The Philadelphia Cricket Club (PCC), the oldest country club in the US, was founded in 1854 by University of Pennsylvania grad Rotch Wistar.
Ivy League schools founded some of the earliest sports teams in America, cricket teams – University of Pennsylvania in 1842, Princeton in 1857 and Harvard in 1868.
PCC played cricket in Camden, NJ until 1883 when the current location was donated by Henry H. Houston. Many University of Pennsylvania,Harvard, Princeton & other Ivy students & graduates played for the Philadelphia Cricket Club, and it was one of the fields John Bart King played on. The cricket team was disbanded in 1924, but revived in 1998.
The PCC became one of the Founding members of the US Tennis Association in 1881, and hosted the women’s & doubles Championships (which later merged with the men’s championship to be the US Open) for many years. It is also a golf pioneer & hosted the US Open Golf Championships in 1907 & 1910. Nearby Merion Golf Club will host the 2013 US Open Golf.
Thanks to the Philadelphia Cricket Festival, begun in 1993, the historical country clubs of the Philadelphia, Merion & Germantown Cricket Clubs, though for decades primarily devoted to golf & tennis, have once more become home to cricket. Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Richard Hadlee, Fred Trueman, Derek Underwood, Shaun Pollock and Shiv Chanderpaul are among the greats who have graced the Festival and these grounds over the past 20 years.
One of the US’s best batsman, George Patterson, played for PCC. Patterson held the record for the highest score in North America, of 271, and captained the Gentlemen of Philadelphia on their first tour of England in 1884. USA cricketer & Baseball Hall of Famer George Wright was a cricket professional (coach) at PCC. Wright is America’s greatest 2-sport athletes, having played both cricket & baseball at their highest levels. Wright also began the Cincinatti Reds & major league baseball, as well as brought ‘lawn’ tennis back from England where it was invented in the 1870s.
The current buildings replaced the originals which burnt in a fire in 1909.
This will be the setting for the American College Cricket Ivy League Championship, as the Final Four & Final will be played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club on Sunday, Sept 29 2013. The 2 venues for Saturday 28th are to be confirmed. Presenting sponsor is Coca Cola, with supporting sponsor Dish Network. TV Asia will televise.
In a statement Tom Culp, Princeton ‘69, Wharton MBA ‘74 said,‘As the longtime recent Captain of the Philadelphia Cricket Club cricket team, and a graduate of two Ivy League schools- Princeton and Penn, I am especially proud the PCC is hosting the Ivy League Championship this year !’
American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah said, “Bringing together the history of the Ivy League schools and the Philadelphia Cricket Club in cricket was a highly prized goal of American College Cricket, and thanks to Fred Levin,Tom Culp and the members of the Philadelphia Cricket Club college cricketers will play in the steps of their predecessors.”
Bottom photos : Shiv Chanderpaul batting at the Philadelphia Cricket Club
David Sentance at Merion Cricket Club
Cricket at the Philadelphia Cricket Club sometime before 1909.
Sources : David Sentance (Cricket in America 1710 – 2001), & Wikipedia.