| Mums v Daughters - the official match report
Despite the passing of 2010's last junior primary session on Wednesday 25th August, it was premature for a "Kindertotencricketlieder" on the 2010 season for Carlton's junior girls (for the few readers of these reports who are not Fantasy Bob (FB), fluent in German or a devotee of Gustav Mahler, this roughly translates as "Song on the Death of Children's Cricket").
The weekend at Grange Loan got off to the most unusual start, with the groundbreaking Mums v Daughters cricket match on Saturday morning. Despite a worldwide airing on the BBC (honestly, it was almost the first entry on Thursday's live text commentary on the BBC website for the Lord's test match) no-one has yet disputed claims this fixture was a world's first of this type. The match also provided the unique opportunity to attempt to answer some of the questions that have puzzled philisophers for hundreds of years, such as:-
1) Would the HABS (husbands and boyfriends) come along to make the teas? - No
2) Would the Mums ensure a victory for their offspring, or take the Johnny Everett approach of "I'd rather face Brett Lee on a hard, bumpy track than let my sons win"? - The teams were evenly matched and besides, no-one playing had any known association with Grange CC.
3) Would the prospect of washing out grass stains prevent any committed diving in the outfield to save runs? - Not sure. Any grass stains sustained (say that five times quickly!) seemed to be accidental in nature, though to be perfectly honest I thought playing in high heels was asking for trouble.
4) Would the Mums be able to handle a well delivered googly? - Yes, as evidenced by the presence of the opposition.
5) Would there be any sledging? - None evidenced. I mean for goodness sake, Amanda and Ellen are from NZ, not Australia (best wishes from us all as they return this winter to their homeland). It does however bring to mind the recent woman's cricket international between Australia and Zimbabwe. As the portly Edith Brandes from Zimbabwe waddled past the fearsome Australian bowler Glenda McGrath on her way out to bat, Glenda asked how come she was so fat, to which Edith's immortal reply was "Well, at the end of each date with your husband, he takes me out for a lovely meal"
Moving further off the beaten track and with apologies to the non-purists (but hey-ho, it's the end of the season and I'm demob happy), I thought I would attempt a Resurrection of FB's recent attempts to improve the intellectual content of the website and discuss the merit of his claim about the prowess of Gustav Mahler as a leg-spin bowler. Personally, I have my doubts over this. For instance, Mahler never once mentioned having Robin Smith bamboozled over what delivery was coming next in his extensive published letters. He did occasionally bad-mouth Strauss, but I'm sure it was Richard rather than Andrew. Further, I've been to both of Mahler's composing huts in the Austrian alps and would have noticed some stumps painted on an outside wall if Mahler really had broken off from composing masterpieces to perfect his top spinner. A great tragedy for leg spin no doubt but surely also for sledging - Mahler was notorious for his cutting one-liners and put downs during orchestral rehearsals. For example, a typical Mahler comment to the current Pakistan captain coming out to bat might be along the lines of "You won't last long, Cos-I'm-a Meisterspinner, Butt you are a Richard and a Wagner". Luckily for humanity, by not giving more of his attention to leg spin, he at least managed to partially complete his utterly heart rending 10th symphony before his death.
Finally, moving even further off track into the densest jungle without satellite navigation or even access to Facebook, I think I spotted FB at the Usher Hall at this year's Festival performance of Bruckner's 8th. To avoid FB being Apocalyptic with rage, I only hope he has the hottest ticket in town, next week's closing concert of the Festival featuring Mahler's awe inspiring 8th - if not he has the Sympathy of a Thousand people and my personal Das Klagende Lied. As for Ed's comments about the lack of knowledge of Mahler's works of young Rory Allardice, I can only point out that my own daughter heard her first live performance with Mahler's 6th in Rome at the age of 10. When asked what it was like, she described it as a Tragic experience, but I've not yet given up hope on converting her.
Turning at last to the match, Saturday's Mums v Daughters match was sponsored by Boots, which was ironic because the mums only numbered 7 and were supplemented by Harriet's sister Fliss, who at only 8 was too young to be a mum (even in parts of Essex) but who nevertheless shows many motherly qualities by taking control of our regular evening practice sessions and knowing that she is right, even when she is wrong. NZ mum Amanda, suitably dressed in All-Black opened for the mums with Helen. For the first few balls, there was a flurry of quick singles from the batters, but sadly never at the same time as each other. I think they put paid to any theory about the fairer sex being better at communicating. Both had run a few hundred yards without adding to the score before Helen showed that a preference for the long leg boundary may be a genetic trait as she cracked the first boundary of the day. Fliss, after she had explained the run-out rules to us, and Jo kept the score ticking along before the big hitters, Audrey and Jenny came in as the third pair. Jenny hadn't been schooled in a proper sport, being a Scottish badminton internationalist in times when she had two working knees. The Health and Safety officers in the crowd were concerned for the safety of the wicket-keeper as following her opening shot the bat was flung down behind her as she hobbled down the wicket. This, and frequently holding the bat with one hand showed that unfortunately her talent has been lost to rounders. Nevertheless her obvious hand-eye co-ordination, along with excellent support from Audrey (who may have been practising in her garden) saw the pair add what turned out to be the high for the day of 22 in their 2 overs. Final pair Nicola and June ran well between the wickets and added an excellent 16, leaving the daughters to chase down a total of 54. This would have been less if the daughters had managed to convert one of their many run-out opportunities or shown more commitment diving on the boundary.
Ellen and Iona opened the reply for the daughters, and survived the intimidating sight of Amanda running in to bowl, keeping the team on track with an excellent 15 runs. Next, Laura and Louise faced their mums Jo and June. Luckily for the mums, Darryl Hair was not umpiring at square leg, otherwise the match could have taken a controversial turn. At least Jo wasn't attempting to bowl Doosras. Some excellent strikes from the girls were nullified by the loss of 10 runs for the first 2 dismissals of the match, including a caught and bowled from my good lady, showing that my habit of passing items to her by the aerial route for the past 25 years has finally paid dividends. A really excellent over from Fliss helped contain Harriet and Lucy to 13 runs, leaving the match finely poised with the final batting pair of Biz and Susan needing 20 off the bowling of Jenny and Audrey. The fastest pair between the wickets, they were just about on track, needing 6 off the final 3 deliveries from Audrey. However, Audrey showed why she is a Lind (an acronym for Losing Is Not Desirable) and speared in a couple of excellent deliveries for dot balls and then ran out her own daughter on the last ball. Social work has been contacted and Grange CC records are being checked for an A Lind. So a victory for the mums by 11 runs. Key to the match was the 15 runs lost by the daughters for the 3 dismissals, as they had actually scored more runs. So to avoid being psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives, perhaps they can claim a moral victory?
For the next match, showing that having no Y- chromosome is significant, rather than take the male approach and try for revenge, the daughters chose to have a Mums with Daughters match, batting in genetically linked pairs. Nicola smashed the only 6 of the day off her first ball, her daughter Lucy 4 of her first ball, which helped them to 19 off their 2 overs, but they were just pipped by June and Louise who managed 20 with Louise in particular pleasing her coach with 2 finely struck boundaries on the sadly neglected off side. Nicola and Lucy did however have the bowling prize as consolation, restricting their batting opponents and pre match favourites to 6 runs. I think Iona was the only one who managed to get herself told off, after running her mum Helen out with one of her traditional kamikaze singles. This was described in no uncertain terms as stupid by Helen, though when social work were contacted they said that all available resources had been allocated to the Lind case.
So, the first ever Carlton girls cricket season draws to a close. Many thank to Kasper for her coaching help throughout the season and for the support of our superb junior convener who would surely have joined the Academy of Angels, if only he had met the minimum height requirements.