matches were of a ceremonial nature, often accompanied by the brass bands
of the Huzzars and watched, with varying degrees of interest, by the aristocracy,
military top brass, and Those Accustomed To Rule.
All club fixtures were played over a day, with two innings
a side.Wickets were pitched at around noon, and play finished at seven
in the evening. Neither wicket preparation nor the finer arts of batmanship
had reached their zenith, and so the completion of four innings in an
afternoon was never out of the question. In most cases the winner was
declared on the basis of the first innings score.
League and Cup registrations were a concept that lay
in the distant future, and it would seem from match reports that Mr Arkwright,
The Earl of Carlisle's aide-de-campe, turned out for Phoenix Cricket
Club, Civil Service Cricket Club, The Vice- Regal's, and indeed
any one else who would have him.What is more, Arkwright was an Oxford
Cricket Blue, had played for Marylebone Cricket Club against Ireland,
and was reputed to be a "fine slow round arm bowler and slashing
bat". Whenever he played he was almost always accompanied by the
Lord Lieutenant himself
Reporters approvingly noted that the Earl "always
took a keen interest in the feats performed on the field of play",
and that he was ever keen to muck in as far as the scoring duties were
concerned. (These same reporters studiously avoided reference to the then
notorious but widespread practice of gambling on match results).
In its first season Civil Service Cricket Club shared
the Phoenix Park with, amongst others, the Garrison C.C., (popularly known
as the "Blue Caps"), Brunswick C.C., (based in the Nine Acres),
Brunswick's neighbours, the quaintly named Erin-GoBraghs, the Vice-Regal's
(or "Light Blues") and of course Phoenix Cricket Club. Civil
Service played a handful of matches that summer, the last of which was
a return fixture against the Vice-Regal's in what was the Club's
first home game. The match was played on 27th September, and not surprisingly
bad light finished affairs early, with the Civil Service Twenty Two precariously
placed on 116 for eleven after a Mr Gladstone, of all people, had scored
51 for the Vice-Regal's.
1864 was one of cricket's Big Years, a year vital
to the development of the summer game: W.G.Grace, the Great Cricketer,
scored his first hundred; the first county Championship took place, over-arm
bowling was legalised and, most important of all, the first Wisden Cricketers'
Almanack was published.
The Leinster cricket season of that year opened with
a set-piece Gentlemen Vs Players fixture in Phoenix Cricket Club in front
of an audience, which, the Freeman's Journal primly noted, "contained
a large sprinkling of the fair sex". Similar language had been used
in an Irish Times editorial of 1860 which praised "the upper classes
generally" for "acting wisely for the public interest in giving
their countenance and encouragement to these athletic sports" such
as cricket. "Mothers and sisters", the piece continued, "may
be present to behold them, and stimulate the combatants by their approving
smiles and affectionate sympathy."
In that 1864 season's pipe-opener, one Captain
Boycott of the 29th Regiment opened the batting for the Gents, scoring
a "handsome" 17 in the first innings. Perhaps it was an omen
that he contributed less than one to his side's paltry second innings
total of fourteen.
Boycott in later life of course became a land agent
in Co.Mayo and his treatment or eviction of lowly tenants so aroused the
ire of the Land League Association that he was sent to a "moral
Coventry" and shunned by all and sundry, eventually being forced
One of the prime agitators in the Land League Association,
and as such Boycott's future Nemesis, was Mr Charles Stewart Parnell.
Parnell batted in the middle order for the Co.Wicklow club around this
time, and in July of that year he scored a fine 49 against the Fourth
Huzzars.The future "Uncrowned King of Ireland" also turned
out against Civil Service Cricket Club in the Park, scoring nought and
six not out. Civil Service began that year by being beaten by TCD 2nds,
the match reporter expressing an ironic hope that "as the season
advances and the members of CSCC get into play their fielding may improve".