Association Française de Cricket (France Cricket / AFC)
CRICKET IN FRANCE
Officially, cricket arrived in France in the second half of the 19th century; however there are records showing the emergence of the sport, as early as the 15th century. Historians claim that it is actually the tiny village of Liettres in Northern France which hosted the first recorded game of cricket in 1478, almost a century before the game’s official debut on a village green in Surrey. A letter penned by Frenchman Estiavannet and addressed to King Louis XI in 1478 clearly references terms such as ‘criquet’ (wooden post) and ‘boules’ (balls).
By the 1890s, cricket was well enough established in France to support a thriving league of around a dozen teams featuring players comprised of mainly British expatriates. The Standard Athletic Club (SAC) played an important part in cricket’s growth, having an active cricket team since 1893. It is also famous for providing the bulk of players to the French National Team who took part in cricket’s only Olympic appearance at the 1900 Paris Games, squaring off against the British for a winner takes all clash.
In 1910, France participated in a triangular tournament in Brussels alongside Netherlands and Belgium. They won their only game against the Dutch by 63 runs. With cricket continuing to display encouraging signs of growth, Fédération Française de Cricket was formed in 1920. However, the onset of WWII delivered a deathly blow to the sport. Many French clubs folded and for a long time SAC was one of the few torchbearers which still practised cricket.
Immigration from Britain and South Asia revived the domestic French scene in the 1980s. The French Cricket Association was reformed and joined ICC as an Affiliate Member in 1988. Internationally, the rejuvenated French team started participating regularly in ICC tournaments winning the European Championships in 1993.
In recent times, Association Française de Cricket hade made special efforts to introduce cricket to the schools system. There is a flourishing men’s national T20 league, featuring players mainly of South Asian heritage. Since 2011, “Coupe de France Féminine” has also been established as part of a continuing commitment to develop the women’s game in France. The first ever representative French women’s team dubbed “les Dames de France” made their official debut against the Jersey women’s team in 2011 at Samur before a return leg in Jersey, two years later.
Some notable French performances include the male youth team winning the U18 European Tournament In 2001. Additionally, the French U19 men’s team have won the European championships in 2012 and 2014.
In 2019, France hosted a 4-team Women’s T20 International series in Nantes, which were the first T20i matches (across men’s and women’s) to be hosted in France. The event, which also comprised Austria, Jersey and Norway, was won by France, who won five of their six matches. This helped the French Women’s National Team rise to 40th in the ICC T20i Team Rankings, and they are currently the 5th ranked Associate team in Europe. In 2021, the French Women’s National Team will be competing for the first time in an ICC event, coming up against Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany and Turkey in the ICC Women’s Europe Qualifier.
First men’s international match: vs. Great Britain, Paris, 19-Aug-1900 (At the Olympics)
Major international victories:
vs. Netherlands, Brussels, 26-Jun-1910
Winning the European Championship in 1993
vs. Germany, Zuoz, 23-Aug-1997
vs. Portugal, Utrecht, 30-Aug-2018
Leading men’s international players: Frederick Delius, Simon Hewitt (1989 – 2001), David Bordes, Paul Wakefield (1996 – 2001), Waseem Bhatti (2004–2015), Arun Ayyavooraju, Jean-Luc Lambourdiere
Men’s division 1 T20 / division 2 T20 / Division 3 T20 / division 4 T20
French Cups :
Coupe de France Féminine – T10 (Women’s)
Coupe de France Masculine – T50 (Men’s Senior)
Coupe de France U19 – T20
Coupe de France U16 – T20
WCL/World Cup History: N/A
First women’s international match: vs. Jersey, Saumur, 2011
Major international victories: Winning the T20I Quadrangular Series vs Austria, Jersey & Norway, at Nantes, 2019
Leading women’s international players: Emmanuelle Brelivet (2013 – current), Jennifer King (2013 – current), Isabelle Costaz-Puyou (2011 – current)
League formats: T20 and Coupe de France Féminine (Women’s French Cup) – T10
World Cup History: N/A
Dreux Cricket Ground, Dreux
Terrain de Cricket, Parc du Grand Blottereau, Nantes
Lisses Cricket Ground, Lisses
Château de Thoiry Cricket Ground, Thoiry
Aulnay Cricket Ground, Aulnay-sous-Bois