Carlton 4th XI 2011 Fixtures and Results

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Saturday 30th April 1pm East League Division Seven
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Penicuik 3
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Carlton 4
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176 all out

Bob Irvine 4 for 37, David Mitchell 2 for 22

away

171 for 8

Jim McDonald 81*

The number 11 has several interesting features.  11 is the smallest strobogrammatic prime number.  It is the only palindromic prime with an even number of digits and most impressively of all it divides all palindromes with an even number of digits.    (For those readers who are unfamiliar with the word strobogrammatic it means that it looks the same upside down as normally.) So all in all 11 is an absolute top number.  

In its origins, cricket was played with indeterminate numbers but some anorak decided it had to be standardised.  Not that they had anoraks at that time in history - so some hooded cloak took on the role.  This hooded cloak person decided that 11 was the number of players that most appropriately should form a cricket team.  There is no reason for this - although Fantasy Bob is sure that the qualities of being a palindrome and strobbogrammatic are likely to be the type of thing that will have weighed heavily with the hooded cloak personality type.  Equally important might have been the number of hooks on the wall in the Hambledon dressing room in the 1770s or the number of shepherds who could be whistled up from the Downs.    

But 11 is the requisite number.  Yesterday however Carlton 4s adopted a radical policy of decimalisation.  Stragglers from the Royal Wedding were slow in returning to base camp Grange Loan - or had to take their morning suits back to Moss Bros - or presented some such other feeble excuse which left Fantasy Bob no alternative but to adopt this radical policy.  Decimalisation is what is need to make cricket flourish in the ten obsessed European Union and maybe even the United States.  It is the future.  

So off to Beeslack, with 5 debutants and 11 year old Calum Everett one of the more seasoned players, to a sunny but windy artificial track with the novel feature of a changing room en plein aire - ie the complete absence of a changing room.  Toss won (by a significant margin since FB has been practising his tossing all winter) [You just can't resist that joke can you -  I suppose we'll get it every week.  Ed] and opposition inserted, the next challenge was to find a wicket keeper.  A line of players all stepped backwards leaving Alex Mayes duly volunteered.  The fact that he would present the largest barrier was not a significant consideration.  5 minutes of intensive coaching ensured that his skill level far exceeded that of Kamran Akmal.  

We got off to a strong start.  FB got his world famous inswinger [Oh no we're not going to have this reference all season as well  are we?  Ed] going in the second over to take the middle stump and when Mansoor struck in the next over it was 2 for 2 after 4.  But the decisive partnership of the game then took shape as Penicuik veterans Higgins and Ainslie put on a brisk 65 until David Mitchell's excellent thrown from the fine leg boundary put an end to their fun.  Ainslie Run Out for 40.  Carlton's bowlers found the strong cross-wind a bit of a challenge and the side leaked a few too many wides.  Penicuik made steady progress and at drinks were 100 for 4, Al Murray having got opposing skipper Kingsbury to slice a catch to FB at backward point [What on earth was he doing there - that's the Collingwood deVilliers position ie people who can field?  Ed].   David Mitchell took 2 for 22 in a tidy spell, including Higgins smartly caught at square leg by Patrick.  Calum and Adam had convincing spells too without luck. It was left to FB to return for the final overs and clean up the tail, Calum taking a good catch for the final wicket in the final over.  Bob 4 for 37.

Tea was left until the end of the match by local rules.  So with declining blood sugar levels we took up the chase.   The batting order might well have been as strobogrammatic as the number 11 which we did not have.  Debutants Patrick and Jim opened and Patrick was unluckily caught as he looked for runs.  This brought FB to the crease nose bleeding heavily from batting a number 3. FB has been advising colleagues that this year he is converting himself into a nurdler - gone are those expansive swings of the bat.  It was therefore wholly consistent with his new philosophy that his first scoring shot was a big DLF maximum over square leg.  But that was as good as it got as he was bowled not long after by change bowler Scarr.  Imtiaz mistimed to be caught and this brought Alex in fresh from his triumph behind the stumps.  He joined Jim who had been batting with quiet efficiency - a good effort in his first knock in 15 years.    Alex had a look and set about his take.  A couple of towering 6s and a few well struck 4s and suddenly we were ahead of the run rate and victory looked possible.  But then Alex miscued and skied it back to bowler Higgins.  Shoaib and Al went quickly trying to maintain the run rate and so it was left to Jim to marshall the tail.  Which he did with great skill, keeping the score moving with fine shots through the covers in particular and managing to draw excellent contributions from Adam and Calum.  Both stayed and both took their scoring opportunities.  (Although Calum may have been run out after leaving his crease before the ball was dead, Shoaib at square leg watching the birds flying overhead instead of the play.  Many thanks to Penicuik for not cutting up rough on this - and let's hope that Calum has learned his lesson).  A win was still possible but credit to Penicuik - they closed down the last few overs and we were left 5 runs short at the end of a  highly enjoyable match.  Jim left undefeated on an excellent 81* - man of the match by some way.  

So, maximum batting and bowling points but what might have been?  FB's calculus is that missing a fielder is worth 15-20 runs.  And a few too many wides.  But fine fielding - catches all held and 2 good run outs.  A creditable performance by Alex behind the stumps and above all a superb innings from Jim.

Scorecard

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Saturday 7th May 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Teuchters
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95 all out

Bob Irvine 52*

home (P)

99 for 5

David Mitchell 5 for 41

In those ancient days when the cricketers of Athens convened under the captaincy of Pericles and voted (presumably) for this new fangled democracy type thing, (as it was known then), they had scant regard to the impacts this would have on cricketers who came after them.  In particular their lack of foresight failed to determine that 2600 years later, almost to the very day, the Carlton selection supremos would face a battery of call-offs and non availability as a result of 'injuries sustained in the exercise of my franchise this week'.  With 3 ballot papers offered to cricketers entering Scotland's polling booths on Thursday, there was a severe test of stamina and many of Carlton's playing staff, ever enthusiastic in their social duties, reported extreme exhaustion and withdrew from the weekend teams.  Even junior cricketers, technically too young to vote, were affected by the strain. 

 

Now, your correspondent is a firm supporter of Periclean ideals.  One man one innings remains the best system of selection we can expect.  However he passes the minor observation that selection committees in Stalinist Russia, where things were ordered differently, may not have had to deal with this problem.  Execution and sudden disappearance in the night might have had implications for the originally selected XI, but democratic exhaustion, no.

 So it was another developmental side that Fantasy Bob led to Peffermill to face our old friends Teuchters.  Teuchters were also suffering from the effects of democratic exhaustion in that they presented fewer than the allowed number of players.  FB's side had 4 debutants (that is players making their first appearance not young ladies in high fashion dresses coming out into society) and an old lag returning in the shape of legendary keeper Kevin Whittaker.  FB is too young to recall Kevin's great deeds at Grange Loan in the past but he is assured that he verged on greatness.

  

A damp wicket presented itself for inspection.  Fantasy Bob looked good to win the toss, until the toss actually happened and lost is by a Liberal Democrat margin. [Very topical.  Nice to see the old joke in new clothes.  Ed] Carlton were inserted - which presented the first problem.  Scanning his eager resources FB noticed a distinct absence of opening batsmen, indeed there was a queue of volunteers for the coveted 11 spot.  Having recovered from the nose bleed from batting at 3 last week, FB had little choice but to promote himself and young David Mitchell gamely volunteered to join him.  Well dear readers what came next is the stuff of legend.  The opening partnership looked sound and had progressed to 29 before David essayed one too many expansive drive.  He had practised this shot on several preceding balls skilfully missing them, but this one he got some bat on and was caught at midwicket for 10.  FB ground on with a trickle of batsmen who didn't manage to counter Eddie Jones’ golden arm (3 for 15 off 9) until Al Murray looked solid, but then mindful of the need to defend and bat as many overs as possible he blasted one straight back to the bowler who to everyone's surprise saved his own broken nose by catching it. 

FB meanwhile was proceeding serenely [I find that hard to believe.  Are you sure that is the right word? Ed]  To the burgeoning crowd's complete surprise he managed to deal properly with the straight ones and was strong off his legs.  He even managed a big 6 with a hook that would have had Viv Richards..... [Oh get on with it.  Ed]  He had one life. [What?  You always say FB is never dropped.  Ed].  As the innings died away FB brought up his 50 and was left undefeated - carrying his bat for 52*.  This is uncanny - FB posted on his blog this week a long and tedious essay about carrying your bat in which he noted that having never opened the innings he never had the opportunity to carry his bat.  He writes about it and it happens!  Obviously there is a destiny that shapes our ends.  So this week expect postings about hundreds and hattricks. 

All out for 95 with 5 batters failing to trouble the scorers; it didn't seem likely to be enough.  And so it proved, but not until Teuchters got a bit of a fright.  Kevin revived his glory days by donning the pinkest wicket-keeping gauntlets ever seen.  Euan and Bob opened the bowling with Bartsch looking in good form.  He gave one chance off FB - a steepling cloudscraping catch to long off which we couldn't take.  FB had evidently used all his luck during his batting.  33 without loss after 7 and FB turned to David Mitchell.  After his first over it was 34 for 2.  After his second over 46 for 3.  Now the batting looked exposed and Bartsch had to  take care - the run rate slowed a bit.  David got another 2 wickets to give him a first senior 5-fer.  But wickets refused to fall at the other end despite some good fielding from Shoaib and young debutants Sam Marchbank and Calum Sibley. As the light faded and the rain began, Bartsch conducted the last rites, getting to his own half century before seeing his side to victory with a couple of fine strokes - a fine sweep and a firm drive to leave him 64*.  Victory by 5 wickets as the rain got serious.

So Carlton casualties of democracy.  Well done to Teuchters - always a pleasure to play against, the banter was at a high level.  FB particularly enjoyed one riff about cheese - in honour of their bowler named Jacob.  But above all well done David - 5 for 41 off 8.  He showed excellent flight and control and turned it sharply.  The match ball is his to varnish and mount.  A great achievement.

Scorecard

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Sunday 15th May 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Morton 2
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  115 all out

home

(GL)

93 all out

Dave Carter 3 for 8, Bob Irvine 3 for 10, Calum Everett 2 for 10

Carlton welcomed last year's unbeaten Division 8 champions Morton 2s to Grange Loan.  Fantasy Bob called it right and decided to bat on a track that gave up over 500 runs a day earlier. 

FB and Barnacle Barrett had first use and took the score past 50 before Bob (21), attempting an uncharacteristic nurdle, feathered one to first slip where Morton skipper, Bell, took a great catch diving forward to claim a very soft edge.   Barnacle (25) lost his grip and was next to go this time to a salmon-like Bell who leapt high at slip to take a finger tip catch when a boundary was the most obvious outcome.  Still at 60-2 and a perfect batting track; what could possibly go wrong….

... well quite a bit actually.  Carlton’s next 7 wickets fell for 30 runs with only Shane Whatley (12) reaching double figures.   With the score at just over 90, 9 wickets down and the urn not yet switched on for tea all seemed lost.  Much to everyone’s surprise President Carter walked out sporting a new bat, his first he claims since 1923 to join 13 year old Dougal Main and the two added 20 odd runs for the last wicket.  At times the relationship looked like a grumpy pirate captain and his cabin boy and at times like WG Grace and a young David Gower…..never-the-less through a combination of cricket shots, extras and byes they took the Carlton score to 115.  Special credit to Dougal who kept out Morton’s Sabharwal who had ripped through Carlton’s middle order to finish with 9-3-14-5. 


On a batting paradise, 115 was unlikely to be enough but it’s a funny old game.  After 5 overs Morton found themselves five wickets down with only 10 on the board through a combination of wiley bowling from Carter & Irvine, some stunning catches, especially from Shoab, and some good old cavalier batting from Morton’s top order.  Hawkins and Parikh threatened to put it right with a patient partnership of 60 before David Mitchell had Parikh caught by Carlton crocodile Keith Murray at first slip.   Kumar smashed a quick 25 and made Morton favourites until 11 year old Callum Everett knocked over his leg stump with a corker then quickly removed Myers leaving Carlton on the edge of victory.   It was left to Alan Murray to close the innings out, bowling Malan with the score on 93 leaving Carlton victors by 22 runs. 

All Carlton’s bowlers deserve mention …the Presidents spell of 9-5-8-3,  Fantasy Bob’s 7-2-10-3 and Everett’s 2-0-10-2 did the damage in terms of wickets but young David Mitchells spell of 9-0-33-1 showed real control when two batsmen were set. 


So Carlton recorded an unlikely win.  Morton’s bowling attack was hugely impressive, especially at this level, and they will undoubtedly be strong candidates for promotion come the end of the season.  Carlton’s bowling and fielding were excellent.  In the match 16 catches were held, bowlers were on top and so questions were raised as to how a batting track can change so much overnight?  All the batsmen agreed it was nothing to do with lack of batting talent and are urging the ECB to investigate.  He who has no name was not available for comment.

Scorecard

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Saturday 21st May 1pm East League Division Seven
L
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Fauldhouse 2
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Carlton 4
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89 all out

Shuaib Farooq 3 for 5, Jim McDonald 3 for 14

away

86 all out

Jim McDonald 28*

In the week in which superinjunction fever hit the front pages, your correspondent takes considerable legal risks to bring you this match report. Many of the lurid details are subject to gagging orders from the highest courts in the land. Readers should therefore be aware that they put themselves at legal risk if they read what follows.  They do so at their own discretion.  Your correspondent is aware that, in the spirit of the age, many of the details may also be available on Twitter. 

Legal process prevented the identification of the 4s line up until the very last moment.  Even then the final 2 players, whom Al Murray's overheated communications network summoned up, were reluctant to reveal their names in case they were associated with Imogen Thomas.   Whatever Ms Thomas may have been available for in recent months, she was not available to turn out for today's game with Fauldhouse.  The fact that our final players felt they needed the protection of the law although they were 14 and 15 respectively shows how sensitive this issue has become.  However your correspondent is confident that neither of them was a footballer whose name rhymes with a succulent fruit.

While the superinjunction might have lifted temporarily, dark clouds were doing the reverse as we left Grange Loan with requisite numbers,  headed for Fauldhouse. Wikipedia advises that the name Fallas or Fauldhouse has been translated as "house on the fold", "house in the field", or "house on unploughed (fallow) land". However, the name may be older than the Middle Ages and might even be derived from the Brythonic or Welsh type language once spoken in the Lothian region.  In some people's opinion Brythonic language is still heard regularly in the region, particularly when catches are dropped.  While the meadow of the damp outfield might have been ploughed recently, it was uncut due to a superinjunction taken out by the Fauldhouse grass cutters - according to the opposition skipper.  A low scoring game looked certain.  FB duly won the toss and chose to field.  Your correspondent will make no joke here about the margin by which the toss was won since the details are at present the subject of a superinjunction.

FB opened the bowling with David Loudon who struck with his first ball as, a sign of things to come, the ball stopped on the batter who spooned it up to gain a primary club membership.   But the next two batters set in for a partnership of 30 before David bowled the other opener Connell for 19.  In the context of the game that was a fine effort and Fauldhouse continued to make good progress until a hit finally went to a fielder, Sohaib taking a good catch in the deep off Dougal to make it 61 for 3.  Wickets then tumbled regularly as catches stuck - another excellent effort from Shuaib, a miraculous trap by FB himself in which no part of his hands were used and what for Sohaib must count as a regulation catch at deep cover.  Jim 3 for 14 and and Shuaib 3 for 5 cleaned up the tail showing the devil in the pitch.  All out for 89 with opposition skipper Rob Mildren undefeated on 18.

A competitive total? The rain began as we opened our innings - and continued throughout - it was never strong enough to go off so both skippers shrugged and stayed on.  Twitter feeds defy the superinjunction and tell the world that FB was first out LBW.  Perhaps the charm of opening has worn off for the great man.  Mitch soon followed bowled.  Straight balls were the danger balls.  But even non-straight balls could suddenly become straight when they hit the surface.  Shaun was then bowled by the leg spinner round his legs, your correspondent is risking everything for Shaun immediately sought a superinjunction to prevent the world knowing of this indignity, and we were in trouble at 19 for 3.  David Loudon steadied the ship a bit having a few good hits before he holed out at midwicket for 9.  Keith looked solid and a possible match winning partnership looked like it was taking shape until Keith got a snorter and was bowled.  It was left to Jim to marshal the tail which he did, but the scoring rate dropped.  As it got damper and damper runs became very hard to find.  Shoab and Sohail and Adam were all bowled leaving Muhammad a chance for glory which he so nearly grasped.  Stout defence and a thumping drive over the bowler's head took us within touching distance but with only 4 wanted for victory in the last over, he too succumbed and our cause was lost.  A brave effort - particularly by Jim who once again carried his bat for 28.  One more hit and we'd have made it.  But that is as much as your correspondent is allowed to reveal as a superinjunction has been imposed.   There were no senior bankers named in the team lists.

Many thanks to Fauldhouse who played the game in excellent spirit.  They took risks batting which came off - it is revealing that 5 of their batsmen were caught hitting out - only one of ours was, the rest bowled or LBW.  If you don't hit the ball you don't score.

But enough of these batsman dominated matches with the scoreboard groaning under the weight of 250 plus runs gorged from over dependable pitches and smooth running outfields.  What is the fun in that?  What is needed to get the crowds back to cricket are low scoring tight finishes where any ball could caroom right or left and do serious damage to a batsman's confidence, equanimity and average.  These are the finishes that the Carlton 4s are manufacturing this season with monotonous regularity.  Regrettably they have been on the wrong end of the majority of the tight finishes.  The challenge now is to get over the finishing line.

Scorecard

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Sunday 29th May 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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RH Corstorphine 3
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231 for 8

Liam Prescott 63, Mike Kennedy 36

home

(GL)

258 for 6

Bob Irvine 3 for 27, Rory Allardice 2 for 29

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout

Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,

Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head!

So rants King Lear.  Well, Carlton's 4s may not have to contend with cataracts and hurricanoes or sulphurous and thought-executing fires, but they certainly had winds – or to put it another way WINDS.  The thing you have to remember about King Lear is that, stuck with his fool on the blasted heath as he was, trying to figure out how things had gone against him when he had won the toss but put his most loyal daughter Cordelia well down the batting order, is that he did not have to bowl against wind.  He did not even have to bowl with the wind.  He was in the manner of a non-playing skipper - the fashion of the time.  A bit of railing against the elements and his job was done.  Fantasy Bob, desptie being considerably older than King Lear, has not reached that happy state and so it was his singed white head that forced his aging frame against the gusting westerly gale to open the bowling against RH Corstorphine. 

Seeking to kick start the season from a series of disappointing close reversals, a much changed team took the field, FB having won the toss and chosen to bowl - if only because he lacks any imagination and it was what Fraser Watts had done the day before to considerable success.  It is also the recommendation of a recent article by someone called Craig Wright in a prestigious cricket journal. Your correspondent observes in passing here that this season FB has now won 4 out of 5 tosses [No doubt you'll say that it is all the practice in the off season - Ed] - for all the good it has done the team.  He refers you to the blog post by his name sake in which he reports the inverse relationship between toss winning and match winning by MS Dhoni.  Is there a lesson there?

But enough of these asides.  Bowling in the wind (which some readers may also recall as an unknown Bob Dylan cricket song) was a strain.  FB just about coped, but juniors and not so juniors struggled. Age deprived youth of an early wicket when a kneejerk and optimistic appeal from Dougal was given LBW by a young RHC umpire. It might have hit a second set of stumps 3 feet high. FB withdrew the appeal and called the batter back.   A muttered thankyou might have been expected.  FB picked up 2 wickets in his first spell to excellent catches from Mike Kennedy and Shuaib-catch-a-match-Farooq and RHC were 43 for 2 after 10. 

Then sulphurous and line-and-length-executing fires came upon us in the form of RHC skipper Alan Moore and Will Blackett.   This pair put on 100 in the next 13 overs as Carlton bowlers struggled in the wind.  Rory Allardice did as well as any and finally had Moore caught for 74 by Liam on the long-off boundary, but this caused Blackett to raise his tempo and he hit downwind particularly effectively.  Rory picked up another wicket, as did FB in his second spell (Rory 5-0-29-2; FB 9-2-27-3) but Blackett's hitting managed to evade the fielders.  The fielding became a bit ragged, a couple of hard chances went down and runs began to leak.  However Dougal bowled an excellent second spell (6-2-13-0), encouraged by his skipper to show a bit of aggression and hit the crease,  although he was unlucky not to get a wicket.  Blackett continued to bring up his century and was left 114* at the end of the innings - a fine effort.  RHC 258 for 6 after 45.

Footsore and weary Carlton refuelled with mixed thoughts.  How many runs had leaked in the field in the second part of the innings?  Yes, the wind and the fast and fiery outfield made demands, but the short answer is too many. 

The wind was beginning to settle down to a gale rather than a hurricane as Shaun and Jim opened our chase.  Neither looked in any trouble until Shaun was triggered by his son and heir who had nobly offered his finger-raising services during the tea interval.  There was speculation that on returning to the dressing room Shaun immediately phoned his lawyer and disinherited Tom - who is no longer son and heir, but simply son and only hanging on to that status by his fingernails.  Shaun was also attempting to find a locksmith to change the locks at home. 

Jim followed for 19 - finally getting an average for the 4th XI - when he was yorked by change bowler Mani.  But at 41 for 2 we were even stevens with the RHC progress.  A nice debut innings by Tom Dean ended disappointingly bowled round his legs as he moved across his stumps to push another into the empty legside spaces.  We shall hear more of Tom in years to come. 

Liam (left) started like a train - a big 6 down wind - an oak cleaving thunderbolt if ever - and he was ably supported by Keshav.  Their partnership ended at 165 when Liam played to soon and was bowled by skipper Moore for an excellent 63. 

Boom Boom strode out - anything was possible. The crowd sat up in anticipation. First ball - a big swish no connection.  Second ball - a bigger swish and even less of a connection.  Third ball - shock - a pat back.  But Mike was just waiting to get downwind - and Keshav duly obliged pushing 1 and changing ends.  If you thought you' seen oak cleaving thunderbolts, think again - 4,6,4,4 (dot ball rest required),4,6,6.  A couple more overs of this and we would win.  Keshav went for a fine 22 bringing FB to the crease.  This was the pair to guide us home - 50 odd wanted off 8.  But it was not to be.  Mike got hold of one but it was against the wind and fell just short of the boundary.  Unfortunately it fell into the hands of RHC skipper Moore who took a fine, not to say miraculous catch and  Mike departed for a brisk 36.  FB huffed and puffed but was tucked up on his legs by well directed bowling. 

Ben took his own life - going too far back in the crease and smacking the off stump.  Shuaib had a few good hits but was bowled going for a big heave (alright slog sweep if you must) and that was it.  27 runs short, FB 24*. 

This may well be the highest total Carlton 4s have made batting second not to win.  A good effort, but FB had to remind his troops that this could have been a winning total had the runs not bled in the second half of the RHC innings.  Now we understand what King Lear meant when he said 'Mend your long barriers a little, lest it mar your fortunes.'

Well done to all Carlton's under-agers who each made a good contribution.  Next time - FB promises to lose the toss and will be confident of winning.

Scorecard

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Saturday 4th June 1pm East League Division Seven
W
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Kismet 2
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Carlton 4
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135 all out

Dave Carter 4 for 27

away

136 for 3

Fergus Whatley 42*, Mike Kennedy 40

Fed reports ...

I must apologise first and foremost for this match report coming from a different correspondent than usual. The legendary Fantasy Bob, was injured, and so there was a big question as to who would lead the side (and more importantly who would write this match report).

The day did not start off quite to plan, although we left plenty of time to travel, many of us were caught in yet another traffic jam in Edinburgh. This allowed me to keep with a great 4s tradition of losing the toss, as we had to concede it and we were asked to field. Two of our younger contingent, Euan and Dougal took up the new ball at a blustery Dunloch Park and bowled good and tight lines. They created so much pressure that the first wicket went down to a fine piece of fielding from Euan from square leg as the batsmen tried to steal a run. Then the evergreen President came on to bowl, and yet again put down a miserly spell. His tight bowling brought him 4 good wickets on a pitch doing a little bit for the bowlers. Mike and Shuaib were rotated at the other end, and Mike bowled with very good aggression and accuracy. He deserved about 3 wickets in one of his overs alone, and was very unlucky not to pick up at least one. Shuaib bowled good away swingers tempting the batsmen into playing shots and ended up with two deserved wickets, even though he was a bit expensive. He did make up for this by living up to his “catch-a-match” nickname to take a catch off Dougal.

Ferg then came on, and was almost spinning it too much to get his man. He did get two courtesy of a great sharp catch low by Euan at slip and another bowled to finish off the innings for 135.

The general consensus was that we might have leaked about 20-30 runs for the last few wickets but a good fielding session all round.

It was with confidence but determination that we approached the chase, with Ferg and Euan opening up. We had the hope of being home early when Ferg boomed 3 fours off the first over, but after that they settled down and pushed the singles. Euan got a good ball from one of their openers and went back for 8. This brought in Shuaib who started playing shots from the start, hitting some nice off and cover drives. He again was bowled (17) and what came next was a good display of why you shouldn’t make Mike Kennedy angry. After an early LBW appeal that was going over another set of stumps, Mike decided to thump the bowler for two huge sixes, one having to be retrieved from the road. His 40 runs came up off about 15 balls. He went in usual style, smashing the ball right to a fielder at long on who just about clung on. This left Sohaib to stick in with Ferg to finish the chase, Sohaib playing very well with some cultured cover drives.

A very good game, and a pleasure for my debut as captain to lead such a promising bunch of youngsters (and not so youngsters!). Many thanks to Ferg for helping me out and a good win. Your move now Bob!

Scorecard

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Saturday 11th June 1pm East League Division Seven
W
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Peebles County 2
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Carlton 4
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69 all out

Greg Murdoch 3 for 10

away

70 for 0

Dougal Balfour 35*, Shaun Barrett 29*

Is there some link between Peebles County Cricket Club and the local tourist board?  As Fantasy Bob assembled his All-Star XI at Grange Loan beneath a grey sky with only one discernible intention in its heavy cloud formation - rain and more rain - the text message from Peebles was 'Brilliant sunshine, drought; camels and donkeys perishing in the heat'.  So playable then, just.  Travel plans were laid and off we set.  It has to be said that the accuracy of the weather report was met with a little scepticism at first, rising to outright incredulity the closer we got to Peebles.  'I'm pretty sure they don't have camels in Peebles.'  said Liam as we passed IKEA.  As a scientist type person he should know about these things.  As we passed through Penicuik another opinion was ventured:  'And I'm not sure that they have donkeys either,'  Neil incanted in time to the beating of the windscreen wipers.  

Our confidence in the weather report was therefore a little dented as we arrived in the Borders metropolis with the rain gently falling. (For those students who have just completed their Higher English Exam - When your correspondent uses the term gently falling he is using the rhetorical advice of comic irony) [I see nothing comic about these match reports.  Ed]   

'Ah, did I say sunshine on the text.  It's that predictive text thingy, I just can't get the hang of it,' said our welcoming party standing under umbrellas.  A little humming and hawing later, we agreed to play 35 overs a side just to get a game  FB was still short of a player - Mike was travelling independently of the main party and had texted incredulity as to the possibility of playing.  Bob nervously texted him back.  'We're about to start - where are you?'  'In car park.' he boomed boomed back.   

As he undertook to do in his last match report Fantasy Bob lost the toss - not by a lot as you can imagine, but enough to make the difference.  To his surprise he was asked to bowl and the Peebles opening batters donned waders and snorkels.  A dream start for Carlton as in the first over Dougal Main had skipper Wolf-Murray wolfed by Murray (K) at gully, followed in the next over by a calamitous run out.  Wickets tumbled quickly and Peebles were soon 21 for 5 as Greg got 3 good wickets in his 5 over spell - 3-10.  Greg had been surfing off Dunbar in the morning, he needn't have taken his wet suit off.  

Neil struck in his first over, despite sliding graciously down the wicket in his delivery stride, as Liam took a smart catch at point.  FB sportingly brought himself on and bowled slow pies [The usual rubbish then?  Ed] to the advantage of the batsmen who recovered until Neil, feet now firmer in sawdust, broke a good partnership between Bhatid 21 and Burns 12.  On a day like today all runs were potentially valuable and this stand of 30 was a fine effort.  This was Neil's first bowl of the season in anger even though off only 3 paces and a slide he was still pretty sharp - 2-21.  Mike then came on and with Dougal resuming wrapped up the innings at 69.  Mike 2-11; Dougal 2-10.  A fine effort (apart from FB's pie making - the only bowler not to take a wicket).  Catches well taken and good support. Unfortunately Shuaib had to have traumatic stress counselling during the tea interval because of his extreme distress.  This was the first match this season in which he has not taken a catch.  

The rain continued - neither strengthening nor lessening - as Shaun and Dougal Balfour took up the chase.  The wicket was pock-marked and the bowlers foot holds like something from a First War battlefield (minus the barbed wire and dead bodies - so not really like it at all - but definitely muddy). Is it an advantage to bowl or bat first under such conditions?  Hard to say.  Proper cricketers would do neither.  But after a little uncertainty Shaun and Dougal blossomed into an effective partnership and the result was never in doubt.  After a couple of overs, Dougal said to the umpiring FB  that he was a bit nervous. 'Don't worry,' said FB, 'it's not a Test Match.  It's more important than that.'  That seemed to settle him down [You can't teach these man management skills.  Ed]. Dougal showed real talent and patience in placing the ball in the gaps and calling Shaun for 'Three - easy - oh well OK only 2.'  And Barnacle did his bit too to bring up the total undefeated as Peebles' bowlers got no change out of the by now squelchy marshland of a wicket. Dougal 35*  Shaun 29*.  

FB is writing to the Queen to recommend OBE's all round for their good spirits in getting themselves well and truly soaked in a collective act of madness.  We look forward to the return fixture - when we will accurately be able to text 'Brilliant sunshine - no camels or donkeys in Edinburgh but bring the sun cream.'

Scorecard

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Saturday 18th June 1pm East League Division Seven
  Glenrothes 2
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Carlton 4
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    away  

RAINED OFF

As your correspondent took the air this afternoon at a very damp Grange Loan members of his dwindling readership expressed surprise at his presence in their company.  Having explained that the 4th XI game in Glenrothes had been cancelled at a sensible time this morning - and not, as seems customary in the higher leagues, half an hour after it had meant to start - his interlocutor expressed impatience.  He reminded him that a game actually being played was not an essential criterion for a match report.  Such unimaginative empiricism is responsible for many of the failings in society and should not be allowed to permeate Carlton CC.  Indeed even when a game is played, opined this reader, many of your correspondent's reports make so little reference to actual events on the field that the game itself is an irrelevance.  Your correspondent was told he should be slaving over the key board rather than cluttering the place up by strolling self indulgently and with shambling gait around the boundary.  

Your correspondent had been looking forward to this match.  It is many years since he visited Glenrothes for cricketing purposes but it used to be an annual safari. He cannot actually call any details of games there but the visit was always eventful. Hippo Park was called Town Park then but it had the same riverside location and the usual softness of the square made many suspect that it was actually below the water table.  

Finding the ground was always a challenge.  As is the way with new towns, Glenrothes was designed by throwing a random set of roundabouts down first and when the buildings were established some more roundabouts were put down.  Some were kept spare just in case.  For everything is always at least 2 roundabouts away, even the next roundabout.  every year we would circle the target and directions would be asked, 'Go right at the next roundabout'  'At this roundabout,'  our driver would say pointing at the installation 20 yards away.  'No, not this roundabout the next one........'  And so on.  After the game there was a similar challenge.  'Yes, we'd like to come for a beer.'  'We're at the rugby club.' 'Where's that.'  'Right at the next roundabout.'  'OK right just here then.' 'No, not this roundabout, the next roundabout.'  Some times we made it to the rugby club;  sometimes we panicked on the mean streets of Glenrothes and headed for home before supplies of polo mints ran out.  

FB's all star XI have gained a bit of momentum following a sticky start to the season and are now sitting mid table.  This match was an opportunity to consolidate.  FB was confident of victory although when the match was called off he still awaited the identity of 2 mystery players who Al Murray was conjuring up overnight.  With run machines Prescott and Kennedy on other business, it looked like Barnacle and FB himself would have to be the main source of runs, with a further opportunity for Sohaib to show the good progress he has made this season.  Contributions would also come from Al himself and Shuaib (recovered after intensive therapy for his catchless outing last week).  The President himself, Portobello's favourite rap star diZZee khARTah, would front the bowling in his usual mean fashion and a celebratory rap might well be expected.  The rest of the overs would be shared out among the youngsters Neil (who for some inexplicable reason was identified last week by Peebles CC match reporter as a sulky teenager), Dougal and Greg, FB's frame maybe still too fragile for him to bowl properly.  All youngsters bowled well last week and would be guaranteed to make life difficult for the Glenrothes batters.  

So dear readers, you can see why FB had packed his wet weather gear, limbered up his tossing muscle and was confident of victory.  But it was not to be.  But 20 points are guaranteed next week.

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Sunday 26th June 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Marchmont 2
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180 for 7

Shaun Barrett 55, Mike Kennedy 28*

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(GL)

181 for 4

Today's date, 26 June was the birthdate in 1824 of Lord Kelvin, the Scottish scientist of distinction who invented the concept of absolute zero. He was not talking about your correspondent's batting average here, but the lowest possible temperature of anything in the universe. He may well have made the key observations which lead him to identify this temperature while fielding on the boundary during the Scottish cricket season. He may well have, but, regrettably, there is no documented reference to confirm this or otherwise. Had he attempted to make his observations today, he would have been sadly disappointed since the temperature was someway higher than absolute zero and on the Kelvin temperature scale might have been in the region of 300. That sounds pretty hot.

By a remarkable coincidence today was also the birthdate in 1933 of maestro Claudio Abbado, one of the world's greatest orchestral conductors who last came to Edinburgh in 2002 to conduct Parsifal at the Festival. And very fine it was too. Abbado's Mahler is to die for, but his batting average is in the absolute zero region.

So when the Carlton 4s had to be assembled during the week neither was called upon - Kelvin because he died in 1907 and hasn't paid a subscription since then (if indeed he paid one before) and Abbado because that batting average just isn't good enough. Selection policy is firm - no matter how scintillating your Des Knaben Wunderhorn may be, you need to show runs in the book to make the Carlton 4s these days.

This search for additional players was necessitated by the fact that the entire Carlton junior section was representing Scotland, Pentland, Edinburgh, the Planet Earth or some other geographical unit and had been transported en masse to Durham for representative duties. It was therefore a more mature XI that made its tottering way on to the field of play, blinking in surprise at the sunshine that bathed Grange Loan in the warm glow that would have frustrated Lord Kelvin's researches. For once the smell of deep heat in the dressing room overpowered the Lynx.

Our doughty groundsman had worked his usual miracles to render fit again a playing surface that had suffered undue cruelty in the rain on Saturday as Carlton's 2s went to a watery grave against Holy Cross. The ground looked in good order to welcome Marchmont 2s for a fixture that looked good on paper as the teams were closely positioned in the league table.

FB lost the toss by a country mile and was invited to bat - a strange expression that because you can't really refuse. Barnacle and Jim made steady early progress against a lively and accurate bowling attack. Jim was first out to a sharp c&b after 19 overs with the score on 53. Jim had been driving well but had been hitting the fielders with uncanny skill. Keshav joined Barnacle and the pair saw up the 100 before both went in rapid succession. Shaun for a good 55 and Keshav for a well crafted 17. The highlight of Shaun's innings was a series of chips tempting 3 equidistant fielders to meet under the ball - they all declined the opportunity and lambasted each other when the ball fell harmlessly to earth. But 33 overs had gone and we needed to accelerate. It looked like we had the right batters there with Zaki and Boom Boom. But it never quite happened. Mike got a few away but had more singles than boundaries and at the end was starved of the strike. Zaki was unluckily caught when the ball stopped on him, but Patrick took up the chase well with a few good blows before he was bowled for 15. Neither Johnny nor FB could do anything as Marchmont's final overs bowling proved very hard to get away. So we ended on 180 for 7 with Mike unbeaten on 28. All in all it felt that we were 20 or so runs light of what would have been a really challenging total. But quick wickets would win us this match. Even Lord Kelvin, clever clogs that he was, would agree with that.

Our opening overs were a bit loose, although they did produce a wicket when Blackie bowled Sheikh. But his opening partner Renwick looked secure and most cruelly picked out FB in the field to have him chasing repeatedly to the boundary. FB is consulting his lawyer over the legitimacy of this under the Human Rights Convention. DC ploughed on changing ends mid spell but without the success that he deserved. FB knows there is trouble looming when DC fails to take a few wickets. Neil rampaged downwind and downhill. Good pace and accuracy saw him take one edge but he missed many more and was unlucky only to get one wicket. Shaun's palms were stinging and he called for fillet steak to fit inside his gloves.

At drinks Marchmont were 87 for 2 - narrowly behind the run rate but with wickets in hand. Then disaster struck, FB brought himself onto bowl. Uphill against the wind is usually his happy hunting ground, but not today. The less said the better. Even Claudio Abbado could have done better. Blackie and Mike got one wicket apiece each before the game began to go away from us. It was 134 for 4 with 10 overs left - another wicket and it might have been so different. But it was not to be. FB had to bowl again and the end came in the 42nd over. Marchmont win by 6 wickets.

Well done them - they bowled well particularly in the last 10 overs when we thought our batting order would accelerate and they batted well with Renwick getting an impressive 64 before Blackie got him with the first ball of his second spell. Revenge will be sweet next week as we travel to Cavalry Park for the return fixture.

Your correspondent has never previously felt much by way of affinity with Stuart Broad, the pouting pretty boy pin up of English cricket. But Broad's first foray into captaincy yesterday in England' T20 against Sri Lanka ended in ignominy and his own performance was on the downward side of lamentable - pretty near absolute zero in fact - as he struggled to make any contribution with the ball. Just for this weekend then, FB and SB are inseparable and describable in one word - crap. Broad has long experience at this, but for FB this is a novelty [Are you sure you've got that right. Ed] Still there's always next week, and there's the sweet consolation of Abbado's Mahler on the CD player.

Scorecard

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Saturday 2nd July 1pm East League Division Seven
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Marchmont 2
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Carlton 4
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153 all out

Dave Carter 2 for 15, Mike Kennedy 2 for 17

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125 all out

Jim McDonad 36

For a second successive Saturday Carlton and Marchmont met,  for second successive Saturday Carlton fielded an experienced, and on paper a talented team, and for a second successive Saturday we were gubbed by the better team.

Stand-in skipper Murray narrowly lost the toss and Marchmont elected to bat.....little did they know,  had we won the toss we were going to field so one up to us as we celebrated like banshees in the changing room.

Openers Renwick and Ahmed progressed tentatively against Blackmur and Irvine Hess putting on 60 for the first wicket before change bowler Kennedy got Renwick to nick off.   Mike quickly sent fellow opener back too, before President Carter (Dizzy not Peanut) tied up the middle order with a customarily miserly spell of 9-4-15-2.  The innings was reignited by some selective hitting from Smith and Clayton and Marchmont posted a below par score, given their start, of 153.  Youngsters Neil and Keshav came in for most of the tap with 70 plus runs coming off their combined 13 overs.  James (8.3-1-21-2), Mike (7-2-17-2) and pub landlord A Murray (7-0-21-2) bowled tight penetrative spells.

McDonald and Barnacle opened with a stand of 30 before the later, clearly exhausted by an afternoon of wicket keeping, sleepily played across the line from left armer Shiekh leaving Blackie no option but to trigger him.  Keshav followed quickly to the same bowler but no need to panic given the array of stars to follow.....Carnage ensued......Jim was bowled by a half tracker that rolled along the ground, Akeel missed a slow full toss and was bowled, the Graduate Prescott chipped apologetically to mid-off and Boom Boom Kennedy was bowled by a yorker from Ahmed.  Even then,  skipper Murray and testosterone loaded Irvine Hess were ticking along nicely, until Neil, to the sound of trumpets, decided to charge Ahmed's darting right arm round and was smoothly stumped by several yards.  Alan tried manfully to keep us in it but opener Clayton returned to crush his toe on line of middle and Carlton were dismissed for 125 in the 42nd over.

Marchmont are a top side, a few decent players especially in Renwick, Ahmed and Clayton, a couple of canny operators in Smith and Marr and a mad wicket keeper.....what more do you need?  We were disappointed given the team we were able to assemble. MacDonald (36)was unlucky to be out with a freakish delivery and Murray(18) died with his boots and bandana on but the rest of us showed no patience against a solid bowling attack.

Lots of work to do to stave off relegation but I suspect Fantasy Bob's team talk ahead of Saturdays match up with Penicuik will be focusing on the other "R" word ...responsibility

Scorecard

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Saturday 9th July 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Penicuik 3
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(P)

 

MATCH CONCEDED BY PENICUIK WHO COULD NOT RAISE A SIDE

It was 11.05 when the message came through.  Your correspondent was prowling the gate area at Grange Loan counting the All Star 4th XI players in for their rendezvous for the must win tie against Penicuik.  Any player more than 30 seconds later for the assignment could expect no mercy - in a highly trained elite team discipline is all.  Watches must be synchronised.   

GL was awash with discarded First XI players sitting in stunned grief and incomprehension that yesterday's tsunami in Morningside soaked the wicket to the extent that their match with Clydesdale had been cancelled.  Shuffling shambling figures describing themselves as members of the 2nd and 3rd XIs were also assembling for their trips across the Forth into hearing distance of T in the Park.  The sun was shining brightly - anyone might think it was summer.

But then the call came through - Penicuik had to scratch. 'It was the tsunami yesterday,' came the breathless voice, 'It washed our second and third teams away.  The rescue efforts have been unsuccessful.  We have no side to field.'  The tsunami in Morningside was indeed a freak event of the most horrific sort - at its height the BBC reported that goldfish were washed away from an ornamental pond but there were no reports as to whether they played for Penicuik.  Aid efforts are continuing.  

There is always a sadness on such occasions.  FB had a warm glow of success that on returning from injury to the captain's hot seat he had masterminded a successful acquisition of league points.  But putting that schadenfreude aside, it is always disappointing to have keyed yourself up for a vital sporting tussle then to have your cast iron get out from mowing the grass and weeding the roses whisked away from you.  

For it is not good when clubs struggle to raise sides.  Carlton is blessed with a depth of junior reserves it can call on in most circumstances but even it can be stretched on occasions like this.  Other clubs are not so fortunate and the holiday, wedding and T in the Park season can wreak havoc.  If this was football there would be calls for a mid season break, demands for a government inquiry into summer cricket..........or something.  FB therefore sends Carlton's sympathy to Penicuik and hopes for an early return to strength.  For many is the tussle he has had against Kirkhill sides in years gone by and looks forward to again.  

The question on everyone's lips is of course whether FB has returned to full fitness.  Government statisticians are busy calibrating what percentage of FB is better than no FB at all. [What a waste of money - there is only one answer to that question.  Ed] There was to be a story in the New of the World on this subject, but events have intervened.  

Next week the All Stars take on the might of Teuchters again.  Intense practice is required to put up with the on field banter - the batting and bowling can be dealt with.  All 4th XI players will therefore be expected at practice during the week.

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Saturday 16th July 1pm East League Division Seven
  Teuchters
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Carlton 4
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RAINED OFF

As the fine fellows of the All Star Fourth XI gathered at Grange Loan eager for the fray against Teuchters, the last rays of sunshine hid themselves behind dark grey clouds.  Ten minutes later the square was under water.  But still the message from Leith was hopeful.  'It's not raining here - it's 50/50.'  'Well it's just about to rain because Arthur's Seat has just vanished in the cloud.' 'OK we'll give it 20 minutes and call you back.'   

For 20 minutes the All Stars went through an intense physical work out to get every muscle and sinew loose for the coming struggle.  Few of them realised that standing huddled under the eaves of the GL pavilion could have such a positive impact on physical fitness.  The phone rang again. 'Er it's raining here, we can't see Arthur's Seat and the square's under water.'   

Game off.   

Fantasy Bob offered his team the opportunity of an intense session of circuit training in the dry patches of Grange Loan.  This was met with huge and unanimous enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm for going home and watching men in inappropriate trousers play golf on TV.   We splashed to the gate leaving the forlorn cricket field behind, the boundary flags wilting under the torrent.   

Teuchters are always a delight to play against and this was the opportunity for Carlton to reassert themselves against the reprobates and renegades who fly the Teuchter flag.  Some of them have very unTeuchter accents so we assume that they qualify in a similar way to Trott and Pietersen do for England.  Everyone has a Teuchter granny somewhere.  

Carlton has lured Teuchters into a false sense of security by allowing them victories in our recent meetings.  But this week we had some secret weapons.  Fantasy Bob has returned to fitness - or what passes for fitness in that decrepit once athletic frame.  He had shown this by taking 5 wickets and a hat trick in a friendly match last weekend.  His half trackers have never been more lethal and news of his inspirational performance has caused ripples all around the cricketing world.  Lasith Malinga in particular has this on his mind in demolishing Scotland on Wednesday 'If that old codger can take 5 wickets then so can I,' he thought to himself as he fired the first of many toe crushing yorkers at Scotland's batsmen.  Similarly Paul Collingwood, who called FB after his 5 wicket haul for Durham against Northants on Thursday to say 'Anything you can do, I can do better.'  Collingwood's haul also included a hattrick.  Then Lords bound Leigh Kasperek was making a guest appearance.  When she faced the Teuchters last year she smashed them to all parts of the ground for a memorable 70 odd.  They have gone in awe of her ever since.  A hundred was surely in prospect this afternoon. 

We also had our specialist wet weather batting team together - Barnacle and Balfour whose last deep sea diving expedition brought up pearls from the murky waters of the Peebles Acquadrome.     

But it was not to be.  All these possibilities dissolved in rain water.  Now our chance for revenge must wait to a friendly later in the season.   Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

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Saturday 23rd July 1pm East League Division Seven
L
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Morton 2
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Carlton 4
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  183 for 7 away 125 all out

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger is one of the greatest works of 20th Century literature. But many a cricketer has turned its last page with a sense of disappointment - for there are no tales of fielding exploits in the lower Surrey leagues.  Instead it tells the story of adolescent Holden Caulfield who is having big problems growing up.  Just about the only person with whom he seems to be able to communicate is his younger sister Phoebe.  It is to her that he reveals his fantasy which is based on a mishearing of the words of Burns's song 'Comin' through the Rye'.  Holden pictures himself as having the job of catching children running and playing in a huge rye field on the edge of a cliff should they run too close to the edge. He is the catcher in the rye. This is seen as a great metaphor of Holden's wish to stop children - and himself - growing up or losing their innocence.

  

But sometimes, cliff edge or no cliff edge, you just have to grow up and this was a growing up day for the All Star Carlton 4th XI, as for once they blinked in the sunshine rather than huddled under the umbrella.  For today the weather gods delivered something that would pass for a summer day in most latitudes.  As we assembled at Grange Loan for the visit to the Meadows to play Morton, the team seemed replete with catchers in the rye, in the barley, in the wheat and maybe even in the oats.  Catchers every man.  No need to send for Holden Caulfield - not that he was available being a fictional character.  [A bit like Fantasy Bob then.  Ed]. 

 FB, having lost the toss by an undisclosed margin and being asked to bowl, organised a swift demonstration of the catching skills of his team which looked formidable and had the opposition shaking with apprehension.  High ones, low ones all solidly pouched.  Fantastic and the team entered the field of play with a spring in their step.

  

diZZee khaRTah and Dougal Main opened the bowling, keeping things quiet for the first 10 with diZZee picking up a wicket to a smart catch at slip by Akeel. A miracle in itself in the context of what was about to come.  A run out of high comic quality gave us another wicket to leave Morton at 56 for 2 after 16 but opener Kumar was beginning to look dangerous.  He was joined by the highly vocal and inappropriately trousered Alan Farrell and as they pushed the score on, it became appallingly evident that while the Carlton team may have been packed with catchers who were pretty good in the rye - in the grass they were rubbish.  Catch after catch went down. So much so that FB had to resort to the tired tactic of bowling Kumar for a good 68.   The butter-fingeredness seemed to be a conspiracy against FB - 5 were put down off his bowling alone - a couple difficult but others easy.  Gin a body meet a body gin a body cry.  Such a display of serial shelling would have had neutral umpires inspect the ball.  Was it too hot, or slippery - did it have spikes growing out of it? Farrell in particular was blessed, being given more lives than the average Meadows prowling cat as he drove his way to 58*.  All this allowed Morton to make their way to 183 for 7 after 45 or more correctly 183 for 16 so many were the drops.  Really 120 should have been their maximum total. 

  

So it was a shell shocked FB who led his team off the field for tea.  Holden Caulfield's adolescent traumas were nothing as to this.  Gone was the merry banter that usually accompanies this event.  Did the team feel his pain or were they more concerned at the complete absence of chocolate cake? 

  

Still our batting could only be better.  Or could it? When FB went in at 17 for 4 in the 10th over there was room enough for doubt on that issue that would have had any QC making a sustained plea to the jury.  Barnacle had been the first to go, sportingly giving himself out for gloving an attempted hook on its way to keeper. We walk the talk, for FB as umpire would have needed hot spot technology to make the decision.  Liam and Keshav had followed - not appearing in any danger until they fell over the cliff.  Fittingly on the Saturday of a Lord's Test, Mike smacked his first ball down square leg's throat to join the primary club.  So FB joined Keith and the world held its breath.  A slow partnership followed to bring us to 56 for 4 at drinks.  A bit behind the rate but a platform from which we could go forward.  But it was proving hard to get the ball away - the long grass working as an extra fielder.  The highlight of the partnership was a solid on drive by Keith that he aimed with great precision straight for FB's head at a rate of knots.  To avoid decapitation FB threw himself on the ground whereupon Keith called for a quick single.  Only a poor throw saved FB's bacon.  The score had begun to accelerate to 80 when FB decided to get a bit more belligerent, unfortunately he managed only to smack one back at the bowler who took an excellent catch.  Was the some kind of cruel dramatic irony? FB c&b for 25.  Keith didn't last much longer, hooking a full toss that kinder umpires might have no balled onto his stumps to depart for 19.  Some good hits from Akeel and Alan followed, but our resistance had crumbled and we were all out for 123 - which would have beaten the Morton score had we held our catches.  Doh!

 In the ambiguous end of Catcher in the Rye, Holden seems to be destined for a stay in a mental hospital.  FB may well be joining him.  And in the Merchant of Venice Shakespeare puts into his heroine Portia's mouth words that are often misquoted - the real text is 'The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the ball grassed by Carlton's fourth XI...........'. But even Shakespeare would have found it hard to do justice to the tragedy, or was it comedy, of this performance.  There is only one way to go - up and to catching practice.

Scorecard

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Sunday 31st July 1pm East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Fauldhouse 2
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231 for 5

Fraser Allardice 103, Shaun Barrett 39, Nick Martin 35

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(GL)

119 all out

Greg Murdoch 3 for 31

With skipper Fantasy Bob exploring the Stockholm Archipelagos on his 42 foot yacht "Ship for Brains", the responsibility of steering the relegation threatened Carlton All Star Celebrity 4th XI to safe waters fell to the Pub Landlord. For the first time this season this was a real Fours team: six still in school, two testosterone loaded student types, two experienced cricketers and one old fart. Stand in skipper Murray narrowly won the toss and with the array of talent at his disposal elected to bat first.

Carlton's batting was dominated by a special innings from 15 year old Fraser Allardice. His opening partnership with Barnacle contributed 100 (Barrett 39) before the senior partner departed for his customary medicinal pale ale and rejuvenating shower. Fraser welcomed international traveller Nick Martin, fresh from his 122 day discovery of world beers and the joy of ping pong. Boom boom's second ball in 10 months disappeared over cow for four, followed by a six into the trees and a couple of brutal smashes down the ground. Only the straight ones and trying to compete with Allardice in 22 yard shuttle runs seemed to cause him problems. Exhausted, Nick finally holed out to an excellent catch at deep mid wicket ( Martin 35) but Fraser continued serenely on. Prescott added a breezy 15 but Whitaker fell early in his innings, both to excellent catches at deep long on. Fraser reached his first career 100 in the 42nd over clipping the ball to the fine leg boundary ... a brilliant knock and in a characteristic attempt to avoid the limelight he reluctantly raised his bat, unfortunately to the backdrop of his teammates and both umpires whooping like banshees and gyrating in the sprinkler dance. Job done Fraser swished, missed and departed for 103. Keshav and Calum added a quick fire 15 off the final 8 balls and Carlton's innings was done at 231 for 5 off their allotted 45 overs.

With runs on the board skipper Murray was able to turn to his quintet of U15 bowlers. Elder statesman Greg Murdoch had choice of ends and opened down the hill. The junior junior Dougal Main drew short straw and got first opportunity to run off the chocolate fingers by bowling uphill from the Lovers Loan end. Greg struck first having Fauldhouse opener Lee smartly caught by Prescott in mid sentence at first slip. Progress was slow and when Calum Everett replaced Murdoch he accounted for number 3, Colquhoun (64 Scrabble points), with his first ball. Fauldhouse rallied with a solid 3rd wicket partnership before the Allardices combined (caught Fraser bowled Rory) leaving our visitors struggling and well behind the scoring rate.

Rory is a smart, but inexperienced, bowler, so we attempted to accelerate his education by applying basic physics to calculate the optimum release velocity and necessary height to deceive even the most resilient batsmen. We used the equations of motion, a release angle of 41 degrees and 15.4 yard pitching length in our calculations. As everyone knows.....optimum velocity is calculated from v² = dg/2sin(Θ)cos(Θ) and the apogee of the orbit can be simply derived from h = v²sin²(Θ)/2g where "g"the acceleration due to gravity, "Θ" is the angle of release and "d" is a good length on a wicket conducive to spin. Off Keshav's iPhone we calculated Rory needed to bowl at 94.57 mph and send it 17.23 feet above the batsman's eye line to guarantee success. Rory seemed dubious and said "Look, how about I just bowl it even slower, toss it right up and see if I can make the batsman look an a##e?"...... decent plan we thought........have a go at it.....wicketkeeper Whitaker completed an easy stumping.

Keshav replaced Rory to keep spin going from one end as Murray rotated the seamers - between their naps at the other in compliance with ECB Fast Bowling Directives. Wickets fell steadily and all bowlers escaped with credible figures: Murdoch (9-0-31-3), Main (7.2-0-21-2), Everett (5-1-28-1), Allardice R (9-1-35-2,) and Arvind (2-1-4-1). Fauldhouse were dismissed in the 33rd over for 119 leaving Carlton winners by 112 runs.

A creditable team performance against a good Fauldhouse XI. Special mention to keeper Kevin Whitaker (2 catches, 1 stumping, 1 run out, 0 byes) for reinforcing that real men aren't afraid to wear pink by donning his fuchsia mits. Thanks to the U15 bowling attack for sticking to what Drummo taught them and finally congratulations to Fraser from everyone in Carlton on his maiden ton.

Scorecard

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Saturday 6th August 1pm East League Division Seven
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RH Corstorphine 3
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Carlton 4
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124 for 4

Calum Everett 2 for 35

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123 for 9

Zaki Yusaf 25

After a week of intensive psychological therapy and time reflecting in an isolation tank I can finally put the events of last Saturday behind me and bring myself to write this tardy match report for the game Vs Corstorphine.

With Fantasy Bob still navigating the Baltic Sea skipper Alan Murray once again led the All Stars 4th XI. Winning the toss and after careful study of the weather (it was raining, with forecasts of more to come), the pitch ( imagine a Cambodian paddy field), the outfield (pampas grass) and the boundaries (Kwik Criket dimensions) Alan elected to bat........either a Brearley-esk master stroke or a trip to Specsavers in the offing......in light of the game that followed his appointment is next Thursday.

Under these conditions, Carlton's blend of willowy youth and seasoned cricketers defaulted to grinding, patiently waiting for the bad ball to smite for 1 into a sodden outfield and batting out the overs hoping to accumulate enough to bowl at.   Kennedy's promotion to the 3's and Prescott's holiday plans denied the team of its two middle order psychopaths intent on hitting the ball as far as possible, as often as possible.  Zaki  tried manfully to fill the middle order void of bullying batsmen and top scored with 25, Dougie Balfour was the most successful grinder with a patient and skilled 18 and Corstorphine generously donated 34 extras to Carlton's total of 123 for 9 off their allotted 45 overs.  Keith Murray did bring his own form of intimidation as he aquaplaned at full speed into the Corstorphine wicket keeper .... It was like watching a fly hit your windscreen on the motorway, pondering "I wonder if that slowed me down?" and coming to the conclusion "naw".  The sight of the keeper attempting a headstand validated our analysis.

Having benefited from Peebles' sportsmanship in week 7, Carlton passed on the favour by batting throughout in light rain and thereafter bowling through persistent rain (it really was persisting it down by the end).  Corstorphine pair Moore (51 off 23 balls) and Blackett (40 off 41 balls) showed how best to bat on a Cambodian"minefield" by taking the pitch and outfield out of the equation with eight 6's and five 4's between them.  The rest of the batsmen struggled in the same vein as the Carlton batters but eventually, with the momentum provided by the top order, our opponents found their way to a 6 wicket win with 23 overs to spare.  All of Carlton's bowlers suffered but special mention to Dougal Main (4-0-16-0) who bowled immaculately at the top of the innings and Euan Everett (5-0-35-2) whose last four overs delivered 2-12 after a first over onslaught from Moore had us reaching for the ChildLine number.  A couple a catches went down, including the dangerous Moore first ball, but unlike the Morton "Catcher in the Rye" debacle, this was more akin to trying to catch a bar of soap in a functioning car wash.

Congratulations to Corstorphine who were worthy winners with bat and ball, good blend of youth and experience, best changing rooms in Scotland, all round good bunch and we look forward to seeing them next year with a few more big guns in the All Star 4th XI Team.

Scorecard

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Saturday 13th August 1pm East League Division Seven
  Carlton 4
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Kismet 2
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RAINED OFF

Your correspondent was concerned that too many members of the All Star 4th XI seemed to have taken to the Grouse moors following the opening of the shooting season on Friday.  There were still slots available in the batting line up for Saturday's crunch match with Kismet.  An imaginative approach to selection was required - he was preparing the ground for an e-bay auction.   

However a trenchant message from Edinburgh Leisure on Friday morning put an end to the innovative thinking.  It said that staff had been unable to prepare any wickets at Council pitches.  Senior players took a sharp intake of breath and wondered how this was any different from the usual situation.  Many of them had experienced the excitement of turning up at the Meadows and speculating which spot of grassy turf was designated the wicket and which was the outfield.  Sometimes clues are left in the form of a hieroglyphic in whitewash, but they are an uncertain guide.   

But these are unkind thoughts which senior players immediately regret and, conscience stricken, rush to express solidarity with and admiration for the efforts of the Council staff in this very difficult summer.  Your correspondent will not go so far as to describe these efforts as doughty, for doughty is a word to be used exclusively to reflect the character of Carlton's very own groundsman Magnus Moon who has more recently been nattily clad in welly boots and sou'wester - a continuing inspiration to all fashionistas in the Carlton playing staff.   

The Council's decision is no surprise.  One month's rain in one day on Thursday is the kind of bargain offer - 31 for the price of 1- that Tescos only use for the roughest of ciders.  Readers should remember that the Meadows were at one time a loch until it was drained in the 18th Century.  The water table is low, a fact of which cricketers are regularly reminded.   

Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and Fantasy Bob have all returned from holiday this week to restore order in troubled times.  In an effort to reassert proper discipline in his side, FB is considering banning the use of Twitter while at the crease.  He was never convinced that social media was a more effective means of calling for a quick single anyway.  He is also asking searching questions about the parents - how could the Camerons allow their son to go on holiday in times like these?  

These issues are too big and too challenging for a single brain celled organism such as your correspondent to make much sense of.  As he has already remarked, with every league point vital in the run in to the end of the season, and in the light of the lure of the grouse moors on his squad, an innovative approach to selection was already being explored.   FB had been in Facebook contact with V Sehwag suggesting that he might need a bit of practice in the middle and the Kismet bowling attack could be the nearest he could get to Jimmy Anderson.  Sehwag thought about it hard, but in the end graciously declined in favour of a less prestigious match in Birmingham - and the rest is history.  Sehwag on the Meadows - now that would have caused a riot.

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Saturday 20th August East League Division Seven
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Carlton 4
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Peebles County 2
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MATCH CONCEDED BY PEEBLES WHO COULD NOT RAISE A SIDE

It is with much regret that your correspondent has to report that once again today he is filing a report of a match that has not, and will not occur. The laws of thermodynamics, were your correspondent able to scan them with anything approaching understanding, probably mean that this match could never occur.  

The All Star's opponents evidently go in fear of your correspondent's reports - and today's opposition, Peebles 2, have chosen to preserve their reputations and not risk the slurs, the bad jokes and excruciating puns that might follow their performance.  Many of the All Stars feel the same, but they do not have the option to withdraw.  Most of them are as thoroughly sick as the world wide audience of being advised that the toss has been lost narrowly - or won by a country mile.  Many of them have observed that it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the outcome of the match, so why bother.  It pains your correspondent when his heightened artistic sensitivity senses this attitude in his team.  For it is this whatever attitude that eventually leads to injustices like Big Brother and riots in Tottenham.  On the subject of Tottenham riots your correspondent is forced to note that there was another one at Tynecastle on Thursday night and yet again the police did not intervene.  

But the message from Peebles was clear - knowing that they would face this barrage of long words, three batsmen found they had to get married today, 2 bowlers found they had to help with the harvest and the wicketkeeper had to visit his mother in law in hospital where she was taken after being told of the threat posed to the father of her grandchildren by the possibility of an extended essay on Richard Strauss's favouring of the Duke over the Kookaburra.  Only a 10 year old and a dog were left from the original selection and the dog had still to confirm.  The skipper had no choice.  Your correspondent hopes that next year Peebles will return to strength.  He has always enjoyed matches with them.  Good luck.  

As the season reaches what is vulgarly described as its business end, your correspondent has been considering the averages.  He notes that so far he has reported on 7 live matches (3,000,234 words 80% of them with 4 or more syllables) , the ever youthful Barnacle on 4 (1,987,453 words 50% over 3 syllables)  and a usurper medical student one report (200 words all monosyllables).   This report means that reports on non matches now number 6 (2,213,756 words of varying length) - rain next week will bring them level in the table.  It could not be closer.  

By comparison the relatively minor tussle against relegation that the All Stars are teasing their world wide fan base with seems unexciting.  The illicitly gained 20 points from their non appearance today will help and events elsewhere in the universe might also have a bearing.  But next week remains critical.  Will live reports maintain their pre-eminent position?  Might Barnacle do something special?  It is surely time. Or will FB hold on? The All Stars have lacked compelling performances so far in this stop start season - for them there has been more stop than start - it's time to start stopping the stopping and start the starting [Eh?  Ed] Competition between the venerable veterans has never been so acute.  It is a tragedy that only one can win. [No - it is just a tragedy that you think anyone is interested. Get a life. Ed]

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Saturday 27th August East League Division Seven
  Carlton 4
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Glenrothes 2
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RAINED OFF

Perhaps if it had only been half an inch, it would have been alright.  May be even three quarters. Yes three quarters of an inch might have been OK, a little soft and skiddy but OK.  Basically.  Sort of. But an inch and half of standing water on the Meadows wicket meant that it was a marginal decision.  The kids playing football tried their best to move the water by running across the wicket in their football boots in a strange homage to Sandy Strang.  But their efforts made only a small, ie no, difference.  A decision had to be made.  The luxury coach was due to leave shortly to bring the Glenrothes team to Edinburgh. A vast entourage of fanatical supporters was also making preparations.  They should not be made to travel in vain.  

It could not be closer.  The minutes ached by.  Was that the hint of a drying breeze?  Was the sun about to shine?  Was that the mop up squad from the Council in the distance with a battery of squeejees?  No, no and no.   And so the inevitable was bowed to, as it inevitably is.  Match cancelled - again.  The second hald of the season has been washed away.  The All Star Fourth XI have played only 4 matches since the end of June.  Fantasy Bob has played only one, missing the other 3 through injury and his shameful holiday.  Notwithstanding this the Carlton 4s will end up having played the most games in the division- except that there were 2 walkovers so only 12 out of 18 matches were actually played so there is not even an achievement there.  All less than satisfactory and too few opportunities for anyone in the team to show their real worth.   

Your correspondent is dredging his failing memory for the highlights of the season. Best batting was Jim Macdonald 81* in the first game of the season, and Fraser Allardice's maiden ton at GL against Fauldhouse.  Best bowling was David Mitchell 5 for 41 in the second.  Best fielding was Shuaib Farooq's 3 outstanding catches in the third game of the season.  The home victory against Morton in May stands out, when having posted a low score both bowling and catching were spot on and we took the points.  It could have provided a launch pad for the season.  But those were the last catches that were taken as chance after chance was spilled in subsequent matches as the team successfully chased down the world record for the most catches dropped in a season.  A solid victory at Kismet in June under the leadership of Alex Feds is another highlight.   That was the best captaincy too.  

But the real prize is for best match report and the voting lines are now open.  Vote early - vote often.  

Farewell to 2011 - 2012 is going to be the year.  

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* GL=Grange Loan, P=Peffermill, M=Meadows

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