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Cu Chulainn – Cricket Champion!

"Cuchulain Slays the Hound of Culain", illustration by Stephen Reid from Eleanor Hull's The Boys' Cuchulain, 1904 Wikipedia.org

“Cuchulain Slays the Hound of Culain”, illustration by Stephen Reid from Eleanor Hull’s The Boys’ Cuchulain, 1904
Wikipedia.org

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Freeman’s Journal Thursday 9 July 1908

CRICKET IN ANCIENT IRELAND

A Hole in the Ground as Wicket

Mr Andrew Lang, in an article in the “Morning Post” on the evolution of bowling, says that originally the batsmen defended no stumps, but a hole in the ground.  The object of the bowler was to get the ball into the hold, whether by a daisy-cropper or a full pitch.  The wicketkeeper- or hole-keeper- stumped or rang out the batsmen in the same way, by putting the ball in the hold.  Cricket was played thus in the “Late Celtic” or “La Tene” period in Ireland; of about 200 B.C.-220 A.D.  In the most ancient Irish epic of mingled prose and verse, which reflects the institutions of the aforesaid “Late Celtic” period we have the score of a match:- Cuchulainn against One Hundred and Fifty Colts of Ulster.

Ulster. b. Cuchulainn……….0

Cuchulainn, not out………….-

The figures of the hero’s score are not given, but if he made a single he could “declare”.  In this match we have to reckon with the Celtic tendency to exaggeration.  It is improbable that Cuchulainn’s analysis read: “Balls 130, wickets 150, wides 0, no-balls 0.”

Still, ,we see the nature of the Game

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