Cricket, Lovely Cricket

9443235195_d706454c0d_kCricket fans rejoice – it’s an Ashes summer again, when England and Australia join battle in one of the oldest and most hotly contested sporting contests in the world.

We’re already two matches into the five Test series, and the play has proved scintillating; England¬†gained an early advantage through a comprehensive 169-run victory in Cardiff, but then the Australians came roaring back this last weekend with a stunning 405-run annihilation at Lord’s – with a day to spare as well. With 3 Test matches remaining, everything is well set for another enthralling series.

‘The Ashes’ derived from a term used in mock obituary written in the Sporting Times newspaper when Australia beat England at the Oval in 1882, stating that “English cricket has died, and the body cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The following year England toured Australia and beat them, and England captain Ivo Bligh was presented with a small urn reputed to contain the ashes of the ball used by the English in the victory – and dubbed by the Australians as “the ashes of Australian cricket”. Thereafter, every Test match series between the two countries has been a contest to win or retain those Ashes. To the beginning of 2015, Australia hold a narrow advantage over England, by 32 series victories to 31 (with five drawn), with the Australians winning 126 individual matches to the English total of 103.

Loughborough University has a proud cricketing tradition itself – its male and female MCCU teams regularly win trophies – and can count several alumni from their ranks who have gone on to play international and Test cricket, including Sam Billings, Monty Panesar and Nick Knight.

We have a broad range of cricketing books on our shelves in the Library, including the controversial autobiography by former England captain Kevin Pietersen in our Leisure Reading collection upstairs on Level 4, and Scyld Berry & Rupert Peploe’s intriguing account of the story behind the genesis of the Ashes, Cricket’s Burning Passion: Ivo Bligh & the Story of the Ashes, which you can find among our other cricket history books downstairs in our sports section on Level 2. Why not have a browse?

The Ashes Urn image by David Holt, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.