Carlton Sunday XI 2010 Fixtures and Results
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Sunday, 11th July Friendly
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Carlton XI
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Broomhall
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196 for 8 (35 overs)

Tom Barrett 66, Grant Newman 32, Shaun Barrett 27

home 152 for 7 (35 overs)

When Dalgety Bay pulled out of the scheduled league fixture, did Alan Murray think this was an unexpected bonus which he could spend with his family, weeding the garden, touring Tescos or even giving it some at T in the Park? Not a bit of it – in a Pavlovian response to the awful vision of Grange Loan standing empty on a midsummer Sunday, his massive communications network buzzed into action. While we lesser mortals slumbered, satellites and radio masts across the known world pulsed deep into the night. And on Saturday evening came the result that we wanted to hear – ‘We have a match, Broomhall have accepted the challenge – make sure the tea is decent since that was the deciding factor in their decision’. Well done Al – nomination for OBE has duly been submitted. So, on an afternoon when the wind gusted to 50mph, was there anywhere else we would rather have been? Er……of course not.

Now, as you know, Fathers and Sons, written by Ivan Turgenev in 1862, is generally reckoned the first modern Russian novel and in its approach to character and psychology paved the way for Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. While it deals eloquently and movingly with the tension between the generations – and in a Russian context explores the strains that would burst into revolutionary fervour 50 years or so later - it is disappointingly silent on cricket. (Sadly, from this point of view, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not much better.)

But Fathers and Sons was a fair description of this Carlton XI. Archives must be examined to confirm if this was the first time a Carlton team has taken the field with 2 father and son combinations: Shaun and Tom Barrett and Bob Irvine and Neil Irvine-Hess. All made important contributions.

We also welcomed among us for his first outing of the year Martin Robertson, fresh from his Swiss Iron Man Challenge in which he apparently swam Lake Geneva, cycled up the Matterhorn and ran down the other side, all fuelled by large amounts of Toblerone. JustGiving tells us that Martin raised over £4,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care in doing this. What a great effort!

Al, having passed a late fitness test (or was it a Tesco’s aversion test), delegated the captaincy to Barrett junior. Tom duly won the toss – with his higher team status, this was by a considerably higher margin than his more lowly team-mates are used to. [Do you have to use a variation on this joke every week? Get some new ones. Ed]

Carlton would bat; and Tom, having instructed Barrett senior to get the pads on, took up post as umpire ready to trigger the slightest false shot. No need, Barnacle proceeded serenely to 27 and after Fraser’s early demise delivered a profitable partnership with Grant (32). Both seemed destined for a longer stay but were castled by former Carlton stalwart Chris Hoefling (3/24). This left the stage open for Iron Man Robertson. Pacing the dressing room, he was anxious which of his 3 bats to take out of cold storage. Evidently he chose the wrong one for he succumbed to the President’s raised digit before troubling the scorers. Or maybe a Toblerone deficit had disturbed his delicate blood chemistry. Who knows?

The rest of the innings was Tom’s and he had moved easily to a classy 66 before trying some fancy paddle-reverse-glance-Dilshan-sweep-flick-slog-drive-type-thingy to Hoefling which had the magical effect only of popping the ball off the leading edge to mid-wicket. Al stuck a few good square cuts up the hill to the fence to bring us to a pretty useful 196 for 8 off our 35 overs.

Throughout the innings, Moon had paced the pavilion area more animatedly than usual. Clearly there was something to be anxious about - was he concerned that the slowly drying square might suffer from the patter of tiny feet? Don’t be daft, of course he was; but he had more significant worries on his mind. At one stage he had to take himself to the solitude of the score box just to stay in control. Privately he told your correspondent what was eating him - he had information that needed to be included in the match report. Information that would mean a great deal to all Carlton loyalists everywhere. It could change their lives………….

…………Bonnie Prince Charlie had proceeded along Grange Loan, marching his army into Edinburgh on that route so as to stay out of range of the Hanoverian guns on the Castle. This is not the stuff of Moon’s fancy; this is properly documented – ie it’s real history. However as with Turgenev, it is disappointing to discover that historians fail to make mention of cricket in the records, so we do not know who might have been playing at Grange Loan that day. But Moon would like everyone to know that, since he was still in the juniors in the 1740s, he would not have been considered for selection.

Meanwhile, the tea interval satisfied the Broomhall expectations but saw little sign of the wind abating. Tom offered the choice of ends to Neil. Having learnt that his Dad would take the second over, and with due respect for his parent’s senescence, Neil graciously offered to bowl downhill with the wind. Good choice, for he got a fair head of steam up, was a bit too rapid for the openers and quickly blasted them both out (Neil 2/11). At the other end, Bob laboured with distinction against the wind. His world-famous in-swinger [Eh? What are you on? - Ed] got him 2 wickets, and a huge wave of relief went round the ground – could Fantasy Bob be back in business? (Bob (2/9). [About time too – Ed]

At 20 for 4, Broomhall might have wondered if they had been right to accept the invitation to spend the afternoon with us: but, good for them, they dug in and began to get the measure of the wicket and the bowling. Tom asked Grant to bowl against the wind – there was considerable anxiety in the Carlton ranks. Given that his stock ball travels at a rate below the register of the speed gun, and certainly slower than the wind then blowing, the ball might leave Grant’s hand but never arrive at the batter’s end. A slight lull in the weather meant that danger was averted. The President dropped onto his customary line and length and picked up his allotted quota of 2 wickets. (DC 2/8) In a great piece of team work one of these involved a delicate tip-on from Feds behind the stumps taking the pace of the ball for Grant to snaffle at slip. Well done to Feds, wicket keeping was not easy with the wind and bounce and Feds did well to make it look……..well, er, just that. David and Fraser also tested their skills against the conditions, with David reaping a late reward by taking the middle stump of Warren – aka the buffalo – after an entertaining innings complete with his own running commentary. Al floated some overs up on the wind in an unsuccessful attempt to tempt the batsmen to indiscretion.

And so, all in good time for everyone to get home for the World Cup Final, the Broomhall innings closed on a respectable 152 for 7, with Seath unbeaten on a hard hitting 52. A good victory.

Many thanks to Broomhall for following Bonnie Prince Charlie’s route to Grange Loan, and for their part in an enjoyable afternoon’s diversion – we are confident that the tea was up to expectations. Many thanks to Moon for his historical insights, and many thanks to Turgenev for his inspiration.

Scorecard

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Sunday, 1st August Friendly
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Carlton XI
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Woodcutters
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130 all out

Fraser Boyd 31, Angus Rive 28

home

133 for 7

Haris Aslam 3 for 18, Bob Irvine 2 for 16

We are the architects of our own destiny said the Buddha, before going on to make clear that if you bat like a load of plonkers and drop catches by the shedload, then it doesn't matter how good your sandwiches are, Nirvana will not be reached at the end of your overs - if you even get that far.  The wisdom of this profound teaching was once more demonstrated at Grange Loan in Carlton's Sunday fixture against the Woodcutters.  A mixture of saplings and mature trees turned out for this highlight of the sporting year, hoping that the black clouds building up overhead didn't bring extended pavilion time.  After all, the TV choice between between women's golf, F1 or Eastenders was garbage.  

Skipper Al Murray won the toss and chose to bat - of course!   Woodcutters sharpened their axes - Euan was the first sapling to fall pushing too hard and giving an easy catch to cover.  Boydy, a sturdy maturing rowan tree,  then crashed a few boundaries and he and Feds, an imported hybrid fruit tree, looked good until Feds, to switch metaphors in dramatic fashion, did a fair impression of a bullfighter passing his cape over the charging bull in the shape of a straight ball and got himself bowled.  The rowan tree also became firewood not long after, tickling one to the keeper.  Little did we know then that Boydy's 31 would prove our top score.   At 66 for 3 after 11, our copse might have shot skywards but it hadn't put down roots.  Angus and Zaki, maturing sycamores, were now together and we sat back to watch these clown princes blossom.  And it was looking good until cricket's cruellest dismissal cut Zaki off at the roots - run out backing up.  Who wrote the laws for this game?  They certainly had some kind of warped sense of humour.  Perhaps it was the Buddha - after all he constantly reminds us that all life is suffering.  Well Zaki was suffering - he may have been one step closer to Heaven, but it didn't seem worth the agony.  What can you say? [Lots I'm sure, but none of it printable for the family audience that scans this website.  So just get on with it.  Ed] 

This brought towering Scots pine Fantasy Bob to the wicket.  His first act was to run Angus out, following an extended mid-wicket negotiation about all the practical aspects of a second run which omitted to include a critical assessment of the probability of Angus actually making his ground.  Bah!   Angus 28.  Young shoots Haris and Ian soon followed as the 'cutters ruthlessly thinned the new trees from the undergrowth - both out to poor shots that belie their true talent.  Bob was chopped LBW soon after, a poor shot which by contrast is only too indicative of his true talent.  It was left to proud oak Al to scramble what he could with the tail and drag us to 130 all out off 29 overs.  In the words of the Buddha, 'Rubbish.'  The 2 run-outs in rapid succession stalled the innings badly, taking healthy trees from the forest floor.  All the same we should have dug in and at least batted our overs.  

The tea interval was extended as the rain came.  Not that the downpour curbed Carlton's younger members' exuberance, and Zaki did a fair impression of Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain routine as it might have been performed in cricket whites - which instantly become cricket browns.  Zaki, of course, was simply mining a long hidden seam of alternative versions of Hollywood musicals - for example, the lights go down.......... as the music swells, Julie Andrews is a distant figure coming over the crest of a hill, as the camera swoops towards her we notice her costume nun's habit, batting pads, gloves and helmet - she spins, miming a graceful square cut and, lifting our hearts by the joy in her voice, tells us that the hills are alive with the sound of googlies...............but more of that on another day.   

The rain eased and the covers were off.  Zaki, having failed to dry his kit on the toilet's hand driers borrowed spares and so we took the field.  A low total to defend but anything can happen in cricket - as the Buddha reminded his disciples daily.    Woodcutters started like a train - not one of Scotrail's, obviously, because that would have left them stuck in the station.  Thankfully Greg got one through Williamson's defence in the 3rd over to stop the momentum.  But we struggled to contain the run rate as Largo's Duncan Scott enjoyed his second visit to Grange Loan this weekend too much for our liking.  Get him, we thought, and we might have a chance - runs were scarcer at the other end.  Angus came on and did just that persuading Scott at 41 to hole out on the boundary.  An absolute top catch by young sapling Everett - please see previous match reports, eg yesterday, for further references to outstanding catches by Euan. (Sibling Craig was umpiring.  In a great show of brotherly love - or is top class umpiring - he demanded a TV replay just to check that Euan's foot had remained clear of the boundary in taking the catch.  The technology - ie Bob's H-D glare at Craig - confirmed a fair catch).  64 for 2 - had we leaked too many runs?  Woodcutter James then tried very hard to give us the game - while gathering 1s and 2s and the occasional 4 he offered a dazzling sequence of stumping chances, snicks, catches just over fielders' heads and dollies that found their way onto the floor.  The fumbles were all off Fantasy Bob's bowling.  Tender young hearts in Carlton's ranks, used to Bob's easy going and sunny demeanour suddenly encountered a raving monster with steam coming out of each nostril (and possibly other orifices less evident to view), pawing the ground in frenzied disbelief.   In other words, a pretty fair impersonation of Carlton's noble President in similar circumstances. [Just to assure Moon, who is no doubt beaming in from foreign parts, Bob's  pawing of the ground was purely metaphorical and no grass suffered.  You don't have to cut your holiday short.  Ed]  

It was left to Haris to remove this thorn in our flesh [Come on, I thought you were all trees this week - trees don't have flesh.  Please get the hang of this literary stuff.  Ed] -  LBW for 38 - equally important for Woodcutters and frustrating for us.   A smart catch from Ian off Bob [Surely some mistake.  Ed] and we felt the faint possibility of victory stir.  With Haris getting another 2 and Bob bowling old pre Boer war adversary Ivor Glynn, 101 for 3 had become 126 for 7 ....  

..........could we?  Well, no, is the short answer and the 'cutters wrapped things up in the 32nd over.  But it was closer than looked likely at one time and overall a most enjoyable fine match.  Another 10 runs or one fewer dropped catch and things might have been different.  Ah well - as the Buddha said  

PS - Bob, having recovered from the strong tranquillisers that were administered immediately following the match, would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the mothers of yesterday's younger players.  He recognises that they might have had to exercise greater maternal care during the night, since even Al Murray has reported nightmares at the memory of Bob's crazed demeanour.  He would however like to point out the further wisdom of the Buddha - oft quoted, but rarely attributed, 'Catches win matches'.

Scorecard

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Sunday, 8th August Friendly
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Carlton XI
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Grange XI
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106 all out

Ruari Macpherson 30, Gavin Rittoo 23

home

162 for 7

Gavin Rittoo 2 for 9

What could be nicer on a fair August afternoon than a fathers and sons match against cross city rivals Grange?  But just how serious could it get?  Carlton were obviously taking no chances in fielding Fantasy Bob, together with the Mighty Proctor Who and Fingers Feds (who both met the selection criteria through some mysterious process known only to Al Murray, despite the obvious lack of any sons attributable to them............er better just stop there, .........).  Of course they were sons and as such joined the other unmatched sons ie Ruari, Gavin and Dougal.  There were Martin, Mitchell and Irvine family combinations.  Speed king Neil was confined to duties behind the timbers following concerns that his exocets might cause mortal injury to some younger Grange person .............or perhaps an older Grange person with reflexes not as slick as in years gone by.   

Grange meanwhile were more relaxed in their selection and, obviously unconcerned about the result, plumped for ex Scotland opener Steve Crawley to open the batting.  Carlton's team easily matched that international lustre having 2 internationalists of sorts on display - Neil has turned out for Scotland u15s this season (although definitely not as wicket-keeper) and Feds is a youth hockey internationalist.  So there.  

Fantasy Bob showed his supreme command of all aspects of the game in losing the toss - again - and Grange batted.  Would there be extra chocolate cake for the junior who knocked Crawley over?  Iain, Ruari, Gavin and David had him in all kinds of difficulty forcing him to resort to hitting 4s to the short road side boundary.  But when he was on 37, it was Gavin's devious overpitched yorker (all right call it a full toss if you have to) that got him to a fine catch from Feds under the trees.  A feather in the cap for Gavin - who clearly can recall the number of times a similar delivery did the job for Botham.  In the art of war, surprise is everything.  Other wickets had fallen to Iain and Ruari;  Gavin claimed a second to finish with 2 for 9 off 5 - a fine effort.   

Frankly my dear, our sons ripped through their sons with David, Feds and the mighty Proctor all in the wickets.   Both Feds and Proctor claimed 2 high quality catches each and Charlie got his usual blinding slip catch.  Dougal bowled nicely but was unlucky to get no reward - as did Mel who claimed not to have bowled for 20 year but put his first ball right on the spot.  Neil did well in his first attempt at wicket keeping - it's a long way down for him to crouch all day.  Then the Grange Dads came to biff it about a bit in the final overs.  Unfortunately it was Fantasy Bob who got most of the punishment, but the home supporters could only pretend to be surprised at this outlandish treatment.   They didn't even pretend to be sympathetic.  A couple of big 6s from Turnbull senior drove the crowd to a frenzy as the innings closed on a respectable 163 for 7 off the agreed 35 overs.  

Tea revealed evidence of an egg sandwich mountain in South Edinburgh that planners in the European Union will have to take into account in the next round of the common agricultural policy.  

And out we went to bat with Charlie and David to lead the way.  They faced a Father and Son combination perfectly named for opening bowlers - Sloman.  Charlie was triggered by Bob pretty early (For goodness sake man - don't you know this is Grange we're playing?) and Iain and David couldn't make much headway. Sloman senior made a major contribution to our difficulties with 3 for 17 off his full 7 overs.  But an attractive partnership between Ruari (30) and Neil (14) was blossoming when another triggering incident did for Neil - judged run out by Charlie (For goodness sake man - don't you know this is Grange we're playing?).  That just about did it.   Feds decided that it was time he joined the primary club - and we look forward to seeing him wear his new tie on the Saturday of the coming Lords test. 

Gavin (left) added to his bowling stripes and had a nice partnership with Dougal (below) and then with Bob.  But when he was on 23 he ran himself out for some unexplained reason, probably to do with youthful enthusiasm - something his partner at the time - Fantasy Bob - no longer has even a lingering memory of. 

Charlie did well to resist a concerted appeal against Bob from the Grange dads suggesting he could get his payback for his own dismissal.   (This was a clear set up that will be reported to the match referee).  Mel's batting proved not quite up to the standard of his bowling and our innings closed on 106.  A bit of a disappointment since we thought we could get closer and at various times in the proceedings looked capable of it.  But we take comfort that our juniors out bowled and out batted the opposition and it was only the Dads who made the difference.   

A good time was had by all and a pleasant chat over a beer ensured a commitment to a return fixture.  So all you ex Scotland players in Carlton ranks dust down your sons...........er I mean pads ... and get in shape.  This will be the one that matters next year. 

Scorecard

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Sunday, 22nd August Friendly
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Carlton XI
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Morton XI
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229 for 7

Haris Aslam 50*, Craig Everett 48, Keith Murray 39, Matthew Wells 31

home

170 for 9

Alan Murray 4 for 36

In fine sunshine the Sunday XI assembly at Grange Loan was randomly distributed around the prescribed meeting time.  Both clubs decided to adopt a progressive youth policy and give the job of skipper to a youngster.  This presented the home side with a somewhat larger opportunity set than the visitors and due to his former association with Morton, Matty Wells was duly selected.  He did a fine job of winning the toss and an even finer one of deciding to bat.

The Everett/Murray Snr opening partnership made it to drinks intact and with 83 runs on the board.  Craig taking the early initiative while Keith (left) played himself in before he too pressed the accelerator.  Opinion was divided as to whether this was an act of altruism to give his other team-mates a chance to bat or that he simply needed a rest.  The running was generally good even when the Morton keeper took the unusual approach of forming a speed bump in an ultimately unsuccessful (but highly amusing) attempt to slow Keith down from making his ground.  After drinks skipper Wells gave Craig a couple of overs to get his 50 and the partnership a chance to make it to 100 – neither of which they managed as both openers offered catching chances which were duly taken. 

In between, “Hatrick” Neil was unluckily run out by a direct hit and Ferg “Shot of the Day” Whately went cheaply.  This brought the skipper & Haris together for the second substantial partnership of the day.  After being dropped at slip off his brother’s bowling Matty went onto to make a breezy 31 before being castled going for one big shot too many. 

Liam got off the mark with a 4 but removed a sizeable chunk of his bat in the process.  Although now apparently converted to the benefits of a lighter bat he struggled with the unconventional weight distribution and was soon back in the hutch pondering whether gaffer tape might negate the need for a new bat, thereby freeing up his student loan for the more essential elements of student life – beer and the ingredients for parkin. 

Murray Jnr joined Haris (below) for the last few overs and saw him to a fine, and richly deserved, maiden senior 50.  Clearly caught up in the excitement of it all Alan hit a fine straight drive for four only to be bowled trying to repeat the shot off the last ball of the innings.  All in all a fine batting display, with the U15s leading the way, gave the home side a healthy total of 229 to defend.

After a fine, if unexpected healthy, tea the home took to the field.  Dave Prosser making his first appearance of the year opened up with Greg Murdoch.  Dave clearly takes his position as the club’s Child Protection Officer very seriously making Greg bowl uphill into the wind.  Both struggled to contain the big hitting Vignesh, who at one point deposited Greg into Lovers’ Loan, and with Belton going well at the other end Morton were well up with the rate.  In the ninth over DP had Belton adjudged caught behind - a generous decision, but a deserved wicket for some quality bowling.  Gav Rittoo replaced Greg and with plenty of cover in the deep induced Vignesh to hole out - well held at long on by the skipper (who was now regretting not taking the gloves). 

“Hatrick” came on for DP but failed to live up to his name – two opportunities came & went and when he could only follow up a smart caught & bowled chance with a wicket maiden skipper Wells removed him from the attack.  Ferg now on for Gav exerted some control and despite Morton skipper Kinghorn playing steadily, Farrell gave a catching chance to Neil which was duly snaffled.  Drinks were taken and in an attempt to make things slightly more “village”, Matt replaced Craig behind the stumps. 

Liam was now operating down the hill but struggled a little with his line - he claimed he was having difficulty controlling the swing but many suspected it was the lack of keys jangling in his pockets in his run up that was unsettling him.  Another Ferg wicket brought Veera to the crease who gave a new meaning to the phrase “all out attack”.  Greg was brought back for some more practice of bowling to big hitting Indians, and Al Murray was introduced at the other end.  After a wayward first over, a quick consultation from resident bowling coach Whately identified the problem, and next over Kinghorn was tempted to prod a gentle outswinger to cover where Neil got down low to take another fine catch.

This brought Matt’s brother Michael to the crease and Ferg donned the gloves to allow Matty the chance of bowling at him.  This proved rather difficult to arrange and Matt bowled an entire over at Veera.  Haris then spoiled things by holding onto a catch of Alan to send Michael back to the hutch.  Not put off by this it was agreed that as, the visitors had only ten men, Michael would be allowed to bat again as the 11th man.  Veera meantime was still swinging away which was keeping Morton in the hunt.  Alan recovered from being smashed for four by the no 10 to bowl him next ball, bringing Michael back to the middle.  The field spread to allow him a single off the last ball (to set up the brotherly duel) but this information failed to get through to the batsmen, so we were treated to another over of Wells vs Veera.  Haris spoiled things again next over by taking an excellent catch at deep square to get rid of Veera and end the match, allowing both teams to repair to the bar for some tasty beverages.  Thanks to Morton for stepping in at short notice and for a very enjoyable match.

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Sunday, 5th September Friendly
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Carlton XI
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Kinross
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218 for 9

Ross Burns 121

home 141 all out

The spot betting scandal continues. It might be the 3 Pakistan test players who have caught the eye of the media but the scandal's ramifications have rocked the Grange Loan establishment to its core. Questions are being asked about our revered President, Portobello's own rap superstar Dizzeee Khartah, and the wides bowled on 3 July and 29 August.  Wides have not been in Dizzeee's repertoire in previous seasons; B Forrester has scoured the archives and found no recorded wide against his name until this year. Could it be that his bling habit has laid him vulnerable to the enticements of London-based fixer Mazhar Majeed? The search for conclusive evidence to exhonorate Dizzeee continues - we believe him to be wholly innocent and cruelly slandered. Meanwhile his predicament is a fruitful inspiration for his art

Is evident
I'm the President
I don't bowl no wides, I ain't that kinda loser
my only beamer is a 6 series cruiser
I's God's gift to cricket man I really look the part
even though my shoes are from the bargain rail at Primart...........

[Yes, yes we get the idea. Just get on with it. Ed]

But for the final match of the season - a friendly against Kinross, Wisden club of the year 2009, Dizzeee was rested so he could work on his cricket quiz for the forthcoming Carlton dinner. [Oh no - that won't do anything for ticket sales. Ed] With the whiff of scandal in the air however, Carlton selectors decided not to take any chances and packed the team with our representatives from the police. May the force be with you. It was the incorruptible [We've only your word for that. Ed] Fantasy Bob who was privileged to lead the team on what turned out to be a pleasant Sunday afternoon with the ground looking at its season's end's best. Now this is of course down to the sterling efforts of our doughty groundsman Moon. His mighty labours nearly over for another year, Moon is contemplating the end of the season with equanimity. He doesn't know what the word means [I'll bet he does and he'll waste no time in telling you - The Real Ed] but it sounds like the kind of thing that would help fix the heavy roller. Carlton gossip hounds will wish to know that he has assured your correspondent that there was decidedly no romantic encounter under the Baltic stars on his recent cruise. 'That's complete fiction - just like all that other '******* rubbish you write in those so-called match reports.'

No league points or fantasy points were at stake, so the formalities of the toss were a breeze for an experienced tosser like Fantasy Bob. He won convincingly, and Carlton batted. 12 overs later Bob wasn't feeling so pleased with himself as we sank to 36 for 4 with Haris, Neil, Seb and Tom all back in the hutch, undone by some good Kinross bowling particularly from the u15 Gosse twins. But these sacrifices were only preparing the stage for Ross. Ross's first scoring shot was a disdainful slap for 4 up the hill and that's the way it carried on. 3 solid partnerships with Boydy, Feds and Omar saw us surge clear of the danger and Ross moved inexorably towards his ton, breaking his bat in the process. Boydy got to 21 before top edging a pull, Feds looked solid before being very smartly stumped on 9 by Scotland u19 bowler Peter Ross.........At this point I will digress to note that in the Kinross team there were 3 Rosses - all kin. There were also 2 named Gosse, which rhymes with Ross. This may be the team with the highest level of assonance that has ever played at Grange Loan. [Eh? Ed] Author's footnote: That means words that sound alike.[Thanks. Ed]

But to return to the action - for we now have Omar at the crease and he's going well - in a pathetic attempt at captaincy Fantasy Bob suggested that all Omar had to do was stay there and let Ross do the scoring (which he was doing lots of). Omar briefly considered this advice, thought the better of it and clumped the ball over the long on boundary for a one bounce four. There were a couple more where that came from, but ............well............I'm afraid it went to his head a bit and something misfired. Yes it's the KP experience and nothing to do with nuts. A reverse sweep was attempted. Very elegant it was too. The only thing is that it failed to connect with the ball which annoyingly hit the stumps. Bad luck Omar - perhaps the force wasn't with you after all - but a good 25. Ross had by this time cruised into 3 figures and brought the team's 200 up into the bargain. He faced the last 4 balls - 6,4,6 but was unfortunately caught off the last ball. Ross ended with 121 (14x4s and 2x6s). Excellent, a real pleasure to have seen. This left Bob on 0*, by some margin his highest score for some considerable time. We finished up with a highly competitive 218 for 8 off our 40 overs.

Tea brought its usual Grange Loan abundance after which Omar and Fraser took the new ball. Omar struck in the fourth over to take a caught and bowled - again ignoring Bob's advice from mid off that it was the keeper's catch. But non-assonant Kinrossians Sale and Lodex then took the score on to 52 before Cheeky had Lodex stumped by Boydy. At this point there were increasing murmers from the vast crowd of Carlton fans [Er...........I take it you mean Mr Barnacle and Boydy senior . Ed]- that Sale both in figure and batting stance was actually a Keith Murray tribute artist. The resemblance to Carlton's iconic batting legend was uncanny and deeply disturbing to those of a nervous disposition -ie Carlton's bowlers. They didn't know whether they were allowed to get him out. So they plugged away at the other end. Keith......er Sale got to a valuable 50 as he played well square on the off side but he began to run out of partners.

By this stage the sun was going down behind the bowler's arm and in time honoured Carlton tradition, Haris Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Readers of a certain age will of course recognise that reference to a song by Pink Floyd from their second album Saucerful of Secrets. [About time we had a mention of some decent music - we've had too much of this Mahler bloke on this website recently. I suppose you'll now tell us that Syd Barret was celebrated for his in-swing bowling or some such rubbish. Ed] One of Pink Floyd's founder members was Syd Barrett who it is alleged took too much LSD and vanished in a haze of hallucinogenic overindulgence. His in swing bowling [I knew it! Ed] was the subject of the Floyd's second single See Emily Play (all around a straight one). We have yet to establish conclusively whether our own Mr Barnacle is any relation to Syd. He certainly has some hallucinogenic qualities. Possibly Pink Floyd's greatest album is The Dark Side of the Moon. Scholars are still trying to establish if this was recorded in tribute to our doughty groundsman - perhaps not, for our even tempered and equable Moon has no dark side.

But to return to the subject at hand, the sun made life difficult for the batters - as if Haris's looping leg spin wasn't enough and Sale finally perished top edging our young spin wizard to the safe hands of Fraser in the covers for a fine 64. But the Carlton bowlers didn't work hard enough and to their collective shame Bob had to bring himself on at the end - there was a gasp of astonishment round Grange Loan as his first ball was right on line and length. One wicket for Bob leaving it to Cheeky to close the innings with a fine catch by Omar at square leg. Kinross all out for 141. Seb 2 for 21, Haris 2 for 20, Cheeky 2 for 37. Neil also chipped in with one and there was an excellent run out by Feds.

A solid victory then with good contributions all round. Thanks to the most assonant team to have visited Grange Loan for an enjoyable contest. And well done on your promotion this year and the club award last year. A credit to yourselves.

And so dear readers we leave the 2010 season behind. We are looking forward to 2011 already. What will it bring? Well you can join the speculation. In an exclusive to this match report I can reveal that Fantasy Bob will be writing occasionally during the winter giving his observations on cricket, life and all that other stuff that comes to his attention in his Fantasy Bob's Blog. Essential preparation for next season. Watch the web site for details. Merry Christmas.

Scorecard

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Sunday, 12th September Friendly
W
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Gargunnock Villlage CC
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Carlton XI
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74 all out

Dave Carter 2 for 5, Dougal Main 2 for 8, Bob Irvine 2 for 9, Gavin Rittoo 2 for 15

home

113 all out

Bob Irvine 28, Shaun Barrett 26

Your correspondent has twice put down his pen in recent weeks having assured the handful of readers of these pages that they had just read the final report of the season.  But there seems a great thirst among regular readers for more insights into the march of western culture.  Motivated either by this zeal for knowledge or the desire to avert civil disturbance, the Carlton hierarchy responded. At very short notice yet another post-season fixture was arranged against Gargunnock.  As some readers will know Gargunnock Village CC is the other club of Carlton 4s batting legend and long distance cyclist Boom boom Mike (12 sixes to the ton) Kennedy.  When a black hole appeared suddenly in GVCC’s fixture list, Mike put in a call to Al Murray who was only too happy to put his vast communications network into overdrive and call forth a presentable selection of Carlton talent. [Talent?...........er……… I thought Fantasy Bob was there.  Ed]And so on a fine September day we made the short journey up the M9 to rural Stirlingshire.  

 

Was this unexpected call due to divine intervention?  Perhaps. Readers will know that on 16 September the Pope will visit Edinburgh and will spend the night at nearby Greenhill.  Large signs all around the city warn us - Pope’s Visit – Expect Confession   [Er..I think they actually say expect congestion.  Ed] As if congestion would be any novelty in Edinburgh's traffic system, famed world wide for its humane sensitivity to the everyday concerns of its taxi drivers. [OK maybe your reading of the sign is right.  Ed]

  

What has not been revealed is that His Holiness expects to use his proximity to Carlton's Grange Loan headquarters to visit the ground to bless the wicket.  Carlton’s stars will henceforth truly play on sacred turf.  Pope Benedict is of course being widely criticised for his attitude to secrecy within the Church.  And indeed it is nothing short of a scandal that his deep and long standing interest in Scottish cricket has remained a secret until now.  The State Visit and all the associated panoply is actually a smokescreen for his real purpose in visiting Grange Loan.  Despite the long years of planning he is reported to be furious with his aides for not realising that the season would be over at the time of his visit.

 

His Holiness’ fury was evident as he told your correspondent 'These muppets at the Vatican - what are they for, man?  Get me to Grange Loan I say -  I want to see Ceddie and Fraggle giving the visiting bowling some stick.  What do they do - wait until September, man.  September!  Muppets!  What a tragedy, man.  You know, man, I keep a copy of Fantasy Bob's match reports with me at all times.  They are the inspiration for my longer sermons to the faithful.   He's some crazy guy this Fantasy Bob, isn't he, man? What do you reckon he's on? I hope through my prayers I can give him the runs again. I look forward very much during my visit to meeting your revered President Dizzeee Khartah - I am a great admirer of his work, man, and I also find Lidl the value for money option for the fashion conscious spiritual leader.  And man I really look forward to chewing the fat with your doughty groundsman Moon.  I have been in extended correspondence with this even tempered soul about the appropriate footwear with which to walk on the square as I bless it.  I have assured him that the Papal slippers are made by Gray Nichols and therefore have appropriate soles for all cricketing surfaces.  So no worries there, man.  By the way, man, I also fancy facing a few from the bottom end during my visit - it's been a few years since my last innings.  We've been re-laying the square at the Vatican – no, not St Peter's Square, you muppet.  But I reckon my front foot play is still there.  Tell Habs he’d better get proper warmed up, man, I’m going to put him over the square leg boundary - no problem, man.'

 

[Er……….I know it was a poor satellite connection and His Holiness speaks in an idiosyncaratic amalgam of Latin, German and Italian, but are you sure this translation is wholly accurate?  For one thing I doubt how he can find Fantasy Bob’s witterings inspirational in any sense…………. Ed]  

 

But to more important matters, overnight rain had been heavy in the Gargunnock area so it was probably due to further divine intervention that we managed to play at all.  Whether or not the Lord or the Pope had intervened on our behalf, the prompt start was a great tribute to Gargunnock's commitment.  There were distinctly squelchy parts across the outfield and deep was the correct description of a wide area at deep fine leg.  Inevitably the pitch was as soft as the skin on the Papal hand and we suspected that bounce would be a foreign concept. 

  

Al won the toss and chose to bat.  It was the poet Robert Browning who wrote the line "Never glad confident morning again!". It was quoted by a former Tory minister in the Profumo debate of 1963 referring to how things had gone wrong for then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, and surfaced more recently in a similar context in commentaries on Gordon Brown’s premiership. [Yes yes, just get on with it will you.  Ed]  Well, in the glad confident morning of our innings we thought a target of 180 might be competitive.  Dream on. 

  

Barnacle was joined by Keshav to face Mike Kennedy's opening salvo.  There was not a blink of surprise among his team mates as Barnacle played out a maiden.  Spot betting odds on that were as short as they can get.  Keshav was unluckily undone in the next over, getting the hard lesson about slow wickets - if you don't wait you'll put it in the air.  0 for 1 that became 14 for 2 when Matt made a similar error and got a leading edge back to Gargunnock skipper David Farquhar.  Glad? Confident? – well, maybe 150 would be not too bad............  Liam then got us moving a bit and his 20 included a fine maximum into the long grass.  But when he went courtesy of a sun-ripened plum of an lbw and Gavin followed soon after, we were shaky on 43 for 4 after 17. 

What was worse was that Fantasy Bob was now striding to the wicket. All gladness and confidence had evaporated. Bob took a cautious look and prodded with distaste at his first deliveries.  This was a wicket that was hard to score on [Let’s face it any wicket is hard for Bob to score on.  Ed]  And the lush outfield was no help.  Barnacle agreed and they decided that 120 would be a good total..........  They then put together a bit of a partnership, Bob getting a few well struck blows past the field and through the puddles to the boundary and Shaun rotating the strike.  Things were looking gladder and more confident until they went in close succession - both lbw.  Shaun 26 (from 86 balls), Bob 28 (from 43 balls).  [Er…and your point is?  Ed]  

  

A few runs for Cheeky and Al and then…………….well it pains your correspondent to have to report the most disgraceful bit of gamesmanship by our revered President.  Dizzeee has obviously been itching to bat – we had put down his 2 lbw decisions as par for the course.  But when Nelson came up on the board, Portobello’s very own rap star flagrantly, and in the company of juniors, kept both feet planted causing Cheeky to lose his wicket.  Outrageous.

 

Readers will recall that Dizzeee’s bat was rendered kindling on its last appearance so he faced up with a borrowed blade. It was a fine looking Kookaburra.  Now, when the President last looked at bats lined up shiny and new in the shop, Kookaburra hadn't been invented, the Gun and Moore Colin Cowdrey Autograph was the top of the range.  He looked disdainfully at what he described as ‘This modern Kookaburra thing.’   Moments later his disdain had deepened to comtempt as he concluded that the bat was obviously defective as he was bowled by Mike Kennedy.   His latest lyric has examined defective Australian equipment:

 

With a proper bat I’d have smashed it

Wiv a  Gunn and Moore  I’d ‘a’ maxed it

But a Kookaburra ain’t the t’ing and I betchar

Won’t see dem sell in Poundstretcher

  

Our innings finished on 113. An excellent tea followed, with chocolate cakes evidently designed by a structural engineer as layers of cake, jam and mousse perilously balanced on top of each other defying the laws of gravity. 

And it was our turn to paddle in the field.  Bob and Gavin opened.  Bob had early success getting big Aussie opener Cates well caught by Dougal at square leg.  This brought our colleague ‘12 sixes to the ton’ to the crease with the weight of expectation of his team mates on his shoulders.  He might have said to himself, if not to them, ‘I've slapped these guys all over the place at nets so this should be a breeze.’  But Mike's legendary batting technique has a factory fault which fails to account for the straight ball.  Gavin duly delivered, bowling him before he inflicted too much damage on the scoreboard.  Then Dizzeee was back to his parsimonious best to chip in with a couple of wickets and Gargunnock were in deep trouble at 16 for 5 after 13.  2 wickets for Dougal and 2 run outs deepened the hole.  They recovered a bit and an admirable 8th wicket partnership of 30 between skipper Farquhar and Peacock got them into the area of respectability.  But they had too much to do and Bob came back to mop things up, getting the last wicket in the 37th over as Gargunnock were 74 all out.

A good win for Carlton - with good bowling from juniors and seniors alike and a solid fielding performance.  A pleasant pint in the Gargunnock Inn, a promise for a return fixture next year and we were on our way home.  It took some of us a bit longer than others, as Shaun assumed the role of tourist guide for Neil by showing him some more of Scotland’s epic grandeur in the shape of Cumbernauld before he departs for Oz at the end of the month.

And dear readers that really is it for the season. But I warned you last time that Fantasy Bob would be keeping his hand in during the close season by presenting his peculiar view of the world through a blog. This has now been set up and postings will start soon. I hope you use the comments page too. Merry Christmas.

PS:  this is a work of fiction (apart from the scores).  Any resemblances between the characters and persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

Scorecard

Photos

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