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2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
USA vs Canada - World's Oldest Sports Rivalry

By Lloyd Jodah
Jan. 24th, 2010
In 1844 one of the most important events in world history took place in Manhattan, NY in the area of what is now 31st street and 1st avenue. What was so important about this event? It was the first time in mankind's history that two countries stepped onto a field to do battle against each other, in a game, not a war. The two countries were the USA and Canada, and the game was cricket. As many as 20,000 spectators watched the game (a huge number based on the population of that time).

Team USA

This first 1844 International cricket match, USA vs Canada, became an annual event that lasted for about 60 years. It was the beginning of international sports whereby nations could express their pride, and assert their supremacy over other nations, not by shooting guns and killing men, but by playing a game. Man's aggressiveness and testosterone now had a peaceful outlet. It's symptomatic of cricket's current Cinderella status in these two countries, that neither Canada nor the USA remembers or celebrates this important event - but we can begin to commemorate the event now.

On Friday the USA and the Canadian Under-19 teams were set to play each other and whilst disappointingly it was not being broadcast, and very few Canadians or Americans were aware of the game, it shaped up to be a hotly contested match. Team USA wanted to avenge their loss to Canada in the World Cup Qualifiers in King City, Ontario last summer. But then the USA had also lost that first match in 1844.

The venue of this Under-19 World Cup match was McLean Park, a Test cricket ground on the North Island of New Zealand. There is always some electricity when these two Teams play each other, and here was the rare opportunity to compete on a Test ground. The boys were fired up. Heavy rain overnight delayed the start, and eventually the game was reduced to a 23-overs match.The USA Team fancied its chances even more in that length of a game.

Team Canada

Seeing the competitive sparks that fly between these two teams makes one wonder when will the annual rivalry be revived? Both countries need more cricket, and being next to each other, logistically it seems like a no-brainer to have a vibrant rivalry, which would also have some marketability. Annually there could be a 20/20 series, an ODI series, and even a Thre-day "Test" on a holiday weekend. Certainly the 20/20 series could be marketed to the American and Canadian public beyond cricket fans.

Friday however the battle was not to be, the game was abandoned after the USA Team had batted only three overs when it started to rain again. Steven Taylor and Andy Mohammed were the not out opening batsmen, with USA being 13/0. Once again Henry Wardley was omitted. Wardley scored 54 against Papua New Guinea and together with Taylor gave USA a great start in the game that the batting line-up performed best.

With this washout Canada, which finished third in Group C goes through to the next stage,while the USA which finished fourth in Group B will play-off for 12th to 16th places. But we still have the rest of 2010 for the two countries, on another ground, in another country, to meet again at high noon!

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