would dominate the Open Championship for the next two decades.

The United States Golf Association is founded as the Amateur Golf Association of the United States. Charter members are the Chicago Golf Club, The Country Club, Newport Country Club, St. Andrew's Golf Club, and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Tacoma Golf Club is founded, the first golf club on the US Pacific Coast.


The U.S. Amateur Championship is instituted, with Charles B. Macdonald winning the inaugural event. The first United States Open is held the following day, with Horace Rawlins winning.

July 6, 1895 - Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course opens - the first public golf course in America.

The pool cue is banned as a putter by the USGA.

The U.S. Women's Amateur is instituted. Mrs. Charles S. Brown (née Lucy N. Barnes)[1] is the first winner.


Harry Vardon wins his first British Open.


The first NCAA Championship is held. Louis Bayard, Jr. is the winner.

"Golf", America's first golfing magazine, is published for the first time.


The term "birdie" is coined at Atlantic C.C. from "a bird of a hole."

Freddie Tait, betting he could reach the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club clubhouse from the clubhouse at Royal St George's Golf Club - a three mile distance - in forty shots or less, puts his 32nd stroke through a window at the Cinque Ports club.

The Haskell ball is designed and patented by Coburn Haskell. It is the first rubber-cored ball.

Church Stretton Golf Club is founded, the oldest 18-hole course in Shropshire and one of the highest courses in England and the United Kingdom.


The Western Open is first played at Glenview G.C., the first tournament in what would evolve into the PGA Tour.


Walter Travis wins the first of his three U.S. Amateur Championships. Harry Vardon wins the U.S. Open, the first golfer to win both the British and U.S. Opens.

Golf is placed on the Olympic calendar for the 2nd Games at Paris.

It always amazes me how from a little Island like Britain we created and gave the world over 100 sports and games that have dominated the world. My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th. Century AD. This has given me an interest in British history and the sports us brits have created.

The Ryder Cup Golf Competition – History

The Ryder Cup Matches, one of the last great sporting events founded on prestige rather than prize money, span 34 competitions over 77 years. The origin of the idea to stage international matches between the best American professionals and those of Great Britain.

Ryder was an Englishman from St Albans in Hertfordshire, who made his fortune selling penny seed packets. Before the matches at Wentworth, Ryder had engaged the British star Abe Mitchell as his personal golf tutor. Mitchell beat the reigning British Open Champion Jim Barnes, 8 and 7, in the singles, and then partnered with George Duncan in the foursomes to beat Hagen and Barnes, 9 and 8.

After the matches, Ryder had tea with British Team Members George Duncan and Mitchell. Also joining them were Hagen and American teammate Emmett French. Duncan suggested Ryder provide a trophy and encourage the establishment of matches on a regular basis. Ryder agreed at once and commissioned the design of the gold chalice that bears his name and Mitchell's likeness on the top.

Few amateurs who took up golf after their 50th birthday have left as many positive impressions upon the game as Samuel Ryder. Born in 1858, he was the son of a Manchester corn merchant and educated at Manchester University. His father doubted the wisdom of his son's plans to sell penny seed packets to English garden lovers. The young Ryder decided he would go into business on his own, moved south to St Albans in Hertfordshire and formed the Heath and Heather Seed Company. His business quickly prospered, and in 1906 his social standing improved to the point where he was elected mayor of St Albans. He became ill due to overwork, and fresh air and light exercise were prescribed as part of the cure. He was encouraged to take up golf. Reared on music and cricket, Ryder at first spurned the idea, but later relented.

Ryder first enlisted a professional named Hill from a local nine-hole course to guide him through his golf fundamentals. Later, Ryder employed Mitchell as his exclusive instructor at an annual fee of £1,000. Ryder practiced rain or shine, six days a week (never on Sunday), for a year. He was given instruction at Marlborough House, his home, on driving and iron shots, and he hit chip shots over a hedge in the paddock. He followed up with putting.

After his rigorous practice regimen, Ryder decided he could apply for membership at Verulam Golf Club. By age 51, he boasted a six handicap and joined the Verulam Golf Club in St Albans in 1910. Within a year he was elected Captain of the club, and later held the title in 1926 and '27. He sponsored a Heath and Heather Tournament in 1923, which was restricted to professionals. Among the field was Mitchell, a former gardener himself, and considered one of the finest players in Great Britain to have ever won an Open Championship.

Ryder relished the 1926 unofficial international match between the Americans and British at Wentworth, watching Mitchell and Duncan defeat Hagen and Barnes.

"Why can't they all get to know each other?" said Ryder.

"I will give £5 to each of the winning players, and give a party afterwards, with champagne and chicken sandwiches."

Later that evening in a pub, Duncan turned to Ryder and said, "This is wonderful. It's too bad we don't have a match like this which is official."

"Why not?" Ryder asked. Soon, the deed of gift was drafted with Ryder agreeing to donate a solid gold cup, worth £250. The cup was designed by Mappin & Webb Company. Ryder insisted that a golfing figure adorn the lid and that it resemble Mitchell. The first official Ryder Cup Matches were arranged for June 3-4, 1927, at the Worcester (Mass.) Country Club.

An appeal for £3,000 to finance the first British Ryder Cup Team was met with apathy and fell £500 short of the goal, but Ryder made up the deficit. After Ryder, the biggest single contribution was £210 from the Stock Exchange Golf Society. With no Order of Merit money-winning list available, the famed British triumvirate of Harry Vardon, James Braid and James Taylor acted as team selection committee.

Samuel Ryder, who would serve two terms as mayor of St Albans, lived to see two Ryder Cup Matches on his home soil. While celebrating the holidays with his family in London, he died of a massive haemorrhage on January 2, 1936. He was 77. His eldest daughter, Mrs. Marjorie Claisen, sent her father's favourite mashie (5-iron) to be placed in his coffin. Another of his daughters, Mrs. Thomas Scarfe, took over the family business. However, she never shared her father's passion for golf.

Ryder's youngest daughter, Joan, was her father's constant companion at all his golfing events. She witnessed all Ryder Cup Matches in Great Britain, and once in America, in 1983, when the US edged the Europeans at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

In 1981, Joan met the Duke of Kent at the Matches at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England. She told the royal guest that her father had been surprised by the success of the Matches.

"He had the idea that when the Americans came over for a match he would give a 'small friendly lunch party' to both teams," said Joan. The Duke gazed at the spectators swarming near the 18th green, and said: "I wonder what your father would think of this little lunch party!" Joan Ryder's final appearance at The Ryder Cup Matches was at The De Vere Belfry in 1985. She called that edition of The Matches "the most exciting ever." Later that year, she died at her home in Sussex at age 81.

War-Torn Matches
With the outbreak of World War II, The Ryder Cup Matches were suspended from 1939-45, and the US retained the trophy from its 1937 victory. However, the United States continued the spirit of The Matches by selecting a ten-member team that participated in "challenge" matches to raise funds for the American Red Cross, various service organizations and other war-related efforts. With The 1939 Ryder Cup Matches cancelled, challenge competitions were arranged from 1940- 43, with two at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield, Michigan, in 1940 and 1942: at Detroit Golf Club, in 1941: and at Plum Hollow Country Club in 1943. The Ryder Cup Team, which had various members during that period, won four of the five challenge matches.

Walter Hagen captained the 1939, '40 and '41 Ryder Cup Teams, while Craig Wood captained the Team in 1942 and 1943. There was no competition in 1939, though The Matches were set for Ponte Vedra Country Club in Florida in November of that year. The 1939 US selections were repeated in 1940 in a challenge match at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, against Gene Sarazen's Challengers. Sarazen, who was left off The Ryder Cup Team, challenged Hagen by assembling a team that included Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret and Craig Wood.

In 1939, The Professional Golfers Association of Great Britain had selected eight players and Captain Henry Cotton before war interrupted further plans. The eight players named were: Jimmy Adams, Dick Burton, Sam King, Alf Padgham, Dai Rees, Charles Whitcombe and Reg Whitcombe. The remaining two members were never filled.

During the war, the exhibition matches brought together the greatest players of the era, including amateur Bobby Jones who led his team to an 8 1/2 to 6 1/2 upset of the Ryder Cup Team, August 23-24, 1941, at Detroit Golf Club.

Europeans join the Fight for the Cup
In 1973, The Matches were contested for the first time in Scotland at historic Muirfield. The PGA of Great Britain altered its selection procedure by having eight players chosen from a year-long points system and four by invitation.

During The 1977 Matches at Royal Lytham & St Annes, Jack Nicklaus approached the PGA of Great Britain about the urgency to improve the competitive level of The Matches. The issue had been discussed earlier the same day by both Past PGA President Henry Poe and British PGA President Lord Derby. Nicklaus pitched his ideas, adding: "It is vital to widen the selection procedures if The Ryder Cup is to continue to enjoy its past prestige."

The changes in team selection procedure were approved by descendants of the Samuel A. Ryder family along with The PGA of America. The major change was expanding selection procedures to include players from the British PGA European Tournament Division Order of Merit, and "that European Members be entitled to play on the team."

This meant that professional players on the European Tournament Players Order of Merit could be natives and residents of countries other than the British Isles, as long as they were from continental Europe. The recommendation and succeeding approval of the new selection process followed another American victory at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1977.

The first Ryder Cup Matches under the expanded European selection format were played at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The first two Europeans to make the overseas squad were a pair of Spaniards-Severiano Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido. Ballesteros has gone on to become one of the all-time winners in The Matches. He has a record of won 20, lost 12 and halved five and has earned 22 1/2 points in 37 Ryder Cup Matches.

The move to include the continental players was a major step in upgrading the Ryder Cup competitive level. The US had won all but one outing from 1959 to 1977, being tied, 16-16, in a memorable duel in 1969 at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

Expanding the selection procedure to include The European Tour provided the British PGA with a much greater pool of talent from which to select their Team. The European Tour Order of Merit also ensured a team comprised of golfers who were playing their best at the time of selection.

The effect of this continental Tour, with its varying types of golf courses, climates, food, language and customs, was to produce players of unprecedented durability. They possessed the technique and confidence to deal with all course situations and make The Ryder Cup Matches even more of a quality event.

Ryder Cup Format Changes:
From the beginning of the series through 1959, The Ryder Cup competition was comprised of four foursomes (alternate shot) matches on one day and eight singles matches on the other day, each of 36 holes.

The format was changed in 1961, to provide four 18-hole foursomes matches the morning of the first day, four more foursomes that afternoon, eight 18-hole singles the morning of the second day and eight more singles that afternoon. One point was at stake in each match, so the total number of points was doubled to 24. In 1963, fourball (better-ball) matches were added for the first time, boosting the total number of points available to 32.

The format was altered again in 1977, this time with five foursomes on opening day, five four-ball matches on the second day, and 10 singles matches on the final day. This reduced the total points to 20.

In 1979, when the Great Britain & Ireland Team was expanded to include players from European countries, the format was revised to provide four fourball and four foursomes matches the first two days and 12 singles matches on the third day. The total points awarded were 28. This format still continues today and for the foreseeable future.

The Ryder Cup Matches were interrupted for the second time in history following the September 11, 2001, attack upon America. Some eight days following the tragedy, The 2001 Matches were rescheduled, with all future competitions conducted in even-numbered years.

English Field Hockey - 1363 AD History

One of our favourite games is Field Hockey which It is believed as a club and ball game was first played over 800 years ago by English Royalty.

The word 'hockey' was recorded in 1363 when Edward III of England issued the proclamation: "moreover we ordain that you prohibit under penalty of imprisonment all and sundry from such stone, wood and iron throwing; handball, football, or hockey; coursing and cock-fighting, or other such idle games".

The modern game grew from English public schools in the early 19th century. The first club was in 1849 at Blackheath in south-east London, but the modern rules grew out of a version played by Middlesex cricket clubs for winter sport. Teddington Hockey Club formed the modern game by introducing the striking circle and changing the ball to a sphere from a rubber cube. The Hockey Association was founded in 1886. The first international took place in 1895 (Ireland 3, Wales 0) and the International Rules Board was founded in 1900. Hockey was played at the Summer Olympics in 1908 and 1920. It was dropped in 1924, leading to the foundation of the (FIH) as an international governing body by seven continental European nations, and hockey was reinstated in 1928. Men's hockey united under the FIH in 1970.

The two oldest trophies are the Irish Seniors Cup, which 1st XI teams compete for, and the Irish Junior Cup.

The game had been taken to India by British servicemen and the first clubs formed in Calcutta in 1885. The Beighton Cup and the Aga Khan tournament commenced within ten years. Entering the Olympics in 1928, India won all five games without conceding a goal and won from 1932 until 1956 and then in 1964 and 1980. Pakistan won in 1960, 1968 and 1984.

In the early 1970s artificial turf began to be used. Synthetic pitches changed most aspects of hockey, gaining speed. New tactics and techniques such as the Indian Dribble developed, followed by new rules to take account. The switch to synthetic surfaces ended Indian and Pakistani domination because artificial turf was too expensive—in comparison to the wealthier European countries—and since the 1970s Australia, The Netherlands and Germany have dominated at the Olympics.

Women's hockey was first played at British universities and schools, and the first club, Molesey Ladies, was founded in 1887. The first national association was the Irish Ladies Hockey Union in 1894 and though rebuffed by the Hockey Association, women's hockey grew rapidly around the world. This led to the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations (IFWHA) in 1927, though this did not include many continental European countries where women played as sections of men's associations and were affiliated to the FIH. The IFWHA held conferences every three years, and tournaments associated with these were the primary IFWHA competitions. These tournaments were non-competitive until 1975.

By the early 1970s there were 22 associations with women's sections in the FIH and 36 associations in the IFWHA. Discussions started about a common rule book. The FIH introduced competitive tournaments in 1974, forcing the acceptance of the principle of competitive hockey by the IFWHA in 1973. It took until 1982 for the two bodies to merge, but this allowed the introduction of women's hockey to the Olympic games from 1980 where, as in the men's game, The Netherlands, Germany, and Australia have been consistently strong.

Badminton and its English History

One of England’s popular games is Badminton which is played by over 1 million people every week. Badminton was originally an English game called "The battledore and shuttlecock Game", an English game about which there are many references as far back as the 1400's. As early as 1860, Isaac Spratt, a London toy dealer, published a booklet, Badminton Battledore - a new game, but unfortunately no copy has survived.

The beginnings of Modern Badminton can be traced to mid-18th century British India, where it was created by British military officers stationed there. Early pictures show Englishmen adding a net to the traditional English game of battledore and shuttlecock. Being particularly popular in the British garrison town Poona (now Pune), the game also came to be known as Poona. Initially, balls of wool were preferred by the upper classes in windy or wet conditions, but ultimately the shuttlecock stuck. This game was taken by retired officers back to England where it developed and rules were set out. The new sport was definitively launched in 1873 at Badminton House, Gloucester, England and owned by the Duke of Beufort ( The same house and grounds used every year for the Badminton Horse Show ). During that time, the game was referred to as "The Game of Badminton," and the game's official name became Badminton.

The game uses Shuttlecocks which are made up of nylon and feathers instead of balls. Shuttlecocks have been used in English games since the 8th Century.

Until 1887, the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in British India. The Bath Badminton Club standardized the rules and made the game applicable to English ideas. The basic regulations were drawn up in 1887.

In 1893, the Badminton Association of England published the first set of rules according to these regulations, similar to today's rules, and officially launched badminton in a house called "Dunbar" at 6 Waverley Grove, Southsea, Portsmouth, England on September 13th  of that year. They also started the All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition held in the world, in 1899.

The International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now known as Badminton World Federation) was established in 1934 with the following countries:

·       Canada, Denmark, England, France, Holland, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales

India joined as an affiliate in 1936. The BWF now governs international badminton and develops the sport globally.

I would image during the last 800 years my family have been playing the many sports developed and created in England and may have led to my family's interest in most sports played in England and given to the world. My older brother Mark is a good example of our sporting prowess. When my brother was 11 years of age and onwards he represented his school in Cricket, Football, Tennis, Badminton, Athletics and when he was 15 years of age him had a Football trial with Portsmouth Football Club and at 16 years of age played for Hampshire juniors at Cricket.

It always amazes me how from a little Island like England we created and gave the world over 100 sports and games that have dominated the world. My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th. Century AD. This has given me an interest in English history and the sports England have created.

Table Tennis and Its English History

England’s favourite games is Table Tennis. It was initially an after dinner past time and originated as a common sport in England during the 1800s and was commonly known then as "wiff-waff". Its history goes back to Real Tennis played by the English Royal Family in the 1150's.

In the 1800's the game was played when a row of books were to stood up along the centre of the table as a net, two more books served as rackets and were used to continuously hit a golf-ball from one end of the table to the other. Later, table tennis was played with paddles made of cigar box lids and balls made of champagne corks. Eventually, table tennis evolved into the modern game in Europe and the United States. The popularity of the game led game manufacturers to sell the equipment commercially. Early rackets were often pieces of parchment stretched upon a frame, and the sound generated in play gave the game its first nicknames of "wiff-waff" and "Ping-pong".

A number of sources indicate that the game was first brought to the attention of Hamley's of Regent Street under the name "Gossima". The name "ping-pong" was in wide use before British manufacturer J. Jaques & Son Ltd. trademarked it in 1901. The name "Ping-Pong" then came to be used for the game played by the rather expensive Jaquesses equipment, with other manufacturers calling theirs table tennis. A similar situation arose in the United States.

The next major innovation was by James Gibb, a British enthusiast of table tennis, who discovered novelty celluloid balls in 1901 and found them to be ideal for the game. This was followed by E. C. Goode who in 1901 invented the modern version of the racket by fixing a sheet of pimpled, or stippled, rubber to the wooden blade. Table tennis was growing in popularity by 1901 when table tennis tournaments were being organized, books on table tennis were being written, and an unofficial world championship was held in 1902. During the early 20th century the game was banned in Russia due to a belief that was held by the rulers at the time that playing the game had an adverse effect on players' eyesight. In 1921, the Table Tennis Association was founded in Britain, and the International Table Tennis Federation followed in 1926. London hosted the first official world championship in 1927. Table tennis was introduced as an Olympic sport at the Olympics in 1988.

In the 1950s rackets that used a rubber sheet combined with an underlying sponge layer changed the game dramatically, introducing greater spin and speed. These were introduced to Britain by the sports goods manufacturers S.W. Hancock Ltd. The use of speed glue increased the spin and speed even further, resulting in changes to the equipment to "slow the game down".

There is a move towards reviving the table tennis game that existed prior to the introduction of sponge rubber. Classic table tennis like Liha or "hardball" table tennis players reject the speed and spin of reversed sponge rubber, preferring the 1940–60s play style, with no-sponge, short-pimpled rubber equipment, when defence is less difficult by decreasing the speed and eliminating any meaningful Magnus effect of spin. Because hardbat killer shots are almost impossible to hit against a skilled player, hardbat matches focus on the strategic side of table tennis, requiring skilful manoeuvring of the opponent before an attack can be successful.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) worldwide governing body with national bodies responsible for the sport in each country. There are other local authorities applicable as well.

List of Members of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)

The European Table Tennis Union is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Europe.

The English Table Tennis Association is the governing body responsible for table tennis in England.

The Irish Table Tennis Association is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Ireland.

The Polish Table Tennis Association is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Poland.

·The Scottish Table Tennis Association is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Scotland.

The Table Tennis Association of Wales is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Wales.

The Canadian Table Tennis Association is the governing body responsible for table tennis in Canada.

 The USA Table Tennis (USATT): national governing body for table tennis in the United States.

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) is the governing body for table tennis in India.

It always amazes me how from a little Island like England we created and gave the world over 100 sports and games that have dominated the world. My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th. Century AD. This has given me an interest in English history and the sports England have created.

English Lawn Tennis – History One of our favourite summer games is Lawn Tennis which It is believed a form called Real Tennis was first played over 500 years ago by English Royalty.

Royal interest in Real Tennis began with Henry V (1413–22) but it was Henry VIII (1509–47) who made the biggest impact as a young monarch, playing the game with gusto at Hampton Court on a court he had built in 1530, and on several other courts in his palaces. It is believed that his second wife Anne Boleyn was watching a game of real tennis when she was arrested and that Henry was playing tennis when news was brought to him of her execution. During the reign of James I (1603–25), there were 14 courts in London. Today Real Tennis is still played at Hampton Court including by English Royalty like Prince Edward.

In England, during the 18th century and early 19th century as real tennis became less popular, three other racquet sports emerged: Racquets, Squash Racquets and Lawn Tennis (the modern game).

Its establishment as the modern sport can be dated to two separate inventions. Between 1859 and 1865, in Birmingham, England, Major Harry Gem, a solicitor combined elements of the game of rackets and played it on a croquet lawn in Edgbaston. In 1872, he moved to Leamington Spa and in 1874, with two doctors from the Warneford Hospital, founded the world's first tennis club. The Courier of 23 July 1884 recorded one of the first tennis tournaments, held in the grounds of Shrubland Hall.

In December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield devised a similar game for the amusement of his guests at a garden party on his estate of Nantclwyd in Llanelidan, Wales. He based the game on the older Real tennis. At the suggestion of Arthur Balfour, Wingfield named it "lawn tennis," and patented the game in 1874 with an eight-page rule book titled "Sphairistike or Lawn Tennis", but he failed to succeed in enforcing his patent.

Dates of first Tennis Grand Slams

1877 Wimbledon Championships and played on grass.

1881 US Open Championships and played on grass until in 1977 on clay court

1891 French Open Championships and played on grass until 1912 on clay court.

1905 Australian Open Championship and played on grass until 1988 on hard court.

In 1877 the All England Croquet Club formally changed its name to the All England Croquet Lawn tennis Club and held the first Lawn tennis Championship in July 1877. The referee was Henry Jones who devised the rules for the tournament with the help of a 2 man committee. Players were made to change ends after each set , matches were the best of 5 sets. Twenty two men entered the first championship. The shape of the court changed from hourglass to the modern rectangular. The net was 5ft high at the posts and in the 3 ft. 3in at the centre. The first champion was Spencer Gore.

The Sport 0f Squash - its English Historical Beginnings

One of our favourite summer games is "Squash" which It is believed originated from Royal Tennis played over 500 years ago by English Royalty. Squash is an individual or pairs game where players use a racquet to hit a small rubber ball around a four-walled court.

The origin of the game of "Squash" seems to originate from the English game called "Squash Rackets" and "Rackets and Fives" which evolved with a number of influences shaping its creation. The first known reference to a rebounding ball game was made by an English schoolmaster in 1581. The prisoners in "The Fleet Prison", London, mainly debtors, took their exercise by hitting a ball against walls, of which there were many, with rackets and so started the game of "Rackets". Rackets progressed, by some strange route, to Harrow and other select English schools from about 1820 and it was from this source that the sport of Squash, or Squash Rackets, developed.

In 1865, a game which had evolved from the English game of "Rackets and Fives" which was played in an enclosed court at the Harrow school. Several young boys in England began playing a game similar to squash (though squash had not been formally invented at the time) at the Harrow Boarding School in London. In the early 19th century, when the boys noted that puncturing a rackets' ball caused it to squash when hitting the wall, allowing a greater variety of shots. This led to the building of similar courts at Rugby, and at other private houses and clubs and "Squash" was officially created

By the end of the century it had spread to Britain's other private schools as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities. In 1908 a squash sub-committee of the Tennis and Rackets Association was formed to regulate the sport.

In 1923, a meeting was called to resolve the discrepancies in how the game of squash was played. At the time, squash competitions were held at several English clubs across Britain. The meeting requested representatives from each of these clubs to attend. A committee (called the "Squash Rackets Representative Committee") was formed and a set of squash standards were established. Court size, ball speed and various rules of play were codified. Today, most of the squash tournaments played throughout England adhere to these codified standards.

Since 1923, international competitions have taken place. During the previous 20 years, squash had progressed quickly from an obscure game played by young boys throughout England's boarding schools to a standardized sport with a committee overseeing tournaments in Britain, England, the U.S. and other countries. Today, squash is played by over 15 million people and it's enjoyed by players and fans throughout 150 countries.

The Time Line of Squash:

19th century: A game called 'Rackets' is developed in a London prison
1830 Squash invented at Harrow School
1864 The first four squash courts are built at Harrow
1907 National squash associations start to be set up
1912 First professional championship held in England
1966 International Squash Rackets Association (ISRF) founded
1985 ISRF amalgamated with the Women's International Squash Federation
1992 ISR becomes the World Squash Federation (WSF)
1998 Squash featured in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The Sport of "Squash" started being played at the British Commonwealth Games in 1998 and thereafter every 4 years.

History of Cribbage – An English Iconic Game

I thought as the Game of Cribbage was invented by us English and is played Worldwide I thought I would tell its history. The most famous cribbage player of all, as described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: "Mr Toby Crackit swept up his winnings [at cribbage] and crammed them into his waist-coat pocket."

According to John Aubrey who was a 17th Century English antiquary and writer, cribbage was created by the English poet Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century, as a derivation of the game “Noddy”. While noddy has disappeared, crib has survived, virtually unchanged, as one of the most popular games in the English Speaking world. The objective of the game is to be the first player to score a target number of points, typically 61 or 121 Points are scored for card combinations that add up to fifteen, and for pairs, triples, quadruples, runs and flushes.

Cribbage, or crib, is a card game traditionally for two players, but commonly played with three, four or more, that involves playing and grouping cards in combinations which gain points. Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for score keeping, the eponymous crib or box (a separate hand counting for the dealer), two distinct scoring stages (the play and the show) and a unique scoring system including points for groups of cards that total fifteen.


1) The players cut for first deal, and the dealer shuffles and deals five or six cards to each player, depending on the number of players. For two players, each is dealt six cards; for three or four players, each is dealt five cards. In the case of three players, a single card is dealt face down in the centre of the table to start the crib. Once the cards have been dealt, each player chooses four cards to retain, then discards the other one or two face-down to form the "crib" which will be used later by the dealer. At this point, each player's hand and the crib will contain exactly four cards. The player on the dealer's left cuts the deck and the dealer reveals the top card, called the "starter". If this card is a jack the dealer scores two points for "his heels", also known as "his nibs".

2) Starting with the player on the dealer's left, each player lays one card in turn onto a personal discard pile, stating the cumulative value of the cards laid (for example, the first player lays a five and says "five", the next lays a six and says "eleven", and so on), without the total going above 31. Once no more cards can be played, the cumulative position is reset to zero and those players with cards remaining repeat the process until all players' cards have been played. Players score points during this process for making a total of fifteen, for reaching exactly, or as close as possible to a total of thirty-one, for runs and for pairs. Players choose the order in which to lay their cards in order to maximize their score; experienced players refer to this as either good or poor "pegsmanship". If one player reaches the target (usually 61 or 121), the game ends immediately and that player wins.

3) Once the play is complete, each player in turn receives points based on the content of his hand in conjunction with the starter card. Points are scored for combinations of cards totalling fifteen, runs, pairs, flushes and having a Jack of the same suit as the starter card ("one for his nob [or nobs or nibs]"). The dealer scores his hand last and then turns the cards in the crib face up. These cards are then scored by the dealer as an additional hand in conjunction with the starter card. Scores between 0 and 29 are all possible, with the exception of 19, 25, 26 and 27.Players may refer colloquially to a hand scoring zero points as having a score of nineteen.

4) Visually, cribbage is known for its scoring board - a series of holes ("streets") on which the score is tallied with pegs (also known as "spilikins"). Scores can be kept on a piece of paper, but a cribbage board is almost always used, since scoring occurs throughout the game, not just at the conclusion of hands as in most other card games. Points are registered as having been scored by "pegging" along the crib board. Two pegs are used in a leapfrog fashion, so that if a player loses track during the count one peg still marks the previous score. Some boards have a "game counter", with many additional holes for use with a third peg to count the games won by each side.

The most famous cribbage player of all, as described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: "Mr Toby Crackit swept up his winnings [at cribbage] and crammed them into his waist-coat pocket." 

History of English Lawn Bowls

I thought as Green Bowls is popular worldwide and was invented by us English I thought I would tell its history.One of the most famous stories concerning Bowls was On 19th July 1588 Captain Thomas Fleming in the Golden Hinde, glimpsed the Armada through the swirling morning mist off the Lizard and raced for Plymouth, Lord Howard’s home port. Fleming came up the channel into Plymouth with the afternoon tide to find Sir Francis Drake playing bowls with his officers on the Ho, high above the harbour. On hearing of Fleming’s sighting Drake insisted on continuing with the game.

Bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls, called bowls, so that they stop close to a smaller—normally white—bowl called the "jack" or "kitty". Bowls, either flat- or crown-green, is usually played outdoors, on grass and synthetic surfaces. Flat-green bowls can also be played indoors on synthetic surfaces. Both variants are collectively known as "lawn bowls".

It is most popular in Australia, New Zealand (where the natural playing surface is cotula), the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations.

It has been traced certainly to the 13th century and conjecturally to the 12th century with William Fitzstephen (d. About 1190 AD). In his biography, Thomas Becket gives a graphic sketch of the London of his day and writing of the summer amusements of the young men, says that on holidays they were "exercised in Leaping, Shooting, Wrestling, Casting of Stones [in jactu lapidum], and Throwing of Javelins fitted with Loops for the Purpose, which they strive to fling before the Mark; they also use Bucklers, like fighting Men."

It is commonly supposed that by jactus lapidum, Fitzstephen meant the game of bowls, but though it is possible that round stones may sometimes have been employed in an early variety of the game - and there is a record of iron bowls being used, though at a much later date, on festive occasions at Nairn, - nevertheless the inference seems unwarranted. The jactus lapidum of which he speaks was probably more akin to the modern "putting the weight," once even called "putting the stone." It is beyond dispute, however, that the game, at any rate in a rudimentary form, was played in the 13th century. A manuscript of that period in the royal library, Windsor (No. 20, E iv.), contains a drawing representing two players aiming at a small cone instead of an earthenware ball or jack. The world's oldest surviving bowling green is the Southampton Old Bowling Green which was first used in 1299 AD.

Another manuscript of the same century has a crude but spirited picture which brings us into close touch with the existing game. Three figures are introduced and a jack. The first player's bowl has come to rest just in front of the jack; the second has delivered his bowl and is following after it with one of those eccentric contortions still not unusual on modern greens, the first player meanwhile making a repressive gesture with his hand, as if to urge the bowl to stop short of his own; the third player is depicted as in the act of delivering his bowl.

As the game grew in popularity, it came under the ban of king and parliament, both fearing it might jeopardise the practice of archery, then so important in battle. Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of King Edward III, King Richard II and other monarchs. Even when, on the invention of gunpowder and firearms, the bow had fallen into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued. The discredit attaching to bowling alleys, first established in London in 1455, probably encouraged subsequent repressive legislation, for many of the alleys were connected with taverns frequented by the dissolute and gamesters. The word "bowls" occurs for the first time in the statute of 1511 in which Henry VIII confirmed previous enactments against unlawful games. By a further act of 1541 - which was not repealed until 1845 - artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas and then only in their master's house and presence. It was further enjoined that any one playing bowls outside his own garden or orchard was liable to a penalty of 6s. 8d., while those possessed of lands to the yearly value of £100 might obtain licences to play on their own private greens.

Bowls is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and parts of the United States. It is also gaining momentum in Japan.

Because of its competitiveness, skill and the fact that it is a non-contact sport, the game suits people from teen years through to their nineties. However, there is a considerable professional competition with many younger men and women playing.

Since the 1990's, the sport has developed in Denmark as well. The World Championships are held in the UK annually and the £100,000 competition is watched by 3 million viewers on BBC TV.

Today the sport is played in over 50 countries with more than 50 member national authorities.



Copyright © 2012  Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.