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History of cricket in Chile

Cricket is recorded as having first been played in Chile between the officers and men of two British Royal Navy vessels in the coastal city of Valparaíso in 1829. The country's oldest club, Valparaíso Cricket Club was founded in 1860 and regular fixtures took place between Valparaíso, Concepción and the Prince of Wales Country Club throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, before the exodus of British expatriates in the post-war years led to the game's steady decline.

The game's heyday came in the 1920s when 'Plum' Warner captained a touring side against a Valparaíso XI, and future England captain Freddie Brown started out his cricketing career at St. Peter's School in Viña del Mar. However, from the 1960s onwards, cricket was barely kept alive by a group of dedicated expatriates, until 2001 when Chile joined the ICC and launched its ambitious development programme to take the game to the local population.

International competition

The first international fixture between Chile and Argentina was played in 1893 when it reportedly took the Argentine side three and a half days to reach Santiago, crossing the Andes by mule. Chile now possesses a rich history of international cricket, including three visits by the MCC, in 1960, 2001, and 2007. In 2006, Chile played in its first ICC tournament, the ICC Americas Championship Division 3 held in Suriname, where it finished third to the hosts and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 2008, promotion eluded them only on net run-rate, while in 2009-10, it finished with just one win in three matches ? meaning another Division 3 campaign awaits in 2011.

Domestic competition

Chile's main domestic competition is the Metropolitan Cup, contested by six teams: Santiago, Las Condes, La Dehesa, La Reina, Estacion Central and Viña del Mar. The competition was first played in 2001-2002, and now also has a Second Division of four teams.

Chile also has an annual Beach Cricket competition, which in 2009 won the Spirit of Cricket award.

Development programme

In the 2006 ICC Development Awards, Chile was chosen as having the best overall development programme in the Americas region. Launched in 2001, the development programme places huge emphasis on the importance of nurturing grassroots cricket. Over 15 schools are now involved in the programme and, since its inception, it is estimated that over 3,000 children have been introduced to cricket, several of whom have progressed to play senior cricket for one of the Metropolitan Cup sides.

As a result of the development programme, Chile can now boast national sides at U13, U15 and U19 levels, all of which play regular fixtures against Associate neighbours, Argentina. In 2009, a Chilean U15 side defeated a visiting Falkland CC team.