St George’s Day – A Truly English Sporting Affair

All things English are celebrated on St George’s Day so we thought it would be good to give you a little round up of all things English on the sports field. Here are 6 sports which were invented right here in England.

  1. Football
    Played worldwide by millions, football or soccer as it’s known in some countries, is the most popular sport in the world and guess what, it was invented in England. Originally a ‘peasant’ game which did not have an official name until the nineteenth century. The term ‘football’ was loosely used to describe any game in which the foot was used to kick a ball and can be traced back to 1409. In the 1800s it was made an official sport with unified rules for Public School and University leagues. According to FIFA, today football is played by 265 million people worldwide.
  2. Lawn Tennis
    Today’s version of ‘lawn tennis’ tennis originated in Birmingham in the late 1800s and is credited to Thomas Henry Gem. ‘Harry’ as he was known, was a member of a rackets club and met Spanish born merchant Perera. They established a new set of rules based a racket game which became pelota, lawn rackets or lawn tennis. They also set up the world’s first lawn tennis club in Leamington Spa in 1872.
  3. Rugby
    The game of rugby has its origins as far back as the 5th century as a game between villages in which a pig’s bladder was fought over to gain possession. The modern game of rugby as we know it, is said to be a take on this type of game combined with elements of a football style game (which at the time had not officially been established as a sport). Credited to William Webb Ellis at Rugby school in 1823, it was said the Webb-Ellis during a game in which the ball was being kicked with the foot, just decided to pick up the ball and run with it.
  4. Cricket
    The origins of cricket are hard to pinpoint exactly but elements of English, Dutch and French history are given credit. It is believed that cricket dates back to the dark ages from a game involving a ball and a stick. Said to have been played by children in forest clearings in the South-East of England. In 1598 there is reference to a game called ‘creckett’ which was being played by the Royal Grammar School in Guilford. The game is now played by most commonwealth nations around the globe.
  5. Squash
    A truly English sport derived from the game Racquets at the exclusive Harrow School in about 1830. The original game racquets used tennis racquets to hit the ball against the sides of the court. Eventually squash was developed and specific courts created for which they modified their racquets making them smaller and more suitable to the conditions. Now popular globally, over 20 million people play worldwide.

Can you think of any other sports invented in England? Let us know your St Geaorge’s Day sports line up!

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