Vintage Cricket: The 1900 Olympic Games

Poster advertising the Olympic cricket match between France and England (1900)
Poster advertising the Olympic cricket match between France and Great Britain

This is a poster advertising the only game of Olympic cricket that has ever been played. It happened over two days between France and Great Britain (referred to in this contemporary advert as England) at the 1900 Games in Paris.

It was a slightly odd match in the context of an Olympics which was a bit of a bizarre event in its own right. Held over five months as part of the World’s Fair, the Games almost seemed like an afterthought. So little effort had been put into promoting them that many of the athletes involved genuinely didn’t know they’d competed in them!

The cricket competition was one such. It was also somewhat ramshackle in other ways. For a start, despite being an Olympic match, it was not considered to be an official first class international since both teams fielded twelve players each instead of the regulation eleven, and it only lasted two days.

Then there was the fact that the two sides were not France and Great Britain as we would know them in the modern era – Great Britain were represented by a public school-dominated touring club from the West Country, and the French team were mostly British expats living in Paris.

Whatever happened over those two days, it was always going to be a British victory on French soil it seems…

And it was – Great Britain, who are still technically Olympic champions 119 years later, won by 158 runs with a mere five minutes to spare. Mostly ignored by both the French and British national media, this was in many ways an anonymous triumph.

Four years later, the Olympic cricket competition at the Games in St Louis was cancelled at short notice due to a lack of competitors and facilities. It has never been an Olympic sport since.

Quote of the Day: On Peter, the Lord’s Cat

Havana Brown cat
Sadly, there are no photos of the real Peter… so this beautiful boy will have to do!

Since it’s the cricket season and we’re in the middle of the Ashes Series, I wanted to share this lovely quote from the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Peter the Cat was the much-beloved feline resident at Lord’s Cricket Ground in North London during the 1950s and 1960s, and it’s clear he was quite a fan of the sport.

When his “ninth life ended” in 1964, Peter was given a singular tribute, becoming the first and only animal to receive an obituary in the cricketing bible Wisden – a real honour, and testament to his reputation at Lord’s:

Cat, Peter, whose ninth life ended on November 5, 1964, was a well-known cricket-watcher at Lord’s, where he spent 12 of his 14 years. He preferred a close-up view of the proceedings, and his sleek brown form could often be seen prowling on the field of play when crowds were biggest. He frequently appeared on the television screen. Mr SC Griffith, Secretary of MCC, said of him: “He was a cat of great character and loved publicity.”

I reckon he would be great friends with the modern-day Barmy Army

Sadly, it appears there are no actual photos of Peter himself in existence, despite his many television appearances, so you’ll have to make do with a picture of a rather handsome model cat instead!

Pick that one out!: the oddity of the goalscoring goalkeeper

Goalkeepers are strange people, especially when they have their scoring boots on. Here’s a recent piece on the subject by me from And Still Ricky Villa, the football blog I edit.

'And still Ricky Villa...'

CB writes…

Picture the scene. It’s deep into injury time of a crucial cup match, and you’re desperately in need of a goal to take the game into extra time. The opposition have conceded a corner, and you’re all up in the box to try and scramble a goal – and by all up, that means your goalie too. The corner arcs in and rattles round the box until your keeper leaps high into the air, his head making contact with the ball…. and it’s in the back of the net!

It is often said that goalkeepers are a breed apart, and they certainly seem to be made of different stuff to your average primadonna of a centre forward. For a start, they have to have a thick skin since they will frequently be blamed for losses (as ex-England goalie David ‘Calamity’ James once put it “It’s not nice…

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Football at Christmas: Sam Bartram in the fog

The perils of playing football on Christmas Day! Absolutely love this story…

'And still Ricky Villa...'

CB writes…

A short and sweet post today. This is one of my favourite football stories, and, as the festive season approaches, it had to be told! Until the 1950s, it was very common for a full league programme to be played on Christmas Day in England, something we would never think of in the modern era.

Sam Bartram - Charlton Athletic

On December 25th 1937, Chelsea were playing Charlton Athletic at Stamford Bridge. It was a cold and foggy day and the Charlton keeper Sam Bartram (above top at left, with the Chelsea goalie Vic Woodley) hadn’t seen much of the ball – or much of anything, really…. actually, let’s hear the story from the man himself, as I think this says all that needs to be said:

Soon after the kick-off fog began to thicken rapidly at the far end, travelling past Vic Woodley in the Chelsea goal and…

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Happy Halloween!

The Skull Twins!

Hope you all have lots of spooky fun tonight – as you can see, the Skull Twins are getting the party started here at Another Kind Of Mind Towers!

I usually have at least one proper Halloween post for you and this year is no different – I may be a little tardy this time round, but I have some seasonal goodies for you which I will post over the next week or so.

Better late than never, I guess…. geddit!? *evil cackles*

I’m here all week.

If you’re a football fan, head over to And Still Ricky Villa (my other project) for ghostly players, cursed clubs, and a fiendishly evil Halloween football quiz – plus a guest appearance on the terraces by Freddy Kruger

Calling all football fans!

grass sport football soccer
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.com

Many of you know that I’m a passionate football fan, and I very much enjoy writing about the Beautiful Game. Over the past decade or so, I have become increasingly fascinated by the history of sport, and of soccer in particular. I wanted to write more on the subject, but felt Another Kind Of Mind was not quite the right space for that. Instead, I started something that is.

So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for most of 2018, may I direct you over to my new project…

And Still Ricky Villa… is a blog about football. All sorts of football – everywhere and everywhen. And it’s not just me who is involved – we’d love to hear from football fans who would like to write for us in the future. Have a look here for more details if that sounds like you.

So far, we have mostly covered World Cup stuff, but there are a number of new posts in the pipeline, including pieces on the strangeness of goalkeepers, the new Spurs stadium (of course), and lots of spooky stuff for Halloween (seriously, you’d never believe the number of major football clubs that claim a resident ghost or two!).

Incidentally, the blog’s name comes from a very famous piece of commentary by the BBC’s John Motson on an equally famous FA Cup final goal, which was scored by the legendary Spurs player Ricky Villa in 1981 (see the video below – it’s a real treat of a goal, I promise!). This is one of my earliest football memories, and one of the reasons I am a Spurs fan to this day. Seemed kinda apt, really…

It’s come to McKenzie. What a good tackle by Graham Roberts. And now Galvin. Spurs have got… two to his right and Galvin wants to go on his own. Villa…. AND STILL RICKY VILLA! What a fantastic run. HE’S SCORED! Amazing goal for Ricky Villa! John Motson

We welcome writing and images from fans of all clubs, anywhere in the footballing world – we’re here for the game, not the rivalries. If you’d like to contribute to And Still Ricky Villa, feel free to get in touch! You can find loads of ideas for articles here, or pitch us something over on our Twitter account.

Rugby on Ice (1950)

As with many things in life, I came across this somewhat bizarre little newsreel clip while I was looking for something else entirely (I was actually searching YouTube for videos of football being played in extreme weather – you can find my playlist of that here). When I saw this  frankly odd snippet of film, I couldn’t resist posting it here for your enjoyment too!

Since we are in the midst of the Rugby Union Autumn Internationals and the Rugby League World Cup (England have reached the final!), it seemed like the perfect time to share this quirky look at what has to be one of the most unpleasantly cold and uncomfortably violent crossover sports imaginable (and I’ve played actual rugby. In the actual mud).

Filmed at the Streatham Ice Rink in south London (I honestly can’t see this type of game being played on the beautiful green reaches of the Twickenham pitch!), and, according to the narrator “a mixture of rugby and American footer”, this 8-a-side match between the Senators and the Royals  doesn’t actually seem to have much in the way of tactics going on – unless you count falling over in a heap and shoving the opposition off the ice at 25mph as tactical play!

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Playlisting: Sporting Animals

Usually, my Playlisting posts involve music, but this one is a little different. Today, we’ll be overrun by pine martens on the pitch, alligators and capybaras on the golf course (not at the same time, obviously), and sheep on the football field – plus a demonstration of the need for goat line technology, an invasion of plastic pigs, psychic octopi, the penguin cup final, various avian pitch invaders, cats with a fascination for ball games, and lots and lots and lots of dogs. Dogs love football. And we all love a dog on the pitch.

This playlist was originally compiled as a bit of fun for the members of an online football prediction league I play in, but it seemed a little unfair not to share the hilarity with a wider audience – so it’s time to meet a selection of sporting (and not so sporting) animals…

If you know of any sporty animal videos that can be added to the playlist, post a link in the comments or tweet me!

To Dare Is To Do: Farewell White Hart Lane

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I grew up on the Beautiful Game. I’m of the generation whose pre-Premier League childhood memories associate the game with dodgy perms and mullets (hello Chris Waddle…), the final years of standing on the terraces as the norm in the top flight, and the weekly Saturday afternoon ritual of listening to the wonderful James Alexander Gordon read the classified football results on the radio. It wasn’t a girl’s world back then, but I was still utterly entranced by it all.

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The Beautiful Game on Film: ‘England’s World Cup Win’ (1966)

Today’s vintage film clip is from British Pathé, and is a fascinating glimpse into the world of football fifty years ago. With England playing Iceland in the Euro ’16 round of sixteen tonight, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some real English footballing success from the past. So we’re heading back five decades to the year England won their one and only World Cup.

We start with a brief look at how the World Cup footballs were skilfully made (mostly by hand, in Yorkshire) and continue with some great colour footage of the final itself, then some newsreel footage of the players being feted afterwards. And, of course, we get a glimpse of the legendary Pickles the dog, who found the World Cup in a hedge after it had been stolen a few months before the competition started.

I grew up on stories of ’66 from football-mad relatives who were actually there – they were at every single England game of that World Cup, including the final. They saw it all from the first match to Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy (and that Geoff Hurst goal? Didn’t go in). In this lifetime, I’d love to see England lift another trophy and match the achievement of that legendary team under Sir Alf Ramsay. I’d love for the magic of ’66 to live again, just a little bit…