According to chroniclers, the first historic record for Dunfermline was made in the 11th Century when Malcolm III married his future queen Margaret there between 1068 and 70. To modern minds that seems an inordinately long time for a wedding ceremony. Since those days, ESCA have successfully managed to speed wedding ceremonies up through the banning of drinks intervals and similar foresighted rule changes. Short form weddings are now the norm.
It was only shortly after those extended nuptials that the ancient capital of Scotland saw the skipper of the Carlton Positively Fourth XI make his first appearance for the club. This debut is celebrated in the ancient Scots ballad Sir Patrick Spens
The king sits in Dunfermline toun
Drinking his blude reid wine
‘Oh whar can I get skeely skipper
For this fourth team o’ mine
Up and spak an eldern knicht
Known to the throng as DC
‘Yon Fant’sy Bob could win a toss
He maun be cried FB
And so a legend was born.
Your correspondent therefore looked forward to the return of the Positivelys to McKane Park after too many years away. For most of the week he did not believe that he would see any cricket so miserable was the weather forecast. But Saturday morning dawned clear and the message came that the pitch was playable. So off the Positivelys went. The Carlton selectors had once again had their work cut out and had laboured night and day to meet all the demands of the fixture list with cup ties, Sunday fixtures, unexpected and unexplained absences making their Friday evenings all the more enjoyable. As a result the juniors held the significant balance of voting power and the skipper lamented the implication for the possibility of a stimulating piece of Mahler to accompany the drive across the Forth. A Carlton team confidently leaving home with only 3 adults in the side is a measure of the maturity of the youngsters.
Since ESCA rules allow any number of Kentishes to play in the same side, the Positivelys fielded 3. Then there was Kas and Keatinge Minor. Had there not been a late reshuffle caused by the now habitual self- harming of top teamers, Keatinge Major would also have been in the side. Never before has a team sailed from Grange Loan so reliant on the letter K. Franz Kafka was reported to be applauding from beyond the grave.
Sikhs are ordered to wear 5 Ks at all time – the Positivelys go one better and thus become a world religion.
The skipper was into action right away, winning his 5th toss in a row. (Pedants in the team – ie the skipper – noted that technically it was 6 in a row, for after 15 minutes of the first match when the opposition had failed to appear, the toss was deemed won by Carlton.) The skipper modestly accepted the applause of his young colleagues at his victory. Their estimates of the margin of victory were woefully short of the mark. He reported however that this was the first toss of the year to use a £2 coin – the high value of this win gave him a particular satisfaction for he has struggled with expensive tosses in previous years.
The skipper’s unsurprising decision to bowl was fully endorsed by his companions young and old alike. The covers had been pulled back to reveal a pitch which looked slow and uninviting to dashing batsmanship.
The game was but 10 overs old, with the Positivelys’ vast travelling support enjoying excellent opening spells by Jamie and Ewan, which had restricted the batsmen to 20 without loss, when the rain came. Earnest consultation of Radar apps and other fancy technology suggested the possibility of a break soon, but the skipper’s more traditional method of looking at the sky through his weather eye predicted something else.
Yestreen I saw the new moone
Wi the auld moone in her arme
And I feir, I feir my master deir
That we will come to harme
Tea was taken in the hope that the sky would lift. The travelling support joined the lament.
O lang lang may the ladies sit
Wi their fans into their hand
But no the rain cam steady doon
An play was soon aband’nd
And like the Patrick Spens , the hopes of the Positivelys to restore their winning form foundered in a watery grave.
The Positivelys returned damply to Edinburgh speculating that the skipper might well have saved his toss winning performance for when it might be needed. Can his run of form continue? There is likely to be a big crowd next week when the Positivelys welcome Hawick and Wilton to the Inch. They will be agog to see if he can make it 6 out of 6 – or is it 7 out of 7?