The History of Cricket
Cricket, a peaceful sport, first emerged on Corfu which was then under British occupation on the 23rd of April 1823 at a match between officers of the British Navy. The young Corfiots as well as adults of the time were seduced by this gentlemanly and calm entertaining team game and showed great interest towards learning it and the English on the other hand were more than happy to teach and propagate it. From that moment on only 12 years were needed for the Corfiots to learn the game and to form two local teams to play against the British. Corfu, the island of the Feakon, of King Alkinoos, the aristocratic Libre d'Oro, of the 19 Philharmonic Orchestras, of Nikolas Mantzaros and of cricket, sets the boundry between the West and the East for Greece.
Cricket In Greece
Cricket to this day is still played at the historic ground at the Esplanade in Corfu's central square as well as the ground in tha marina at Gouvia. The Hellenic Cricket Federation which was established in 1996 with Corfu as its base is a member of the European Cricket Council (E.C.C.) as an affiliate member as well as a member of the International Cricket Council (I.C.C.). There are 21 clubs of which 13 are based on Corfu, 6 in Athens and 2 in Ioannina with efforts being made to develop other clubs on Cefalonia, Zakinthos, Metsovo and Chios. Each year the Outdoor Championships are held for every category which take place from May to October and the Indoor Championships which take place from November to April. There are efforts under way for the development of women's cricket and there are 2 teams from Corfu and 2 teams from Ioannina. Our National teams participate in European events of all age categories which are held in a different European country each year. The achievements of our country at the European Championships is enviable and the Greek team competes worthily against the foreign sides. The Greek National team has taken 1st place 6 times, 2nd place 4 times and 3rd place 2 twice. The highlight of the National team's efforts was taking first place in the European Men's Championships for 5th Division which was held on Corfu between the 7th and 12th of September 2009 with the participation of 6 teams (Estonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, The Czech Republic and Sweden) with Greece being undefeated at first place with 5 out of 5 wins.
Many foreign teams visit Corfu each year and they come exclusively to play cricket. A noteworthy event was the visit of the English Lord's team the "Lost Marbles" and the British Airways team which has been visiting Corfu each year for the past 40 years.
After the success of the European Men's Championships and in the framework of the tourist exhibition “World Travel Market”, the Hellenic Cricket Federation along with the Region of the Ionian Islands organized an impressive and original function named “The Ionian Inspires Cricket”. The aim of the function was to promote the Ionian Islands through the British people's beloved sport, cricket. At the function were sports journalists as well as tourism journalists, sports celebrities and other British celebrities at London's most historic and oldest ground Lords. Plans were announced there for the organization of the International Cricket Festival in the Ionian.
The aim of the Festival is on the one hand the upgrading, the institutionalization and the realization on a permanent basis, the attraction of theme based tourism, the extention of the tourist period and on the other hand the spreading of the deeper spirit of cricket as is expressed in the slogan “catch the spirit” which signals the anniversary of a century of cricket.