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Cricket is a game played with bat and ball in an open field by two teams of eleven players each. Long regarded as quintessentially English, the game seems to have developed in late mediaeval times in the agricultural south-eastern and central southern counties of England, where the necessary level open spaces were readily available; the earliest definite reference to the game is in a legal document from Guildford (Surrey) dated 1598, in which 'creckett' is said to have been played some fifty years before. Cricket was at first a game for country-folk, but in the second quarter of the eighteenth century it began to be taken up by gentlemen; Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-1751), father of King George III, was an early enthusiast. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), based in north London, has given laws to the game since about 1790.

(To be continued)

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