Your correspondent had prepared assiduously for the mouth-watering prospect of the Carlton Positively 4th XI’s tussle with Edinburgh University Staff CC in their middle of the super-ultra-elite ESCA Positively 4th Division table clash at Peffermill. There could surely be no better way to honour the birthdate of Julius Caesar, born on this day in 100BC – the usage BC is of course deemed no longer politically correct as it risks offence to non-Christians. Accordingly we are now encouraged to use the term BCE – Before the Common Era. This was apparently first coined in the 7th Century – why that should be so is a mystery to your correspondent, for that was a period when offense to non-Christians was not a sensitivity so much as on obligation. So your correspondent sticks to BC, but uses it to mean Before Carlton to which neither Christian nor non-Christian could take offence. Julius Caesar’s birth year is 1963 BC.
Be that as it may, your correspondent has always taken Caesar, considered one of the finest military commanders in history despite, perennially being doubted for having a dodgy bowling action, as an appropriate role model for the slightly more demanding leadership role that skippering the Carlton Positively 4th XI presents. Critical historians say that Caesar was no more than a charismatic strongman whose rule was based upon a cult of personality, ruling by force and establishing a violent social order. While such a description may be unfair to Caesar, it is of course a perfectly accurate picture of the present skipper of the Positivelys.
For the challenges of leadership he faces are many. This very week he faced one of the greatest in his long reign. He received a message that Gavinius Murrayus, the young lictor selected expressly to keep wicket, bust his thumb at Thursday practice and would be unable to perform the role.
A lesser man might have given up in despair but not our latter day Caesar. Having consulted the oracles – who these days can be sought out through text and email rather than the more traditional examination of the entrails of specially slaughtered oxen – he had appointed Brianus Kaczynskius, a redoubtable Tribune of the People, to perform the honoured role on the grounds that he said that he had done it many years ago. So for that matter had the skipper, but he was not letting on that this was the case.
Great entertainment was therefore in prospect for the vast crowd who would wend their way to the plains of Peffermill. The Positivelys needed to regain momentum to halt their slide down the league table. They were keen to extract revenge for their defeat earlier in the season when they felt that they let a good position slip. EUSCC were pushing hard for a place in the promotion race.
The Peffermill groundsman had other ideas. He relayed his message, specially crafted in honour of that day in 1963 BC – Veni, Vidi, Sodit. …….I came, I saw, but I couldn’t get the mower over the sodden grass. Match off.