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  Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 09:18 GMT
France lays claim to cricket
Not content to have the better football team and to snatch the Six Nations rugby crown from England last season - the French are now claiming to have invented cricket.

Retired vicars slumbering in deckchairs around village grounds will awaken with a jolt and splutter into their teas when they hear the suggestion that the noble game has a distinctly Gallic accent.


Cricket was born in the north of France and taken across the channel by English soldiers
M Marchois

But the thwack of leather against willow may never sound the same again after the claim from former president of the French Cricket Federation, Didier Marchois.

M Marchois says he has unearthed documents that show cricket was being played across the channel as early as the 13th century.

Off-duty soldiers apparently whiled away the hours before meeting a sticky end on the fields of Agincourt at the hands of the English bowmen with a quick 20-overs bash.

Other documents uncovered by M Marchois reveal that King Louis XI was asked to spare the life of a player who had unsportingly killed an opponent during a match in Calais in 1478.

And cricket was reputedly the favourite sport of The Sun King Louis XIV.

M Marchois also claims that the first recorded modern match is found in the archives of the Paris Cricket Club, dating back to 1864.

"Cricket was born in the north of France and taken across the channel by English soldiers who picked it up from us during truce periods in the Hundred Years War," Marchois told the Sunday Express, with a twinkle in his eye.

Only the French would have the gall to try and steal the most quintessentially English of sports.

See also:

19 Jul 01 | Funny Old Game
03 May 02 | Cricket
25 Feb 02 | Cricket
01 Feb 02 | Cricket
26 Nov 02 | Cricket
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