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History of cricket in Germany

Cricket was known in Germany from the late eighteenth century, but the first club, Berlin CC where the real centre was, was founded by English and American residents the 1850s. A close link existed between cricket and football, also an English import, as seen when the German Football and Cricket Federation (DFCB) was formed in Berlin in 1891. In 1912 came the first separate cricket body, the Deutsche Cricket Bund (DCB), representing teams from Berlin, Nuremberg, Furth, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Hamburg. Unfortunately, the original federation did not last and it was 76 years later that the modern DCB was formed.

Touring teams came to Germany as early as the 1860s, the first was from Paris. In 1890 a Danish team visited, in 1900 a team from Edinburgh toured, 1905 saw the arrival of the first Dutch team and the first English team, and Leicester CC visited Berlin in 1911. Cricket continued in the inter-war period with visits going between Germany and England.

After 1945, it was mainly cricket played and organised by the British forces in Germany which kept the game alive. Four civilian teams still existed in Berlin, BSV 92, Germania 88, Preussen and Victoria 89, there is some mention of cricket being played in Aachen, Bremen, Cologne and Magdeburg, but details are scant. Touring teams still came to play on military bases: Cryptics, MCC, Butterflies, Indian Gymkana, Free Foresters, Stragglers of Asia, New Zealand Cricket Council and the Emus.

It was largely Commonwealth immigration into Germany from the 1960s which led to a renewed wider interest in cricket. By the 1980s ex-patriot cricket was established in and around a number of major cities and this, added to a fledgling interest in cricket in some schools and universities, paved the way for the 'second' DCB, in 1988. Representatives of eight clubs signed the document which created the modern DCB. In 1991 the DCB became an ICC Affiliate member and progressed to become an Associate member in 1999.

International Competition

Shortly after its formation, the DCB began to participate in international cricket. There was a tour to Denmark in 1990; and, following the inception of the European Cricket Federation (ECF), in 1989, the DCB played fixtures against Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Belgium. In 1991 the DCB became an ICC Affiliate member.

Germany hosted the first ECF Nations Cup in Berlin in 1993, losing a closely fought final to France. The Nations Cup was played four times (1993 Berlin, 1995 Oxford, 1996 Osnabrück and 1997 Zuos, Switzerland) and Germany was runner-up on three of the four occasions. The runners-up position in Zuos allowed Germany, as an ICC Affiliate, to play in the 'B' group of the new ICC European Championships, inaugurated in the Netherlands in 1998. There, Germany recorded victories over ICC Associates, France (twice), Gibraltar and Israel, but a single loss, to Italy, meant it finished runner-up in its group.

In 1999, Germany became an ICC Associate member. A year later it took part in the second European Championships held in Glasgow, now as an Associate member, and again finished second in the 'B' group. This pattern was repeated in 2002 in the third European Championship held in Belfast. In 2004, in Antwerp, Belgium, Germany came third, equal on points with France in second place, but having lost the group game to the French. The 2006 tournament, held in Glasgow, Scotland, saw Germany again placed third, after winning its group to reach the semi-finals. This third place qualified it for Division five of the ICC's World Cricket League. The tournament, held in Jersey in May 2008, saw Germany placed 7th out of the 12 competing nations, with wins in its league over Norway, Vanuatu and Mozambique and losses to Nepal and USA. In the 5/6th play off Germany lost to Botswana in a dramatic finish by nine runs and beat Mozambique once again in the 7/8th play-off game.

In August, 2008 Germany took part in the European 2nd Division Championships, held in Guernsey and because of illness and work commitments, it had to make six squad changes from the WCL team of May. At the end of the tournament Germany was in 5th position in the six-team league, winning just one game against Croatia - its lowest showing ever in a European Championship. It had been until that point the most successful team remaining in the newly-named European 2nd Division, winning 16 of the 24 games played and losing only eight. The record was now 17: 29: 12. This result meant that Germany lost its WCL status - relegated from the 5th division and out of the competition completely until the chance for re-entry came in 2010.

The European Division 2 championship in 2010, held in Guernsey, saw Germany placed second and so secure re-entry into the World Cricket League Division 8 as being the highest placed non-embedded European WCL team after that championship.

In November 2010, Germany thus travelled to Kuwait where it topped its league group, and, although losing in the final to Kuwait, gained promotion to WCL Division 7. This was played in Botswana in April/May 2011. Germany came out of the tournament in third place, which was not enough for promotion to Division 6, but was a success as it meant that the team would stay in Division 7 and contest that league again in 2013. It also secured for Germany an ICC ranking of 39th in the world.

WCL Division 7, in 2013, was again played in Botswana.  The German team went winless through the tournament and was relegated to Division 8.  As Division 8 was subsequently  discontinued, however, it meant that Germany would once again have to seek re-entry to the WCL through regional European competition.   

Back on the European stage, Germany played in the inaugural ICC European Division 1 (T20) held on Jersey/Guernsey in July 2011. It was placed in a 12 team Division 1, from which the top two teams would have the opportunity to take part in the ICC World Twenty20 qualification games in 2012. Although Germany managed the highest score of the tournament - 222 for 7 against Croatia - it had to be content with 10th place overall.  

This meant that Germany kept its place in Division 1, but in the 2013 tournament played in Sussex, England, Germany came 4 th in its Group B games, and, although it won the 7/8 play-off against Norway, was relegated to Division 2.  

The following year in 2014 Germany went through the Division 2 tournament, played in Essex, England, without a win and so was relegated to Division 3.  As the European tournament structure will change from 2016, however, Germany will not play in Division 3, but in Division 2 in 2016.

In all this international activity, two events are particularly worthy of mention: participation in the ICC Trophy in Toronto in 2001, at the end of which Germany came out with an Associate ranking of 17/18, shared with Malaysia; and, after winning a European tournament in and around Worksop in 1993, Germany was rewarded with a game against MCC at Lord's, making it one of the few continental European countries to have played on the main square there, and it secured a draw.

As well as senior international cricket, Germany has also participated regularly in European Cricket Council (ECC formed in 1997) youth tournaments since their inception in 2000, at U13, U15, U17 and U19 level, winning the U19 Colts tournament in Edinburgh in 2000, the inaugural U15 2nd division championship in Berlin 2001 and the U17 2nd division in Gibraltar, in 2002. In August 2008 Germany hosted the ICC-Europe U17 2nd Division Championship at Düsseldorf, Bochum, Bonn and Mönchengladbach in North Rhine Westphalia. Since then German youth teams have participated annually in a number of European International tournaments.  The high point in these games came in 2015 when the U19 team won for the first time since 2000 a European  tournament in this age group in  a tournament in Belgium involving Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland.    

Domestic Competition

The structure of the DCB is based on its cricketing regions. There are six of these:-

Bayrischer Cricket Verband, Berlin Cricket Komitee, Hessischer Cricket Verband Norddeutscher Cricket Verband , West Deutscher Cricket Verband and Baden - Württemberg Cricket Verband. All have a senior league and the winners of the leagues play off annually for the German championship. A championship has taken place since 1990. There is also an inter-regional championship. Twenty20 has made rapid progress in the regions and all now have a competition using the short form of the game. A national Twenty20 for the regional champions started in 2009.

In 2015 the DCB inaugurated a ‘Super Series’ Twenty/20 competition in which representatives of the BCV and the BWCV regions played as the “Alpine Tigers”, the BCK and NCV as “Northern Lights” and the HCV and WDCV as “Western Eagles” This was a highly successful venture with “Western Eagles” emerging as the winners. 

Today, with its 70 members and 6 regional associations the DCB shows a remarkable growth since 8 clubs formed the DCB in 1988.

Development programme

The DCB has from the start furthered development by encouraging clubs to have youth sections, by giving cricket exhibitions in schools and helping them to start cricket activities in their schools. After a slow gestation period this is now bearing fruit in all the cricket regions and ever-more schools request the involvement of the DCB, latterly to provide teacher in-service courses on cricket. In 2007, the DCB project 'Cricket to German Schools' won an ICC-Europe Development Award. Two years later it was awarded another ICC Europe honour: for the 'Best Junior Cricket Initiative'.

In 2008, in order to develop junior cricket and as one way of linking together schools cricket from the different cricket regions of Germany, a National Schools Indoor Championship was set up and held at Schloss Holte-Stuckenbrock, in NRW. It proved a great success and in 2011 it celebrated its third year as a key part of the DCB's indoor cricket season.

The ICC European Development Programme's has provided invaluable help in this area by its subsidising of Kwik Cricket sets and Flicx pitches and other equipment. In senior cricket, clubs have been helped with improving their facilities, coaching courses are regularly on offer as are umpiring and scoring courses.

Women's Cricket Integration

In 2005 the DCB reorganised its committee to include a women's officer with the responsibility of developing women's cricket. The success was almost instantaneous. Several clubs formed a women's section and in schools equal emphasis was placed on coaching girls as well as boys. An inaugural women's championship was played in 2006 and continues to be an annual event.

Germany won the ICC/ECC European development award in 2006 for its women's development programme. In 2007 an U17 international indoor women's tournament was organised with great success in Oldenburg, with four German teams (Munich, Oldenburg, Schwerin and Berlin, two school teams from England and the Dutch U17 national team. This tournament first won the ICC-Europe award for women's cricket development and then went on to win an ICC Global Award. A second indoor international tournament was held in Brandenburg/ Potsdam in 2008 and a third in Oldenburg in February 2009 - both with great success. Another women's international tournament, this time for hardball cricket played outside, involving teams from Germany, Austria, Hungary and England, and held in Munich, when linked with the general development of women's cricket in Germany and the formation of a women's national team, won, in 2009, first an ICC Europe regional development award and then went on to take an ICC Global Development Award.

Since that time club and regional tournaments have been held each year in domestic hard-ball cricket, and in 2015 a new Twenty/20 women’s “Super Series” competition took place for the first time with the “Rubies” verses the “Diamonds” with “Rubies” just edging the series.

International fixtures have also increased since the tentative beginnings in 2009 and tournaments involving European countries has seen the German team competing  in tournaments in Belgium, the Netherlands, Jersey and on home soil in Berlin.  The latter tournament in 2014 was a highlight.  Played in the Olympic Stadium’s Maifeld it  

attracted teams from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy and Jersey. The German team took a notable 2nd place.  Its record in the European tournaments to date has been won 1(2011),runners-up 3 (2012,2013,2014) and 3rd, once (2015). 

German cricket will not, however, be complacent about the growth it has achieved and will continue to strive to realise the great potential which exists for cricket in this very sporting country. The particular wish is to attract more young Germans, male and female, into the game; but the DCB's cricket ambitions will continue to be to further cricket from grassroots to international level, to help provide an environment in which cricket can grow and be enjoyed in Germany by all in the true spirit of the game, and, at international level, to take its place as a leading Associate. Its motto is: "Cricket for Everyone".