CRICKET IN OUR ACADEMY
A short history from 1880 to the present day
The first mention of cricket in Austria was during the late 19th century, when landscape gardeners, bankers and gasfitters worked in Vienna and enjoyed their favourite pastimes in Vienna. Soon Austrian clubs were formed in Vienna to cater for competitive cricket and football matches. The First Vienna Cricket and Football Club, which exists today as an athletics and tennis club (although it still uses the name of Vienna Cricket and Football Club!) dates back to the early 1890s. Cricket, however, ceased to be played within the club once the Anglo Bank closed with the onset of World War I.
Apart from some cricket being played by the occupying forces after the end of World War II, it was not until the 1970s when Kerry Tattersall formed Vienna Cricket Club in 1975, drawn initially from the school pupils of the Handelsakademie in Floridsdorf. The club’s first match was against the staff of the Austrian Embassy. The early clubs drew mainly on the diplomatic community, with the United Nations CC and Five Continents CC being the second and third clubs to form. Several more clubs soon followed, as the ex-pat community thrived on the availability of an organised league, played on covered matting pitches in football grounds in Vienna.
The Austrian Cricket Association was formed as the “Austrian Cricketers Association” on 4th September 1981 to oversee the development of the game, but it was not until 1995 that Austria was blessed with its first custom-built cricket ground at Seebarn near Vienna which fulfilled ICC regulations. Two other purpose-built cricket grounds followed in 1997 in Velden am Wörthersee and in 2001 in Vienna (Markomannenstrasse). By now there were around 375 active cricketers in 11 clubs playing league cricket under the auspices of the Austrian Cricket Association. Austria was a founder member of the European Cricket Federation and became an ICC affiliate in 1992. The Austrian national team first played in international competition in 1990, while the first home international was held against France in 1996 in Seebarn. The grounds at Seebarn, Latschach and Vienna’s 22nd district held several ECC / ICC sanctioned tournaments at the start of the 2000s.
Although the majority of Austria’s cricket clubs are from the Vienna area, there are also clubs in other federal provinces, most notably in Velden, Salzburg, and Graz. Today, more than 400 active adult players represent 16 clubs. There is an active youth section in several clubs, and women’s cricket is centred in Graz and Vienna.
The present future
After promotion from ICC Europe Division II in 2012, and also qualifying for the ICC World Cricket League Qualifier held in La Manga, Spain, Austria finished in 6th position in the ICC Europe Division 1 tournament held in Sussex in July 2013. Due to a reorganisation of the tournament structure, the national team will be playing in ICC Europe Division 2 in 2014.
The U17 team regularly plays at European level, and there is participation by all junior age groups in local tournaments. Austria maintains close contact to other developing cricket nations close by, particularly Slovenia (Ljubljana C.C. is a long-standing participant in the ACA Open League), Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. There are regular training programmes for umpires, scorers, and cricket coaches. Austria CC Wien is particularly active in Viennese schools and has several dedicated cricket coaches who maintain a daily cricket coaching programme at the Austrian Cricket Academy at the Markomannenstraße ground in Vienna, while Sri Lankan CC and Pakistan CC have also founded their own youth programmes.