In 1873, he was employed at Prince's Cricket Ground and, in 1874, moved to the Surrey ground staff. In both 1874 and 1875, he also played for his native Durham. He qualified for Surrey by residence in 1876, and played for them until 1885.
In 13 first-class matches in 1876, he took 36 wickets at an average of 19.38, not particularly good given the generally poor pitches of the time. He had few pretensions as a batsman—although strong on the slog, he had a weak defence—but that season made his highest score of 67, the only time that he reached fifty.
He played in 18 matches in 1877 and was given more bowling, so that he finished with 92 wickets. His average, however was similar to the previous season—20.02.
He did much better in 1878. 20 matches brought him 135 wickets at 14.04. He took five or more wickets in an innings on 15 occasions and five times took 10 or more in a match. He appeared to take a particular liking to the touring Australians. Playing for Surrey against them, he returned innings figures of 8/58, at last improving on the 8/60 he had taken on debut back in 1872. But, later that season, he surpassed this. Appearing for the Players at The Oval, on 2 September he returned innings figures of 10/43. The Australians nevertheless won by eight runs in a low-scoring affair: none of the four innings reached 100. The feat of taking 10 wickets in an innings against an Australian touring side was not repeated until Jim Laker did so twice, once for Surrey and once for England, in 1956.
He lost form in 1879, taking only 10 wickets at 31.50 in seven matches, and never represented the Players again, kept out by the likes of Alfred Shaw and James Southerton. He played only six times the following season, but his figures were much better: 29 wickets at 17.65.
The next four seasons were productive ones. In 1881, 14 matches brought him 82 wickets at 19.57. [[1882 English cricket season|]The following year]] was slightly better, with 15 matches producing 94 wickets at 16.93. 1883 was his most productive season: 21 matches, 148 wickets at an average of 15.90, with 18 five-wicket innings and six 10-wicket matches. He was not quite so effective in 1884: the same number of matches as the previous year yielded him 121 wickets at 18.17.
1885 proved to be his final season with Surrey. In 10 matches, he managed only 15 wickets at 26.40 and was not selected for any fixtures after the middle of July.
"It was rather hard luck on Barratt," wrote Grace, "that when he represented Surrey the eleven was not only weak, but had very little fast bowling. In many matches he was kept on too long because there was no one good enough to relieve him, and the consequence was that the batsmen got set and hit him. Nothing disheartens a bowler so much; and these circumstances must be taken into consideration in forming an estimate of the good work he did for his county."
Barratt played only one further first-class match after leaving Surrey, turning out in July, 1886 for CI Thornton's XI against the Australians. Although he was no longer playing for Surrey, the county granted him a benefit match at The Oval in 1887, the fixture against Yorkshire.