North Enfield Cricket Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2011, and have been at our current home for nearly 60 years. The club's first recorded match was in 1886 at the Barton Court ground, opposite the Royal Hospital Chelsea, but games were irregular and until the 1930s, the team seemed to be comprised of players from various local church social groups. From the mid-1930s onwards the club played at Claysmore - farmland located between Clay Hill and Whitewebbs Park until the 2nd World War, which interrupted much local sport. Forced out of this ground by the landowner in 1951, the club moved to the Strayfield Road, only a few hundred yards from Claysmore. Strayfield Road is part of Hilly Fields Park, owned by Enfield Council. The Council agreed to lease the land to the Club with the conditions that the Club own and maintain the cricket square and the pavilion/car park. A public right of way exists across the middle of the playing area. The Club continues to lease the land from the council on a 30 year renewable arrangement, and are protected tenants. The post-war years saw arguably the most talented cricketer ever to play for North Enfield in his prime – Frank Barwick. Barwick won the 1st XI batting and bowling for three years in a row, and the bowling for a further two from 1948, a record unequalled in Club history. Barwick joined North Enfield relatively late in his cricket career having previously been at our illustrious neighbours Enfield CC before the advent of war. It is said that had it not been for the 1939-45 conflict, Barwick would have almost certainly played 1st class cricket for Middlesex. He joined North Enfield because, according to club legend, our neighbours at Enfield CC refused to let him have a bat and only wanted him to bowl! During the 2012 season, a new Frank Barwick Memorial Shield will be inaugurated to recognise the best all-rounder of the season to mark the centenary of his birth and be presented by Frank's son, Bernard.
Prominent professional cricketers that have associations with North Enfield are Mike Smith of Middlesex and England, whose family was involved at North Enfield for many years, staged a benefit game at North Enfield in 1976. John Emburey, the Middlesex and England spin bowler, held a similar fixture in 1983 and also Graham Barlow in 1984. Rumours abound that England leg-spinner B.J.T. Bosanquet also played for North Enfield, (he was born at Bulls Cross and lived locally for some time) but no records exist to confirm this.
The Club has participated in league cricket in various forms over the years, principally the Saturday Hertfordshire League and the Chess Valley Sunday league from its inception until 2007. The Club fields two teams at present though a 3rd XI has run in various forms over the years, the most recent incarnation from 2004-2007, playing home games at the much-missed Enfield Invicta ground. The plan over the coming seasons is to resurrect the 3rd XI as our very promising youngsters start to come through and play league cricket. 2015 saw the 1st XI win the Division 2A title and with it promotion to Division 2B – the first league title in the club’s history – an outstanding achievement for a small club. The 2nd XI consolidated in Division 6B with a solid season.
A Sunday friendly XI also operates for those who prefer their cricket to be of a more relaxed nature. Sunday fixtures are played home and away against teams from North and East London, Hertfordshire and Essex. Sunday cricket is of a very mixed standard with a ‘give everybody a game’ emphasis (and provision of a good tea also features high on priority lists). In the last few years, we have played a number of Friday night games either as charity fundraisers or as social events. The pitch may be hired on Friday nights for office/club games - all enquiries for pitch hire welcomed. The Colts section goes from strength to strength, meeting on Wednesday nights and matches taking place midweek or Sunday mornings. We are also founder members of the Enfield Cricket Development Partnership, between a number of clubs in the borough, which aims to bring a united group to speak for club, school and other cricket in the area.
North Enfield has always prided itself on being a family-orientated club, with multiple generations of the same family often playing concurrently. A glance at the cricket honours board is conclusive proof that North Enfield cricket has been a family affair from its earliest days.
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