There are many trophies and awards in the world of Mornington Crescent, as with any game with such a long and distinguished history. This entry only discusses the main trophies other than the World Championships
themselves, although two secondary awards of note at the World Championships are the Wooden Spoon, a prize given to the player who gets out of spoon
in the most imaginative way, and the Glass Hammer, awarded to the player who manages to throw away a sitting victory by sheer bone-headedness.
The main historical trophies and awards, then, are as follows :
- The Ashes fought for annually between English and Australian teams of five over three matches. The name derives from the creation of the trophy in 1862 when, after the Australian team won a narrow victory over the England side, a disgusted spectator burnt the Australians' return tickets and placed them in a tasteful silver salt cellar inscribed with an appropriate message. The original trophy is on display at the IMCS museum. (I understand another sport also has a trophy of a similar name but I have been unable to trace any details)
- The Colonies Cup contested by the UK versus the Commonwealth countries every three years. Teams of six are selected by the IMCS. This trophy originated in 1871. Originally only England played for this but it was enlarged to the UK in 1962.
- The King's Cross Medal which has been the annual England-Scotland game's prize since 1799. Prior to that the prize was porcelain coffee cup decorated appropriately.
- The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1875 by the manager of Victoria Station and is awarded to the winner of the annual All-Comers Open championship. Professional players are excluded. Traditionally the winner receives a new set of tokens as well as the medal.
- The Nobel Prize is awarded every fifth year to the individual who has made the greatest contribution to Mornington Crescent in the preceding five years. It was financed by the father of Alfred Nobel, Alfred Nobel Snr, a keen player (and the inventor of plywood, which he devised as a material to make boards available cheaply to the masses, believing it would popularise the game), and it is believed to have been the inspiration behind Alfred Nobel Jnr's decision to set up his own rival foundation. Recent recipients have included Humphrey Lyttleton, Mrs Trellis and, controversially, Eamon Ruttsborough. The prize was originally (1881) a silk and gold printed plywood game board and monetary award of 100 guineas but since 1911 has been an engraved gold watch and token set.
- The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Trophy is contested between England and France and has been since 1804. Nobody knows who the Abraham Lincoln comemmorated here is since the Trophy has been in existence since before the one everyone thinks it is was born. It is also unclear why the name was attached to the England-France game.
- The Napoleon Bowl is played for by Scotland and Italy for unclear reasons. It was established in 1892 as an England-France contest but they already had a trophy so didn't turn up in 1893. Quite how Scotland and Italy ended up contesting it in 1894 is unknown, but they did and they have every year since, with obvious breaks for the wars.
Note that most of these are international contests between the UK and other nations. There are, of course, other prizes for international contests between non-UK nations such as the Prix de Paris between Germany and Holland but these are more recent innovations.
(No mention of the Armitage Shanks Memorial Bowl? - [SM])
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