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Civil Service

The club was formed in 1949 with membership almost exclusively confined to civil servants or their relatives. The founder members mainly came from the Inter-Ministry League (who played evening matches of 20 to 25 overs duration at Stormont).

 

For the first couple of seasons, only friendlies were played. Those involved at the onset included: the inaugural President, Nathaniel Cank BEM, the Estate’s Superintendent at Stormont (who had played against the great SF Barnes in the Staffordshire League; the first captain, Jack Sheppard (ex Woodvale); Norrie Beattie (ex Cliftonville) – perhaps the finest batsman in the club’s history prior to the merger; Sam Baxter (ex CPA); David Boyd (an interprovincial rugby full-back for Ulster); John Delaney; Hugh Gorman; Norman Kells; Ken Lynas; John Martin; George Morrow; Dougie Nesbitt; John Patton; Bob Ryles; and Ken Shimeld. There are no survivors from that list.

 

Initially committee meetings took place in the Law Courts Pub at Oxford Street in the city centre, before moving to the Conference Room in the Law Courts building itself.

 

By 1954 playing membership had increased sufficiently to run three elevens in league competitions. In 1955 under Norrie Beattie’s captaincy, the 1stXI reached the Junior Qualifying Cup Final, which they lost to Ards at Woodvale. The usual batting order of the team was: John Blair, Peter Lunney, David Boyd, Norrie Beattie, Bryan Baxter, John Martin, Bob Dornan, Ronnie McIlmail, Hugh Gorman, Alfie Collis, and Jack Fallas.

 

Then in 1963 with Austin Branagh at the helm, the 1stXI won the Junior Cup defeating Lisburn IIs in the final at Ewarts. The following 14 players featured in the cup run: Austin Branagh, Bob Allen, David Boyd, David Gordon, Raymond Gregg, Bill Jackson, Victor Johnston, Brian King, Raymond Laverty, Stanley Long, Peter Lunney, Harry McCammon, John Martin, and Jack Parkinson.

 

Perhaps the one single game in the club’s history which went down in folklore, still being talked about decades later also occurred around that time…when playing a 1stXI match at Belmont against local rivals CIYMS, the hosts were reduced to 11 for 9, before declaring to avoid total humiliation! Bill Jackson took 6 for 2, with Brian King taking the other three wickets. (Civil Service won the match by six wickets.)

 

Also in the 1960s, whilst playing for the 2ndXI in separate matches one season, Eddie Harper scored a century and took all 10 wickets in an innings – a remarkable all-round achievement.

 

Another notable match in the club’s history took place to celebrate the opening of the rebuilt club house in 1980 between a President’s XI and a strengthened Civil Service XI including Ireland Internationals: Ivan Anderson (Waringstown), Simon Corlett (NICC), Ian Johnston (Woodvale), and Dermott Monteith (Lisburn), plus Bob Taylor the Derbyshire and England wicket-keeper, who endeared himself to everyone.

 

Over the years the club periodically embarked on several “overseas” tours, including trips to Blackpool, the Isle of Man, Llandudno, Paisley and Sheffield; however the most noteworthy were undoubtedly trips to Gibraltar and Barbados in the 1980s. In the first match of the two-week tour to Barbados in 1983 at Holder’s Hill, the opposition included the all-time great West Indian opening batsman, Desmond Haynes. This was followed up with several further fixtures on the island, with the highlight being a match at the Kensington Oval test ground in Bridgetown (which hosted the 2007 World Cup Final).

 

Three staunch clubmen are worthy of special mentions: Des Wakely, the most amiable of men, who was an outstanding Honorary Secretary for many years; Dudley Barry, the most self-effacing person, who served the club faithfully in many roles, and although limited in playing ability, he never gave less than 100% and always encouraged the younger players; and thirdly John Neill, a good cricketer and Honorary Treasurer for many years before the merger, and retainer of that office ever since Civil Service and North joined forces.

 

Also worthy of recognition for cricketing and/or their administrative commitments to the club down the years, include: Tom Allen, Tim Branagh, George Burton (who fittingly took the first wicket for the 1stXI in a competitive match following the formation of the new club), Jim Butler, Maurice Clegg, Richard Crowe, Robert Craig, Martin Dougan, Charlie Fox, Mervyn Grant, Andy Hamilton, Tom Harper, Alister Jackson, Robin Jeffers, John Johnston, John Kennedy, George Lall, Mark Lunn(ey), Nigel Rountree, Ward McConkey, Kevin McConville, Syd McDowell, Wilson Martin, Ronnie Mitchell, Richard Molyneaux, Robert Morrow, Walter Pollock, Ronnie Spence, Trevor Steen, Billy Vance, George Waring, Ernie Wilkie and John Wilson; whilst former players Stanley Long and Peter Lunney both went on to become full international umpires.

 

 


1st XI / Club Captains (1951 – 2004)


1951 Jack Sheppard

1952 Jack Sheppard

1953 Jack Sheppard

1954 Norrie Beattie

1955 Norrie Beattie

1956 Ronnie McIlmail

1957 David Boyd

1958 David Boyd

1959 Stanley Long

1960 Stanley Long

1961 John Martin

1962 John Martin

1963 Austin Branagh

1964 Austin Branagh

1965 David Boyd

1966 David Boyd

1967 Ward McConkey

1968 Ronnie Spence

1969 Ronnie Spence

1970 Ronnie Spence

1971 Harry McCammon

1972 Harry McCammon

1973 Harry McCammon

1974 Tom Allen

1975 Tom Allen

1976 Harry McCammon

1977 Ken Nelson

1978 Ronnie Spence

1979 Robin Jeffers

1980 Robin Jeffers

1981 Robin Jeffers

1982 Austin Branagh

1983 Arthur Cheater

1984 Ronnie Spence

1985 Tim Branagh / Ronnie Spence

1986 Ronnie Spence

1987 Tom Harper

1988 Tom Harper

1989 Tom Harper

1990 Tim Branagh

1991 Andy Hamilton

1992 Andy Hamilton

1993 George Burton

1994 George Burton

1995 George Burton

1996 Ian Robinson

1997 Tim Branagh

1998 Tim Branagh

1999 Mark Lunn

2000 Andy Clement

2001 Maurice Clegg

2002 Maurice Clegg

2003 Robert Morrow

2004 Robert Morrow

 

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