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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Thodi Andersson, chairman of the Standard Athletic Cricket Club recently took part in a brief item on the BBC World Service Stumped programme "Let's have an Olympic re-match!", this is also part of longer 'Stumped' programme "Cricket at the Olympics" which looks at the possibility of cricket again becoming an Olympic sport in 2020, or more likely 2024. In the recording, the BBC's Stumped reporter Sam Sheringham speaks to current members of both clubs: Steve Chaudoir, chairman of Castle Cary Cricket Club in Somerset, and Thodi Andersson.

Cricket was an Olympic sport in 1900 and featured two countries, France and Great Britain (a 2-day match which GB won!)
Participants in the GB team were drawn from a Devon and Somerset touring side that included players from Blundell's School Old Boys Cricket Club and from the Castle Cary Cricket Club; the French team included several ex-pat players, members of our very own SAC

The broadcast references in particular an effort to recapture the Olympic spirit of 1900 with an "Olympic Cricket festival" in 2012 just prior to the London Olympics, featuring a French side and games with Blundell's Old Boys CC and at Castle Cary CC.

An earlier re-enactment of the 1900 event took place in 1987 with players from the same clubs that played in the original 1900 game, namely Castle Cary club and Blundell's old boys for England, and with France being represented by the Standard Athletic Club, who hosted the event.

The re-staging excited unexpected media attention and the match was reported in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and even in the French press. The patrons of the 1987 match were, for France, the minister Philippe Séguin, then a possible candidate for the Presidency, and for England, Sandy Duncan, Secretary of the British Olympic Committee. The match ended, appropriately enough, in a draw. (See the BRB* for full details.)


Great efforts are being made to get Cricket re-introduced in the 2024 Olympics (it is probably too late for Tokyo in 2020 (these Games already will see the return of baseball and softball competitions as the débuts of karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.)

Were this to happen, it will have to be formally recognised, bizarre as it may seem, that France were the first ever Olympic silver medallists at cricket and the SAC will have earned a special place in the lore of French sporting endeavour alongside its reputation as a football great.


As a final test of your observational skills, can you identify the person operating the scoreboard during the 1987 game?

Cricket Scoreboard operator 1987

Answers on a postcard please!

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* Full details of the 1987 match can be found in the SAC's 100th Anniversary 'Big Red Book', copies of which are still available - ask at the Office or at the bar.


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