Woolwich Cricket Club

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Woolwich Cricket Club
Established: early 18th century
Last match: 1806
Home venue: Barrack Field
Notable players: William Ayling
John Tanner
John Ward

Woolwich Cricket Club was an English cricket club based in the town of Woolwich, Kent. It was formed sometime in the first half of the 18th century, or earlier, and its earliest known record is in 1754 when its team played two major cricket matches against the prominent Dartford Cricket Club. The club, or at least a successor of it, then played a number of matches from 1797 to 1806 against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Montpelier Cricket Club, Croydon Cricket Club and other leading town clubs. After playing MCC in 1806, the club disappeared from the records.

Throughout the period from 1754 to 1806, Woolwich's home ground was Barrack Field which remains the home ground of the Royal Artillery Cricket Club (RACC).

Mainstays of the club in its "Napoleonic" period were William Ayling, John Tanner and John Ward.

1754[edit]

Woolwich came briefly to prominence in August 1754 when the team played home and away games against Dartford which at this time was probably the strongest team in England. In both matches, the away team won but no further details are known. Both games were mentioned in the same report by Read's Weekly Journal dated Sat 31 August: "Dartford won away & lost at home against Woolwich on Sat. & Mon., Aug. 24 & 26 respectively".[1] The Woolwich club's ability to successfully challenge Dartford at this time clearly infers that it was a leading club in the 1750s but its new found prominence was short-lived, probably because of the outbreak of the Seven Years' War which severely limited major cricket through its span.

1797 to 1806[edit]

In the years around the turn of the century, club cricket was very fashionable in London and matches between the town clubs were very popular, although there is some doubt about whether they were first-class or not. Woolwich CC reappeared in 1797 with two victories against Croydon, both at Barrack Field.

In 1798, the club played home and away against both Croydon and Montpelier. Following two substantial victories against Croydon, Woolwich lost to Montpelier at Aram's New Ground and then drew the return at Barrack Field.

In 1800, Woolwich played home and away matches against MCC and won both, including an innings victory at Lord's Old Ground.[2] In what was a very successful season, the team also defeated Montpelier by 8 wickets at Barrack Field.

The Napoleonic Wars were by now under way and, as in the Seven Years' War, cricket suffered a loss of investment and manpower that severely reduced the number of matches played. Woolwich played three more games against MCC at Lord's Old Ground,[3] winning in 1802[4] and 1803[5] but losing by 7 wickets in 1806.[6]

Barrack Field[edit]

The CricketArchive database records 96 matches, mostly services fixtures, as having taken place at Barrack Field[7] but this record is incomplete because it excludes 8 matches played between 1797 and 1802, all of which are listed below:

  • 23–24 August 1797 – Woolwich v Croydon. Woolwich won by 23 runs.
  • 27 September 1797 – Woolwich v Croydon. Woolwich won by 179 runs.
  • 16–17 August 1798 – Woolwich v Croydon. Woolwich won by 88 runs.
  • 8–9 October 1798 – Woolwich v Montpelier. Match drawn.
  • 26 May 1800 – Woolwich v Four Parishes. Match drawn.
  • 30 June 1800 – Lord Frederick Beauclerk's XI v Sir H W Marten's XI. Beauclerk's XI won by 60 runs.
  • 16 May 1802 – Woolwich v MCC. Result unknown.
  • 19 July 1802 – Woolwich v Montpelier. Result unknown.

The list is by no means exhaustive as ongoing research may find references to other matches at the ground.

Royal Artillery Cricket Club (RACC)[edit]

It is possible that Woolwich CC was merged into the RACC or alternatively that it disbanded after the RACC took full possession of Barrack Field. According to its own website,[8] RACC first played cricket in 1765, having been started as a private club by Royal Artillery officers. It was formally constituted as a regimental club as late as 1906. On 8 June 1818, RACC became the first services team to be granted a match against MCC at Lord's Cricket Ground. A week later, RACC played MCC at Barrack Field in a match that was tied.[9]

On 21–23 August 1862, RACC hosted the All-England Eleven (AEE) in an odds match.[10] The venue is given as Woolwich Common, not Barrack Field. RACC had 22 players but still lost by 6 wickets to a team captained by George Parr and including great players John Jackson, H. H. Stephenson, Ned Willsher and Tom Hayward senior.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buckley, p.2.
  2. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  3. ^ Haygarth, pp.293, 303 and 323.
  4. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  5. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  6. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  7. ^ CricketArchive – matches played at Barrack Field. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  8. ^ Royal Artillery Cricket Club site. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  9. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.
  10. ^ CricketArchive – match scorecard. Retrieved on 4 April 2010.

Bibliography[edit]

  • G B Buckley, Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket, Cotterell, 1937
  • Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), Lillywhite, 1862