Barrack Field today. In the background the Royal Artillery Barracks
|Location||Woolwich, southeast London|
|Home club||Woolwich Cricket Club
Royal Artillery Cricket Club
|Last used||1806 (for first-class cricket)|
Barrack Field is located on the grounds of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London (formerly part of Kent). It was once part of Woolwich Common, then used as a venue for first-class cricket matches in the 18th century and as the home of Woolwich Cricket Club at that time; later it became the home of the Royal Artillery Cricket Club. It is now used as a generic sports field, mainly for football.
Woolwich CC 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". 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 first-class cricket through its span.
The club revived in the last ten years of the 18th century when, following the establishment of Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787, club cricket was very fashionable in London and matches between the town clubs were very popular. Barrack Field was frequently used for matches in this period.
The CricketArchive database records 96 matches, mostly services fixtures, as having taken place at Barrack Field 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.
It is possible that Woolwich CC was merged into the Royal Artillery Cricket Club (RACC) or alternatively that it disbanded after the RACC took full possession of Barrack Field. According to its own website, 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 15 June 1818, RACC played MCC at Barrack Field in a match that was tied.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barrack Field, Woolwich.|
- G B Buckley, Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket, Cotterell, 1937
- Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862