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Cricket, Competition and the Amateur Ethos: Surrey and the Home Counties 1870-1970

Stone, Duncan (2013) Cricket, Competition and the Amateur Ethos: Surrey and the Home Counties 1870-1970. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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By the late-nineteenth-century, cricket had a well-established national narrative. Namely; that the game‘s broadly pre-industrial, rural, and egalitarian culture had been replaced by the 'gentlemanly‘ ethos of amateurism; a culture which encouraged cricket for its own sake and specific norms of 'moral‘ behaviour exemplified by idioms‘ such as 'it‘s not cricket‘. A century later, much of this narrative not only remained intact, it survived unchallenged. However, a regionally specific sub-narrative had emerged in relation to cricket outside of 'first-class‘ Test and County cricket.

Cricket in the North was 'Working class‘, 'professional‘, 'commercialised‘, and played within highly 'competitive‘ leagues, while cricket in the South was 'middle-class‘, 'amateur‘, 'non-commercial‘, and played in non-competitive 'friendly‘ fixtures. Whereas cricket in the North has attracted a good deal of academic attention, there remains a paucity of contextualised academic research of cricket in the South. Due to assumed social and cultural similarities, the so-called 'friendly‘ cricket of the South remains subsumed within the national narrative. Whereas we now know a good deal about who played cricket, and why, in the North, we know little, if anything, of those who played cricket, why they did so, and under what circumstances, in the South. This thesis, which focuses on the County of Surrey, thus examines the social and cultural development of 'club‘ cricket in the South for the first time.

In order to test the historical assumption that cricket in the South replicated the gentlemanly amateurism inherent to the game‘s national culture and historical discourse, this thesis shall not only examine the origins of these important cultural 'identities‘, but who was playing cricket, and under what social, environmental, economic, and cultural circumstances, in Surrey between 1870 and 1970. In basic terms, it will demonstrate that much of the historiography proves misleading, especially regarding the universality of non-competitive cricket. Moreover, this thesis will also establish that the introduction, implementation, and spread of non-competitive cricket was a class-specific and discriminatory ideology, which had close associations with the middle-classes‘ increasing insecurity and their migration to Surrey. The ideological basis upon which non-competitive cricket was based, was to have fundamentally negative repercussions relating to the game‘s cultural meaning and popularity, and the 're-introduction‘ of competitive league cricket to the South in 1968 may well have saved the sport from a slow and agonising extinction.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Rosemary Wood
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 16:04
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2015 01:36


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