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Bowled Over

Contact on willow resonates over the pitch as power is generated to propel the ball over the boundary. The umpire raised his hands, the crowd roared from the pavilion. A backdrop of three centuries offers a rich history on the game of cricket.

From a modest entrance, the greatest, world famous cricket club appears underwhelming. The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) dates back to 1787. Based in St. John’s Wood, the club was the governing body for cricket and influenced the game. Dr. W.G. Grace brought MCC into the limelight with his cricket prowess. Celebrity status focused attention on the club.

Dr. W.G. Grace brought MCC into the limelight...

As time has moved on, the game of cricket continues. The sugar cane blue and white stripe was swapped for contrasting stripes of yellow and red at the MCC. (Marylebone Cricket Club)This striking combination rolls on to this day. Caps, ties and jackets all follow this magnificent trend in energetic vibrant colours.

...contrasting stripes of yellow and red...

Bowled over by the hats in cricket, it is overwhelming to look at their variety and significance in the game both on and off the pitch. From baseball caps to large brimmed hats for umpires, these hats have been worn by cricketers of all ages and all skill levels.

Our cricket enthusiast, Stuart Mair from Ross-on-Wye Cricket Club shared his personal experiences as he grew up with cricket. From the cricket field he built up the skills and enjoyed the game at all level.

His enthusiasm is evident now. In his spare time, he is both a coach and an umpire. Furthermore, he still finds time to actively participate in the game at his local club.

The most significant change had been the introduction of the rigid batters cap, designed and formed to keep the head safe with strong metal grills to protect the face too. These were first introduced in 1974, when the cricket authorities realised the importance of protecting the head, from being struck by a ball that is travelling up to 90mph towards you. It is mandatory for the under 18 cricketers. This means a fast cricket ball cannot reach the head. A fast ball may be dangerous but the high tech materials absorb and distribute the level of impact.

...the introduction of the rigid batters cap...

From baseball caps to baggies, each club may choose their style. Clubs have their own emblems embroidered onto the club hat. There are colour combinations and logo defined them.

The umpire used to wear a white flat cap. This has changed to a large wide brimmed hat with significant crown to offer a distinction from team players and for sun protection. The colour of the hat changes when team kits are coloured. Even the colour of the cricket ball must contrast with the kit.

Even the colour of the cricket ball must contrast with the kit.

Keeping that hat on is difficult, so the bowler often takes off their cap to bowl. A team member will wear two caps perched on their head to keep this cap safe for the bowler.

Stuart has had plenty of success on the pitch and was most proud to be asked to umpire an England game for the An England Disability (Learning) team when they toured Herefordshire before their tour to Australia, which they won 5-0.

He recalls the proud moment when a player gave him their England cap at the end of the game, a treasure from that moment on.

Cricket has a rich history dating back almost 300 years. As time has moved on some cricket hats have remained constant. The game has strong roots as countries were introduced to the rules. As travel opened up new horizons, the game became ever more popular all over the world.

Cricket has a rich history dating back almost 300 years.

Now both national and international teams compete. Women’s cricket has bridged the gender divide. Youngsters are introduced to the game with soft balls. Women carry on this trend and have established notoriety at all levels. Aparna Jain explained that she I has always loved cricket. Growing up in India her link to the game is absolute. She said, ‘It’s something that is in my DNA too!’

Stepping to play cricket takes me to childhood happy memories, I forget everything and enjoy the game.

Her reminiscences of the game, "As a team, we ran, we bowled, we fielded we bat, laughed and uplifted each others, seize the moment so that it feels like it’s a biggest game in the world! It’s just a local village cricket match." Her link to the game covered, played street cricket, school cricket and now club cricket.

A member of MCC Caspar Hill shares his own thoughts, ‘The first day of a Lord’s Test is unbelievable. A mile long queue for member’s before the match is a small price to pay. There is a buzz around the ground in anticipation of the days play.

A hush sweeps over the stand just before play begins.’

As time has moved on some cricket hats have remained constant. In contrast, matches and game structures have remained the same and more recently been revised to 20 20 cricket to offer a shorter game. Furthermore, the new format of the ‘The Hundred’ which was introduced in the summer of 2021.


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