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Civil Service Cricket Club - From the Beginning
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Written by Anthony Morrissey. Published 19th February 2006.
Many 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 into exile.

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".

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