Royal Brussels Cricket Club is the oldest club in Belgium and its origins can be traced back to 1885 in an original document, now in the MCC museum at Lord’s detailing the committee members, playing conditions, fees and ground. There is a painting depicting the opening of the Brussels Cricket Club ground at the Bois de la Cambre dated 1866 which until recently hung on the staircase in the pavilion at Lords.
The first recorded cricket match in Belgium was played between the Guards at Enghien some 30 km from Brussels, before the Battle of Waterloo, attended by the Duke of Wellington. We do not know the result, but when a match between the cricket section of the Brussels Sports club and the Guards was played in 1965, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, and attended by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, that match ended in a draw.
In 2015 the club hosted both the Guards and the MCC in a competition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the club. A T20 opening match between the Guards and RBCC ended with RBCC scoring the 200th run off the last ball to win the game.
We have records of the club’s existence in the mid-1920’s and we know cricket was being played before the start of the second World War, but the recent history of the club really starts from 1953. For many years the club relied for fixtures on clubs coming over from the UK, teams from Holland and the British Forces in Germany, and Antwerp C.C.
The club also had tours, and the occasional weekend, in Southern England as well as playing the Standard club in Paris. The RBCC has been host to many famous people and clubs amongst which were Sir Pelham Warner and Godfrey Evans in the early 1950’s, Hampshire C.C.C. in 1967, The Whitbread Wanderer’s in 1973 (including Roy Marshall, David Graveney, Graeme Yallop and Len Coldwell), The Romany club, Nomads, the Forty club of England, the Cricket Society and Sir Garfield Sobers.
Royal Brussels was one of the founder members of the Belgian Cricket Federation and League in 1991, and since then cricket has expanded steadily. Now there are 27 clubs playing in the league in Belgium and RBCC proudly boasts a 1st team, 2nd team, T20 team as well as social teams amongst the seniors. We also have a very successful Women’s team, the first in Belgium which is developing women’s cricket in Belgium while competing in the German league. As well we have a dynamic, vibrant junior development program with teams from U11 up to U17 playing in the Belgian national leagues.
Royal Brussels has probably the best ground and facilities in Belgium. There is a full-size ground with sightscreens at each end and the Pavilion has a bar, changing rooms, toilets and showers. The ground is situated in Ohain on the site of the “Sports Village” complex opposite the Royal Waterloo Golf Club. In summer there is net practice on evenings of the week and cricket for women and juniors on Sunday mornings. There is also a very competitive midweek Twenty20 competition that allows corporate companies and other clubs to submit teams and enjoy the fast paced cricket that this format of the game provides.
Apart from league matches, the club also has quite a few friendly games with touring sides from abroad as well as local clubs and there are generally matches both days every weekend during the summer.
All are welcome to turn up to nets or and/or just to watch cricket and have a drink at the bar.
I look forward to greeting you at the club.