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The Empire Strikes Back: The Growth of Cricket in Hong Kong

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

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The growth of the British Empire introduced many new things to the world including the ‘gentlemen’s game’ of cricket. Widely recognised for teaching persistence, strength, camaraderie and sportsmanship, cricket is a sport now played by a staggering 220 million men and women across the globe. Second only to football in terms of the number of spectators it attracts, Cricket is a sporting and cultural phenomenon with lengthy ties to Hong Kong. “Cricket has a very long history in Hong Kong,” notes Mr Tom Woods, Chairman of Lamma Cricket Club. “Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC) was founded in the 1850s, followed by Kowloon Cricket Club (KCC) in the early 1900s and each of these two large clubs continues to prosper today.”

However, the face of Hong Kong cricket is evolving. It has come a long way from the Colonial days when it was played by a small number of British men dressed in traditional “whites” and carrying willow bats. Today, several hundred boys – and girls – of many different nationalities, including a growing number of enthusiastic Cantonese players, regularly enjoy a game. Judging by the increasing participation of local students and the sport’s soaring global appeal, cricket appears set to take-off in Hong Kong. Consequently stakeholders, including schools and clubs, are working closely together to ensure its long-term prosperity.

Malvern College UK has a proud cricketing history, one which Malvern College Hong Kong hopes to build on when it opens its brand-new campus in August 2018. “Cricket has a long and successful history at Malvern College UK,” says Dr Robin Lister, Headmaster at Malvern College Hong Kong (MCHK). “For many decades, the school has been renowned for its cricketing prowess, and members of the first eleven have established ready-made reputations to take with them when leaving school. Malvern has produced many quality players, the most notable being R.E. Foster, who remains the only man to have captained England at both cricket and football. With such a rich heritage, we are keen to continue this outstanding tradition at our Hong Kong campus.”

Dr Lister also explained that sport will form an important part of the school’s co-curricular programme. “Through participation in sport, pupils learn to build a healthy lifestyle and develop their social and leadership skills. It is these skills which will help them to develop confidence and character as they prepare for further education and to enter the workplace”

The state-of-the-art MCHK campus has a multi-purpose indoor sports hall featuring cricket lanes with special flooring which mimics the bounce of a real cricket pitch. Therefore, regardless of the weather conditions, pupils will have access to these outstanding facilities all year round. Lucita Lai, Cricket Development Coordinator at Cricket Hong Kong (CHK), the sport’s governing body here, is optimistic about the growth of the game at junior levels.

“Cricket Hong Kong is working closely with schools throughout Hong Kong to provide children with more chances to play cricket within the school curriculum, and also to expose them to tournaments run by cricket clubs,” Ms Lai told Top Schools. “Over the past few months, CHK has worked with various international schools to provide ‘taster’ sessions for their students during PE classes.” With this in mind, on 23rd June Malvern Hong Kong will host a ‘Cricket Experience Day’ in conjunction with CHK at Po Kong Village Road Park.

Cricket Experience Day on 21 July

Dr Robin Lister with Mr Mike Gatting OBE, former England cricket captain, when he visited Malvern College Hong Kong in April 2018.

As part of the ‘Experience Malvern’ series, the brand-new sports hall was the venue for the Cricket Experience Day on 21 July.

Coaches from Cricket Hong Kong taught the children the basics of the game – bowling, batting and fielding. Cricket has a long and successful tradition in Malvern College UK.

With such a rich cricketing heritage, MCHK will carry forward a love of the game in pupils. They may be able to spot a googly, dance down the wicket, or hit a six over long-off! If not, they will certainly have had lots of fun playing one of the world’s most popular sports.

MCHK will offer pupils many co-curricular activities ranging from sports to arts. They will have the opportunity to learn new skills, to experience companionship and teamwork and, at the same time, develop their individual personalities, their confidence, and their resilience.


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