The Ashes: Unveiling The Narrative Of Cricket's Most Celebrated Rivalry
The Ashes is not just a Test match series played between England and Australia; in fact, it is one of the oldest cricketing rivalries. It gained popularity through the inclusion of a small urn for which the teams compete to win.
The urn is said to have stayed at the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's Cricket Ground, and later on, it was shifted to the museum. Let us find out more about the famous Ashes story and its beginning.
Why the test series between England vs Australia called The Ashes?
'Ashes', the term, was birthed in the year 1882, the time when the England cricket team (on their home soil) was defeated by Australia for the very first time.
After the tragic defeat, English Cricket received a mock obituary by the Sporting Times declaring it in the following manner:
"In Affectionate Remembrance of English cricket, which died at The Oval on 29 August 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB – the body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia."
After that time, the English media dubbed the next tour of the English cricket team to Australia as a quest to regain the ashes.
Interesting Story behind the Literal Ashes
It was at the time of 1882-23 tour, a group of women belonging to Melbourne gifted a tiny terracotta urn to then English Captain Ivo Bligh.
Interestingly the urn was filled with cricket item ashes, the ashes are believed to be the ashes of the bail from the third match in the series.
Another interesting thing to note about this event is that during this same time Bligh met his future wife Florence Morphy. They married in the year 1884, returned with the urn to England.
The urn was kept safe for next 43 years resting peacefully on their family mantelpiece in Kent. To Bligh it was a sort of personal gift that he regarded and respected close to his heart and eyes until his death that the urn was then given to the MCC where it still can be seen placed in the Lords museum.
Yet another story or rather addition to the Ashes legend says that in the year 1998 as per the Bligh’s 82yo daughter-in-law was made to believe the ashes within the urn were not from the bail but they were supposedly from the remains of her mother-in-law’s veil.
Well whatever it might have been, but the truth is that it for sure makes an interesting story to anyone who is a fan of the Ashes.
Playing for the Ashes
England has maintained a tradition that the Ashes are to remain in their home country regardless of whatever the series may bring.
In 1990, the MCC, due to a lot of public attention and interest in the Ashes, commissioned a trophy that was created to resemble a Waterford crystal urn. This trophy was made for the teams to compete for.
Between 1998 and 1999, the Australian team under Mark Taylor became the first-ever team to win the crystal urn. Since then, the urn is competed for whenever the Ashes test series returns.