The History of Sport: 1881 and 1882

Some of the notable events in sports in the years 1881 and 1882


Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers both change their venues to enclosed grounds where gate money can be charged.  This helped to pave the way for fully professional teams. 

Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut, becoming the world’s first black international football player.

The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world’s oldest international sport federation, is founded.

Wales play their first rugby international but lose to England 69-0 at Blackheath.  A record score for a home international match.

First U.S. National Singles Championship, precursor of the US Open tennis championships, won by Dick Sears.

The amateur rider Charlie Cunningham rides a record six winners at one meeting under National Hunt rules at Rugby racecourse.

The first international luge competition is held at Klosters, Switzerland.

The first ski-school is established by Torjus and Mikkel Hemmesvedt in Christiania, Norway.

The first tobogganing club is established in Montreal.

The first Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) championships are held.



American Football develops further when Walter Camp proposes that a team be required to advance the ball a minimum of five yards within three downs. These down-and-distance rules, combined with the already-established line of scrimmage, transform the game.

Old Etonians 1–0 Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup final, the first time that a professional club has reached the final.

Queen’s Park win their third successive Scottish Cup.

England defeat Ireland 13-0 in Belfast.  The highest score in a home international football match.

Judo is first devised by Dr. Jigoro Kano in Tokyo as an amalgamation of several old Japanese fighting arts.

The first rules of snooker are drawn up by Sir Neville Chamberlain.

Charles G Tebbutt of the Bury Fen bandy club is responsible for the first published rules of bandy and also for introducing the game into the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as elsewhere in England.

John L Sullivan defeats Paddy Ryan in nine rounds at Mississippi City to claim the Heavyweight Championship of America. This is one of the the last major bareknuckle contests fought under London Prize Ring Rules.  Sullivan is the first boxer to have a manager, Billy Madden.

The first British ice-hockey club, Bluntisham and Erith Skating Hockey Club, is formed.

Bob Ferguson wins his third successive Open Golf title.

England v. Australia at The Oval. Australia wins by 7 runs with F.R.Spofforth taking 7–46 and 7–44. Soon afterwards,The Sporting Times prints its legendary obituary notice:

In Affectionate Remembranceof ENGLISH CRICKET,which died at the Ovalon 29th AUGUST, 1882,Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowingfriends and acquaintances—-R.I.P.—-N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.

The idea of The Ashes test series between England and Australia is born.


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