The first record of cricket in the province is the meeting of the St. John’s cricket club in 1824, and, for nearly a century, cricket was an important part of Newfoundland society, being played in St. John’s, Harbour Grace, Trinity, Twillingate and elsewhere. Cricket experienced a major decline before and after World War One, surviving in St. John’s schools until the 1930s but otherwise played only sporadically. Various unsuccessful attempts were made to revive the game but it was not until 2010, when Cricket NL was formed, that organized cricket became part of the provincial sporting scene again. Modern cricket in the province is mostly played by New Canadians (most of them current or former international students at MUN), with an active league and over 120 members. The resurrection of cricket is a reflection of the changing demographics and culture of modern Newfoundland and Labrador.
St. John’s schools were the last hold-out for the formal game, and Cricket NL has taken initiatives to engage several schools to bring back the game there. Active programmes take place in Macdonald Drive and St. Matthew's schools, and we’ve held sessions at St. Bon’s and others. Cricket is an excellent physical activity for schools to consider, and the one rooted in Newfoundland history and tradition. We plan to hold the first inter-school cricket tournament since the 1930s, using a modified version of the game which can be played indoors. Cricket NL can arrange training sessions for all schools interested, and a session for teachers, leading up to a one-day fun tournament. We also intend to revive the game through holding cricket demonstrations and events in communities of the province where cricket used to be strong, Harbour Grace, and Twillingate in particular. We had demonstrations in Trinity in the past. Anecdotal stories suggest that versions of cricket survived as children’s street games well after the demise of the formal game. The game of “tiddly”, recently revived in Carbonear, has some similarities, and there are also references to “tin-can cricket”. We’d be interested in linking these traditional games to the modern game.
Cricket NL is interested in co-operating with researchers at MUN in engaging a broad segment of the provincial population to make them aware of the significance of cricket in Newfoundland history and culture. The idea is to bring back cricket to prominence in the province along with the associated sporting opportunities.