Cricket might well have started in Flanders in the 14th century, but it wasn't until 1815 that the first recorded match took place in what is today Belgium.
On Monday June 12, 1815, six days before the Battle of Waterloo, officers from the Brigade of Guards played a match believed to have taken place at Enghien, now a small town some 30 kms to the south-west of Brussels.
The result has long since been lost or forgotten, but one thing that is known is that the Duke of Wellington was there as a spectator. In fact, he attended with the Duke of Richmond's 16-year-old daughter Lady Jane Lennox who had wanted to visit the town of Tournai for the day. With Napoleon's armies approaching the border, however, the Duke decided Tournai was a bit far west - the young lady thus found herself watching 'Belgium's' first cricket match in which her father apparently played.
Not a lot more is known other than what an extract from a letter tells us. Written by Spencer Madan, a tutor to the Duke of Richmond's family, it says: "The family are at present gone of Enghien to a cricket match among the gentlemen of the guards in which the Duke (of Richmond) takes part. You have of course heard of his fame as a cricketer; he was, I believe considered one of the two best in England, the other is Ld. Frederic Beauclerc..."
The Duke of Richmond (left), whose wife became renowned for holding a ball on the eve of the Battle of Quatre Bras a few days later, was in fact a well-known batsman and wicket-keeper who was a founding member of the MCC and one of those who guaranteed Thomas Lord against losses when the latter started his first cricket ground in London in 1787.
Cricket doesn't seem to have been the only sport on offer at Enghien that day. The Duke of Richmond's son was injured when he fell from his steed during a horse race.
Some 15 years later, Belgium became Belgium, and 150 years after the match the Household Brigade travelled across to play the Brussels Cricket Club in an anniversary match at Vorst / Forest. The 1965 match ended in a draw with the scores level on 156. In 1990 they came again for a 175th anniversary match.