The Ashes is cricket’s oldest rivalry and for good reason too. There is so much history between England and Australia, dating back to colonization times when England first colonized Australia and their rivalry still persists to this day. The 2019 Ashes is going to be one of the most watched events in England and Australia but why is the event called the Ashes?
The story has humorous origins that date back all the way to 1882. England and Australia were playing a cricket test when England lost for the very first time to Australia on home soil at the Oval. A newspaper called The Sporting Times printed a fake obituary that claimed that English cricket had died and that English cricket would be cremated and the ashes would be sent to Australia. The story became very popular with the English sporting crowd as they loved the story and the story had not gone away when it was time for England and Australia to play their follow up test in Australia from 1882-1883.
The English team captain, Hon Ivo Bligh, vowed to return to England with “the ashes” of English cricket from Australia and the English media proclaimed the matches as the quest to regain the ashes. The Australian captain, WL Murdoch, vowed to defend the ashes as well. England won two of the three scheduled tests in Australia. Bligh also played in a series of social matches with other amateur players while in Australia. After one match on Christmas Eve in 1882, at the Rupertswood Estate outside of Melbourne Bligh was given the now infamous Ashes urn. It is rumored that an Australian cricket ball was burned and put inside of the urn.
Interestingly enough, Bligh’s future wife, Florence Morphy was also in attendance at the event where Bligh received the ashes. A little more than a year later, Bligh and Morphy married in February 1884. Bligh and Morphy moved to England and took the ashes urn with them where it remained on the mantelpiece of their home until Bligh died nearly 43 years later. In Bligh’s will, it was stated that he wanted to donate the urn to Marylebone Cricket Club where it remains to this day at the MCC Museum at Lord’s.
Similar article: Ashes Test Stadiums 2019
It wasn’t until the 1990s that England and Australia decided that they wanted to play for an actual trophy. The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia decided to create a replica of the urn that Bligh owned so many years ago out of crystal. The trophy is now given out after every single Ashes competition to the captain of the winning team.
The Ashes trophy is arguably the smallest in all of the sports as it is only 15 cm (6 inches). It is rumored that a cricket ball was burned and placed in the original urn. The following text is on the urn:
When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.