Norwich to celebrate its cribbage history

Siv Sears, right, and Richy Newman, play cribbage in readiness for the International Cribbage Day in

Siv Sears, right, and Richy Newman, play cribbage in readiness for the International Cribbage Day in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

It was invented in Norwich, has been played for centuries and has been the inspiration of well-known phrases.

The plaque at Cinema City, formerly Suckling House. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The plaque at Cinema City, formerly Suckling House. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

And a cribbage enthusiast is trying to attract more people to the card game through the inaugural International Cribbage Day on February 10 in its home city.

Langley School teacher Siv Sears, 40, from Brentwood in Eaton, said: 'Through history cribbage has gone through different stages. In the early days it was seen as noble person's hobby but during the industrial revolution it became a more working person's game.

'It has been seen as an old person's game for a long time but it is ready for its new identity.

'It is a good way of bringing people together.'

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To celebrate the game, which involves two or four players, a wooden board, pegs and a deck of cards, Norwich is hosting three events.

These include a drop-in cribbage session at the Forum from 11am-2pm and a competition from 3-6pm at Cinema City, known as Suckling House, where the founder of cribbage Sir John Suckling lived in the 1600s.

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The day is on the birthday of the Sir John.

Cribbage was the amalgamation of two Tudor games and inspired the phrases level pegging, streets ahead and left in the lurch.

Mr Sears, a committee member of Norwich's Anchor and Wensum cribbage leagues, added: 'Out of all the two-player card games, cribbage is the best. Someone that has been playing it for six days can beat someone who has played it for 60 years.'

He became interested in the game aged eight through older family members.

'There is a high amount of interest in cribbage but people don't realise there is a league. There are 20 Norwich venues where they can play,' Mr Sears added.

The teacher liked the patterns involved with cribbage.

He believed more younger people were becoming drawn to traditional games like cribbage because it took them away from the digital world.

As well as the drop-in session and competition, International Cribbage Day includes a talk on the statues of the Suckling family at 2.30pm in St Andrew's Church.


Cribbage rules

Cribbage was invented in the early 1600s by Sir John Suckling, an English courtier, poet, gamester and gambler.

The Suckling family have historic links to Norwich, were wealthy royalist landowners and were involved in politics.

They had an estate in the Woodton area of Norfolk, Sir John's grandfather, Robert Suckling, was sheriff and mayor of Norwich in the 1500s.

Sir John lived from 1609-1641.

Originally the five card game was played where one card was discarded to the so-called crib by each player. Now the six card game is more popular with two cards discarded to the crib.

There are three ways to score - through pairs, runs or a combination of cards which add up to 15.

It is played by two or four people and competitors have two pegs which are moved along a wooden board, depending on the card values.

Games last between 15 and 30 minutes.

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