Its All Conjecture at This Point
Nobody knows for sure when or how the game of cricket originally begun but most historians believe it was played by children in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in South-East England during the Saxon or Norman times. It’s believed that shepherds would keep themselves busy by throwing pieces of sheep wool at tree stumps. One shepherd decided to use his crook to hit the ball away from the stump and so began the exciting new game of “hitting the ball as far away from the stump as possible”.
First Definitive Reference
In 1597, a court case in England concerning an ownership dispute over a plot of common land mentions the game of “creckett”. John Derrick, a 59 year old coroner, testified that he and his school friends had played creckett on the site 50 years earlier. The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611, when two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church. In the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys’ game, and this suggests that adult participation was a recent development.
Where did the word “cricket” come from?
A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term “cricket”. In the earliest definite reference, it was spelled creckett. The name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch krick, meaning a stick; or the Old English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff, or the French word criquet meaning a wooden post. The Middle Dutch word krickstoel means a long low stool used for kneeling in church; this resembled the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket. The Old English word craic means fun and games.