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Club History

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This concise history of the Club, is based on a series of 9 articles written, by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret'd) P.A. Salisbury, and published in Gunner magazine between July 2006 and October 2007. It comprises:

The articles have been amended and brought up to date in view of information which has come to light since they were written. They reflect the situation at that time and take no account of any changes that have occurred since.

The last article is followed by lists of Presidents and Secretaries since 1906 and Chairmen since 1951, also Captains against the Sappers since 1946. There are some gaps in these lists.


Early History

No one knows exactly when the Royal Artillery Cricket Club was founded, but it dates from well before the end of the 18th century, the earliest match of which there is any record being in 1765. The club was started by officers at Woolwich as a private club and only became an official, properly constituted Regimental club in 1906. Despite this, it was a going concern of some influence by 1818, because on 8 June of that year it was granted a fixture against MCC at Lord's. This was the first fixture to be played by MCC against any Service side. For this to have happened, the RACC must, by then, have been a club of some stature.

The RA Barracks at Woolwich was first occupied in 1776 – 7 and the sports fields on Woolwich Common, on the other side of the front parade, were probably laid out about this time. It is known that the main cricket ground was called The Royal Artillery Officers Ground, and as the RACC was originally an officers club, there is probably a connection here. However, the Gunners were playing cricket in the area well before the move into the new barracks from the Arsenal. The 1765 match was played at Blackheath and there is nothing to suggest that the club was not formed much earlier. Woolwich has been the home of the Regiment since 1716, and the Royal title was granted in 1722. If, as is possible, the club was founded in the earliest days of the Royal Regiment, it pre-dates Hambledon and MCC, and is one of the oldest clubs in the land.

After the first MCC fixture at Lord's in 1818, there was a return match at Woolwich the following week. This arrangement of home and away fixtures with MCC continued until 1876. Thereafter, the Woolwich match was discontinued, but the one at Lord's went on, with some gaps, for over 50 years. Wisden's report of the 1875 match stated that the fixture was ‘the oldest now played by MCC. On 8 June 1968 MCC played a one-off match at Woolwich against the Gunners to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first match at Lord's.

Although the RACC was an officers club, there were occasions when soldiers of the required standard were included in important matches, notably against MCC, the Harlequins, who always fielded a powerful side consisting largely of Oxford Blues, and the Royal Engineers, who were first played in 1864. There were several notable performances by soldier players, the most outstanding of which will be the subject of a later article.

After 1906, the RACC remained an officers club, and up until 1939, an officers only policy seems to have been more strictly observed than before. Soldiers did play on occasions but probably only in an emergency. With the advent of National Service after the Second World War, it was agreed that soldiers of the required standard could play ‘at match managers' discretion', and they were regularly picked by the selection committee for important matches, including the Gunner/Sapper match. Many future county players, some of whom went on to play test cricket, did their National Service in the Gunners and played for the Regiment.

After the end of National Service soldiers continued to appear and the RACC gradually evolved into the club for all ranks that it is today.


The Intriguing Story of W E Denison, a Gunner who became President of MCC

William Denison was born at Woolwich in 1843 and spent much of his childhood in Australia, where his father, Sir William Denison, was Governor of Tasmania from 1846 – 1854 and of New South Wales from 1854 – 1861. Whilst in the latter post he had much to do with the establishment and development of the Sydney Cricket Ground. By this time, young William had returned to England to attend Eton College and did not accompany his father to Madras, where he was appointed Governor General in 1861.

After Eton, William joined the Royal Artillery. Although he did not make the eleven at Eton, or indeed at the RMA Woolwich, he was a very useful bowler who produced many fine performances for the RACC. In 1867 he played at Lord's for the first time for the Gunners against the Household Brigade, became a member of MCC and made the first of several appearances in the Gunner/Sapper match. He took 49 wickets in all against the Sappers including 12 in a match in that first year. On 3 occasions he took 5 or more wickets in an innings against MCC, twice at Lord's and once at Woolwich.

Now we come to the intriguing bit. In 1874, while still serving as a subaltern, he became MP for Nottingham, a post which he held throughout his remaining 4 years in the Army. This did not curtail his cricketing activities. He continued to play regularly for the Gunners, including against the Sappers in 1874, 75 and 76. One wonders how onerous his military and parliamentary duties were!

He retired as a captain in 1878, continuing as MP for Nottingham until 1880. What he did for a living after that is not known, but in 1882 he joined the MCC committee and remained a member of it for the better part of the next 20 years. He became President of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club in 1888 and President of the Cricketers' Fund Friendly Society in 1891, the latter in succession to Lord Harris who had departed to become Governor of Bombay. Finally William became President of MCC in 1892, at a time when it was most unusual for that prestigious post to be held by a commoner. He died in 1916 at the age of 73.


Bombardier Barton - A Home-Grown Test Player

The Royal Artillery Cricket Club was originally an officers club but soldiers of the required standard were allowed to play in important matches. Probably the most outstanding performance by a soldier occurred in the MCC v RA match at Lord's on 13/14 June 1889, a performance that was to lead to an astonishing sequence of events, which was probably influenced by the MCC's captain that day, who was none other than the legendary W G Grace. Grace was 40 years old at the time, but still an England test player.

Playing for the Gunners was the 21 year old Bdr Victor Barton. In what Wisden described as ‘a superb batting performance', Barton hit 91 out of 167 in the first innings and 102 out of 173 in the second. In addition, he took 6 wickets in the match, including 4 in the second innings, when he and Lt Currie, bowling unchanged, routed MCC for 56 to clinch an impressive victory for the Gunners by 160 runs.

As a direct result of this match, Barton was given an immediate trial by Kent, and during the remainder of that season and the next, while still serving in the Gunners, he played in 11 matches for the County.

In 1891, his discharge was purchased and he began a professional career with Hampshire. The very next winter (1891 – 92) he was selected for England's tour to South Africa. He played in the only Test Match, scoring 23 in an England victory by an innings and 189 runs. This was his only Test, but he went on to play for Hampshire until 1902, when ill health forced his retirement, and he died in 1906 at the early age of 38.

In all, he played in 157 first-class matches scoring 6,413 runs at an average of 24.01. He had 6 scores of over a hundred, his highest being 205 for Hampshire against Sussex at Hove in 1900. His main forte was batting but he also took 141 first-class wickets at an average of 28.62.

Barton scored 103 for the Gunners against the Sappers at Woolwich in 1889, and on 3 occasions he took 5 or more wickets in an innings in Gunner/Sapper matches.

Although a number of war-time Gunners and National Servicemen went on to play cricket for England, Barton is the only regular Gunner, officer or soldier, to go on to play test cricket.

MCC v Royal Artillery
at Lord's 13-14 June 1889

Royal Artillery      
 Capt CD King c Robinson b Grace   27  b Shand   18
 Mr Haggard c Farmer b Shand     1  b Shand     6
 Bdr Barton c Russel b Shand   91  c Robertson b Shand  102
 Capt FA Curteis (capt) lbw b Grace     9  b Shand     0
 Mr H De Rougemont b Shand     0  b Cobbold     0
 Mr PHM Dorehill b Grace     7  b Farmer     0
 Bdr Osmond b Grace     0  hit wkt b Grace     9
 Mr AC Currie b Grace     4  b Grace     7
 Capt FJ Fox lbw b Shand   14  hit wkt b Farmer     3
 Maj WL Davidson not out     4  lbw b Shand    11
 Mr H Calley b Shand     0  not out      0
 Extras    10      17
   167    173
       
MCC      
 Mr JS Russel c & b Currie   41  b Barton     9
 Mr DD Pontifex c Osmond b King   11  b Currie     2
 Mr H Ross b Barton     1  c & b Currie     0
 Mr J Robertson c Osmond b Barton   12  c Barton b Currie     2
 Mr WG Grace (capt) c Dorehill b Currie   18  b Currie     9
 Mr JH Farmer b Currie     3  b Barton     5
 Maj JC Kerr-Fox c Davidson b King     5  not out     2
 Mr Wr Collins c & b Currie     9  b Barton     4
 Mr CSW Cobbold not out   11  b Barton   10
 Mr FL Shand b Dorehill   10  c Haggard b Currie     0
 Mr FT Welman b King     8  c De Rougemont b Currie     6
 Extras     4       7
   124     56


The Gunner - Sapper Match

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Royal Artillery v Royal Engineers. Played at Chatham 21-22 June 1889

Fifth from the right, standing, is Capt FA Curteis and at the end on the right, standing, is Lt PHM
Dorehill. These two jointly held the record for the most appearances against the Sappers.

The first Gunner/Sapper match was played at Woolwich in 1864. Thereafter until 1906 there were 2 matches each year, one at Woolwich and one at Chatham. Then from 1907 it was reduced to one match, which, at the invitation of MCC, was played at Lord's. This continued until 1962, except for the war years when there were no matches, and 1946, when the match was played at Aldershot. After 1962 it was played alternately at Woolwich and Chatham until Larkhill replaced Woolwich in 2003 as the RACC ground. In 1998, the match was played at Woolwich instead of Chatham because the square at Chatham was being re-laid, and in 2001, it had to be played at Sandhurst due to the poor state of the ground at Woolwich.

The matches were of 2 days duration from the outset until 2002, when the duration was increased to 3 days.

The score sheet for the first match, played at Woolwich, shows that it was a bit of a disaster for the Gunners. They managed to hold out for a draw with 3 wickets remaining, still requiring 194 to avoid an innings defeat. Lt L K Scott, who scored 147, dominated the match for the Sappers. This remained the highest individual score until Lt H W Renny-Tailyour scored 176 for the Sappers at Chatham in 1872. In all Renny-Tailyour made 7 scores of over 100 against the Gunners, including a record 285 not out at Chatham in 1875, when the Sappers scored 556 and won by an innings and 321 runs!  He was a remarkable all-round sportsman, who has the unusual distinction of having played both rugby and soccer for Scotland.

The highest individual score for the Gunners in the 19th century was 173 by Msn Boyes at Chatham in 1878, and he followed this up with 110 in the return match at Woolwich, a unique achievement. Boyes' Gunner record was beaten in 1909 when Lt P G Robinson scored 194 not out at Lord's. This in turn was eclipsed in 1938, when Lt C P Hamilton scored 205 at Lord's and this remains the Gunner record. The highest Gunner total is 511, scored in this year's drawn match at Chatham.

As far as bowling is concerned, two Sappers and one Gunner have taken 9 wickets in an innings. For the Sappers Capt J Fellowes took 9 at Chatham in 1873 (his full analysis was not recorded), and Lt F J C Wyatt took 9 for 66 at Woolwich in 1906. For the Gunners Maj H C Moorhouse took 9 for 87 at Woolwich in 1905.

The record for the most appearances for the Gunners is held jointly by F A Curteis and P H M Dorehill, who each played on 28 occasions. This was at the time when 2 matches were played each year. During the years when only one match has been played, a current player, Maj Jimmy Cotterill, is in the lead with 16 appearances.

As far as results are concerned, the Gunners lead the Sappers with 49 wins to 44, with 80 draws. Some of the draws were rain-affected but only 2 matches out of 175 have been completely washed out.

The RECC, like the RACC, was started as an officers' club, and the fact that we chose quite regularly to play soldiers in our team was a bone of contention. Only once prior to 1939 did the Sappers include a soldier player in their side. It is interesting to note that the photograph of the 2 teams at Chatham in 1889 has only 21 players on it, all of them officers. The missing player is Bdr Barton, whose story was told in the previous article!

Royal Artillery v Royal Engineers
Played at Woolwich 15-16 June 1864

Royal Engineers      
 F Edmondes c Godby b Kennedy   12    
 FJ Edwards c Ewing b Ward   22    
 LK Scott st Richardson b Ewing  147    
 WG Ross c Johnson b Ward   44    
 JW Savage c Bircham b Ward     8    
 WG Burke c Ewing b Hazlerigg   31    
 FW Heneage not out   38    
 CG Clayton c Johnson b Ward     1    
 Capt CE Harvey c Richardson b Ewing     4    
 C de B Carey b Ewing     6    
 H Cautley c Godby b Ewing   13    
 Extras   49    
   375    
       
Royal Artillery      
 Maj J Godby b Carey     3  not out    7
 Capt JB Richardson b Edwards     1  did not bat  
 JP Ewing c Harvey b Carey   14  c Burke b Scott    1
 GM Kennedy b Scott     0  c Savage b Scott  11
 Sgt Ward c Harvey b Scott   12  b Edwards    0
 Maj AC Johnson not out   19  st Clayton b Ross  18
 FT Bircham c Burke b Scott     2  b Carey    0
 R Walkey b Scott     2  not out  12
 Capt E Markham b Savage   29  c Savage b Scott  21
 TM Hazlerigg b Carey     2  st Scott b Edwards  10
 Capt E Gibbs c Burke b Carey     0  did not bat  
 Extras     7    10
    91  for 7 wkts  90
       
       


Gunners in First Class Cricket (1)

Image
Tom Cartwright, Warwickshire & England

Bdr Barton, who was the subject of an earlier article, was the only regular, soldier or officer, to go on to play test cricket. However many future county players, some of whom became test players, did their National Service in the Gunners and played for the Regiment. In 1954, for example, the following appeared in our team against the Sappers at Lord's:

  • Gnr T W Cartwright (Warwickshire and England.
  • Gnr R A Gale (Middlesex)
  • LBdr P J Sainsbury (Hampshire)
  • Gnr W J Stewart (Warwickshire)
  • Gnr D J Ward (Glamorgan)
  • 2Lt O S Wheatley (Glamorgan)

This proved too much for the Sappers who were beaten by 10 wickets, thanks largely to the spinners Sainsbury and Ward. The former took 5 for 24 in the first innings and the latter 8 for 24 in the second.

Cartwright played against the Sappers again in 1955 and other future test players to play against the Sappers in National Service days were Gnr G A R Lock (Surrey and England) 1948 and Gnr B W Luckhurst (Kent and England ) 1959.

Many who served in the Gunners during the two World Wars went on to get blues at Oxford or Cambridge, play county cricket or, in a few instances, test cricket. However, very few of these played for the Regiment.

In the years before the Second World War the Inter-Service matches had first class status, as did the matches played by the individual Services and Combined Services against other first class opposition. Many Gunners played for the Army and Combined Services in such matches, and, in those more leisurely times, several Gunner officers also found time to play a bit of county cricket as amateurs. They continued to do so after the Second World War until the distinction between amateurs and professionals was abolished in 1962.

Several regular Gunners played first class cricket for the Europeans whilst serving in India.

After the Second World War the individual Services lost their first class status, but Combined Services kept theirs and continued to play first class matches until 1964. Again, a number of Gunners were selected to play in these matches.

The list below shows regular officers, as opposed to war-time and National Service Gunners, who played in 20 or more first class matches whilst serving in the Regiment, together with their first class figures. No ranks are given as their careers probably covered more than one.

  Matches Inns Not
Outs
Runs Highest
Innings
100s Avg Wkts Runs  Avg
EL Armitage  20   35   2   576 105   1 17.45   26  476 18.30
FRR Brooke  62   92   6 2197 115   2 25.54     1     9   9.00
FF Crawford  25   48   6   579   38   0 13.78     0    17  
WL Foster  38   67   2 1993 172*   3 30.66     0    13  
DV Hill  42   65 13   469   38   0   9.01 130 3847 26.82
REH Hudson  27   49   4 1807 217   5 40.15     0    14  
FWD Quinton  51   94   8 2393 178   2 27.82   30  885 29.50
PG Robinson  28   50   1   899  66   0 18.34   17  799 47.00
AJ Turner  77 134 15 4053 124 11 34.05   15  484 32.26
WM FitzH Turner  51   86   7 2090 172   2 26.45     5  205 41.00
PV Williams  23   40   0   810 146   2 20.25      
                     

Ten of the above played for first class counties as follows: Armitage (Hampshire, 8 appearances), Brooke (Lancashire, 29) Crawford (Kent, 15) Foster (Worcestershire, 29), Hill (Worcestershire, 28), Quinton (Hampshire, 45), Robinson (Gloucestershire, 26), A J Turner (Essex, 68), W M FitzH Turner (Essex, 48) and Williams (Sussex, 10).

The Turners were brothers. At one AGM A J Turner was held up by the Chairman as a paragon of virtue for having given up a match for his county in order to play in the Gunner/Sapper match!  Armitage, Brooke, Hudson and W M FitzH Turner played for the Europeans whilst serving in India and Crawford played for Natal whilst serving in South Africa. Brooke, Hill, Hudson and Williams played regularly in first class matches for the Army. Some of the others may also have played in the odd match. Day was also a noted rugby international for England.

R E H Hudson, who retired as a Brigadier, was generally regarded as the Gunner's most distinguished cricketer. The next article will tell you more about him and will also tell you the remarkable tale of the McCanlis brothers.


Gunners in First Class Cricket (2)

Image
Brigadier REH Hudson, DSO

Brigadier Reggie Hudson is generally regarded as the Gunners' most distinguished cricketer. He was born in India and educated at Haileybury and RMA Woolwich prior to commissioning into the Royal Artillery in 1924. He returned to India in 1926 until 1930 where he played first class cricket for the Europeans in the Bombay Tournament. He also played in first class matches for the Army between 1925 and 1938.

His highest first class score was 217 for the Army against the RAF at the Oval in 1932, but the innings for which he had fondest memories was his 181 for the Army against the West Indies at Aldershot in 1933. This was the summer following the infamous bodyline series in Australia and the West Indies had a formidable opening pair of bowlers, Constantine and Martindale, who tried out this form of attack on occasions against England's batsmen. Constantine was not playing in the Aldershot match, but Martindale was. Hudson's opening partner that day was a fellow Gunner subaltern, Cyril Hamilton, who died in Eritrea in 1941. They put on 286 for the first wicket before Hudson was out, Hamilton going on to score 121. This was a record first wicket partnership in any match against the West Indies, and it stood for 17 years. In 27 first class matches Hudson averaged 40.15, with 5 centuries.

His record in Gunner/Sapper matches at Lord's was second to none. He scored 1131 runs in 18 innings, 3 times not out, at an average of 75.40, including 3 centuries. He also scored a century in both his first and last matches at Woolwich.

He became a vice president of the RACC and attended Gunner/Sapper matches every year until shortly before he died at the age of 90 in 1995. The new pavilion at Woolwich, which he opened in 1990, is named after him, as is the new pavilion on the refurbished ground at Larkhill.

Apart from a mention last month of wartime Gunners and national servicemen, these articles on Gunners in first class cricket have been largely about officers, although the story of Bombardier Barton, the Gunners' home-grown test player, has been the subject of an earlier article.

Two other soldier cricketers worthy of mention are the McCanlis brothers. William rose to the rank of sergeant major during his playing career and was later commissioned. George, the younger by 7 years, probably finished as a bombardier. The remarkable thing about them was that they played 45 and 17 matches respectively for Kent as professionals while still serving in the Gunners!  William's career with Kent covered the period 1862 – 77 and George's 1873 – 78. Their figures for Kent were

  Matches Inns Not
Out
Runs Highest
Inns
Avg  Wkts Runs Avg
W McCanlis 45 86 4 1113 67 13.57 18 496 27.55
G McCanlis 17 31 2   364 60 12.55   3 117 39.00

At the time they played, the RACC was an officers' club, but soldiers of the required standard were allowed to play in important matches. This largely meant MCC, the Sappers and the Harlequins, but there was an obvious temptation also to include them in other matches. Both of them turned in some excellent performances for the Gunners with both bat and ball. William scored several centuries, his highest being 147 against West Kent at Woolwich in 1874. Against MCC he took 9 wickets in an innings at Woolwich in 1866 and 8 in an innings at Lord's in 1870. George also scored centuries, but not as many as William. He too had some excellent bowling figures against MCC, taking 5 or more wickets in an innings on 5 occasions, twice in the same match, 5 for 41 and 5 for 48 at Lord's in 1873.

With regard to the Gunner/Sapper match, George played in 3 between 1871 and 1875 without distinguishing himself. He scored 59 runs in 5 innings and took 4 wickets, probably at considerable cost, for he played in the match in which the Sappers achieved their record score of 556.

In ‘Who's Who of Cricketers', it states that William played in some matches under the alias ‘Willis'. The intriguing thing is that William does not feature in any Gunner/Sapper matches, but a Sergeant Willis did appear in 1870 and took 11 wickets in the match. William was by this time an established professional with Kent, and it is a matter of conjecture as to what might have been going on!

As far as is known, the McCanlis brothers are the only regular soldier cricketers, apart from Bombardier Barton, to have played first class cricket while serving in the Regiment.


Fixtures (1)

Image
Royal Artillery v Free Foresters at Woolwich 2-3 June 1956,
the Free Foresters' Centenary Year

The first RACC fixture for which there are any details at all is a match that was played at Blackheath on 8 July 1765 against Greenwich. Other early opposition included similar club sides. The history of matches against MCC, the Gunners' most prestigious early opposition, has been covered in the first article in this series.

It seems that until the Royal Engineers were first played in 1864, almost all the fixtures were against civilian sides. Many of them were famous wandering clubs, which started to be formed in the 19th century. I Zingari was played in 1846, the year of its foundation. This was followed by the Harlequins, founded in 1852, and first played in 1863, and the Free Foresters, founded in 1856, and first played in 1879. Earlier still was West Kent, which was founded in 1812 as Prince's Plain CC and which became West Kent in 1822. The first RA v West Kent match was played in 1825 and the centenary was celebrated in 1925. However, there were at least 3 matches played earlier against Prince's Plain CC. All these fixtures and several others against wandering clubs came to an end in the 1990s. The reasons for this were twofold. The inter-corps competition, which started in 1988 as a merit table in two divisions based on existing fixtures, gradually evolved into a full league of one division. This meant a gradual increase in fixtures at a time when a smaller army was having to undertake more and more commitments, and something had to give. Sadly, it was many of the long-standing fixtures against famous wandering clubs. The only such club dating from the 19th century which is still on the fixture card today is the Band of Brothers, founded in 1858 and first played in 1881.

Matches against the Gentlemen of Essex and Hampshire Hogs started in the early 20th century. The latter were played from 1910 to 1939 in a cricket week at Portsmouth, which at various times also included two out of the Royal Navy, United Services Portsmouth, the Green Jackets and Old Cliftonians. Fixtures against the Gentlemen of Essex and Hampshire Hogs, and indeed the Royal Navy, also came to an end in the 1990s.

The only two wandering clubs, in addition to the Band of Brothers, still on the fixture card today, are relatively new ones: the Stragglers of Asia, founded in 1925 and first played in 1969, and XL Club, founded in 1936 and first played in 1973.

It has not been possible to cover all the many wandering clubs played, but there is one other worthy of mention. The Yorkshire Gentlemen were played for many years, either side of the First World War, on their annual southern tour.

Most matches against wandering clubs took place at Woolwich but West Kent was played for many years at Chislehurst and the Gentlemen of Essex at Shoeburyness. For several years there were two matches each year against the Free Foresters, one at Woolwich and one at Shoeburyness, and later one at Woolwich and one at Larkhill.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, in addition to wandering clubs, there were also country house matches against such teams as Sir George Meyrick's XI at Hinton Admiral, H M Martineau's XI (Water Martins) at Holyport, Miles Kenyon's XI (Fosseway House) at Stow-on-the Wold, and Sir Pierce Lacy's XI at Ampton, to name but a few.

Touring teams were played on a one-off basis, including several from the USA and Canada, such as the Gentlemen of Philadelphia and Toronto Zingari.

In the years immediately before the First World War, there were fixtures in Ireland against the counties of Cork, Kildare, Kilkenny and Waterford and against Phoenix CC in Dublin.

This article has been largely about civilian opposition. The next will cover some more civilian opponents and also military ones.


Fixtures (2)

An interesting early RACC fixture was against the All England XI at Woolwich in 1862. The centenary of this match was celebrated in 1962, when Jack Martin, a wartime battery commander, who played for Kent and England, raised An All England XI to play the Gunners at Woolwich. Jack also raised A Kent XI to play the Gunners at Woolwich in 1970, to celebrate the centenary of Kent County Cricket Club. This was thought appropriate, as over the years several Gunners have played for Kent, including Bombardier Victor Barton, the McCanlis brothers, national serviceman Gunner Brian Luckhurst and of course Jack Martin himself. It should be noted that Kent played as a county before the founding of the present County Club in 1870.

Image
The author batting against a Kent XI at Woolwich on 6 June 1970. The fielder is Jack Martin
a war-time battery commander who played for Kent and England

Other civilian opponents have included Eton Ramblers and Harrow Wanderers. There have been matches against club sides from Kent, such as Sevenoaks Vine and The Mote, and teams from Essex, such as Colchester CC and Essex Club and Ground, home matches against these last two being played at Shoeburyness. In addition to Woolwich and Shoeburyness, other home venues have included Manorbier, where the South Wales Hunts and Pembrokeshire were played, Bulford, Tidworth and Larkhill. Games at Larkhill were initially played on the Durrington ground, but when the new ground in front of the RA Mess was opened, that was used in addition to Durrington. In 2003 the refurbished RA Mess ground replaced Woolwich as the Gunners' main home ground. It has been named the Sharp ground after General Sir John Sharp who, when he was Commandant of the School of Artillery, had the vision to lay out a ground in the beautiful setting in front of the RA Mess.

The RACC has carried out tours to Devon and Yorkshire and also to Denmark and Barbados, and from 2001 there has been an annual match against Thales, generous sponsors of the RACC.

As far as service opposition is concerned, the Royal Engineers were first played in 1864, and other early service opponents included the Royal Navy, the Household Brigade, RMA Woolwich, usually played on the RMA ground, and the Army Service Corps. The ASC, later the RASC, became the RCT in 1965 and became part of the RLC in 1993. The RLC is still played in the inter-corps competition. Fixtures against the Royal Navy lasted until 1997 and the Royal Marines, first played in 1950, are still on the fixture list today. The RAF was also briefly played from 1925 to 1935.

Other service opponents before the Second World War include Aldershot Command, Southern Command and United Services Portsmouth among others. Of these only United Services Portsmouth were played after the war, the fixture lasting until 1954.

Other service opponents after the Second World War include RMA Sandhurst, played since 1948, and RMCS Shrivenham, now the Defence Academy, played since 1958. The HAC have been opponents since 1966, Mons Officer Cadet School was played during national service years and the Green Jackets from 1962 to 1965.

With the exception of the Royal Engineers and the ASC/RASC/RCT/RLC, there were very few matches against Corps sides until the advent of the inter-corps competition in 1988. The Royal Signals were played for brief periods between 1921 and 1968, and have been regular opponents since 1986. The Infantry have been played since 1968, the RAC since 1970 and the RAOC, now part of the RLC, since 1981.

It is interesting to compare today's fixture list with that of 100 years ago. Today we have a three day match against the Sappers and 18 one day matches, only four of which are against civilian sides, whereas 100 years ago, there were 25 two day matches, 18 of which were against civilian sides


Presidents, Chairmen and Secretaries

In the early days, the club seems to have been run by the secretary, who was all-powerful, and it is probable that there was no president or chairman. Matches were run by match managers and for important matches against such teams as the Royal Engineers, MCC and the Harlequins, the secretary ensured that the match manager was a top player who would be expected to assemble the best possible team.

When the RACC became an official, properly constituted, Regimental club in 1906, the plan was to invite the Sovereign to be president, but this never came about, and Field Marshal The Earl Roberts, initially the vice-president, very soon became the first president. He did not attend meetings, however, and there is no mention of a president in accounts of the AGM until 1920, when it was announced that General The Lord Horne had agreed to take over from the Field Marshal.

AGMs had always been chaired by the senior officer present. Lord Horne, unlike his predecessor, usually attended these meetings and took the chair. He continued as president until 1930, when he was succeeded by General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason, who probably held the post until the outbreak of the Second World War.

From 1906 there was a committee consisting of:

  • a) an officer representing the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery;
  • b) an officer representing the Royal Garrison Artillery;
  • c) an officer representing non-playing members;
  • d) a retired officer representing retired members;
  • e) the secretary/treasurer.

There is no mention of a chairman. It was probably in effect the secretary. He now, in consultation with others, selected the teams for important matches, other matches still being run by match managers.

The first mention of a chairman occurs at the 1951 AGM, when it was announced that Brigadier R H Hewetson had agreed to be chairman. There was by now a separate selection committee with its own chairman and members. They selected the teams for important matches, other matches being run by match managers as before.

Major General F W H (Ambrose) Pratt became president after the Second World War. He never missed an AGM and always took the chair. He was largely responsible for getting Gunner cricket going again after the war, and during his 10 years as president (1946 – 1955) he attended no fewer than 94 of the 135 games played on 18 different grounds, a measure of his devotion to the club. The main room in the new pavilion at Larkhill bears his name.

Since 1955 no president has served as long as any of the first 4 incumbents. However, the present one, Brigadier W H Moore has just entered his eighth year. No chairman has served for more than 5 years.

Image
The Secretary, President and Chairman of the Royal Artillery Cricket Club, 2007.
Captain Andy Carter, Brigadier Bill Moore, Colonel Chris Nicholls

The longest serving secretary was W E Clark, who started as a Captain in 1909 and finished as a Colonel in 1927. Next in terms of length of service is Major J Drew, who served from 1961 – 1970. He was an outstanding secretary, and one of the rooms in the new pavilion bears his name.

From 1976 teams for important matches were selected by the chairman and committee, which now consisted of 3 serving members, there no longer
being a separate selection committee.

In 1996 match managers were done away with and, for all but the Gunner/Sapper match, teams were got together by the secretary who
selected from those available. Since 1990 there has been an elected captain, and in more recent years he has begun to play a bigger part in
proceedings, playing and captaining whenever available, and taking a hand in getting the teams together. He has also become involved in the
selection process for the Gunner/Sapper match with the chairman and secretary.

Presidents since 1906   
   
1906    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1907    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1908    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1909    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1910    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1911    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1912    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1913    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
1914    Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE
   
   
1919    Post Vacant
1920    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1921    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1922    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1923    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1924    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1925    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1926    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1927    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1928    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1929    General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG
1930    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1931    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1932    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1933    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1934    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1935    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1936    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1937    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1938    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
1939    Major General Sir Richard Bannatine-Allason KCB CMG
   
   
1946    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1947    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1948    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1949    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1950    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1951    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1952    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1953    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1954    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1955    Major General F W H Pratt CB CBE DSO MC
1956    General Sir Cameron Nicholson GCB KBE DSO MC
1957    General Sir Cameron Nicholson GCB KBE DSO MC
1958    General Sir Cameron Nicholson GCB KBE DSO MC
1959   
1960   
1961    Major General R H Hewetson CB CBE DSO
1962    Major General N L Foster CB DSO
1963    Major General N L Foster CB DSO
1964    Major General N L Foster CB DSO
1965    Major General R Keith-Jones MBE MC
1966    Major General R Keith-Jones MBE MC
1967    Major General R Keith-Jones MBE MC
1968    Major General R Keith-Jones CB MBE MC
1969    Major General A F Stanton OBE
1970    Major General A F Stanton OBE
1971    Lieutenant General Sir John Sharp KCB MC
1972    Lieutenant General Sir John Sharp KCB MC
1973    Lieutenant General Sir John Sharp KCB MC
1974    Lieutenant General Sir John Sharp KCB MC
1975    Major General G Burch
1976    Major General G Burch
1977    Major General G Burch CB
1978   
1979   
1980    Brigadier D H Hodge
1981   
1982    Brigadier N M Nagle
1983    Brigadier N M Nagle
1984    Brigadier A V Young
1985    Brigadier A V Young
1986    Brigadier J H Howarth
1987    Brigadier J H Howarth
1988    Brigadier H B de Fonblanque
1989    Brigadier N M Pughe
1990    Brigadier N M Pughe
1991    Brigadier N M Pughe
1992    Brigadier J W M Kincaid
1993    Brigadier J W M Kincaid
1994    Brigadier J W M Kincaid
1995    Brigadier D E Radcliffe OBE
1996    Brigadier D E Radcliffe OBE
1997    Brigadier D E Radcliffe OBE
1998    Brigadier D E Radcliffe OBE
1999    Brigadier D E Radcliffe OBE
2000    Colonel W H Moore
2001    Colonel W H Moore
2002    Brigadier W H Moore
2003    Brigadier W H Moore
2004    Brigadier W H Moore
2005    Brigadier W H Moore
2006    Brigadier W H Moore CBE
2007    Major General W H Moore CBE
2008    Major General W H Moore CBE
2009    Major General W H Moore CBE
2010    Major General W H Moore CBE
2011    Major General W H Moore CBE
2012    Major General N H Eeles
2013    Major General J R Free CBE
2014    Major General J R Free CBE
2015    Major General J R Free CBE

  
Chairmen since 1951   

1951    Brigadier R H Hewetson CBE DSO
1952    Brigadier R H Hewetson CBE DSO
1953   
1954   
1955    Colonel C C Garthwaite
1956    Colonel C C Garthwaite
1957    Brigadier R E H Hudson DSO
1958    Brigadier R E H Hudson DSO
1959   
1960   
1961    Brigadier C C Garthwaite CBE
1962    Brigadier C C Garthwaite CBE
1963    Colonel W G Lyon OBE
1964    Colonel W G Lyon OBE
1965    Brigadier J A T Sharp MC
1966    Major D W O Price
1967    Major J L H Gordon MC
1968    Major J L H Gordon MC
1969    Major J L H Gordon MC
1970    Major J L H Gordon MC
1971    Colonel G C K Rowe
1972    Colonel G C K Rowe
1973    Colonel G C K Rowe
1974    Colonel G C K Rowe
1975    Colonel G C K Rowe
1976    Colonel R M Brennan
1977    Colonel R M Brennan
1978    Colonel R M Brennan
1979    Colonel R M Brennan
1980    Colonel R M Brennan
1981    Colonel R A Bell OBE
1982    Colonel P A Sextone
1983    Colonel P A Sextone
1984    Colonel P A Sextone
1985    Colonel I B R Fowler
1986    Colonel I B R Fowler
1987    Colonel C J B Copeland
1988    Colonel C J B Copeland
1989    Colonel C J B Copeland
1990    Colonel C J B Copeland
1991    Lieutenant Colonelonel C B Dawson MBE
1992    Lieutenant Colonelonel C B Dawson MBE
1993    Colonel P J Wagstaffe CBE
1994    Colonel J J Keeling
1995    Colonel J J Keeling
1996    Lieutenant Colonel R J White
1997    Lieutenant Colonel R J White
1998    Lieutenant Colonel W H Moore
1999    Lieutenant Colonel W H Moore
2000    Lieutenant Colonel M P Banham MBE
2001    Lieutenant Colonel M P Banham MBE
2002    Lieutenant Colonel R P M Weighill
2003    Colonel R P M Weighill
2004    Colonel R P M Weighill
2005    Colonel R P M Weighill
2006    Colonel C J Nicholls
2007    Colonel C J Nicholls
2008    Colonel C J Nicholls
2009    Colonel C J Nicholls/Col B W Jenkins
2010    Colonel B W Jenkins
2011    Lieutenant Colonel JMJ Bennett
2012    Colonel JMJ Bennett
2013    Colonel JMJ Bennett OBE
2014    Brigadier JMJ Bennett OBE
2015    Brigadier JMJ Bennett OBE

Secretaries since 1906   

1906    Major C C van Straubenzee
1907    Major C C van Straubenzee
1908    Major C C van Straubenzee
1909    Captain W E Clark
1910    Captain W E Clark
1911    Captain W E Clark
1912    Captain W E Clark
1913    Captain W E Clark
1914    Captain W E Clark
   
   
1919    Lieutenant Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1920    Lieutenant Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1921    Lieutenant Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1922    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1923    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1924    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1925    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1926    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1927    Colonel W E Clark CMG DSO
1928    Lietenant Colonel C A Lyon DSO
1929    Lietenant Colonel C A Lyon DSO
1930    Major A S Archdale DSO
1931    Major A S Archdale DSO
1932    Major A S Archdale DSO
1933    Major A S Archdale DSO
1934    Lieutenant Colonel A S Archdale DSO
1935    Captain D V Hill
1936    Captain D V Hill
1937    Captain D V Hill
1938    Captain D V Hill
1939    Captain G Peddie
   
   
1946    Major A E G Haig MC
1947    Major A E G Haig MC
1948    Major H F W Fox MBE
1949    Major H F W Fox MBE
1950    Major H F W Fox MBE
1951    Major H F W Fox MBE
1952    Captain J L H Gordon
1953    Major J F Willcocks MBE
1954    Major J F Willcocks MBE
1955    Major J F Willcocks MBE
1956    Major G F Grace
1957    Major G F Grace
1958    Major I E G Biggs
1959    Major I E G Biggs
1960    Major I E G Biggs
1961    Major J Drew
1962    Major J Drew
1963    Major J Drew
1964    Major J Drew
1965    Major J Drew
1966    Major J Drew
1967    Major J Drew
1968    Major J Drew
1969    Major J Drew
1970    Major J Drew
1971    Major P A'Hearne
1972    Major P A'Hearne
1973    Major T R N McDonnell
1974    Major T R N McDonnell
1975    Major T R N McDonnell
1976    Major T R N McDonnell
1977    Major T R N McDonnell
1978    WOI D J Dalrymple
1979    WOI D J Dalrymple
1980    Colonel R A Bell OBE
1981    Major K G Hider
1982    Major R V E Grieve
1983    Major R V E Grieve
1984    Major A J Creswell
1985    Major A J Creswell
1986    Major M O Girdlestone
1987    Major D L Brown
1988    Major D L Brown
1989    Major R J Stormonth
1990    Major R J Stormonth
1991    Major M H Anderson
1992    Major R D G Powrie
1993    Major R D G Powrie
1994    Major G C Holland
1995    Major J G Caiger
1996    Major S C Bate/Captain J W S Cotterill
1997    Major S C Bate/Major M A Norton
1998    Major J G Caiger
1999    Major J G Caiger
2000    Major J G Caiger
2001    Major J G Caiger
2002    Major M J Smith
2003    Major M J Smith
2004    Major M J Smith
2005    WO1 A J Carter
2006    Captain A J Carter
2007    Captain A J Carter
2008    Captain A J Carter/Major C B Day
2009    Major C B Day
2010    Major T R Osman
2011    Major T R Osman
2012    Major T R Osman
2013    Major T R Osman
2014    Major T R Osman
2015    Major T R Osman

Gunner Captains against the Sappers since 1946

1946 Lieutenant Colonel J E F Linton
1947 Lieutenant Colonel J E F Linton
1948 Lieutenant Colonel R E H Hudson
1949 Lieutenant Colonel R H Hewetson
1950 Brig R H Hewetson
1951 Major J A T Sharp
1952 Major J A T Sharp
1953 Lieutenant Colonel C C Garthwaite
1954 Major H B C Gardner
1955 Major H B C Gardner
1956 Major H B C Gardner
1957 Major H B C Gardner
1958 Major G F Grace
1959 Major H B C Gardner
1960 Major H B C Gardner
1961 Major H B C Gardner
1962 Major J Drew
1963 Major J Drew
1964 Major J Drew
1965 Captain D S Williams
1966 Captain J M Jones
1967 Major J R Tozer
1968 Captain D S Williams
1969 Lieutenant P J Wagstaffe
1970 Major D S Williams
1971 Lieutenant Colonel R M Brennan
1972 Major T R N McDonnell
1973 Major T R N McDonnell
1974 Major T R N McDonnell
1975 Captain P J Wagstaffe
1976
1977 Major P J Wagstaffe
1978 Major P J Wagstaffe
1979 Captain R J White
1980 Captain R J White
1981 Major P J Wagstaffe
1982 Major P J Wagstaffe
1983 Lieutenant Colonel P J Wagstaffe
1984 Captain C R Clark
1985 Major A J Creswell
1986 Lieutenant Colonel P A Salisbury
1987 Lieutenant Colonel P A Salisbury
1988 Lieutenant J W S Cotterill
1989 Lieutenant J W S Cotterill
1990 Captain J W S Cotterill
1991 Captain J W S Cotterill
1992 Captain J W S Cotterill
1993 Captain J W S Cotterill
1994 Captain J W S Cotterill
1995 Major M P Banham
1996 Captain J W S Cotterill
1997 Captain P R Bates
1998 Major J W S Cotterill
1999 Major C R Clark
2000 Major C R Clark
2001 Bdr I Forrester
2002 Major P R Bates
2003 Major P R Bates
2004 Captain T R Osman
2005 Captain T R Osman
2006 Major P R Bates
2007 Captain T R Osman
2008 Major J W S Cotterill
2009 Captain O M Venables
2010 Major T R Osman
2011 Major T R Osman
2012 Captain O D Burwell
2013 Major T R Osman