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History of cricket in St Helena

It is not clear when cricket was introduced to St Helena Island, but there are references to it being played on the island in the early part of 1844. The earliest records so far discovered, however, are the minutes of the meetings of the St Helena Cricket League, which date from 1903. It would seem from these minutes that the St Helena Cricket League was the governing body regulating the game on the island. There were local teams centred in the major areas of population, such as the capital, Jamestown and various regiments of the British Army garrisoned on St Helena from time to time.

In 1934, the St Helena Cricket Club was formed to be the umbrella organisation controlling both the league and the district competitions. The island's governor at the time appears to have been instrumental in this and both he and his successor involved themselves in the management activities of the club over the years leading up to the Second World War. The senior clergy and members of the prominent families on the island also took a close interest in the administration of cricket throughout those four decades of the 20th century. The common theme from those early records of 1903 to the end of the 1930s was the financial difficulty the administrators had in the provision and replacement of the matting wickets

Both World Wars brought increases in the military establishment on the island and this corresponded to increases in the number of cricket teams. There were 15 teams participating at one point in the 1940s. In 1958, the St Helena Cricket Club was replaced by the St Helena Cricket Association (SHCA), which still operates today.

In 1995, Governor David Smallman, a member of the MCC and the Queen's Park Cricket Club in the West Indies, became the president of the SHCA. It was he who was prominent in getting the association to become an Affiliate of the ICC by piggy-backing on the ACA, as he knew that the available funding of the SHCA would not allow it to become an Affiliate of its own accord. The constitution of the SHCA was finalised and adopted in November 1998.

International Competition

St Helena has never been involved in international cricket. The SHCA has only needed to utilise a team for playing against visiting British and South African naval ships. This has been on a very infrequent basis.

Domestic Competition

There is only one designated sports field on the island. This is utilised for six months of the year for cricket competitions and the remaining six months for football. There are three cricket competitions - league, knock-out and district. The season starts in November/December and ends in May/June.

Development program

There is one secondary school on the island and three primary schools. There are no trained cricket coaches, but PE teachers do introduce cricket and dedicate half a term to playing it in each school. In the secondary school, there is usually a lunch time competition during the cricket season. New Horizons is a youth organisation that also develops cricket and they are sponsored by the SHCA for their annual competition.