The fifth XI moved into July facing not only table topping Drummond Trinity, but also the
start of the dreaded holiday period. When times are hard Fantasy Bob pulls out all the stops to get a team on the pitch and he yet again assembled eleven of Carlton‘s finest, or in Dave Carter‘s case reassembled after being cryogenically preserved for future generations.
Much has changed in the 20 odd years since Stand in skipper Martin Robertson last captained a Carlton XI. However statistics and probability have not changed in the aeons since he studied statistics. The toss is still a 50:50 shout, however he was shown to be an unlucky tosser. (Some would argue that given his current average coupled with his limited grasp of batting technique he is in fact a lucky tosser)
In any event the task was failed, the toss was lost and Carlton were batting.
Paul Bailey and Max d’Ulisse topped the order, batting sensibly against difficult bowling from the Drummond Trinity openers. Both coped well on the very bouncy track with Paul in particular guiding the ball expertly through the slip cordon for numerous 4’s (well two anyway). Paul was 1st to go when a ball with just that bit more bounce, touched his glove and was caught (15 for 1).
The unlucky tosser strode to the wicket, took guard and middled his first ball straight through the hands of backward point for a drop. Lucky, but still there. Max after a very watchful period missed a straight faster ball to allow 5s debutant Freddie Megaw to enter the fray (15 for 2). Freddie looked confident and comfortable and will do well in the future, if his current promise is fulfilled.
A few lusty blows combined with one or two defensive shots and Martin was looking set until the red mist descended and a half tracker, which should have been dispatched to Duddingston Village, removed the bails (35 for 3).
Rory Ledingham joined Freddie and they were building are useful partnership until Rory, after thumping a couple of boundaries missed straight one and was bowled (49 for 4).
Zaara Dancu was unlucky to middle one straight to a fielder, a foot either side and it was 4, but unfortunately out for 1 (50 for 5).
Veteran Charlie Martin (playing his biannual game) gave the keeper some catching practice (50 for 6), bringing Kyle Burgess to the crease.
Freddie had been batting very sensibly throughout the carnage but succumbed to a quicker one and was bowled for eight. Welcome to the 5th XI, many happy returns (50 for 7).
It was now Dougie Firth’s turn to take the short walk to the middle.
With Kyle taking strike, he was unfortunate to nick one to the keeper, who had been getting plenty of catching practice, as he bagged another one (51 for 8).
What the situation needed was an old head and Craig Burgess fitted the bill. He steadied the ship and along with Dougie inched the score forward before Dougie, who was looking in command was not quite ready to receive the ball and was bowled (60 for 9).
What the situation now called for was an even older head, and the Carlton illuminati had conjured up Dave Carter, the ideal candidate. Both he and Craig were aware of the batting point on offer for reaching 70 (Dave thought they were in the bag, until he realised it was runs not years). No matter the boys set about smashing 1’s into the deep and Dave brought up the three score and ten with a beautifully timed flick over square leg, which landed inches short of achieving the maximum, a great way to score. Dave perished attempting the same shot, having score a useful 9 leaving Craig stranded on 11 and Carlton 75 all out. Not as bad as it could have been and possibly defendable.
Tea was served alfresco and to the usual high standards of quality and quantity. The sign of a good tea is when more sausage rolls keep appearing even as the home eleven are taking the field for the second innings. Many thanks to all those responsible.
Defending a small total requires early wickets and after 3 overs the Drummond Trinity openers had progressed to 10 without loss, not looking good. Step up the Maxinator, taking 2 wickets in his 2nd over, and showing why he is the 5’s top wicket taker (11 for 2). With both Dougie Firth and Max d’Ulisse keeping it tight it looked as if an upset was possible.
Runs were hard fought, but the total inched up. Dougie bowed out after his 5 over spell to be replaced by Zaara Dancu. Dot ball then the straight yorker into the base of middle stump (38 for 3), a good first over. Next over to be bowled by Max and his nagging precision (or maybe just nagging) elicited an LBW decision from the DT umpire. Looked plum, but the finger was up before the umpire realised that the batsman was giving him a lift home (or not) (42 for 4) and game on.
Those unfamiliar with the lower echelons of ESCA may be unaware of the dimensions of Cavalry Park 2nd Square. While not quite as small as Cavalry Park 3rd square (AKA the Subbuteo Arena), the boundaries are short. A few lusty blows can change a game and so it proved, the winning runs were hit during the 17th over with no more wickets falling.
A well deserved victory to Drummond Trinity who look like potential champions. Thanks to them for playing is such a fine spirit, even when being sledged by an twelve year old. Good luck to them for the rest of the season.
Many thanks to Martin Firth for keeping the score book immaculately and to Karen d’Ulisse for rescuing the drinks from Grange Loan.