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Civil Service Cricket Club - From the Beginning
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Written by Anthony Morrissey. Published 19th February 2006.
That said, now that they had made an entree into Leinster cricket, Civil Service made themselves at home straight away, playing at least one match a week throughout the summer. They began to win matches too, their first victory coming on 13th June against the Fourth Huzzars, and one J.Doran scored the Club's first fifty. with 62 against Merrion on June 18th, 1864.

Doran was easily the club's best player in their opening couple of seasons, with nine wickets in two matches at the end of 1863, an innings of 86 against Bray, 44 against the Fourth Huzzars, and 41 for a combined English/Irish Civil Service eleven against the Military.These were all fine scores, given the conditions then prevailing.

However Civil Service Cricket Club did raise a few hackles with their timekeeping. The Freeman's Journal's report of the Wicklow match noted that Civil Service played much of it with eight men, "perilling both the name and the prestige of the Club". The report added that "it is much regretted that members should disappoint at the last moment without giving time to procure substitutes". So some of the organisational problems of Irish cricket clubs, it seems, are at least as old as the game itself.

CSCC's members performed even worse against Navan that year, with none of the Civil Service members being on the ground at the start of play. Civil Service took the field an hour later with four fielders and ended up with nine players on the field, one of whom was not a Civil Service member.

In an 1864 match against Co.Westmeath in the Park, we get an early description of the state of the pitch - a good wicket, stated the Irish Times, "the copious use of the watering cart assisted greatly in obtaining this desideratum while the action of the scythe secured the full value of his hits to the batsman, not a blade of grass intervening to retard the progress of the ball."

One long hit, we are told, finished "in the pond, giving the fieldsman an opportunity of cooling his heated extremities by damping them well in his exertions to fish out the ball." The match itself finished inconclusively.

Throughout the summer of 1864 the newspapers were full of allusions to the Earl of Carlisle's rude good health, and it is sad to relate that he later resigned from the Lord Lieutenant's Post and died in England soon afterwards, genuinely missed and greatly mourned. The Gentlemen Vs I Zingari fixture continued to be played in the Vice-Regal's Lodge for some years afterwards, but the Earl's demise marked the beginning of the temporary decline in importance of the Vice-Regal's as Dublin's prime cricketing venue.

Carlisle's faithful servant, Captain Arkwright, survived him only by a couple of years, dying with his sister in an avalanche which took place when they were making an ill advised attempt to climb Mount Blanc. Arkwright's body was found thirty years later, perfectly preserved in the ice and snow.

From the mid 1860's to the early 1880's the progress of Civil Service Cricket Club, and indeed of all of the other Irish cricket clubs was charted and detailed in cricket Annuals published and prepared by John Lawrence, "Cricketing and Archery Outfitter, 39, Grafton Street". Lawrence also had the gall to describe himself as a "Pyrotechnic Artist". (He arranged fireworks displays for regattas and the like.)

In the 1860s the aristocracy were the only people to have the time and the money to play team games. After all, it was only fifteen years since the Great Famine, and most of the country was dragged down in abject poverty. Cricket, imbued as it was with old world traditions and essentially Victorian values, was virtually unchallenged as the team game of the ruling class.

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