Topic: Sports

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As settlers emerged from the initial struggles and deprivations of establishing homes, farms and businesses in the new Rangiora settlement, they occasionally made time to enjoy social and sporting events.

 From the beginning, the first Rangiora settler, Charles Obin Torlesse, welcomed visitors and travellers to share his Spartan facilities. It was Torlesse, also who arranged what were probably the first formally organised sporting and social events.

In what is believed to have been the first cricket match, a Rangiora team, made up of Torlesse family connections and friends, beat a team from Christchurch by three wickets. The game was played on February 28, 1855, on a Torlesse field. A Rangiora Cricket Club was formed in September, 1859.

Probably it was the same area, near the Torlesse home, that was the scene of other social events, such as New Year Picnic celebrations with a varied programme including races, games, country dancing, and other events.

Horsemen tested their mounts in match races from an early date. Gradually activities became more varied as the slowly growing community found more time and money for leisure and recreation. Polo and coursing were early additions to the horse sports.

Social tennis was played on private lawns before competitions began and a similar situation no doubt applied to other sports. Very likely the formation of a football club in April, 1875, was foreshadowed by the playing of informal games. The football club adopted rugby in 1876.

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