From the 'traditional' game to the 'modern sport'. First class cricket in change, 1945-1963

Copping, Laura (2008) From the 'traditional' game to the 'modern sport'. First class cricket in change, 1945-1963. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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As the title suggests there were many changes made to first-class cricket in England during the period 1945 to 1963 and the main aim of this study is to assess how far the game moved away from the 'traditional' and towards the 'modern' over this period.
The thesis explores themes such as the process of re-establishing the game after the Second World War, the problems of attracting support during an age of growing consumerism and the problematic financial situation at county level. Furthermore, the study discusses the attempts at internal reform of the game, both on and off the pitch. To facilitate the research for this and ftilfil the aims, a variety of primary sources have been used. These include the written press, Cricketer magazine, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, autobiographies and MCC minute books and reports.
Although the history of cricket is a popular subject, very little has been written on the period 1945 to 1963. However, it is argued in this thesis that the period was of great consequence to the game. It is argued that the changes, which were made during these years changed cricket forever and opened the door to a more financially astute form of the game. Perhaps the crucial overarching aspect of this study has been the investigation of the quest to improve the county cricket clubs financial situation and the means used to do so. This was specifically of major importance after 1950 when gate attendances at County Championship games declined and to some extent forced cricket's governing body, the MCC, in to action.
Despite the MCC's traditionally conservative tendencies during the post-war period and more specifically after 1960, it became rather pro-active and in a sense even radical. By 1963, the amateur and professional distinction had been abolished from first-class cricket, the one-day game was underway in the form of the Gillette Cup and there was an increasingly commercial presence in the sport. This study highlights that there can be no argument that 1963 was a watershed in the development of cricket, not just as a game but as an establishment, and that by 1963 it could truly call itself a 'modern' sport.

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