What are the Top Sports Invented in England?

Sports born in England and now global sensations. Learn about origins of rugby, cricket, hockey, and table tennis and historical impact and modern prominence.

Often referred to as the “inceptors and champions of cricket”, England has continued to dominate a wide array of sports, including football, rugby and tennis, for centuries. The country’s unwavering passion for sports has led to the creation of legendary cricketers including Ian Botham, Jack Hobbs, Walter Hammond, the all-time greats of football including, Bobby Moore, David Beckham and Frank Lampard, and the stalwarts of tennis including, Cameron Noorie, Fred Perry and Andy Murray. While England as a country continues to rule the world of sports with its formidable athletes, the country has also contributed significantly to elevating the sports culture at a global level by introducing the most competitive sports in the world, in addition to cricket, which is one of the most viewed sports across the globe. 

In this article, we will take a look at the top four competitive sports that have been invented by England and are currently being displayed as crucial counterparts of the high-stake leagues and tournaments. 

  • Rugby

With prominent leagues and tournaments including the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations Championship, British and Irish Lions Tour, Super Rugby, Premier Rugby (England), and Pro14 United Rugby Championship, the sport of Rugby has gained an immense popularity and unmatched prominence among fans around the globe. Rugby was originally conceptualized by the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England in 1823. The legendary soccer player William Webb Ellis allegedly deviated from the norms and rules of soccer in a soccer match and ended up lifting the football and running for a goal with it, and that’s how the game of Rugby came into existence. In 1871, the Rugby Football Union was established to monitor the rules and regulations of the game that were largely similar to the rules of football with minor changes.

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  • Cricket

One of the most popular and prominent sports in the world with a viewership of billions around the globe, the game of cricket is believed to have its roots embedded in medieval England. During the 17th century, the game of bat and ball was extremely popular among the English aristocrats, and it was only in the early 18th century that the rest of the world started including cricket as a significant part of their sports culture. Before the 18th century, cricket was played in England only as a game to fritter away time. It was its rising popularity on a global scale that demanded the inceptors to regulate the game with a set of rules and guidelines. England claimed cricket as their national sport by the end of the 18th century. 

  • Hockey 

Although the invention claims of Egypt and Ireland often tend to overshadow the significance of England in the inception of Hockey, the country continues to be acknowledged as the ‘creator’ of hockey with a strong series of supporting events and evidence. The game of hockey has been a part of England’s sports culture since ancient times, but it was only at the end of the 19th century that the country decided to regulate the game professionally. According to reports, the first set of rules governing the game of hockey were drafted at Charterhouse School in Surrey, England, in 1852. Furthermore, with the establishment of the Hockey Association in England in 1886, hockey started gaining unprecedented popularity in the schools and universities of England, emphasizing physical strength and team unity. Currently, with intensely competitive hockey leagues and tournaments, including the England Hockey League (EHL), Investec Women’s Hockey League, Women’s Hockey League Conference North/South and Men’s Hockey League Conference North/South, the game of hockey is one of the most prominent games played in England.

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  • Table Tennis 

The game of tennis, also referred to as the game of “ping-pong”, was introduced in England in the late 19th century. Originally inspired by the widely recognized game of lawn tennis, table tennis was initially played as a game of commemoration by the upper class of England using books in the places of bats and champagne corks in the place of a tennis ball. With the growing prominence of the game among the masses, a wide-scale requirement was felt to formalize the game. As a result, the Table Tennis Association was formed in England in 1926, which was later renamed the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA), which currently plays a major role as a regulatory body of the sport. Table tennis witnessed a phenomenal surge in its popularity after being introduced as a competitive sport in England. The mid-20th century witnessed the sport of table tennis making its iconic breakthrough in the most reputed Olympic Games.