The History of Sport 1889 and 1890

Some of the major events in sport from 1889 and 1890


Preston North End win the inaugural Football League championship unbeaten (an
achievement that will not be equalled until 2003–04 by Arsenal). Preston also wins the
FA Cup without conceding a goal to become the first team ever to complete The Double. The team earns the nickname of “Invincibles”

The Football Alliance is founded as a rival to the Football League. It is short–lived and collapses in 1892 when the Football League expands.

Celtic reaches the Scottish Cup final in the club’s inaugural season.

John L. Sullivan defeats Jake Kilrain after 75 rounds in the last major bareknuckle contest. Some authorities recognise it as a world title contest although it is fought under London Prize Ring Rules rather than the now-accepted Queensberry Rules.  The fight lasts 2 hours 16 minutes.

South Africa plays its inaugural Test match against the touring England national cricket team. England wins by 8 wickets. The match also marks the beginning of first-class cricket in South Africa where the Currie Cup is inaugurated as the premier domestic competition.

The inaugural rugby union county championship is played (won by Yorkshire).

William Renhsaw wins his seventh Wimbledon singles title, and eighth doubles title with his brother.

The longest recorded tug-of-war pull (2 hours and 41 minutes) takes place at Jubbulpore, India between E Company and H Company of the 2nd battalion Sherwood Foresters.

First bobsleigh race takes place at Davos, Switzerland.

First racing bicycle with pneumatic tyres ridden by W.Hume at Queen’s College, Belfast.



American Football. The first Army–Navy Game is played. Navy wins 24–0

The Scottish Football League (SFL) is founded as one division of 10 teams.

Football goal nets are devised by J.Brodie and used for the first time in a match between Bolton and Nottingham Forest.

Scotland beat England in the first ever water-polo international at Kensington Baths.

Konrad Koch introduces handball in its present form.

Baseball – The Players’ League, initiated by the players’ union, competes with the
National League and American Association. It signs numerous leading players and is
arguably the strongest league, but it survives for only one season.

The 1890 English cricket season is the first in which the County Championship is
held officially. The champion county is Surrey who win nine out of fourteen games.

John Ball became the first English-born player to win The Open Championship in 1890,
and in the same year won his second Amateur, the first to win both titles in the same

The first ever women’s lacrosse game is played at the St Leonards School in Scotland.  The Iroquois Cup (English Club lacrosse championship) is inaugurated.

The game of pool starts to be standardised.


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