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Bat and Ball Ground

The Bat and Ball Ground is a cricket and sports ground in Gravesend in Kent. The ground was used as a first-class cricket venue by Kent County Cricket Club between 1849 and 1971. It remains in use by Gravesend Cricket Club who have used the ground as their home since their formation in 1881. The site also has lawn bowls and tennis facilities and is the home of Gravesend Bowls Club.[1]

Bat and Ball Ground
Ground information
LocationGravesend, Kent
Coordinates51°26′13″N 0°21′54″E / 51.437°N 0.365°E / 51.437; 0.365Coordinates: 51°26′13″N 0°21′54″E / 51.437°N 0.365°E / 51.437; 0.365
OwnerGravesend Cricket Club
Team information
Kent County Cricket Club (1849–1971)
Gravesend Cricket Club (1881–present)
As of 25 November 2017
Source: CricketArchive

The ground is situated south of Gravesend town centre on the western side of the A227 Wrotham Road. The Bat and Ball Inn, which was named after the ground, is on the eastern side of the ground.[2]

Cricketing historyEdit

The first recorded cricket match on the site of the ground was in 1840 when a Gravesend team played Penenden Heath.[3] It is believed by local historians that a new wicket was laid down at the ground in 1845 by Tom Adams who had played for Kent sides before and after the formation the County Club in 1842. The cricket ground was laid out in the grounds of Ruckland House, described as a "large mansion",[1][4] and used as the private cricket ground for the house.[5] It was later owned by the Darnley family from Cobham Hall to the south of Gravesend, and by the Billings family.[5]

Kent County Cricket Club first used the ground in 1849 for a match against an All-England Eleven in the grounds first first-class cricket match. From 1849 to 1971 the ground was the venue for 142[A] first-class matches for Kent,[6] the last of which saw them play the touring Pakistan team in 1971.[7] The ground was used regularly for County Championship matches by Kent between the start of the Championship in 1890 and 1970 with one or two matches scheduled by the county at the ground in almost every season.[7] Kent played the touring Australian side on the ground in 1893 and two matches were played by the South of England cricket team against Australian tourists in 1884 and 1886.[7]

Non-first class matches held on the ground include one of the first matches played by the Australian Aboriginal team which toured England in 1868 – the first tour by any Australian side. The team had arrived at Gravesend and were taken to lunch at the Bat and Ball inn next to the ground.[8][9] The first matches on the tours of England by the West Indies in 1933 and Indian team in 1936 were at the ground, both against teams organised by Kent great Tich Freeman, and the West Indian tourists of 1939 played against a team organised by Les Ames at the Bat and Ball Ground. In 1963 the West Indies returned again to play the Club Cricket Conference.[3]

The ground has also played host to 24 matches involving the Kent Second XI in the Minor Counties Championship and Second XI Championship.[10][11] In local cricket, the ground is the home venue of Gravesend Cricket Club who play in the Kent Cricket League.[12][13][14]

Records on the groundEdit

A total of 145 games classified by sources as first-class cricket matches were played on the ground. All except two matches featured Kent as the home side.[A] The South of England cricket team played two first-class matches on the ground in the 1880s.[7]

Other usesEdit

The ground has been used for a number of sports and was used during the winter by Gravesend Hockey Club for a number of years for field hockey matches. It has also been used for school sports, association football, rugby union and was flooded and used as an ice skating rink during the harsh winter of 1895.[5]


  1. ^ a b CricketArchive lists 143 matches played by Kent sides on the ground. Kent County Cricket Club sources detail 142 matches played by the club on the ground. Kent do not include a number of matches played by the county in the 19th century where 13 or more players were included in the Kent side as first-class matches. These are accepted as first-class matches by some other sources.[15] An 1854 match between a Kent XV and a United England Eleven took place on the ground which is not classified as a first-class match by Kent sources.[16]


  1. ^ a b Planning application, Gravesham Borough Council, July 2007. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  2. ^ Explorer Map 162 – Greenwich & Gravesend, Ordnance Survey, 2015-09-16.
  3. ^ a b Other matches played on Bat and Ball Ground, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  4. ^ 1838–1852, Discover Gravesham, Gravesham Borough Council. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  5. ^ a b c Milton H (1979) Kent cricket grounds, in The Cricket Statistician, no. 28, December 1979, pp.2–10.
  6. ^ Grounds records in Kent County Cricket Club Annual 2017, pp.210–211. Canterbury: Kent County Cricket Club.
  7. ^ a b c d First-Class Matches played on Bat and Ball Ground, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  8. ^ Ricketts O (2013) Aboriginal cricket: The first Australian tour of England, 1868, BBC News, 2013-07-09. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  9. ^ 1853 - 1872, Discover Gravesham, Gravesham Borough Council. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  10. ^ Minor Counties Championship Matches played on Bat and Ball Ground, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  11. ^ Second XI Championship Matches played on Bat and Ball Ground, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  12. ^ Welcome to Gravesend Cricket Club, Gravesend Cricket Club. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  13. ^ Olympic cash boost for Gravesend Cricket Club, Kent Online, 2011-12-30. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  14. ^ The Gravesend Project, JGC Sports Turf. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  15. ^ Kent Records, in Kent County Cricket Club Annual 2018, p.141. Canterbury: Kent County Cricket Club.
  16. ^ Kent v United England Eleven, CricketArchive. Archived 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2018-05-26.

External linksEdit