Carlton 4th XI 2010 Fixtures and Results

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Saturday 24th April 1pm East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Dunfermline 3
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169 all out

Bob Irvine 41, Shaun Barrett 34, Ruari Macpherson 22, Alan Murray 22

home

GL

183 for 4

Ruari Macpherson 2 for 29

Following his Division 8 century at Grange Loan last year, equaling his personal best, the visitors’ Jordan Davidson no doubt needed no second invitation to skipper his sides 3rd XI for the opening game of the 2010 season. He made the most of the opportunity hitting a fine undefeated 130, and setting a new personal best, despite giving three tough chances on the way. Wicketkeeper Penman was next highest scorer with 22.  Dunfermline totaled 183 for 4 off their allotted 40 overs.

Carlton skipper Alan Murray was left to rue how the score might have looked if one of the offered catches had been taken. He had plenty to be pleased with, though, especially with the bowling performances of youngsters Euan Everett (4-0-14-1), Ruari Macpherson (8-1-29-2) and Haris Aslam (8-0-23-0).

Carlton’s reply was based on excellent knocks from veterans Shaun Barrett (34), top fantasy cricket all rounder Bob Irvine (41) and skipper Murray (22), supported by a long and assured innings from young Macpherson (22).  Carlton were on course for an unlikely victory with Bob scoring at a run a ball but once he was castled by left arm Conners the chase fell further and further behind.   Wilkinson (8-0-39-4) cleaned out the top order and Conners (5.5-1-21-4) mopped up the Carlton tail.  The home side were eventually all out with one ball of the innings remaining, falling some 14 runs short.  

Scorecard

Photos

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Saturday 1st May 1pm East League Division Eight
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SMRH 3
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Carlton 4
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83 all out

Haris Aslam 4 for 23, Fraser Allardice 3 for 13

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GL

87 for 7

Bob Irvine 22 not out

Confronted by a freezing northerly wind and an artificial wicket that played like a 1980’s block driveway SMRH 3’s and Carlton 4’s met at the Inverleith sports ground with both sides looking for their first win of the season.   There were two distinct populations of cricketers on show:  One group of senior old stagers committed to a life on cod liver oil supplements to minimise knee pain and a second group of enthusiastic youths too stupid to bring a sweater (or preferably three) to play in. 

 

Carlton’s skipper Alan Murray won the toss and elected to bat.  The Carlton bowling attack had a balance of youth and experience - Bob Irvine and four others who’s ages combined are still less than Bob’s.  Fraser Allardice and Euan Everett opened and soon made inroads with Fraser removing opener Kerr.  On a wicket that displayed massive variation in bounce all day, runs were hard to come by and wickets fell steadily.  Carlton’s catching was impressive with Kennedy, springing like Zebedee, to unexpectedly grab a ball disappearing over his head and Iain Martin, to no-ones surprise, hanging on to a stinging pull to short mid wicket were the stand out contributions.  SMRH were dismissed for 82 in the 33rd over with Allardice (4-0-13-3), Haris Aslam (8-1-23-4), Martin (5-2-6-1), Everett (8-3-21-0) and Irvine (8-3-9-1) all walking off with excellent figures. 


Chasing 83 to win, Carlton were soon in trouble when Allardice (1) unluckily dragged a ball onto his stumps and soon after Everett (0) then Barrett (13) were triggered by umpire Alex “the finger” Fedenczuk.  Carlton’s big hitting middle order of Kennedy (13), Farooq (4) and Mayes (0) came and went quickly and at 55 – 7 the game was in the balance.  Carlton were saved by a match winning partnership between Irvine (22no) and Martin (0 no) who took the score past SMRH’s total. 


Played in excellent spirit, lots of talented juniors on show on both side and we look forward to the return game on a sunny day with fewer sweaters and a batsman wicket.

Scorecard

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Saturday 8th May 2010 East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Musselburgh 3
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167 for 4

Mike Kennedy 63, Shaun Barrett 31

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(M)

170 for 6

Dave Carter 3 for 16, Bob Irvine 3 for 38

With Alistair Darling and Andrew Marr constantly on our screen during the election, you might have thought that polling day would have brought relief from the over-exposure of Loretto boys.  Not so - as Carlton's old men and boys found at the Meadows on a bright but cold Saturday.

Our confidence was high but was obliterated by the performance of one George Munsey on his debut for Musselburgh.  His shirt emblazoned with Loretto 1st XI, he opened the bowling when Musselburgh's skipper inserted us on a typically green and soft Meadows 'wicket'.  With the ball seaming around it was hard going for Shaun and Keith.  After 10 overs we had the grand total of 17 on the board with a significant contribution from extras.  Munsey finished his spell having given as much away as the first budget of the new government looks likely to.  He then donned the keeper's pads.   

Keith departed with Ruari going shortly after.  This brought in Barnaby on debut.  A Kiwi surgeon here to learn from Edinburgh's best sawbones, he was surgical in despatching the change bowling but perished, smartly stumped by Munsey (who else?).   

With 20 overs gone we had accelerated to 45.   Boom-boom Mike (left) now strode to the crease - and a wave of shock went round the Meadows as he left his first ball, shouldering arms in the MCC approved manner.  What!?! - we had barely rubbed the disbelief out of our eyes when an even more unnatural event happened - a forward defensive push back to the bowler.  Good Lord - send for the smelling salts, had Saturn's orbit gone into reverse?.  To everyone's relief - not least Shaun's, still wide-eyed at the non-striker's end - normal service was shortly resumed and Mike was peppering the boundary in his usual fashion.  Munsey came back to tie up the innings.  Shaun departed shortly before the end for a painstaking but invaluable 30.  The innings closed on 167 for 4 (after a recount) with Mike unbeaten on 63 - a fine effort.   

As the trestle table groaned under the weight of the typical Carlton tea (we interpret the instruction 'tea for 3' in a truly Biblical fashion, believing we have to feed the multitude) we thought this could be a highly competitive total.  This proved as reliable an assessment of the situation as the recent predictions of Liberal-Democrat supremacy.  Munsey opened the batting (did he walk on water on his way to the middle?)  Really, we lost the match in the first 10 overs as he thrashed (by which I mean hit very hard) anything loose - unfortunately there was quite a lot loose as our juniors struggled to find a line and length against such a powerful striker.  This was batting several classes above Division 8 not a slog in sight - so an important lesson for the boys to reflect on, but a daunting experience nonetheless.  It was left to the slightly older heads of Carter (3-16) and Irvine (3-33) to contain the mayhem and put a little bit of respectability on the scoreboard.  But Munsey cruised past his century with no real chance given and thankfully the slaughter was all over.  

So Carlton 167 for 4; Munsey - 8 overs for 12 runs, 1 stumping and 110 not out;  Musselburgh 58 for 6.  Take Munsey away and we thrashed them good and proper!   Let's hope Scottish cricket sees more of George Munsey - he can certainly play - good luck to him and to Musselburgh for the rest of the season.    

(Our legal correspondent writes - Reflecting on the similarity to the Dunfermline game a fortnight ago, when we were undone by a centurion, skipper Al Murray will be making enquiries of the East League as to when it promulgated this new rule that when playing Carlton IV clubs must field an under 20 batting prodigy.  It might be simpler just to give us a 100 run handicap.)

Scorecard

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Sunday 16th May 1pm East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Morton 2
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150 for 4

Shaun Barrett 57, Ian Thompson 20, Craig Everett 17

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(GL)

156 for 5

David Mitchell 2 for 36

Not since the last glacial maximum some 18,000 years ago, as the Forth Glacier retreated leaving Castle Rock and the Royal Mile in its wake, has Edinburgh seen anything moving as slowly as Carlton’s opening pairing of Shaun Barrett & Keith Murray - albeit against an accurate opening attack from Morton’s Teegarden and Farrell. 

Back in the pavilion the “Green & Gold” campaign, “Glaciers Out”, was gathering momentum.  Barrett was mistakenly given out, caught behind after hitting the pitch only to be called back by Morton’s astute wicketkeeper and first slip, figuring they were safe as long as the barnacle remained. 

Keith Murray (9) was first to go with the score at 55, caught off a chin high no ball but this time both of Carlton’s stand-in umpires decided it was in the best interest of cricket that Bluto was made to go. 

Carlton’s number three Craig Everett strode out.  Fresh from a week in Bavaria, on a German exchange, he was able to swap stories with Alasdair on the castles of “Mad King Ludwig II” and the Oberammergau Passion Play.  The combination of 20 overs of Bavarian history and watching the openers sent him into a mad frenzy… four boundaries in no time, one an exquisite cover drive; then an adrenaline packed suicidal run out and a lesson on running without a call (Everett 17). 

Barrett (57) was next to go as the run rate finally picked up.  Ian Thompson batted beautifully, making 20 before he was caught trying to force the ball over cover point.  Ruari Macpherson (13) doesn’t have the power yet but batted intelligently guiding a succession of two’s with perfectly timed strokes.   Neil Browning (15 no), on debut, took Carlton to a respectable 150 – 4 off their allotted overs,  maybe 20 – 30 runs short of the target, but with Bob Irvine and Mike Kennedy away on recreational passes and James Hilton suffering from a recurrence of his whiplash, it was nevertheless a decent total to bowl at. 

Skipper Alan Murray gave the new ball to debutant Jed Smith (5-0-17-0) and Ruari.  Although Morton’s opening pair found it tough to score runs off the bat the scoreboard was kept moving by extras.  Ruari claimed the first wicket (21-1) as Turton (2) drove uppishly into the covers and Farroq took a sensational diving catch.  Unfortunately this was the last piece of decent fielding we’d see for a while.  The other opener, Bell (22), was shot out by Browning and Morton were 68 – 2 at the drinks break.  The match winning stand was made by the pony-tailed Farrell (51) and wicketkeeper Morrisson (43) and they took the score to 142 before Browning, now wearing his underpants outside his whites in his Superman impression, ran out Farrell with a direct hit to round off an excellent fielding, batting and bowling (8-0-27-1) contribution. 

Squeaky bum time followed as junior David Mitchell (6.3-0-36-2) claimed two late wickets, which were just reward for an excellent debut.  Carlton contributed to their own downfall by dropping a succession of catches…..estimates varied from 6 – 10 depending on who you talked to…. both Farrell and Morrison benefited from being dropped early in their innings.  Once again the juniors bowled beautifully, in addition to David, Ruari (8-2-26-1) and Haris (8-1-26-0) showed great control, bowled variations and with better catching would have walked away with impressive returns. 

Congratulations and many thanks to Morton; they played the game in great spirit and stayed for a beer after the game.   

Scorecard

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Saturday 22nd May 1pm

East League Division Eight
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Largo 4
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Carlton 4
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135 for 8

Ruari Macpherson 2 for 11, Neil Browning 2 for 20, Bob Irvine 2 for 21, Iain Martin 2 for 22

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225 for 6

Craig Everett 61, Bob Irvine 42*, Charlie Martin 32*, Ruari Macpherson 27

Cole Porter was right - it's TOO DARN HOT (I'd like to sup with my baby tonight, but I ain't up to my baby tonight).  

With skipper Al Murray astutely having inspected the seaweed hanging by the backdoor and opted for the paddling pool in the garden in easy reach of the beer cooling in the fridge, it was left to stand-in martinet Bob Irvine to lead the usual mix of greybeards and whippersnappers to challenge the mighty Largo.   His first masterful piece of strategy was to ensure multiple traffic jams on the route to St Andrews which left the opposition frying in the midday sun for an hour awaiting our arrival -  the car thermometer maxed at 32 on the way there. 

Tthe second masterful piece of strategy was to lose the toss.  Largomen are sun worshippers all obviously since they elected to field.  Haris and Shaun opened; Shaun felt the sweat run down his spine and opted for pavilion at an early point bringing Craig in.  He buckled down in exemplary fashion with good use of his feet and strokes all round the wicket.  The Everett genes are really beginning to come through now.  Haris looked good but went trying the deft late, late, late cut a bit soon in his innings.    As the temperature seemed to rise even further, the bowling got slower and slower as the Largomen began visibly to wilt.  Neil seemed in the zone but missed out - for an Aussie maybe it was still on the cool side.  At drinks we were 107 for 3 with Craig past 50 and Ruari looking good having just planted a huge 6 over midwicket.   200 was well in view.   But the sun eventually got to Craig and he crawled off for an excellent 61.  The mighty Proctor was sent in with the instruction to hit - this he did splendidly but unfortunately straight to a fielder. 

This brought the skipper to the wicket - soon to be joined by Charlie when Ruari invoked his spectating dad's wrath by swinging round a straight one ('A shot like that - he should be made to walk home').   

Bob and Charlie saw the remaining 14 overs out producing a fine stand of 90.  Charlie punished the short stuff over mid wicket and Bob confined his scoring to the V (what?!? - has he been reading the coaching manual or something?).  Shaun, as is now a Carlton tradition, umpired Bob's better shots and was heard to comment as the ball sped over his head towards the Old Course,  'That sounded just like on the telly, so it must have been a good shot.'  Charlie's hamstring went and Ian came on to run - which always gives scope for drama in grade cricket.  It also lead to the worrying situation that with the umpires, all 5 grown ups were now in the middle which left the younger members of the party in charge of the books (a nightmare for the statisticians).  But both veterans stayed undefeated, and a handsome sixer from Charlie brought the innings to a close on 225 for 6.  Bob 42*, Charlie 32*.  

This looked a decent total and it could have been lots more if Fife Council hadn't left the hay crop to dry on the outfield.  

Fraser led the team in a little fielding practice to try to forget the poor catching of last week behind.  We must build this into our routine.  

Then he and Iain Martin opened the attack.  Iain had quick success with a good c&b in his second over, but that was it for a while as the experienced Skene and Badley set in.  Greg bowled a tidy spell on debut.  But these 2 were still there at the drinks break although at 71, well behind the clock.  They had to begin to look for runs.  By over 28 they had managed to get up to 100.  Skene had called for a runner.  (Actually someone else had to - he didn't have the energy himself - he had just heaved Bob back over his head and collapsed in a heap when he saw it fall short of the boundary, declining even a single).   

Neil then had him super-plumb LBW for a plucky 33;  when one goes the other follows - and so it was as Bob got the big in-swinger through Badley's defence in the next over.  A fine knock of 56.  Two balls later Bob had Fleming smartly caught at slip by Charlie Martin and we were well in control (Bob 2/21).  (Charlie you should play this game more often - you've clearly got potential).  

Could we finish them off?  I'm afraid not - Neil (2/20) got another, as did Iain (2/22) (Bob taking the catch to contribute fantasy points for his fan base in every area) and Ruari (2/11), defying the laws of physics by bowling huge in-swingers against the cross breeze, chipped in with a couple but we left 2 green bottles hanging on the wall.   

And it was still well over 20 degrees when we finished.  Too darn hot.  

A solid victory with good contributions all round from young and old alike.  Many thanks to Largo for waiting for us when they might well have headed for the beach, and for making an enjoyable and entertaining contest.  Sorry to see the fixtures don't give us a return match this year.  See you in 2011!

Scorecard

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Saturday 29th May 1pm East League Division Eight
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Drummond Trinity 2
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Carlton 4
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114 all out

N Browning 3 for 32

away

214 for 5

Craig Everett 51, Bob Irvine 35*, Tobyn Fitch-Rabbitt 31

Basting in the aromas and sounds of Edinburgh's Taste Festival at Inverleith Park the 4s and Drummond Trinity served up a sumptuous day’s cricket.  The day had started chaotically earlier at Grange Loan when news of a savage attack on Steven Elder by a kitten meant he called off from bowling duty in the 1st XI in preference for a long spell in A&E at the Royal.  Although the Prawn Sandwich brigades of the 1s, 2s and 3s believe they are most disadvantaged by late withdrawals, the place the rubber hits the road is in the 4s as players are pulled up into the higher squad, more specifically it falls on the phlegmatic shoulders of Alan Murray and his mobile phone to fill the gap.  After a series of frantic calls Gavin Rittoo agreed to play and the 4s had a full compliment. 


Even by 4s standards the team had an even younger look than normal...7 juniors, all 14 and under in the starting line up. Alongside Gavin on debut was Tobyn Fitch Rabbit, Australian, 14 yrs old who pulled out of a 4s debut two weeks ago, inexcusably choosing a trip to New Wembley to watch Chelsea and Portsmouth in the English Cup Final. In the car down to Inverleith Tobyn revealed he's a Bolton fan and as the day unfolded we found he could bat and take stunning catches so he was forgiven. 


Skipper Bob Irvine won the toss and chose to bat. Barrett & Allardice put on 32 for the first wicket before Shaun was deservedly confined to an afternoon of umpiring after failing to dispatch a pie back into the nearby food court.  Craig Everett came out at three and the partnership with Fraser (20) took the score to 68 before the latter was out to his first injudicious shot of the day.  On reflection, it's a really disturbing thought but Craig batted as the more responsible adult in the third wicket partnership with Liam Prescott.  Liam injected pace in the innings with a rapid 27 before giving himself out LBW after attempting to launch a crease length ball pitching and hitting leg & middle over deep fine leg....the pirouette was lovely, 10 out of 10 for imagination but 0 out of 10 for shot selection.  Everett was next to go after an excellent 51, successive 50's for Craig following his innings at St Andrews last week. Irvine, sensing an opportunity for fantasy points, promoted himself up the order and wasted no time, off the mark with a 6 over square leg followed by two scorching 4s in his first eight balls.  He should have been caught by veteran Webster at deep square leg, but moving like Douglas Bader on ice the chance was missed.  Bob and Tobyn plundered the bowling in the final 10 overs, Tobyn was out for an excellent 31 allowing Neil Browning to club 10 off the final 5 balls.  Bob (35 no) was left leaning on his bat at the other end, able to reflect that his average this season is 144.4637 and recovering his breath after chasing a Rabbit for 10 overs.  Carlton's innings closed on 214 for 5 off their 40 overs, Drummond Trinity were left ruing several dropped catches and 30 wides. 


Browning and Ruari MacPherson opened the bowling.  Trinity opener Shandilaya set off like he was intent on making the 18:00 cooking class with Nick Nairn “Almond Millefeuille of Vanilla Mascarpone with Tequila Strawberries” before Neil made the breakthrough and Craig took a straightforward catch behind.  For the rest of the afternoon, apart from a brief cameo from Morgan, the bowlers were on top.  A succession of juniors bowled wonderfully and wickets fell regularly.  The match was essentially over when the hard hitting Morgan smashed Haris to deep square leg where Tobyn took a fantastic catch, after first controlling it on his chest and then pocketing the rebound.  We now have a new noun in the 4's "the Tobyn" which means bringing the ball down on your sternum and thereby creating a much simpler catch.  For all parents reading, Tobyn was fine and there was no need to seek out the rabid Elder at the Infirmary.  The other notable contribution was a run out created by Gavin Rittoo, quickly round at square leg and rapid work at the stumps by Craig.  All catches were taken and all the bowlers deserve mention: Browning (8-1-32-3); MacPherson (7-2-14-0); Aslam (8-0-28-1); Irvine (6-2-16-2); Greg Murdoch (4-1-9-1); Gavin Rittoo (1.2-0-8-1).  Drummond Trinity were all out for 112 in the 35th over, leaving Carlton Winners by 102 runs. 


The game was played in excellent spirit, Drummond Trinity are a great bunch, they were depleted on the day missing their skipper and vice captain and had they held their catches it would have been much tighter.  For Carlton 4s it was the best team performance of the year so far, all partnerships contributed above 30, congratulations to Craig, Tobyn & Fraser on their runs, all catches were held, there was good discipline from all the bowlers and, last but not least, aggressive, imaginative captaincy from "fantasy Bob".

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Saturday 5th June 1pm

East League Division Eight
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Kirk Brae 2
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Carlton 4
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194 for 5

Neil Browning 2 for 29, Saif Azhar 2 for 33

away

196 for 2

Kyle Macpherson 53, Shaun Barrett 53, Craig Everett 40*

On a beautiful Australian Winter / Scottish Summer day, the 4th’s gathered at Grange Loan as usual and after Transport Minister, Shaun Barrett worked out proceedings we convoyed to the Double Hedges ground at Kirk Brae. 

Warmly greeted by Kirk Brae II’s Captain Doug Jones (a Malcolm McDowell look alike) we were jovially ushered to our change room.  Having arrived early, we sharply kitted up to get in some much needed fielding practice (albeit amongst some shirtless football lager louts also warming up for their own match taking place on the lower field).  Local lad Liam Prescott surreptitiously snuck into the mix, still in the same grass stained whites and brown shoes from the week before and after the toss was narrowly lost by Captain Bob Irvine, we were thrown into the football fan invaded field. 


After a slight delay to the innings removing some goal posts, footballer’s wives and doggy doo from the field, Iain Martin took up the new ball.  Some tight opening spells from Martin and Ruari Macpherson and Kirk Brae struggled for runs.  After a few boundaries and a few lost balls into the ‘Double Hedges’, Bob Irvine brought himself on in the 10th over.  Not much luck from the big man this week, but the young Fraser Allardice coming on from the other end to replace Martin, more than did the job for his Captain with 4 maidens off his first 4 overs.  After some frustrating half chances, it took a brilliant run out from the cat at covers Saif to make the breakthrough.  A quick pick up and throw and Craig Everett whipped the bails off.  57-1 off 17. 

 

“When there’s one, there’s two”.  With the new batsman in, it was time for Saif to spin some magic. Using the third replacement ball of the day he did so with his second delivery.  Playing across the line and missing a straight long hop, S. Walker was soon doing what his name suggests. LBW for a quacker.  The opener M Raja (35) was soon doing the ‘S. Walker’ himself and could finally remove that 80’s style sweat band from his head.  Dancing down to an Azhar special followed up by a neat stumping from Craig Everett, we went into drinks with Kirk Brae on 71-3. 


Not much luck after the break for Saif and change Kyle Macpherson, although there was a good piece of valet parking by Liam Prescott at deep square leg to keep the tractors off the field.  At 121 off 28, Bob called upon the Aussie duo of Grant Newman and Neil Browning to mix up the attack.  The good combination of slow left arm chinamen and right arm medium pace worked a treat, with Browning finding the right line on the final ball of his first over to remove the bails of the big hitting I. Rogers.  A good catch by Iain Martin at deep midwicket to remove the unpredictable S Ashraf (39), followed by lots of edges and searching through hedges the innings ended at 194-5.

 

After our allotted 1 roll per person and the youth players cleaning out the cake trays, Shaun Barrett and Kyle MacPherson were tasked with taking the shine off the new ball.

Having been given out to a controversial above waist no-ball the week before, ‘Shuffle from the Crease’ Shaun walked out to the middle with his XXXXXL shirt untucked to conceal the evidence. 


Not much to talk about in terms of batting with all the talking done in the middle.  Some brilliant stroke play to all corners of the park and some great running between the wickets, including an all-run 3 by Shaun (not sure what they put in that tea?), at drinks we had 105 for no loss and Kyle notching up his half tonne. 


Kyle was cleaned bowled shortly after the break for a classy 53 and the in-form keeper batsmen Craig Everett (coming off back to back 50’s in the last two games) was next in. 

The runs continued to accumulate as quickly as the ominous dark clouds looming over the field and Barrett, trying to get things moving before the heavens opened, up was finally caught and bowled by S. Walker after notching up 53 to his name.  Another solid innings from him.

 

Neil Browning came in next to join Everett at the crease and after a couple of boundaries and requiring about 30 off 8, the dowpour came.  Nearly leaving the field, the rain eased slightly and the Kirk Brae Captain decided to play for a result in the rain.  Some good bowling by Kirk Brae, but Craig and Neil were up to the task, with Craig smashing a rank full toss to the boundary in the 38th to win the match.  Craig finishing on an unbeaten 40 and Neil 15 not out. 

Great chase for 4th’s to secure their third victory in a row and fair play to the Kirk Brae Captain to enable a result in the rain. 

Scorecard

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Saturday 12th June 1pm East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Preston Village 2
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203 for 4

Bob Irvine 42*, Neil Browning 37*, Haris Aslam 31, Ruari Macpherson 25

home

(I)

118 all out

Alan Murray 3 for 12, Neil Browning 3 for 25, Haris Aslam 2 for 17

Historians of the early 21st Century have many mysteries to shed light on - the absence of show trials and mass lynchings of bankers, what Tony Blair understood by the concept of weapons of mass destruction, the continued popularity of Jonathan Ross.  But without doubt, the greatest mystery involves Edinburgh Council, and how they declined the offer of a second hand roller to tend the Meadows pitches (£1000 plus £8 per hour for someone to sit on it) but plumped for the Tram (£500m....£600m and rising).  We may never know the truth.  

After a herbological field trip had failed to identify any sign of a prepared strip, negotiation with the opposing captain agreed the most likely last sighting of a wicket.  Inspired captaincy by Alan Murray ensured that we had travelled with paint pot and ruler, so the required white lines were duly daubed and stumps pitched.  Al had reluctantly pulled himself into the side to cover late call offs - even more reluctantly resisting the siren calls of the chocolate cake laid out for the sponsors' lunch when we assembled at GL.    

But nonetheless he lost the toss (by a considerable margin we think) and to no-one's great surprise we were inserted.  Shaun and Haris dealt with the wickedly seaming ball well and all was going along serene with wides comfortably top scoring until, in one of those moments of madness that call him to pretend his long vanished youth is not vanished after all, Shaun pushed for a second while his hamstring had obviously settled for a single.  Ouch!   An experiment with a runner - the mighty Proctor (who else?) - knock knock - who's there - proctor - proctor who - you got it! - was short-lived and Shaun Retired Hurt.  Barnaby had shed his surgeon's gowns to make another welcome appearance.  He started aggressively including a huge maximum, but his eyes had lit up a bit too soon and he perished top edging a full bunger high to square leg.  Ruari and Haris then batted like the sensible higher grade batters that they will shortly become, until Haris edged behind for an excellent 31.  He trudged off very slowly - was this disappointment at getting out or the knowledge that he had eaten all his biscuits and would get nothing until tea, a full hour away?  

Unknown to him when he woke that morning, Keith had been cruelly selected by the fates for the Meadows shooter and left soon after leaving us 95 for 3 off 27.  This brought Bob to the wicket.  Acceleration was required and that's what we got.  2 well struck maximums over square leg were the highlights.  Ruari supported well until he got a bit too ambitious and holed out.  A well crafted 25.  Neil and Bob then cracked along at 9 an over to bring us past 200 in the final over.  Bob 42* (again), Neil 37*.  Great stuff from them both with good shots to all parts of the ground and good running.   A good team effort - as we know any score over 150 on the Meadows is competitive. 

Our efforts were greatly enlivened by PV's opening bowler A Smith who kept up a continual commentary on the proceedings and his team mates.  Among his more philosophical remarks after bowling a good ball was 'Don't give me praise tell me when I'm crap.........'   Well..........Neil didn't need the temptation and a re-enactment of some of the finer verbal jousts between Steve Waugh and Angus Fraser followed.  

After tea al fresco, the paint gang did a little touching up and Preston were underway.  Play was held up for a bit while a naked cycle protest passed behind the bowlers' arm - even seasoned Meadows stalwarts reported this as a first.     But what happened next was not pretty.  Suffice it to say that after 8 overs the score was 33 and there had been 2 runs off the bat.  Neil in particular struggled with the swinging and seaming conditions on his first visit to the Meadows.  You'll get to love it!  The mass of crosses in the scorebook are a fair representation of a First World War graveyard.  Fair do's though,  Neil did manage 2 wickets in this spell, so we were making progress.  

A double change brought Haris and Bob on.  Bob bowled wicket to wicket and contained the resolute Ken Black; Haris found some turn but too slow to make real penetration.  But this was good controlled bowling from both ends and the run rate sagged big time, leaving PV at 54 for 2 at drinks.  Blood sugar restored, Haris finally got his reward, bowling the number 4 and getting the number 5 to lob up a catch over Haris's head.  Euan excelled to hold this having to deal with the skipper's desperate attempt to relive his vanished rugby career by taking the catcher in the air.  63 for 4.   Haris 8-1-17-2.    Black continued to keep Bob out until he was bowled out, but then the skipper's magic arm did him - another top quality catch by Euan round corner saw him depart for a doughty 25.  We had turned into the home straight and the bongo drummers were tuning up.   

The mighty Proctor was given the opportunity to show his work in progress - converting from leg spin to seam up.  A jaffa of a yorker gave him a reward on the scorecard and some fantasy points, and showed that there is something there.  Shoab bowled a few tidy overs but Keith couldn't find a shooter to pay back the injustice of his own dismissal.  It was left to Euan (1-14 a poor reward for some quality bowling) and Al (3-12) to wrap up the innings on 118.    A solid victory with good contributions from batters and bowlers.  Fielding was first rate all round.  But for the wides - and Sean's injury - it would have been near perfect  Thanks to Dougal who came and subbed for Sean. 

Thanks also to Preston Village for playing in good spirit - umpires will have tired arms after so many signals.  Good luck for the rest of the season.

Scorecard

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Sunday 20th June 1pm

East League Division Eight
L
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Carlton 4
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Teuchters CC
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243 for 6 (40 overs)

Leigh Kasperek 63 not out, Craig Everett 58, Mo Ahmed 49

home

(GL)

244 for 8 (39.5 overs)

Neil Browning 4 for 39 (inc hat-trick)

According to the press, there is some minor football competition underway in South Africa.    South Africa is of course celebrated by human rights activists for the radical clause in its post-apartheid constitution, specially conceded by Nelson Mandela, which gives any white South African male the right to a spot in England's top 6 batting order.   

This football competition is being widely hailed as the most boring ever and our hearts go out to the millionaire players who find they have nothing to do between their training sessions and dinner secured as they are in luxury hotel complexes.  A far cry from their normal existence of having nothing to do between training and dinner secured as they are in their luxury gated community mansions.  

But if drama has been lacking in the Veldt, it was not lacking at Grange Loan, when, on a sun drenched afternoon Carlton 4s and Teuchters CC served up a run fest in which all results were possible going in to the final over. 

5 hours earlier no one had thought they were in for such drama.  Al Murray had strict instructions that his Father's Day treat would be a trip to the beach, so left it to Bob to lead the side.  Leigh Kasperek and Mo Ahmed made welcome first outings of the season, together with the usual selection of has-beens, never-weres and rapidly-becomings.  

The pre-match routines of the 2 sides made an interesting contrast - Carlton looking almost serious doing group stretching and catching exercises - Teuchters taking a more relaxed approach having one last fag before battle commenced.   

Teuchters won the toss and to Bob's, and the crowd's, amazement offered to take the field.   Haris and Grant made a steady if slightly cautious start.  Grant holed out just as he began to accelerate,  Haris had found it hard to get the ball into the spaces and chipped up to cover an over later - at 34 for 2 after 11 we were at risk of not doing justice to Moon's careful preparation.  The sage himself sat by the Pavilion unusually expressing trenchant views on the excellence of the track and what bygone batters of mythical status would make of it.  Craig and Mo recognised this wisdom and never in trouble put on 120 together in even time.  

Drinks came with us just past 100 - Teuchters departing the field for a sit down, a chat and a fag.  You can take the team out of the pub, but..............  

A successful ploy, for Mo and Craig were out shortly after in rapid succession, Craig for 58 and Mo 49, but they had set up an excellent platform for the final assault.   The now celebrated Irvine-Browning middle order engine-room should have taken us near 300, but for once it stuttered.    Neil might have an excuse - there were rumours from the pavilion that New Zealand had scored against Italy - I assume a try - no Australian could learn of such success for the wrong part of the Antipodes without severe psychological and innings shortening damage.  No such excuse for Bob.  

So it was left to Leigh to take advantage.  She showed true class in compiling 63*,  with some fine support from Ruari, to take our total to 243 for 6.  This was a lower total than looked possible at one time, but also owed a bit to Teuchters' generosity in the field as several singles were sportingly turned into boundaries.  But it gave us something to bowl at.  

The sun seemed higher in the sky as we took the field, looking to field like lions and bowl like demons.   Not quite - 10 overs later we were under the cosh as Richard Bartsch (yes, he of the 236* vs MDAFS) hit us to all parts of the ground.  The 100 came up quick time after 13 overs.  We didn't help our cause by letting a couple of hard chances go and putting too many bad balls the batsmen's way, but our ground fielding was of a high standard throughout this assault. 

Haris and Grant slowed things down and duly got their reward - an excellent one handed clutch at slip off Haris by Grant and a fine catch at deep long off by Mo off Grant finally saw Gray (38) and Bartsch (91) reunited with their fag packets.  146 for 2 and just about an even 100 required off the second 20 overs.  We were back in the hunt.  

Well dear readers, what can I say? - we pressed hard and made some progress.  Over the next hour and half the balance swung this way and that.  Wickets slowed things down, bad balls and well hit 4s didn't help.  The highlight was Neil's hat-trick in the 38th over - the balance of his mind restored by the knowledge that the natural order of things had reasserted itself and Italy had scored.  Fraser's very tight spell helped the cause (to add to his excellent fielding display) but there were too many runs in the track and the fast outfield, and the batters got their reward for taking risks in the closing overs. 

In truth, we missed another couple of chances that could have helped us close things out.   In spite of the 8th wicket falling in the last over, it was not to be and Teuchters got the winning hit off the second last ball.   (There could be a surge in subscribers to Stevie G's death bowling sessions in July - that extra bit of control and visioning could have made the difference.)  

For Carlton, this was another one that got away and we are left to reflect on the fact that we have lost all our games at Grange Loan this season.  Another 20 runs would have helped and were in the track.  But our real failure was slippery hands.  For some reason our catching at home has been worse than poor - hard to know why since it has been spot on everywhere else.  Well done to Teuchters on an excellent chase - we see why you put us in.  They kept going at it and got their rewards for playing in such a positive spirit.  The cock-eyed fixture list means we have the return fixture next week so we look forward to revenge.

Scorecard

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Saturday 26th June 1pm East League Division Eight
L
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Teuchters CC
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Carlton 4
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214 for 9

Fraser Allardice 4 for 37, Grant Newman 2 for 22

away

141 all out

Barnaby Smith 34, Grant Newman 27

Leith Links boasts one of the earliest mentions in the history books of golf.  Although the Town Council, at the request of King James II had banned "gauf and fussball" in 1457 due to interference with archery practice for military purposes, the Links are the site of an early 5 hole golf course built in the 18th century.  Golf at Leith Links is mentioned in 1714 when the first competition for "The Edinburgh Arrow" by the Royal Company of Archers took place and Leith bolsters its claim to being the home of golf because the official rules of golf, initially formulated at Leith in 1744 by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, were later adopted by St Andrews. Apparently, the only difference between those rules (which remain the rules of golf) is the omission of one rule to do with hazards such as trenches [Too much information, get on with it. Ed]. Tradition has it that in 1619 the Bishop of Galloway was playing golf on Leith Links in 1619 when he suffered a deadly premonition of two men attacking him. So he threw down his clubs, took to his bed and died. In 1664, no less excitingly, 9 witches were burned here.

The history books also tell us that Leith Links has one of the longest established cricket pitches in Scotland dating from 1820 - the last time the boundary was marked. 

So we innocently entered this historical vortex for our rematch with the Teuchters.  With the Sunshine on Leith, could we walk from misery to happiness to reverse that last over defeat of last week?

Well we did the hard part - we got big scoring Bartsch out in the second over - a smart pick up and throw by Fraser (who else?) to take advantage of that old classic 'Wait, yes.. er I meant no .. oh, bugger it.....' (author unknown but variously ascribed to G Boycott).  After that Teuchters made steady progress, Jones and Gray taking them into the 60s before Grant got them both -  Feds with an energetic stumping - rather than gently taking the bails off he tried to lift the stumps into the bowling green next door, and Barnaby with a good catch at cow.

Barnaby was prominent in the field and when one spat up in front of him to smack his chin - a drip of blood was spotted.  This is always a matter of excitement for a surgeon.  Newly qualified Medico Dr Blackmur scented the haemoglobin in the air and, imaginary green flashing light secured to his head, made the emergency dash from backward point.  Unhesitatingly, he diagnosed appendicitis and prescribed a course of reconstructive surgery. 'With good after care we'll have you playing the piano again in 6 months.' 'What about a sticking plaster?' suggested underqualified Haris, subbing as a paramedic.  The docs eyed each other in that way that years of training and crisis management gives them.  'A mere mortal has made a suggestion - it seems a good one.'  Barnaby was moved to what Al deemed a less life threatening part of the field only to take another smart catch head high on the next ball. 

Teuchters continued their steady progress with contributions from most of their top order.  Clarke looked particularly good on his way to 53, but since he seemed to be Australian we have to stop compliments there.  That he also come back later to bowl a very parsimonious spell, adds insult to this injury.  Fraser got 4 good wickets in his second spell, demonstrating the virtues of targeting the stumps.  But from our point of view that was too little too late as the innings closed on 214 for 9.

During the tea interval, we suspect someone hexed up the witches because the jinx was on when we batted.  The wicket began to come apart and got more difficult by the ball and the bounce (never wholly true) more variable.  Should we have called for the heavy roller during the interval?  What would have happened if we did?

Grant started well, but the wind went from our sails when Fraser (having scored 1 million* in a school game the day before) tamely picked out backward point off his second ball.  Fed, his finger already itching in his glove (see below), went caught behind and came out to umpire.  Liam sent Grant off for a fine 27 - perhaps he felt threatened that Grant had come so far down the wicket.  Barnaby and Haris calmed things down a bit and we began to move along.  Our middle order looked strong - surely it would deliver.  Haris' demise brought Mike in - fresh from bicycling across the Atlantic.  Would Boom-boom, boom?  The tension was unbearable (well alright it wasn't, but cut me some literary slack) - stunning his team-mates, his first scoring shot looked like a leg-glance-type-thingy - all the way ALONG THE FLOOR to the boundary.  Several slow motion examinations of the replay allow the experts to confirm this wasn't a harrow cut but the shot he intended to play.  Well!

But then Fed's minute examination of the topography and geometrics of Mike's next ball allowed him to conclude the to top millimetre of the middle stump would have been kissed by the ball and at last he could relieve the itch in his finger.  Mike suggested politely that in his precise calculations, Feds had failed to take account of the local updraft caused by the now established effects of the sun on the varnish of the stump which would have lifted the ball exactly 1.3mm, and so over the stump allowing him to retain his finger in a downward position.  Only extensive research at the Cavendish Institute can resolve this dispute. 

Fantasy Bob was next and that's what he proved - Fantasy - as he reconfirmed his long standing membership of the Primary Club.  Liam came in swinging - indeed he did a fair impression of a windmill and had he been connected to the grid could have powered the surrounding houses until well after midnight.  But there was only one way this was heading - and the straight one came.  Remember that strong middle order I told you about?  Well, to coin another local anthem - Kennedy no more, Irvine no more, Prescott no more.  Barnaby then went for a creditable 34.  And that was about it, a little late resistance from Blackie and Iain in a vain attempt to rescue a final batting point and we had collapsed to 141.  Easily our worst batting performance of the year. 

Certainly we can blame the witches being disturbed in some way - there must be some reason for our collective failure.  Credit to Teuchters' bowling - another good contribution from Bartsch 4-29 and as mentioned above from Clarke 1-9 off 8 who slowed us right down when we began to make progress.  Good luck to Teuchters, they have good depth in their batting line up - we have concluded that the way to defeat them must be to hide their fags.  But we have identified that tactic too late to do us any good. Will we see you next year?  We are going to have to pull our socks up a bit in all departments to get up the ladder - but let's hope so - we have had 2 highly enjoyable matches.

PS - in a special communiqué from the place of security to where he has temporarily (we hope) been taken, Bob Irvine (previously known as Fantasy Bob) would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all his many Fantasy League supporters for his negative return yesterday [that's putting it politely - Ed] further evidence of a mid-season slump.  Grief counselling will be made available to any who wish it (apply B Forrester).  Mindful of the example of honour established in 1619 by the Bishop of Galloway, Bob would like it to be known that there was a glass of whisky and a loaded revolver awaiting him on his return to warm bosom of his family after the game.  Predictably, having downed the whisky he took up the revolver .....and missed.  So he remains available for selection next week.

Scorecard

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Saturday 3rd July 1pm

East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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Kismet 2
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54 for 1

Tony Brown 22 not out

home

(M)

53 all out

Greg Murdoch 4 for 20, Fraser Allardice 2 for 9

In Turkish or in Urdu, Kismet means fate, destiny or a pre-determined course of events.  The many keen etymologists within Carlton's ranks will know that this word derives from the Persian qesmat or Arabic qisma, meaning lot or division. Carlton's fans of Broadway will also know that Kismet is a musical written in 1953 by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of  Russian composer Alexander Borodin, in which the most popular numbers are 'Baubles Bangles and Beads' and 'Stranger in Paradise'.   But today's interest was on Kismet CC, pride of Dunfermline.

It was a much changed Carlton 4th XI which welcomed Kismet to the Meadows.  Several of last week's team had had the call up for the Saltires [........er.......surely some mistake......which team are we on about here...... Ed].   President Carter made a rare appearance and we welcomed juniors David Louden and Greg Murdoch to the ranks.  Not really strangers, but then, as it proved in the next couple of hours, this was not really paradise.

Skipper Al Murray narrowly won the toss -  evidence that kismet was to be on our side and not Kismet's.  With that major contribution he could rest easy for the rest of the afternoon.  It didn't need much mental effort to decide to take the field with a wicket that evidently had some of Edinburgh Council's surplus speed bumps inserted just on a length at either end.  With a strong cross wind blowing dark clouds across the sky, it was obvious to all that batting could be a challenge. 

So it proved.  Kismet's innings had proceeded serenely until the first ball of the 3rd over when young Greg Murdoch's ear splitting - but solitary - appeal for LBW was endorsed by the umpire.  This came as a surprise to the batsman busily - even pointedly - adjusting his box after the hit.  Invited politely to reconsider, the umpire confirmed his verdict more trenchantly and he had to go.  That's kismet buddy...........  No such controversy 2 balls later however, when Fraser swooped at backward point and threw down the wicket at the bowler's end with the batsman yards out of his ground unaware that danger was near.  More kismet matey............  In the words of the song mentioned above - 'if you stand starry eyed, there's a danger in paradise..........' A first class bit of fielding (what we seem to get every week from Fraser) and at 2 for 2, Kismet's kismet was sealed (as it were).  [Too many kismets - this is the same joke several times - please try harder. Ed]

The visiting skipper Ali put up some noble resistance and played some excellent shots through the covers - let's face it, on that surface any shot was excellent, but none of this team mates could stick with him.  Ali - top scoring on 30 - was an enthusiastic coach of his team mates throughout the innings - indeed he was an enthusiastic coach of the umpires too.  He appealed from the non-striker's end to various fielders that deliveries should have been called wide.  In this he is surely ahead of his time.  Carlton newshounds will know that yesterday, Messrs Cameron and Clegg announced their intention to hold a referendum next year into a new voting system for UK general elections.  In a parallel development, the East of Scotland Cricket Association is contemplating making wides in lower division cricket subject to a referendum among those playing.   ESCA rules guru Bill Polson told your correspondent - 'This worked well at Mitre in the old days and we think the time is right for its wider adoption - we are also considering making LBW decisions appealable to the Court of Session.'

Fraser had 2 wickets and David 1 before the President was summoned by the skipper from his dark and gloomy place at fine leg.  Regular readers of these columns will know of the President's legendary command of line and length.  He gave master classes to Glen McGrath. They will therefore not believe what happened next.  Everything seemed normal as the President surrendered his cap to the safe keeping of the umpire, paced his run as he has throughout the several centuries of his career and made his rhythmic approach to the wicket.  But then - the President 's first ball was a wide.  No referendum was necessary - a wide by some margin.  Nor could the speed bumps on the wicket be blamed - since the delivery didn't bounce until it passed the stumps.  Play stopped; mothers across the city comforted their terrified young children; rescue services were put on alert; Parliament was recalled.  The younger members of the team were told that this date would live in their memory, just as Kennedy's assassination defined 22 November 1963 for their more senior team mates.  Where were you when the President bowled a wide? 

Not surprisingly, this event also seemed to distress the remaining batsmen, or maybe they were anxious about the menacing figure reported to be standing on a nearby grassy knoll (actually this was just Keith Murray in his customary position at gully).  The innings came to a fairly swift end at 53 baubles bangles and beads.  I should commend tailender Aftab's honour in walking after gloving one down the leg side to give Greg his fourth wicket (4 for 20 - well done to you).  Accepting his fate (kismet) - and an excellent example to set our youngsters.

53 all out didn't seem much - but for all that we bowled and fielded well, we still had to bat on this wicket.  The skipper had obviously been playing happy families with his kids during the week for he invited father and son Brown to get us underway.  Son declined to stay, clipping one to point after a few elegant shots, but Dad hung around to see us home in partnership with Fraser.  After Tony's innings a rumour went round (started by him) that he actually timed one shot, but experts are still studying the video evidence.  Fantasy Bob umpired and made a vain attempt to get some fantasy points by no-balling the opening bowler's back foot a few times - he insists that these runs should be credited to him for knowing that law.  That's how desperate the man is now.  Sad.

And so with the points in the bag the skipper finally relented and we could take tea.  Indeed we could have fed the bongo drummers, the volleyball players, the marijuana salesman (who had sat down to set up shop at square leg earlier in the proceedings), the four other teams playing on the other wickets and still had enough left over for the rest of the season.

After the reverses of the last 2 weeks it was good to get back on the winning trail again.  On this occasion it was particularly good to get back on the toss-winning trail.  Thanks to Kismet for taking their kismet in such good spirit.  We are sure that the return fixture will be a closer encounter.

Scorecard

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Sunday 11th July 1pm East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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Dalgety Bay
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home

(GL)

 
MATCH CONCEDED BY DALGETY BAY
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Saturday 17th July 1pm

East League Division Eight
W
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Murrayfield DAFS 4
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Carlton 4
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81 all out

Fraser Allardice 3 for 14, Chayank Gosain 3 for 20

away 82 for 6

t is rare in these pages to pay unsolicited tribute to an Australian, but this week is touched with sadness by the death of Sir Charles Mackerras, one of the great orchestral conductors of our times and a true friend to the Edinburgh Festival.  [Er, now what's this got to do with cricket? Ed] Obituaries describing Sir Charles' outstanding career have made no mention of cricket [A pathetic link - please try harder.  Ed] , but we must believe that, as an Australian, he had at least a passing familiarity with the game.  What he would have made of Carlton 4ths' latest outing is less certain. [He's not alone in that.  Ed]

A showery morning gave way to a blustery afternoon as we assembled at GL for our visit to Roseburn to take on our friends at MDAFS.  Fantasy Bob took the reins, as Al Murray was on family duty – a duty interrupted by a morning's frantic search for an 11th man after a late call off.   The morning's stress only added to Al's difficulties, since the originally selected elite XI had already been subject to unforeseen changes: among other impositions on Al’s patience, a failure in Craig Everett's understanding of the sequence of days in the week had led him to the novel idea that Sunday preceded Saturday.  The Julian calendar was only introduced in 46BC, so it is perhaps understandable that Craig hasn't quite had long enough to get the hang of it. 

 

It is rare that Al's travels through the phone book are unsuccessful - where was the Mighty Proctor Who when we needed him?  Visiting his family, in outer space apparently.

 

Our doughty groundsman Moon sat contemplating his handiwork.  Could he be tempted to rediscover that athletic grace of his not so distant youth?  'You must be ******* joking', came the trenchant response, before he went on to point out that in addition to grass management activities he was building up for an afternoon of vigilance to ensure that 6 stumps and 4 bails were duly returned to their places of safe keeping.  'I counted them out and I will count them in.'  He further expressed the strongly held view that without this vigilance, the ******s of the 2nd XI would undoubtedly conspire to magic the timbers into thin air.  So only 10 set off for Roseburn.

Bob's bowling muscles twitched as the coin spun and he called correctly.  [I suppose you are going to tell us now this was a narrow victory? - Ed] 

Dear readers, I don't know who this chap Ed is either, and I wish he would stop interrupting.  [Sorry. Ed]

We took the field in a strong cross wind with the grass still shiny and wet from a short but heavy shower.   The dark stands of Murrayfield loomed behind us like some giant flying saucer newly landed from outer space - ah! perhaps the mighty Proctor Who had come direct.........but no such luck.  Actually, there a bonfire of some sort crackled in the stadium throughout the afternoon – presumably Edinburgh Rugby clearing out their old prop forwards.

Anyway to return to the subject of interest, Blackmur and Allardice opened and rapidly confirmed that bowling was definitely the fun option as the ball swung, drifted, moved, seamed, shot - in fact did everything but bounce true and straight.   A little - well a lot - of this was due to the artificial track's spiteful nature.  Who had angered it to turn it to the carpet of doom?  The cross wind also played its part causing carnage on the back nine…………..er……. sorry wrong game.  Some of the batters’ difficulty might even have been due to the sublime skills of Carlton’s bowlers, who certainly set the ball off on more or less the right line. 

Blackie went past the outside edge so often that in order to relieve the monotony, Bob moved the fielders one by one so that they were ALL on the off side.  (Can Carlton claim this as an innovation?  The history books do not give us any firm guidance.  It is rumoured that in the warm up matches of the Bodyline tour, Douglas Jardine had experimented with a similar format until it was pointed out to him that he was holding his notebook upside down and the fielders should have been on the leg side as Harold Larwood had suggested.  Once they reverted to leg side the rest, as they say, is history.  Jardine of course was almost as aggressive and imaginative a skipper as Fantasy Bob, but his match reports were rubbish).

Predictably the 8-0 field failed to entice any kind of tickle to the close fielders.  But even with the wide open spaces on the leg side, runs were hard to come by and after 12 overs MDAFS were 33 for 3 with a wicket apiece for Blackie, Fraser and Cheeky.  This was the story of the day with the bowlers well on top.  Fraser and Cheeky were the pick, ending up with 3 each, Bob and Blackie 1 each - and Feds, who bowled some kind of crazy spinny wristy fingery stuff – (Murali has just announced his retirement hasn’t he?) - also got 1.  Immaculate - he almost looked like he'd bowled before.  Just as well, because otherwise we had no idea what he would talk about for the rest of the day .  Actually Feds could have (and did) talked about his part in our run out - graciously conceded by MDAFS young Fettesian Sinclair falling on his arse in a vain attempt to turn when sent back by his skipper.  A good straight throw to Fantasy Bob and Feds and he share the points.  [Fantasy points for Bob - I thought they were a thing of the past. Ed].  So MDAFS were all out for 81 in the 35th over.  Doesn't sound much, but many of us have lived through lower winning totals in conditions like this.

Tea was taken al fresco - 'But I don't like Italian food' protested Cheeky. 

And we prepared for our turn on the carpet of doom.  Matt and Shaun looked well in control until with the total on 23, Matt edged one on to his pad which then kissed the off stump.  Mowatt's off cutter was going well and Zaki was also undone by it.  When Shaun played down the wrong line next over we were suddenly not so relaxed at 26 for 3.  Rats - gulp - 81 began to seem like a huge total, no matter which digit you looked at first.  Grant and Feds then batted well and settled us down - yes, I know, more for Feds to talk about - until Grant forgot his ‘get forward to everything’ mantra and ………LBW.  Was there any doubt - sadly not, to a man his team-mates on the boundary raised their fingers - was this irony or some kind of crazy tribute to Billy Bowden?

But at 58 for 4 we were within spitting distance and although we lost Liam and Feds on the home straight, Bob and Fraser were able to take us across the finishing line with out too much difficulty.  Grant top scoring with a huge 14.

Our innings was greatly enlivened by MDAFS' slip fielder.  We are sure that he will prove to be the run away winner of this season's ESCA award in the Most Excitable Fielder category.   Absolutely great to see such enthusiasm and commitment - just a bit wearing on the ears - but he was quiet long enough to pouch a blinder of a slip catch to send Feds home to think again.

 

The carpet of doom.  Carlton film buffs will be familiar with Orson Welles' great work Citizen Kane.  The film searches for the meaning of the word Rosebud the eponymous megalomaniac's dying utterance and the final frames suggest that this was the name off the sledge that was cruelly taken from him in childhood. More recent research on the original screenplays reveal that this ending was a late adaptation to pander to American cricket ignorant audiences.  The original script reveals Charles Foster Kane's unsuccessful attempts to perfect the cover drive - the word on his dying lips was that which had truly traumatised him - not 'Rosebud', but 'Roseburn'.

So, the carpet of doom mastered, and another 20 points in the bag through a fine team effort - and thankfully our missing 11th player was not a critical factor.  Thanks to MDAFS for the usual enjoyable encounter.  We hope the carpet of doom is less spiteful for your remaining home games!

Scorecard

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Sunday 25th July 1pm

East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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Leith FAB 3
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168 for 2

Kyle Macpherson 86, Shaun Barrett 58 not out

home

(GL)

39 all out

Haris Aslam 3 for 4, James Blackmur 3 for 18

I have heard it said that our match reports are in danger of becoming too self indulgent....in response I'd like to share the reflections of Nietzsche who said "It is absolutely impossible for a subject to see or have insight into something while leaving itself out of the picture, so impossible that knowing and being are the most opposite of all spheres."  So I hope that puts to rest all of your concerns? 


So back to the cricket....Carlton welcomed Leith FAB 3's to Grange Loan and as per the prophetic lyrics of the Reid Brothers there was Sunshine on Leith.  With Fantasy Bob away at his Mum's “all you can eat” birthday lunch at the Chippendale Review Bar, Grant Newman substituted as skipper, and keeping with 4s tradition narrowly lost the toss …..Carlton were inserted. 

Carlton opened with the left-handed/right-handed, can-bat/can't-bat, pairing of Fraser Allardice and Barnacle Barrett.  On a slow pitch, against slow bowling the onus was on the batters to force the pace and Fraser did, middling a ball just behind square, where much to the surprise of his Leith team-mates an astonished Fisher plucked the ball out the air just before it disappeared over his head to the boundary. Kyle Macpherson (left) joined Shaun in the decisive partnership of the day. The pair added 155 runs for the second wicket until Kyle was dismissed for 86 in the final over.  Shaun was unbeaten on 58.  Kyle’s innings was sublime, elegant cover and straight drives and a couple of brutal sixes over square leg, faultless until the search of quick runs and jug avoidance led to his demise. 


Chasing 169, Leith’s openers Pugh and Williams went off at pace, and aided by sloppy post tea Carlton fielding they accelerated to 26 without loss off six, including four dropped catches.  Once the blue cheese and avocado panini had settled, Carlton woke up to the task at hand…..Pugh was first to go bowled by Blackie, next Stevie Middleton played down the wrong line and had his off stump knocked back by Iain Martin giving Blackie the opportunity to remind us of Boycott’s quote “the ball was on the Piccadilly line and he played down Bakerloo”…the fact that he did it in a Jimmy Saville accent was doubly entertaining.  Ingram was third man to go, caught by Haris as he gloved Blackie from under his chin just before it hit him in the mouth … John sportingly walked amid less than convincing cries of “I’m sure it might have hit something, maybe”.  Finally Williams was run out going for an “easy second” as Fraser Allardice launched a missile from the top of the hill into the hands of Iain who broke the stumps, leaving Leith 30 -4. 

Showing the cold calculated callousness of a true Australian, skipper Grant brought on Haris (below) to bowl the 12th over and grinning like a Cheshire Cat he bowled it slower and slower and turned it further and further.  Haris finished with 5-3-4-3 which looks more like the security code of the padlock on his BMX rather than bowling figures in a cricket match.  Blackie also deserves mention bowling straight through and finishing with 8-4-18-3….”hows about that then, guys and gals” and special mention to Fraser's stunning diving catch at cover to dismiss Anderson.  Leith were dismissed for 39 in the 19th overs, the last 10 wickets fell for 13 runs in 14 overs. 

On paper a comprehensive win for Carlton.  Leith were handicapped by the absence of their leading run scorer and leading wicket taker in father and son combo John & Mark Watts and on the same day Carlton were able to field a team loaded with six of the top juniors in the club (Gair Currie & Greg Murdoch completing the set).  Thanks to Leith for brilliant sportsmanship and for contributing to the fun …they too must follow the teachings of Nietzsche who said “and we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.”

Scorecard

Photos

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Saturday 31st July 1pm

East League Division Eight
W
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Holy Cross 3
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Carlton 4
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132 all out
Bob Irvine 3 for 12, Angus Rive 3 for 2

home

(GL)

166 for 9

Grant Newman 45, Haris Aslam 20, Angus Rive 20

In this momentous week when Tom Jones [Good to see you for once mentioning someone we've heard of rather than all these fancy conductors and Russian writers.  Ed] became the oldest artist to get to number 1 in the charts, it was the Green Green Grass of Campbell Park for Carlton's all conquering 4s.  Under the stern leadership of Fantasy Bob, they tested their skills against our good friends from Holy Cross.   

There must be something in this Tom Jones fever, for, in an unusual move, Carlton communications supremo [Is that me?  Ed] issued a warning message to all female fans that underwear should remain on the nether regions and not be thrown at Fantasy Bob.  He has enough pants of his own.  [Is that a reference to his bowling or batting?  Ed]  

The carefully selected XI was changing by the hour as call-offs scattered the air waves - which is all very well for O2's profits but a pain in the Delilahs for the Carlton administrative machine.  Barnacle claimed his leg was still sore after last week's supreme athletic effort of scribing the match report, and so chose to spend the afternoon reclining with one of his new mentor Friedrich Nietzsche's lesser known works - Also Sprach DavidGower - in which the German philosopher examines the airy cover drive as a metaphor for the threat to his hero race the ubermensch. [For goodness sake there you go again - and I think you might be making some of that up.  Ed]  As we know, Nietzsche's thinking on the will to power had a big impact on Hitler, and Barnacle, possibly still with eyes on the 4s captaincy, thinks there might be something he can learn from a close study of the text.  

And we welcomed back to the Carlton fold, prodigal son Angus Rive after his dalliance with a Daughter of Darkness in the exotic shape of a rival South Edinburgh club who shall be nameless.  We couldn't quite find a fatted badger to kill [Is that a clue - not quite what the Bible says?  Ed], but we let Angus have an extra tuna sandwich at tea.  David Loudon and David Mitchell also made appearances at short notice and we are very grateful to them both.  

As we stepped down from the train, it was the Green Green Grass that welcomed us.  Down the road we looked and there ran......well, no one with hair of gold and lips like cherries, that's for sure.  But the paint was certainly cracked and dry on the pavilion.  Looking at the green green grass, Bob's bowling muscle was beginning to twitch - it's not unusual - but he lost the toss by a country mile and Carlton were asked to bat.   

Grant and Haris did the honours and started confidently.  It was looking good at more than 4 an over until, at 20, Haris slammed a full toss 3 feet to the right of mid-wicket where - What's new Pussycat? - a hand suddenly appeared where no hand had been before and much to everyone's surprise held on. The surprise was greatest in the owner of the hand, former Lothian Region supremo Councillor K Geddes. Haris, justifiably disconsolate after batting so well, dragged himself off, painfully aware that biscuit time was still 30 long overs away.  Craig looked in good form as he and Grant got us past 50 in the 12th over.  Fantasy Bob was beginning to think that 200 could be achievable, when Craig did much the same as Haris by driving too early and  - What's New Pussycat (remix) - finding the very same Councillor Geddes now canvassing for voters at cover. 62 for 2.  Scoring then became a bit more difficult as the cloud cover thickened and Ellis came on, cunningly disguised as Private Godfrey from Dad's Army.  [Good Lord someone else I've heard of  - your standards really are slipping. Ed]  But don't let that calm demeanour fool you - he put the brakes on and sent Ruari and Feds back to the hutch into the bargain.  Legendary clean air enthusiast Colin McGill was now Burning Down the House at the top end and in a haze of tobacco smoke had Grant for a priceless and top drawer 45.  McGill didn't need a cigarette break before castling Fantasy Bob for a big blobby 0.  (It's not unusual to see me cry..........[Er.........don't you mean it's not unusual to see you out for a duck?  Ed].......... 104 for 6 wasn't looking quite so rosy.    

Euan middled from the first ball and proceeded confidently to 7 accidentally bringing up the dreaded Nelson.  THEN, NOT HEEDING BOB'S EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS, SOME RECALCITRANT KEPT BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND and Mr Godfrey had Euan stumped.  (Ellis 3/13 off 8).    Angus was now going well and managing to force the pace - a big 6 over midwicket and an overhead smash of a no-ball for 4 that Roger Federer would have been proud of were the highlights of his 20; but just as he looked set for a long stay he succumbed to McGill. 145 for 8 - McGill 3/26.  Blackie (19*) then nurtured the tail with good support from the 2 Davids to get us to 166 from our 40 overs.   

This seemed to us a pretty competitive total, not as much as at one time seemed possible, but equally showing good resilience when things became tough for batting.  The exceptionally slow outfield meant that it was probably worth over 180 on a faster ground.  All we had to do was bowl well.............[and stop all this nonsense about Tom Jones songs. By the way, I note you haven't mentioned Sex Bomb yet.  Feds will be disappointed.  Ed]  

Blackie and Ruari opened our attack and both were on the money.  It was Blackie who had early success taking the middle stump of HC skipper Ken Lawrie.  But Robertson and Nevin got themselves in and began to play well.  The short boundary on the Bypass side was attracting them and from a slow start they began to catch up with the run rate.  Time for some creative thinking Fantasy Bob - and so what did we get?  Leg spin.  At both ends! (It is unusual).  Pure sadism on Div 8 batsmen.   The war of attrition started - Haris looping it up and Angus with a flatter trajectory presented real challenges for all the batsmen.  Haris struck in his 3rd over - getting Robertson, who had looked good up until that point, all tangled up to sky it back to the bowler; and then getting Ellis smartly stumped by Craig 3 balls later.  65 for 3 off 14.  Haris then took a good catch at fly slip off Angus and 2 overs later Euan took an even better one at mid on to get Nevin for a fine 30.  73 for 5 and things had definitely tipped  our way.  But we reckoned without Sex Bomb McGill (for it was he) and Sharpe, whose combined years divided by Haris' age would still be a 3 figure number, then showed great experience and something approximating common sense.  It was not always clear that they knew where the ball was at every moment, but they battled on and things began to look rosier for HC as the score went past 100 and gained momentum.  Thoughts were beginning that maybe they had enough in the tank to reach the target. 

But then - cometh the hour cometh the man - Fantasy Bob came on from the Pavilion end.   Brakes applied.  Angus got his well deserved 3rd wicket through a stunning catch at cover from Ruari, Angus 3/21;  Bob then had payback time to McGill, bowling him through a gate almost as large as his own in Carlton's innings.  A resolute nicotine free 28.  4 balls later the stumps were over again as Bob's big inswinger did its job and HC were 109 for 8.  Euan then bowled a high class 4 overs getting the 9th wicket from a top slip catch by Grant.  Morcom came in at 11 and looked worth a higher order place as he drove forcefully to produce a sticky wag of the tail with Geddes.  But Bob had the last say, changing ends to remove Geddes' middle stump leaving HC 132 all out and Bob 3/12.  

An excellent match with good contributions from all 11.  The balance of advantage changed throughout each innings so each side was kept interested.  Fantasy Bob awards full marks to Carlton's fielding - the quality of the catching was worthy of Collingwood.   (Bob is sorry to the Davids for not finding them a place in the bowling attack - he promises to try harder if he survives Barnacle's Nietzsche inspired putsch for the skipper's crown.)  

Great spirit from all the Holy Crossers and good to see them for a chat after back at GL  - the green green grass of home.   

(At this point Moon, who has unusually escaped mention this week as he's cruising in the Baltic, is heard to mutter 'What do you ******* mean green?')

Scorecard

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Saturday 7th August 1pm

East League Division Eight
  Preston Village 2
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v
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Carlton 4
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    away  

MATCH RAINED OFF

Reclining at his ease in the warm August sunshine at Grange Loan on Saturday afternoon your correspondent's slumbers were continually disturbed not only by the regular sound of falling Carlton wickets, but by the laments from many home supporters that the cancellation of the 4th's fixture at Preston Village meant that there would be no match report to peruse on Monday morning.  Many readers reported to your correspondent their anxiety at the emptiness that would surround their return to the office on Monday.  With the economy teetering on the edge of the double dip recession this slump in morale could be the factor that put it over the edge.

Your correspondent has a heart of good Aberdeen granite and remained impervious to these cries of despair.  However his sternness was overcome by growing recognition of the wider significance of the cancellation.  It is perhaps understandable that the monsoon that hit Prestonpans on the afternoon and evening of Friday 6 August 2010 has escaped the serious attention of the media.  Severe flooding in Pakistan must rightly take the headlines.  And it is right that the scale of the humanitarian crisis along the Indus should be emphasised.   This is truly tragic and deserves everyone's practical support.

By contrast,  the impacts of Friday's monsoon in Prestonpans were slightly more local - with the epicentre apparently on Preston Village cricket ground, the Polwarth Oval (aka the Field of Dreams).  (No, I'm not making that up - see PV website).    It is true that there was no widespread damage as a result of these freak conditions, no one took to the rooftops to escape rising floodwater, and no famine or significant loss of life is reported.  Several blades of grass suffered untold wetness. 

But in its own way this monsoon in Prestonpans has precipitated a crisis that must be brought to the attention of the appropriate agencies.  Fantasy Bob has been deprived of an essential opportunity for more fantasy points.  His slide down the league table of contributing all rounders has come as a terrible shock to all those foolish enough to have placed him in their starting XI.  Some were even foolhardy enough to nominate him skipper.  A mutual support organisation is being formed to help these misguided and now deeply traumatised souls. The bright sunny days of May and June are long behind us now, and a succession of ducks and no wicket performances has the man himself hanging his head in shame. Please send any spare fantasy points to Fantasy Bob as soon as possible.  Points in any condition will be gratefully accepted - so don't worry if they are old or used. 

But this freak meteorological storm was just one of the world changing events that has befallen Prestonpans this year.  National media reported earlier this year that the celebrated battle of Prestonpans, in which Bonnie Prince Charlie scored a 10 wicket victory over the Hanoverians in conditions helpful to his seam attack, actually took place in a different location than had previously been thought.  Experts from Glasgow University's Centre for Battlefield Archaeology revealed that the main area of the skirmish happened in fields a third of a mile further east than previously been thought.  They reached this conclusion after they uncovered bats, pads and a rotting piece of red leather with Reader inscribed on it [Er...don't you mean pistol balls, grapeshot and musket balls?  Ed] some distance from the location that was originally thought to be the site of the battle.  For those interested, read the full match report - and reference to the recently completed Tapestry of Prestonpans.

With this undermining of our prospective opposition's fundamental identity, Fantasy Bob's carefully chosen side would rightly have been confident of victory.  For an elite team of athletes had volunteered for the toils of battle.  While young spin wizard Haris pursued his eternal search for biscuits elsewhere, we welcomed back Barnacle Shaun Barrett from his extended immersion in German Romantic philosophy.  Having mastered Nietzsche,  Barnacle is now dipping into Schopenhauer.  Carlton philosophy students will of course know that Arthur Schopenhauer is known for his supreme pessimism.  His thinking led him to the conclusion that human desires - emotional, physical,  sexual and to score 50 on every visit to the crease, can never be fulfilled.  Consequently he favoured a lifestyle of negating human desires - similar indeed to Barnacle's more homespun philosophy.  Schopenhauer's biographers do not report his batting average.

Boom-boom Mike Kennedy was also back in the fold after another mammoth cycle trip.  This time he followed the footsteps of Botham from Land's End to John o' Groats - or was it the other direction?   Quite what makes a man want to do this is uncertain.  Your correspondent has studied contemporary psychological works with some care and, having weighed up the many alternative theories, has come to the conclusion that there is only one scientifically tenable explanation - Mike must be bonkers.  All that time in the saddle, when he could have been perfecting his forward defensive stroke - a handsome stroke that Mike must surely demonstrate again soon - 2 times in a season is not excessive.

President Carter also honoured us with his presence, and we could confidently expect that he would bowl his usual parsimonious spell.  DC has of course undergone deep and extended psychotherapy since the events on his last outing when, as reported in these pages, he bowled a wide.  He reports, with only a light tremor in his voice, that the course has been a great success, his bowling arm is now much higher on the point of delivery and his relationship with his mother is much better.

The Tardis had also landed mid-week and delivered the Mighty Proctor Who back to us from the alternative part of the time galaxy that he had been visiting.  Proctor reported that wickets in that time zone were hard and fast but would take some spin later on.  Proctor has no idea what this means either but it sounds good.  Proctor also reported that in that time zone it never rains in Prestonpans. Fantasy Bob and Al Murray completed the senior ranks of the elite squad.  The more youthful balance of the team was to be brought up by  Neil - demon speed king - Irvine-Hess, Euan - hands of gold - Everett and David - lefty - Mitchell.  In betweeners, but still juniors in behavioural terms, were Feds and Liam.  Feds of course is still in remission having got through an umpiring spell last week without raising his finger.

So, readers, judge for yourself how the team would have fared.  Your correspondent is confident that it could have taken a further step forward to the great glory of promotion - which can now be secured next week in a table topping clash against Kismet.

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Saturday 14th August 1pm

East League Division Eight
L
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Kismet 2
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Carlton 4
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155 for 3 (39.4 overs)

Gavin Rittoo 2 for 31

away

154 for 6 (40 overs)

Ruari Macpherson 36, Barnaby Smith 29

Your correspondent has been flattered by the suggestion from readers that these pages occasionally demonstrate a familiarity with high culture that leaves some gasping for air - or the dictionary.   With the Edinburgh Festival having just started, he noticed the trepidation in Carlton ranks this weekend that the most innocent remark in his presence could be met in response not with a simple acknowledgement that that 'yes, the weather was indeed pretty good', but with an extended exegesis [Eh? Ed] of the significance of the later symphonies of Gustav Mahler, whose contribution to the art of leg spin bowling is sadly unacknowledged.   Mahler would now be 150 years old had he not died 100 years ago, which is a fair age even for a leg spinner.   He would of course still be a relative youngster in Carlton 4s team list.  A leg spinner of any age was perhaps the magical element that the Carlton 4s missed today in their promotion tussle with Kismet on the fringes of the ancient capital of Scotland - Dunfermline. 

Fantasy Bob seemed to have been blessed by the selection committee earlier in the week.  But as ever, call-offs and unavailability took their toll. Mahler's untimely death in 1910 meant that he was unavailable - this was one of the better excuses offered to Al Murray's communications network.  So we travelled to Dunfermline with 10 players of varying ages, heights and familiarity with Mahler's works.  Rory Allardice made his senior debut, never having heard Mahler's great masterpiece Das Knaben Wunderhorn.  [For goodness sake, he's only 12 - Ed]  

The President joined our travelling party.  Now the President, as we know, would not generally be described as hip.  But like David Cameron and Tony Blair before him, he is concerned to connect with the yoof of today.  DC is now a home boy, he's been down on the street wiv the bros, is bling encrusted and has renamed himself Dizzeee (in honour of his new idol Mr D Rascal), whom your correspondent understands to be a popular music artist of the rap genre.  Dizzeee's layin' it down an' puttin' it out. This is a small, but embarrassing, extract from Dizzeee Carter's latest release, Bowl Wiv Me:

What's up Carlton?
I been keeping my eye on your movement
I can see lots of room for improvement
Why ya'll over there on the leg side?
Bowl on the off stump an' keep it well tight
'Cause I'm the man for the job, let me spin it
I won't waste no time, I'll even swing it
One hundred percent, I'll bowl a googly
Got a batter wiv no technique he's shoogly
I wanna have three slips an a gully
Cos dat homie ain't got no way to pull me
Yeh and now you better watch my bouncer

Wot is faster than a news announcer

I'm gonna do dat batter wiv me yorker

Believe it bro it's a snorter

Then I'm umping out here in the middle

Wearin' a jacket wot I musta bought in Lidl

f ya gonna swing 'cross the line then you's triggered
Play proper an' straight if you wanna get figured

To get a score You gotta be hardcore

Don't you know is evident I'm the President

I'll never know if I just walk past
I really wanna bowl so I guess I'll just ask  

Er.................... She ain't no hoe
Look at those thighs, it's in her eyes
She's good to go
She can satisfy my mind, body and soul
Er....................Come and bowl wiv me.................

.....................and so it goes on, possibly to infinity.  Don't give up the day job Dizzeee..or DC.......whoever you are.  Fans of the real thing can seek solace here.  

To return to more serious matters, it all was a bit green and soft at Duloch Park.  Fantasy Bob had been training all week for the toss - this would be a really good one to win........but, only too predictably, he lost.  Not by much he claims, but we only have his word for that.  [Variation 29 on that joke.  Can you last to the end of the season. Ed]  We were inserted; and Shaun and Barnaby took up the challenge.   I should record here that Kismet had 7 men at this point.  But what men - lions all.  Two more players were reported to be on their way.  So you can imagine that the challenge of penetrating the field was immense.  A challenge that Barnacle declined, possibly for religious reasons since he has recently converted to an esoteric cult whose key belief is the sacredness of the hamstrings.  It is apparently a venal sin to put them under any strain.  But even with secular hamstrings, batting really was difficult; the wicket was sticky as treacle mixed with molasses and bostik (Carlton sweet tooths will recognise this as Stikki Wikkit - apparently an ice cream flavour under development at some Ben and Jerry outlets).  It was therefore not a surprise that we proceeded with all the speed of the Edinburgh Tram project.   Not a false metaphor, for each ball excavated a pit not much shallower than many those that have adorned Edinburgh's streets throughout the life of that project to bring joy to the lives of our noble taxi drivers.   

Barnaby had struggled early on to time his shots - count five after it pitches and then play was sound advice.  But he looked like he'd got the measure of the wicket with a series of well struck 4s - and to have any chance of getting to the boundary a shot had to be well struck.  Hope sprang too soon for he became the first of our number to be deceived by Z Ahmed's unorthodox action when he was bowled for a promising 29.  Now, we would have been interested to here the views of Daryll Hair on the Murali-lite action that was on display - but the great Aussie umpire had declined our invitation to stand, apparently opting for an afternoon under the big top with the Lady Boys of Bangkok.  Barnacle was also undone by Z Ahmed not long after and he walked carefully off to pay religious obeisance to his hamstrings.  It may not be long before human sacrifice is required.  This left us 62 for 2 at the halfway point.

The two more Kismet players who were on their way ...........were still on their way........... and the field was therefore even more difficult to penetrate at the restart.   Philip made a short cameo appearance, cut cruelly short when he lobbed Z Ahmed into the densely packed off side.  This brought Boom Boom Mike to the wicket and small children were put in protective clothing in the adjacent playground.  Well, I'm disappointed to report that, like the life of Gustav Mahler, Mike's innings was full of unfulfilled promise and ended just when he was set up for some serious boot-filling.  After one sensational over which included a huge maximum, he was yorked by.........er, Z Ahmed....... who else.  The two more Kismet players who were on their way.......were.......... still.......... on their way.  Fantasy Bob now joined Ruari, who had been quietly accumulating runs like a proper cricketer (every side should have one).  A good partnership was developing when Bob mishit a classical pie-dispatch-attempt and skillfully managed to pick out the only fielder in the densely packed leg side.  Is there no end to this man's talent?  [Er........ many of us have still to notice the beginning of any talent.  Ed]  Ruari was caught at densely packed mid-off trying to force it against the slowness of the wicket, a truly excellent 36,  and it was left to David and Gavin to bat sensibly to bring us to 154 off our 40 overs.  Good batting from them both.  

Our total was probably less than we wanted - several batters got themselves out when set and had Barnaby, Mike or Fantasy Bob stayed just a little longer then we could have got near 200, even with the field as densely packed as it was.  

It has to be said that tea was on disappointing side - although the 2 more Kismet players who were on their way, were rumoured to be bringing untold delicacies including chocolate cakes .................. but they were still on their way.   Fantasy Bob is considering a disciplinary referral to ESCA for the absence of a proper cup of tea.  Had he known, he would have brought his Thermos.  But the two more Kismet players who were on their way had the tea urn........ and the tea bags.................and were still on their way.  

Ruari and Fantasy Bob opened for us.  Barnacle's hamstrings had been properly blessed and he took up position behind the timbers ready for a flood of snicks.  The sun was now out and the pock marks in the wicket had dried out a bit.  One layer of Ben and Jerry's sticky stuff had dried off.  Both bowlers delivered very accurate tight opening spells but with no luck. [This is Fantasy Bob after all ....what can you expect?  Ed]  Batting was that bit easier. The openers were intent on keeping the bowling out until their 2 more players arrived....but they were still on their way.  Barnacle's snick fest did not materialise.  Each change of ends stimulated a charming ritual as the batters ceremonially changed bats - it took us a bit to understand why, then we noticed one bat was labelled 'magic bat', the other 'toy bat'.  Well, the magic bat did its stuff and it was not until the 15th over that the emergent white rap artist Dizzeee Carter, Portobello's own homeboy, got us on the score board.  49 for 1 after 20 looked good for us. 

But that was our only success for a while as the magic bat was passed between S Ali and B Khan in an impressive and accelerating partnership of 80 plus.  A good spell from Mike - stunned not only by being asked to bowl for Carlton but given a full 8 overs.   Rory had a few excellent overs showing great promise for the future.  Both were unlucky not to get a break through.  Danger was now threatening.  Only 2 very hard catching chances came our way all afternoon in our loosely packed field, but nothing else.  Daryll Hair might have called some of our appeals differently but the technology for review was sadly not available.  Gavin finally bowled Ali for an excellent 53 to make the score 118 for 2 off 31.  Exactly 4 an over to win.  It was going to be close, and 2 more Kismet players who were on their way......... were still on their way...... and going to miss the action if they didn't get a move on.  Gavin also got Khan in the second last over for a fine 57.  Could we just keep them out?  This was going to the wire.  Regretably,  Khalid had just enough gas in the tank to win the game for Kismet as with 2 balls left his big heave with the magic bat connected to get the winning runs .  

What a fine game.  But what a disappointment for Carlton who could have secured promotion had things gone their way.  A bad toss to lose and batters not able to build on their starts.  Instead of the planned champagne reception back at GL, we have it all to do in our final game in 2 weeks time.  But for Kismet, in the words of Dizzeee, Respect!  Fine batting...........even if you had a magic bat .......... and well bowled to the densely packed field.  And by the way.........apparently there are 2 more players on their way.................... 

Scorecard

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Saturday 21st August 1.30pm

Friendly
W
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SMRH 4
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Carlton 4
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104 all out

Rory Allardice 4 for 21

away

207 for 9

Leigh Kasperek 70, Craig Everett 57

The prophet Daniel spoke of “the time of the end.”  Paul said, “In the end days perilous times shall come.”   So, my friends, we can be confident that even in Biblical times, when wickets were uncovered,  the closing weeks of the cricket season caused distress and concern.  One of the lesser known Apocryphal texts, Paul's Epistle to the MCC,  tells his faithful that when the end days come to make sure the extra sweater goes back in the bag and reminds them to bring the start of the game forward an hour to make sure the light remains.  In this epistle he also writes most movingly about his difficulty in keeping the run rate down - 'Though I bowl with the fingers of men and angels, And have not line and length, I am no better than the worst pie chucker in the 8th division'.  

Our doughty groundsman Moon has returned for the end days, fresh from his cruise of the Baltic.  Moon was coy about whether he had met a wealthy and merry widow with whom he spent long evenings counting the stars under the Finnish skies while talking of their mutual interest in gang mowers.  Any hint of a holiday romance seemed long behind him; as we assembled at GL his main concern was which ****** had shattered his prize set of spring stumps when he was away.  To return to the teaching of St Paul - 'And now abideth off, middle and leg, these three; but the greatest of these is off.'  

So it was against this backdrop that Fantasy Bob led a Carlton 4s tribute XI to a friendly fixture with SMRH at Inverlieth.  A rich store of talent was available to him as the selectors sought to compensate for his own deficiencies.  But what the Carlton archivists will revel in, was the fact that the team had not just one Everett (and that is usually enough for most people), not 2, not 3, but........... 4.  4!  It truly is the end days when the 4 Everetts of the Apocalypse appear on the horizon.   It could have been 5 I guess, but Kirstin sensibly had a prior commitment.  All made telling contributions to the afternoon's proceedings.  However it nearly fell apart before we took the field since it required all Fantasy Bob's diplomatic tact to suggest to Everett (very senior) that it would be wholly unacceptable for him to don his Grange sweater when turning out for Carlton.  This could only distress the younger members of the side.  Johnnie gracefully acknowledged his error and casually donned his Scotland and MCC sweaters instead.  The words 'So there' never crossed his lips.    

This being a friendly and not a critical-must-win-promotion-points-at-stake-toss-is-vital game, Fantasy Bob of course cruised to an easy victory at the toss [Well done - only one more variation to go next week.  Ed] and chose to bat.   Richard Allardice making his cameo appearance of the season opened the batting with Everett #2 (ie Euan).   Richard's cameo was unfortunately very short.  Run out without facing, as Euan demonstrated once again the difference in acceleration between a 13 year old - 0 to 22 yards in the blink of an eye - and  the older model - 0 to.......er well........... a bit less than 22 yards.........in 4 times the time.  Bad luck Richard, who usefully occupied the next few hours giving a scoring masterclass.  Essential for the younger players whose attention span is rarely as long as one ball let alone an over, that they learn these skills as much as batting and bowling.  Richard's demise brought  Everett #1 (ie Craig) to the crease under the watchful finger of his Dad umpiring - and in an impressive act of multi-tasking scoring at the same time.  Craig's class was evident from his first ball and the Everetts dominated for a while.  It was looking comfortable, but then Euan was felled by one that got up from SMRH opening bowler Muir - of course it doesn't have to get up very much to get to head height for Euan.  But it looked nasty and caused evident and justifiable distress in Everett (very senior) - should he mark the scorebook before dashing to his son lying lifeless on the deck?  No real choice of course - he marked the book.  But good for Euan - he shook himself down, when offered the chance to retire he declined and batted on.  Euan had got to 19 without further trouble when he was unexpectedly bowled by SMRH change bowler, Tulloch, a young Aussie who seems to have taken up cricket on coming to Scotland for her gap year - eh, what next? We'll be going to Oz to learn caber tossing.  

Leigh then came in and a truly excellent partnership developed between her and Craig.  She was fantastically strong square of the wicket of both sides.  The thick grass made the boundary a long way off but they kept the score moving along positively.  Craig was also playing well, finding the spaces on the off side and comfortably reached his 50.  It was a bit of a surprise that either of them got out, but Craig was caught at 57 trying to hit the accelerator.  Leigh (left, being congratulated by Fantasy Blob) got to 50 shortly after and went on the make an excellent 70.  Liam had come and gone in his usual whirlwind for 10 and Everett #3 (ie Calum, below) showed his promise with a classy 8.  Fantasy Bob made his now customary 0 and Greg had a couple of fine hits to be 7*.  It showed the class of our batting order that Everett (very senior) could not find a spot above 11.  A scratchy single off the bottom of the bat got him on the score board, but Craig, no doubt mindful of what might be in the Everett will many years hence, turned down a big LBW appeal off the last ball of the innings.  So our innings closed on a very respectable 207 for 9.  

A fine tea and we were ready to bowl with the fingers of angels and men.  As we go through the events, readers will realise that, with one notable exception, our bowling attack was aged 13 or under.  Also with one notable exception, it was 5ft 4inches or under.  But it was that notable exception - Fantasy Bob [Er - I think we'd all worked that one out.  Ed] who struck the first blow, getting that world famous inswinger [Please...........Ed] through Heathcote- Armstrong's defence in the first over.  After that only Lawrence Reilly put up any real resistance batting cannily - suggesting he might have played this game before.  Eventually he was 8th out for a fine 55.  Before that we had seen a fine array of the talent coming through the junior ranks.  Greg bowled some good balls and got his reward when Craig took a super catch down leg side.  Euan got 2 good wickets - one from either end.  David was unlucky not to strike but had to bowl at Reilly when he was at the peak of his innings.  But it was Rory who really shone - putting the ball right up to the batsman getting it above head height and turning it sharply.  He was justly rewarded with 4 wickets - a good catch from Liam off a skier and 2 at slip for Everett (very senior) and a perhaps generous LBW decision to remove Reilly.  Calum then suddenly discovered that his back injury had miraculously healed and was not such as to prevent him bowling and finished up the innings at 107.  A minor disappointment is that wides were second top scorer so there is something for young bowlers still to work on.  But an excellent show all round.  

In the last days perilous times will come - well unless you count Euan's smack on the helmet, or Bob's plunging batting average, there was little peril today.  Many many thanks to SMRH for arranging the fixture at such short notice.  Every day of the vanishing season is precious to us all.  

PS - Since these pages are increasingly regarded as wholly self indulgent with precious little relevance to cricket, readers will permit me to mark the passing of Jimmy Reid whose funeral was this week.   Younger Carlton players will of course mumble to themselves 'Who?'  or 'When did he play for Carlton.'   Politics and cricket do not mix, and we can be confident that Jimmy Reid never had to bat out the last over to save the draw, but he remains an iconic and inspirational figure.  His words on receiving the rectorship of Glasgow University still hit their mark.  This speech was described by the New York Times as the finest speech since the Gettysburg Address................. 'A rat race is for rats.  We're not rats.  We're human beings.'

Scorecard

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Sunday 29th August 1pm

East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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SMRH 3
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124 for 9

Shaun Barrett 38

home

(GL)

111 all out

Gavin Rittoo 6 for 15, David Mitchell 3 for 12

For the final game of the season we welcomed our friends from SMRH to a sun drenched Grange Loan. With Fantasy Bob promoted up to the 3’s, thereby guaranteeing a speedy scorecard and an erudite match report at least once in the season, the Pub Landlord Al Murray stepped forward to lead a team containing six under 14’s, a mad Pole wearing captain sensible sunglasses, two grumpy old men and a man called Keith who bore a striking resemblance to the skipper.

Carlton won the toss and elected to bat. Barrett Snr and Euan Everett saw off openers Logan and Exton. First change David Gray’s left arm in-swingers caused real problem for the Carlton top order and wickets fell regularly. Barrett set up camp at one end but Gray worked his mischief at the other and finished with the impressive figures of 8-1-17-4. When Alan Murray was out the score was 80 – 7 and setting a competitive total seemed an impossible dream with 3 juniors and the President left to bat. Alan was so confident he turned up the heat under the tea urn contemplating a premature finish. However, the juniors and the not-so-junior did brilliantly, mustering 44 off the remaining overs. David Mitchell (11) and Keshav Arvind (14) led the way with a partnership of 22 for the 8th wicket. Dave Carter was at his “Pirate of the Caribbean” best and smote like he’d not smote for years ….so hard he broke his bat…he barked for another and continued. SMRH’s “Nine Foot Tall” bowler Theobald bowled Dave with a no-ball beamer that dropped vertically and clipped the bails leaving Dave prostrate on the batting crease…he barked for a clean pair of underpants and continued. What a pro. Carlton’s innings closed on 124 – 9 off their full 40.

In reply, SMRH openers “the Principal” Gray and Durham student “tax dodger” Matheson started briskly against U14 pair Everett and Ruari Macpherson. The scholar spanked 26 off 29 balls and the partnership progressed to 36 inside the 10th over, well ahead of the asking rate, until Gavin Rittoo deceived him with an even slower ball. “Deceptively slow”, just like Trevor Brooking in his prime was the conclusion.

Experience was introduced at the other end to press home the advantage. President Carter bowled an extragavent wide first ball of his spell, his first since the 1972 season, sending Lothian police into a frenzy over allegations of spot betting and corruption at the highest level in the club. A Carlton CC statement read: “Carlton Cricket Club, the International Cricket Council and the Board of Cricket Scotland have been informed by Lothian Police that an old bloke with a beard has NOT been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers; it was just a crap ball”

On 17 overs, 1st year medical student Dr Fedenczuk self diagnosed “severe trapped wind” and declared himself unfit to continue squatting while keeping wicket until nature or mining engineers intervened to alleviate the pressure build up. Friends & family kept vigil outside the dressing room, “hopefully he’ll be out by Christmas” was the reassuring news. Flatulent Fed emerged some 8 overs later, jogging to resume his place on the field, every step prompted another small escape. Humanitarian Murray appropriately sent him to cow corner to put 40 meters between him and everyone else, except for the U18 team who had just returned after losing the T20 final on the last ball…..a farting Fedenczuk in front of their bench was surely too ignominious a punishment even for them.

SMRH progressed serenely until David Mitchell started the 20th over and took 3 for 3 off 12 balls to bring Carton back into the game; in a few minutes 58 for 1 became 63 for 4. Gray and Scott buckled down and put on 43 runs for the 5th wicket to swing the game back firmly in SMRH’s favour until Carter protégée Rittoo returned for his second spell. Replacing Mitch, bowling from the pavilion end with the autumnal sun setting behind his arm Gavin struck clinically like a fighter ace, first removing obdurate David Gray for 36 excellent runs, next the big left hander Simon Scott (15) and then squinting skipper Robin MacQueen, never saw the one that got him…”bandit at 12 o clock”……...the silent assassin struck out three in four balls and was able to pencil more “kills” on his lunchbox. Gavin’s match winning second spell saw him take 5 for 3 in his last 12 balls. SMRH’s last six wickets fell for 5 runs to leave them bowled out on “Nelson” 13 runs shy of Carlton’s total.

As with most low scoring games the advantage swung both ways through the course of the day. From a Carlton perspective it was the best performance of the season for the 4s with the juniors each stepping up, when it mattered, holding their nerve and winning a tight one. Euan Everett (9 & 7-1-21-1), Ruari Macpherson (5, 4-0-13-0 & wicket keeping immaculately after Fed’s gas attack), Rory Allardice (1*, 2-0-10-0, bowled big slow rippers, perfect), Keshav Arvind (14*, 5-0-12-0), David Mitchell (11 & 6-1-12-3, and a great catch to get rid of top scorer Gray) and Gavin Rittoo (2, 8-2-15-6). Great credit to Andy Mac, John B and the coaches for producing such a great crop of talent…..the old guys are just pleased we’ll still need a couple of us to drive them to matches next year.

Finally many thanks to SMRH for contributing to a friendly but competitive game and special mention to Lawrence Reilly who umpired through both innings and Martin Flynn who stood-in for Dave Carter during the SMRH innings. The only question that remains is “will the president invest in a new bat for next season”? Read the 4s reports next year and find out….until then, time to hibernate.

Scorecard

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Final ESCA Division 8 standings

* GL=Grange Loan, Gy= Gyle, M=Meadows, I=Inverleith Park

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