Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley

Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl Of Darnley

Cricketer Biography
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Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley

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Ivo Francis Walter Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley DL, JP (13 March 1859 – 10 April 1927), styled The Honourable Ivo Bligh until 1900, was a British cricketer who captained the English team in the first ever Test series against Australia with the Ashes at stake in 1882/83. Later in life, he inherited the earldom of Darnley and was elected an Irish representative peer.

Background and education

Bligh was born in London, the second son of John Bligh, 6th Earl of Darnley, by Lady Harriet Mary, daughter of Henry Pelham, 3rd Earl of Chichester. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1882.

Cricket career

Although the history of Test cricket between England and Australia dates from 1877, it was after an English team led by Monkey Hornby lost to the Australians at The Oval in 1882, that The Sporting Times newspaper wrote a mock obituary to English cricket, noting that the body would be cremated and the ashes sent to Australia. The following winter's tour to Australia was billed as an attempt to reclaim the Ashes. Bligh's team was successful, winning the three-match Ashes series two-one, although a fourth game, not played for the Ashes, and hence a matter of great dispute, was lost.

A small terracotta urn was presented to the England captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women after England's victory in the Test series. The urn is reputed to contain the ashes of a veil,...
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