Canada Cricket History
Early DaysIt is generally thought that cricket was introduced to Canada by British soldiers after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, although the earliest confirmed reference to cricket is of matches played on Saint Helen's Island, Quebec in 1785 on what became the site of Expo 67.
The roots of modern Canadian cricket though come from the regions of Upper Canada, in particular Toronto, then known as York. During the early years of the nineteenth century, a schoolmaster by the name of George Anthony Barber encouraged the game there, and founded the Toronto Cricket Club in 1827. Barber instigated a game played between the Toronto Cricket Club and the cricket team of Upper Canada College in 1836, a game won by the college team. This game has been annually ever since. As already mentioned, Canada played its first international against the USA in 1844 in New York at St George's Cricket Club, now the site of the New York University medical centre.
Late 19th CenturyGeorge Parr led an English team to Canada in 1859, which was the first ever international cricket tour. A product of the tour was a book by Fred Lillywhite entitled "The English Cricketers’ Trip to Canada and the United States", published the following year. On the tour, which also ventured into the USA, the team won all five official matches against a 22 of Lower Canada (by 8 wickets at Montreal, Quebec on 26 October-27 September), a 22 of the United States (by an innings and 64 runs at Holboken, NY on 3-5 October), a different 22 of the United States (by 7 wickets at Philadelphia on 10-12 October), a 22 of Lower Canada (by 10 wickets at Hamilton, Ontario on 17 October-19 October) and a further 22 of the United States (by an innings and 68 runs at Rochester, NY on 21 October-25 October). There were also some exhibition matches and two excursions to view the Niagara Falls.
When Canada became a nation in 1867, cricket was so popular it was declared the national sport by John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada. Unfortunately, the influence of baseball from the United States saw a decline in the popularity of cricket, despite tours from English and Australian teams. The third tour by an English team in 1872 featured none other than the famous W. G. Grace. The first Australian team to tour came in 1877, and they returned in 1893 beating Canada by an innings. Three games were played against Ireland between 1888 and 1890, Ireland winning one, with the other two drawn. A tour of North America by the Australians in 1913 saw two first class games (both won by the tourists) against a combined Canada/USA team. The second of these, played at Rosedale, Toronto was the first first class match played in Canada.
1887 England tourAfter an unofficial tour in 1880, which saw the Canadian captain arrested during a game against Leicestershire and the tour abandoned, the first official tour of the United Kingdom by a Canadian team took place in 1887. The tour started with two matches against Ireland, against whom Canada drew one game and lost the other, followed by two matches against Scotland with the same result. The tour then ventured into the north east of England with a defeat against the Gentlemen of Northumberland and a draw against Durham.
The tour then continuted with various matches against county sides and others, with wins coming against the Gentlemen of Derbyshire and the Gentlemen of Warwickshire. The Canadian team finished the tour with a win/loss record of 2/5 with the remaining twelve games all drawn.
1950sThe Marylebone Cricket Club visited Canada in 1951, the highlight of which was the first first-class game played by the Canadian national team, played in Armour Heights, Toronto, which was won by the visiting side. This was followed in 1954 by a tour to England on which Canada played eighteen games, four of which were given first class status, including one against Pakistan who were also touring England at the same time. The MCC again visited Canada in 1959 under Dennis Silk, and played a 3-day game against a Canada XI in Toronto which they won by 10 wickets. They were undefeated throughout the tour, winning most of their matches by wide margins, but had a closely fought draw against the Toronto Cricket Club. However, it would be fifty years before Canada would next play a first class cricket match.
1960sThe annual series of matches between Canada and the USA continued, alternating between the countries. In the 1963 match in Toronto, Ray Nascimento scored 176, then a record for the series.
1970sCanada drew a game against Ireland in 1973, and the following year again embarked on a tour of England. The tour was a much lower profile than the 1954 tour, with the games being against club sides, county second XIs, and minor counties. Canada had a 4/6 win/loss record on the tour, with a further six games being drawn. In 1979, Canada participated in the first ICC Trophy. They reached the final of the competition, which qualified them for the 1979 World Cup, where they played their first One Day Internationals. The World Cup was not a successful tournament for the Canadians though, and they failed to progress beyond the first round, losing all three games.
1980sCanada participated in the ICC Trophy again in 1982 and 1986. They could not repeat their success of 1979 though, and failed to progress beyond the first round on both occasions. Other internationals in the 1980s include a no result game against Ireland in 1981, and a 3 wicket loss to Barbados.
1990sThe 1990s saw Canada progress up the international ladder, playing in three further ICC Trophy tournaments, their best being a seventh place finish in 1997. They also began competing in West Indian domestic one-day cricket in 1996, and competed in the Commonwealth Games cricket tournament in 1998, though they did not progress beyond the first round.
2000s2000 saw Canada host the first ICC Americas Championship, a tournament which they won. The following year they embarked on a tour to Sri Lanka, but the highlight of 2001 was their hosting of the ICC Trophy. They finished third in the tournament, which qualified them for the 2003 World Cup. It was this ICC Trophy tournament that first saw the emergence of John Davison, who was to become one of Canada's most successful players.
Canada played various matches in the build up to the World Cup, visiting Argentina in April 2002, finishing as runners up to long time rivals the USA in the Americas Championship, swiftly followed by a fifth place finish in the ICC 6 Nations Challenge in Namibia. The West Indian A team toured Canada later in the year, and Canada won the one-day series 2-1, and drew a two day game. This was followed by Canada's best performance to date in West Indian domestic one-day cricket, winning two games in their first round group, just missing out on qualification for the semi finals.
The World Cup itself was a tournament of contrasting fortunes for the Canadians. They started with their first ODI win, over Bangladesh. Two games later saw them dismissed for 36 against Sri Lanka, then the lowest score in one-day international history. The next game against the West Indies saw John Davison score the fastest ever World Cup century, although Canada lost that game, and did not progress past the first round.
Present Day2004 started badly for Canada, with a last place finish in the Six Nations Challenge in the United Arab Emirates after Canada lost all their games. They'd improved significantly by the time of the ICC Americas Championship in Bermuda, which they won. Also in 2004, Canada participated in the first ICC Intercontinental Cup, finishing as runners up to Scotland. The highlight of this tournament was the game against the USA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when John Davison recorded the best match bowling figures since Jim Laker's 19 wickets against Australia in 1956.
In 2005, Canada again finished third in the ICC Trophy, which gained them official ODI status from 2006 until the 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier, as well as qualifying them for the 2007 World Cup. Their performance in the Intercontinental Cup that year was not as good as in 2004 however, as they did not make it past the first round.
In 2006, Canada put in good performances in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup, beating Kenya by 25 runs and Bermuda by nine wickets, but their one day form was a complete reversal, losing three times to Bermuda and Kenya, and a further loss to Zimbabwe.
In August, Canada took part in the first Division of the Americas Championship. They beat Argentina and long time rivals the USA, but lost to the Cayman Islands and eventual winners Bermuda, and finished third, their worst performance so far in this tournament.
In June and July 2008, Canada will host Bermuda for three ODIs and Intercontinental Cup matches against Bermuda and Scotland. In August, Canada will travel to Ireland for an ODI and an Intercontinental Cup match.
World Cup* 1975: Did not participate
* 1979: First round
* 1983 to 1999 inclusive: Did not qualify
* 2003: First round
* 2007: First round
Intercontinental Cup* 2004: Runners up
* 2005: First round
Commonwealth Games* 1998: First round
ICC 6 Nations Challenge* 2002: 5th place
* 2004: 6th place
ICC Trophy* 1979: Runners up
* 1982: First round
* 1986: First round
* 1990: Second round
* 1994: Second round
* 1997: 7th place
* 2001: 3rd place
* 2005: 3rd place
ICC Americas Championship* 2000: Won
* 2002: Runners up
* 2004: Won
* 2006: 3rd place