2012 National Kwik Cricket Festival - the official match report

Carlton primary age girls travelled up to Perth on Sunday for the inaugural Girls kwik-cricket tournament organised by Cricket Scotland.  They had put in a specific order for sunshine for the day, and remarkably someone had listened because we had one of the few beautiful days of the summer (between yet another two days of heavy rain) at Doo’cot Park, one of the most picturesque grounds in the country.   Luckily I had thought to bring along some sun tan cream to prevent a sever outbreak of freckles, though Wellington boots would also have come in handy as underfoot conditions were soggy in the morning.

Despite his abysmal performance at the Olympic closing ceremony, Cricket Scotland had invited George Michael to their opening ceremony.  I am unable to confirm what song he sang (perhaps Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go in view of the early Sunday morning start) as I thought it might be the safest time of the day to nip to the gents. .

A late call off had seen us reduced to seven, so Carlton’s hept-athletes took to the field for our first match against our old friends from Loretto.  Batting first, we posted our best total of the day, an excellent 64 from our 8 overs.  Our 4 youngest players batted superbly, with junior pair Cara and Grace adding 26, Nina and Ella adding 24 and debutante Miriam hit our first 6 of the day.   However, the real difference between the 2 sides was the bowling.  The scoring format meant that wides are particularly costly and Carlton only bowled 4 compared with 12 from Loretto.   So despite not losing any wickets, a strong Loretto line up was restricted to 44 runs, giving us an excellent opening win.  Putting this into perspective, Loretto went on to score 80 plus when beating a strong Watsonians side in their next match.

Next up was Arbroath.  Again, our bowling was excellent.  Nina, Grace and Miriam all grabbed a wicket, with Miriam’s against a very strong Arbroath last pair who nevertheless added a net 19 to bring their total to a respectable, but gettable 41.   The most efficient way of scoring in this form of kwik-cricket is to let wides go, and get the certain two runs.  However, the Olympic ideal of sporting behaviour runs deep at Carlton, and our girls our always encouraged to chase the wide balls and try and hit them.  Unfortunately, many of our team still struggle to hit wide balls outside the off stump through the off side.  The more common direction was straight back to the bowler and if the batter sets off for a run then the usual result is a run out, turning plus 2 for a wide into the loss of 5 runs for a run out.  This happened on three occasions, but another 6 from Miriam saw us still in it with only 8 needed off the last over.  However, the Arbroath batter who had put their side back in the running was also an excellent, accurate bowler and we only managed a couple off the last over to fall an agonising 6 runs short.

Our next game was against a mature Kinross side, who went on to win the tournament with an unbeaten record.  We actually batted well, with pairs Ella/Grace and Fliss/Cara both adding 14 leaving us on 44.  However, Kinross had some strong hitters and a combination of too many leg side deliveries and short boundaries meant fours and sixes were a regular occurrence.  Kinross ended up with 81 runs for a comfortable victory.  Only Cara, whose bowling has come on leaps and bounds recently, and Nina kept a lid on the scoring.  Nina took a superb diving catch off her own bowling, not that she needed any excuse for grass diving, where she is clearly a future Olympic gold medallist.

Our penultimate game was against local primary school Portmoak.  Our bowling was back to its best with only 3 wides, and Grace took another wicket to leave Portmoak on 41 after their 8 overs.  However, despite 14 from Nina/Fliss and 3 successive fours from Charlotte, this match saw our worst running between the wickets.  With 5 run outs, mainly from setting off after hitting wide offside deliveries back towards the bowler, Carlton were never in the running and finished with only a net 24.

Final match was against local rivals from Watsonians.  Yet another accurate bowling performance restricted a strong Watsonians side to a net 44, with Charlotte taking a couple of wickets with another fine over.  Again, run outs were our Achilles heel, with a couple of early run outs putting us behind the asking rate.  Despite a brilliant off side 6 from Fliss and a valiant 14 from last pair Ella and Grace, we ended up 10 short. 

So despite our record of one win and four losses, there were a lot of positives to take out of this tournament.  With only one P7 from the 2011/12 academic year, our squad was among the youngest there.  Our record would have been reversed if we had avoided all these run-outs and our bowling attack was the most accurate at the tournament.  Note to self to spend more time next year at practice sessions working on hitting the ball through the off side!  It was great to see the batting of our youngest player Grace improve during the course of the tournament and in the last 2 games she hardly missed a delivery.  Despite only being in P4 last year, Nina was one of the best all rounders in the tournament and has the cricketing world at her feet.  Cara and Fliss have both seen dramatic late season improvements in their bowling and newcomer Miriam looks like a great prospect.  Ella bowled superbly throughout the tournament and senior pro Charlotte moves up to the hardball group next year after a great kwik-cricket swansong with bat and ball.  

After a short closing ceremony (there is only so often Paul McCartney can be invited to these things before the world realises he is not cool and can’t sing any more) it was close to 4 o’clock, so it had been a long, tiring day.  So without yet another interminable rendition of Hey Jude there was still time for me to get back to Edinburgh for some proper music.  It was the highlight of this year’s festival, a moving performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony by the fantastic Budapest orchestra.  While my car’s travellers’ views on Mahler were sadly uninformed, I am pleased to report that due to enthusiasm for a quiz on the way home, at least 4 members of the team will know for which country Budapest is the capital.  Hopefully they also remembered to test their parents out on one of my QIs, namely what is the fifth most populous country in the world.  Have a think before you read on …….. brownie points if you know before you have read the rest of this sentence the answer is Indonesia.  However, I am still waiting for the correct answer from my passengers for the square root of 169.  I also have to report that their Edinburgh geography was dodgy and getting directions on how to get them home was a fruitless exercise – too much playing with their phones rather than watching the world I suspect.  During this process, one of my travellers, who shall remain nameless, came up with the priceless quote of “Oh I know where we are!  Where are we?”

Roll on next summer, though can Cricket Scotland please put in an advance request for sunshine for the whole summer, rather than just one day! 

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