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Cricket and the Royal Navy

RN Cricket
The Match
Cricket in the Royal Navy must be nearly as old as the game itself. The first reference to cricket outside England falls to a Royal Naval Padre from HMS Assistance who reportedly played "Krickett" at Antioch (USA), or possibly Antico (Sardinia) in May 1676. The Royal Navy has without doubt carried out great missionary work in introducing the game to many parts of the world where it continues to be played regularly today and in such diverse places as South America and Corfu.

There are records of the Royal Navy playing cricket at Hambledon in the very early days, however, it was not until 1863 that the Royal Navy Cricket Club was formed. Matches were played against the MCC and "Gentlemens Clubs".

The home of Royal Navy cricket is Portsmouth in Hampshire, and has the only Service ground boasting first class cricket fixtures with the County playing County Championship and one day fixtures at the ground.

The main competition for the Navy's representative side is the Inter Services festival against the Army and Royal Air Force, a competition going back over 75 years. In more recent times this has also included an Under 25 competition encouraging younger cricketers on their way to full representative cricket. Several well known International players did their national or Emergency Service in the Royal Navy including PBH May (Surrey and England), JG Dewes (Middlesex and England) and TE Bailey (Essex and England). Within the last two years the Royal Navy has also developed a Womens cricket team and have challenged the Army and Royal Air Force to do the same.

Today cricket is played at various standards in the Service at Inter Ship and Establishment levels in all parts of the world and on some "very interesting" pitches. However, the major competition between all ships and establishments is the Navy Cup, played on a knock out basis, the final being held on the main ground at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth.

Touring abroad by the RNCC has previously included trips to Germany, Hong Kong, USA, Barbados, Malaysia, India and in 2001, Australia. That tour to Australia, whilst continuing the tradition of touring, was a new destination and enabled the team to make new acquaintances friends on and off the field and play cricket in a country that is currently without question, the world champion of cricket.

The promotion of sport in the Royal Navy has always been a priority to foster team spirit and it is intended that this will long continue to be the case.

Neptune's Cricketing Success
The name of HMS Neptune is to be engraved on the Navy Cricket Cup for the first time in the history of the tournament.