How to bowl a maiden over in Corfu

Now I know many of you have visited the immensely popular Greek island of Corfu, probably for a summer beach holiday, and you have whiled away many hours doing nothing, believing you were doing nothing in a supremely Greek environment. Well, in a sense you were right, but did you know…………….

…that Corfu has a 200 year old tradition of playing cricket? I kid you not….. Not only do they play cricket, but their main cricket pitch is right bang in the middle of the main town square in the capital, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. I was astonished. How on earth did this uniquely eccentric English sport enter the culture and heritage of a Greek island?

Well, the answer is straightforwardly connected with imperialism. Corfu had been occupied by the British for some 50 years at the beginning of the 19th century, and on St George’s Day, April 23rd 1823, the first game was played by the naval forces on the town’s main square……. and there began the tradition.

The island now has five teams, promotes the sport actively through its school curricula, and welcomes teams from around the world.

Now tell me, what is the Greek for silly mid-off, square leg, googly, backward point, bowl a maiden over?

And how do they handle the following explanation of the hallowed game: ‘Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when
he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out?

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on December 23, 2013, in Eastern Mediterranean and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is fascinating. At the risk of boring you, and striking your readership as a complete and utter cricket anorak (guilty as charged), can I paste in the following from google:

    The Hellenic Cricket Federation (Greek: Ελληνική Ομοσπονδία Κρίκετ) is the governing body of cricket in Greece. The current President is Joseph Nikitas. Greece was accepted into the European Cricket Council (ECC) in 1995. The federation’s headquarters are on the island of Corfu where Greek cricket is mainly played.

    Cricket was brought to Greece by the English who occupied the Ionian Islands for 50 years. Many of the players and coaches are Pakistanis, but there are also several British and Australian expats who play. Greece came runners-up in the 2005 European Affiliates Championships that took place August of that year. However the Greek team was relegated to the fourth division in the European Championships, and banned from playing for a year, due to illegally having unregistered players of Australian descent in the team.

    Greece has 15 official clubs of which 13 are on Corfu, one is in Athens and one is in Thessaloniki. Cricket has been played in Corfu since 1823 but remains a minor sport in Greece, with almost no media coverage around the country.

    In early September 2012 the European Division 2 T20 Championships were held in Corfu. Hellas was captained by former Hampshire wicketkeeper Nic Pothas.

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