Cricket and island of Vis are not something one would expect to
hear in the same sentence but they occur together more often than one would guess. Ever wonder how it happened that one sport
characteristic for England and Commonwealth countries became associated
with an island in the middle of the Adriatic sea?
History of cricket playing on the island of Vis has begun around 200 years ago. During Napoleon wars English army was stationed there. They were spending their leisure time by playing cricket in the Vis green fields, with a blessing of their commander Sir William Hoste, after whom the first Croatian cricket club has been named. The locals embraced the sport which their “temporary tenants” form distant England taught them how to play. As Englishmen left, there has been a hundred years long pause in cricket playing. The legend says the reason for that was because the soldiers took equipment needed for playing cricket with them so it was not possible to continue the tradition.
It is hard to determine the exact reasons, but it is known for sure that the first cricket club in Croatia was founded right on the island of Vis. Credits for big comeback of cricket go to immigrants that came back from Australia and New Zealand and brought some of the tradition from the other side of the ocean when they returned to their homeland.
There is another detail that witnesses the interesting way cricket connects England and island of Vis. A few years ago, Doroty Hoste, Sir William Hoste’s cousin, found out that there is a cricket club named after him on a small island in Croatia. That motivated her to gather her family members and organize a cricket tournament with the local team on the island of Vis in 2009.