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Fitzgerald's Town

12. Faith and

12. Faith and fraternisation, a history of the Hibernian Society, 1869 – 2000, R. Sweetman 2002. 13. The New Zealand Tablet 10 February 1888. See Papers Past. 14. Star 22 June 1867. See Papers Past 15. Ellesmere Guardian 25 July 1899. See Papers Past. 126

PLAYING THE GAME Lincoln pioneers worked hard to establish their farms and businesses, but took what opportunity they could to relax either on the sports field or by involvement in various social occasions such as dances, concerts or tea meetings. These last were generally associated with their churches, and often to provide a treat for their children. The first organised sports to be played in the district were racing and cricket, whereas others, such as rugby football, were not played locally in Lincoln at the club level until early in the 20 th century although the game was played by teams from Canterbury Agricultural College. Cricket Cricket was being played in Christchurch within a year of settlement and as early as 1864 matches were played against a visiting English team in Hagley Park. It is no surprise then, that the first report of a sport directly involving people in Lincoln is of a cricket match played against “the Prebbleton cum Templeton Club” in December 1867. 1 This game was played at Lincoln on a pitch described as new ground, perhaps implying that the pitch was prepared especially for the match. The visitors won the low scoring match by six wickets. Only two Lincoln players, Knight and Wright, made double figures, scoring 13 and 11 runs respectively, in the first innings. Although a local club may have been formed earlier, the first account referring specifically to a Lincoln Cricket Club appeared in newspapers in September 1869 with reports of a club meeting, chaired by John Murray, on the evening of 27 September. 2 At that meeting it was resolved to begin the season on the first Wednesday in October when the club would field a team considered by some to be one of the most dangerous of the country teams. However, in November of that year Lincoln was easily beaten by Ellesmere by an innings and 61 runs. It was suggested that the ground “was rather dead” and that might have been the reason for the Lincoln team’s unfortunate result. Perhaps the match report was supplied by a member of the Lincoln club! However, later in the month the Lincoln team easily beat Mt Herbert by 45 runs, a result which was repeated when the return match was played about two weeks later. 127

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