Carlton 4th XI 2012 Fixtures and Results
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Saturday 28th April 1pm East League Division Eight
L
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Kirk Brae 2 v
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Carlton 4
  83 for 3 away

82 for 9

Kevin Whitaker 25, Keith Murray 25

There are some tosses that are just too important not to lose. This may be what Bonnie Prince Charlie said to himself when he walked out to the wicket at Culloden CC. For the wicket was green and soft after a week's rain and the cold wind whipped against his powdered wig under his cap. He threw the silver florin in the air, watching his fate turning over and over as it spun. 'Tails' came the call from the opposing skipper and as the coin softly fell agonisingly on its edge Charlie thought he had it, but over it toppled showing the crest and the motto not King George's head. Tails. And the rest is history.

Similar historical forces faced Fantasy Bob leading Carlton's All Star Fourth XI into their first match of the season. Conditions were no more benign than at Culloden all those years ago. In addition to the softness and greenness of the Kirkbrae wicket was added the decoration of football studs and a bicycle track across the square. Even FB recognised this as a must win toss. A toss that it may be worth cheating to win. And Fantasy Bob had the opportunity. For his opposing skipper came to the middle without a coin. FB advised him that he would forfeit the toss for not having a coin. A fearful look crossed his opponent's face for he was new to this captaincy lark.'Oh no' he said, 'Really.' FB could have pressed home his advantage. He might have quoted some made up rule. he would have been believed. But FB is an honest soul so he admitted the leg pull and offered a coin to the Kirkbrae skipper. Carelessly he did not check that he had passed over the 2 headed coin he keeps in his pocket for such occasions. A normal coin of the realm was spun. FB loyally invited the sovereign's head to present itself to him. But Her Majesty chose to be a stick in the mud. A poor start to the season losing a toss in such a fashion. What were all those indoor nets for?

But to get back to history, this was an afternoon on which records tumbled. The youngest All Stars XI ever to take the field had been carefully assembled - the team included several primary school boys. A rigorous height criterion had been applied by Carlton's selection politburo. So it was also the smallest All Star XI.

Another record that was shattered was the maximum number of layers of clothing ever worn on a cricket field. FB proudly claims this record. For it was FREEZING with the wind coming in off the sea dodging round Arthur's Seat straight from the Steppes where they don't seem to have had the heating on. The few grown ups in the side agreed that it was the coldest afternoon on a cricket field they had ever experienced. DC had to cut short his umpiring stint when frost bite got him.

FB was still layering up when the first wicket fell. Since he had heroically put himself at 3 this made things interesting. It is the nearest he has come to being timed out - which would have been an interesting start to the season. Anyway he made it to the wicket wearing 3 shirts and 2 sweaters above the waist, Skins, thermal tights. compression socks and compression shorts and trousers. His pads and his box count as another layer.


Fantasy Bob battles the elements ... and the Kirk Brae attack

Scoring was not easy and only Keith and Kevin managed to get into double figures, each getting to 25 before departing. Their partnership of 42 was the backbone of the innings. Well done to Sam who played well for his 7 at the end to get us to 82 for 9. Credit to all our juniors for ensuring that we were not bowled out. But it was a big ask for them to score with the ball stopping and seaming.

Early wickets were needed and when Dougal got opener Mehdi in his second over a crack appeared. But old hand Muhammad Raja, who has played on this type of track for a lifetime, buck led down. So late did he play the ball that our fielders were all arms in the air convinced the ball was through, when suddenly down came the bat. A strong bottom hand also allowed him to lift the ball for runs into the leg side. He finished on 27* in yet another man of the match performance against Carlton. A wicket apiece to DC who bowled his usual miserly spell and to Callum who bowled nicely without delivering the match winning double hattrick that the skipper ordered. Ruraidh spun it square without any luck a few shots in the air just missing fielders. Credit also to Angus who turned his arm over when the game was on the verge of being won. All the not so tall members of the All Stars fielded with gusto - FB still cannot understand it how boys who are half his height can throw the ball 20 times further than he can. Some things are just meant to be mysteries.

Many thanks to Kirkbrae for a game in fine spirit and justly ran out victors by 7 wickets. We will support any campaign for an artificial strip at Double Hedges. And next time we come to Kirkbrae - please put the heating on.

Scorecard

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Saturday 5th May 1pm East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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v
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Holy Cross 3
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119 for 9

Keith Murray 39, Ruairidh Main 16*

home

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118 for 8

Mike Kennedy 3 for 24

Herodotus (484-425 BC) has been called the father of match reports. He is considered to have been the first to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. Prior to him instilling some discipline on the art, match reporters jumped about speculating about anything and everything and invoking divine and chance explanations of events. [Some match reporters are still at it. Ed] Even so some commentators regard Herodotus as unreliable - for example he presents no video evidence of the progress of the Graeco-Persian Wars that form the basis of his Histories. He is prone to report fanciful stories told to him as fact - and later authors suspect that some of his information must have come from phone hacking. Many, for example Edinburgh's own premier batsman David Hume, therefore consider the later writer Thucydides (460-395 BC), who had a stricter approach to evidence gathering and the scrutiny of scorecards, to be the true father of scientific match reporting.

Neither of these historians made themselves available for the Holy Cross 3rd XI who took on Carlton's All Star 4th XI at Peffermill this afternoon. There were unkind suggestions (not from your correspondent, who, while he is younger than Herodotus by some years, is of an age with Thucydides at least) that Holy Cross failed to check their availability, considering they were on the young side for a team of such venerable cricketers. And it was a venerable side indeed that came blinking into the unfamiliar sunshine that bathed Peffermill. Selection for HC had been tough - the whole HC membership had put their names down for this match in the hope that their name would enter the immortal lists of the match report. After all was it not in the report of the last meeting of these teams that CoCo McGill was granted the accolade Sex Bomb? Someone might be lucky enough to gain such a similar accolade. It could make a season. So selection had been tough.

Selection had been tough for Carlton as well. Several of the players taking the field in Carlton's colours had not actually been born when the selection committee met. So the stage was set for the epic and eternal struggle of youth versus age - Seigfried and Wotan, Henry and Falstaff, Oor Wullie and PC Murdoch.

Fantasy Bob made his only contribution to the afternoon's proceedings by winning the toss. The margin of this victory was quite convincing [That sounds like one of those fanciful tales Herodotus reports. Ed]. Given the green all around, he chose to bowl. Adam and DC got proceedings underway. Adam struck immediately, showing the lurking danger in the wicket when a shortish ball seamed and kept low to bowl the ESCA President himself. After checking the rules it was confirmed that such an action is still permitted, although a motion may be presented to the next meeting of the competitions committee. While the legal team is still drafting, your correspondent has seen a leaked version of the proposal - 'Any ball bowling the President by a bowler less than one third his age when he is on 0 will be deemed a no-ball.'

As the innngs started, McGill had provided conclusive evidence that his days of being a Sex Bomb may be over when in his customary umpiring role he tried to tie a Carlton junior's sweater round his waist only to find the arms were not long enough. DC bowled a stuffy spell by even his standards of stuffiness. Had Thucydides been present it may well have reminded him of several spells bowled by Pericles during the Peloponnesian War. 1 for 3 off his 8 overs was actually poor reward for his accuracy but just the control the skipper needed.

A steady stream of raw young talent bowled from the near end, Angus replaced Adam and did that left arm inswing thing that seem to come natural to all the great left armers. He got a good wicket clean bowling the usually useful Din. Sam and Callum were both unlucky not to get among the wickets but gave nothing away. HC skipper Ken Lawrie was run out by a fine direct hit from deep mid on by Eric Edwards. Mike Kennedy replaced DC at the far end, taking one wicket in his first spell before being replaced by Ruairidh who made things awkward for the batsmen by throwing it up at them and getting some astonishing turn even on this low slow track. His 5 overs earned him 1 wicket - his first against the grown ups to a nice catch by Eric. At half way HC were 49 for 5 and Carlton felt more or less in control. McGill (20) (batting in a fetching sleeveless outfit, the reason for which required a narrative explanation almost as long as Thucydides' account of the First Peloponnesian War and which your correspondent has already forgotten), Sharpe (16*) and Graham (14) (both of whom wore sleeves) all became a bit more aggressive in the second half before Mike came back to take 2 wickets in the final overs to end with 3 for 24.

Crossers finished 118 for 8 off the 40 overs. Extras top scored, which confirmed that this was no easy batting track. Carlton's all round fielding was excellent, FB excepted. So Carlton agreed at tea that it was a competitive total - gettable but competitive.

Tea was bounteous. All the youngsters playing today eyeballed the skipper and assured him that they themselves had put the sandwiches together and baked the cakes. This is one of the wilder stories that Herodotus used to repeat and which undermined his claims to write true history. Your correspondent is more than aware that one of the virtues of Carlton's flow of eager youth is that it is Mums who prepare the sandwiches - so he says 'Well done and thank you to Mums'. Such a change from those student types who pop into the newsagents on the way to the game and come out with a jumbo bag of Wotsits, a stale muffin and a packet of Fishermen's Friends which they have the brass neck to present with pride as a serious offering. Your correspondent was also pleased to note that there was a sufficiency of empire biscuits.

The table groaned as well as any banqueting table described by Thucydides. And the Greek historian frequently observed that it is an excellent tactic to provide such plenty for it is bound to slow the opposition down.

Not that the start of the innings showed it. Eric opened with Tom and played some pleasant shots. Tom was unlucky to get a snorter from Sharpe. Angus shaped well until he chased a wide one to give Keith Geddes the first of his 4 wickets and Mike - well, Mike did that Mike thing of trying a defensive shot only to be bowled. [That's why he doesn't trust that shot. He won't try it again this season. Ed] When Eric departed also bowled by Geddes, followed soon by FB, Carlton looked in a bit of trouble at 50 for 6. Your correspondent should rephrase that - Carlton looked in a huge vat of Pelopponesian type trouble.

Tell that to Keith Murray and he will laugh at you. Bit by bit he clawed Carlton back into the game. Sound defence and well placed scoring shots kept us at the 3-4 an over required, allowing the others to bat around him. Adam had a couple of good boundaries in a fine stand of 33. 83 for 7. Keith was finally out for an excellent 39, mis-hitting Nevin to Din. 98 for 8. Who is your money on?

Sam (13 years old) and Ruairidh (11 years old) are now at the crease. This is the stuff that heroes are made of. Herodotus was not around to record the epic events. People may not have believed his account of the succeeding events putting it down to fable or an invocation of the Gods. So it is your correspondent, who tells only the truth unvarnished, who must take up the narrative. 5 overs left, 2 wickets in hand, 21 to win. Or put another way 21 to win, 5 overs left, 2 wickets in hand. Either way you put it, it looks like an uphill climb. What do our young heroes do? Do they panic? No. Do they swing wildly? Certainly not. They get forward. They watch the ball. They play straight and hit the looser ball. They call clearly. They run hard. They are made for the moment.

Run by run the scoreboard ticks on. 'We got the 4 we need in that over,' says Ruairidh to Sam at the end of the over. Ruairidh then eases the pressure by smashing a 4 off Nevin. Din bowls a tight over - only 1 run off it. 2 overs left, 6 to win. A single for Sam, then Ruairidh drives between mid-off and extra and they scamper 3 in the time it would have taken FB to get 1. Last over - 2 to win. Who is your money on? [The editor apologises to the parents of all young players involved for the correspondent's unfortunate references to gambling in his narrative. He has considered removing these references, but concluded that the references are artistically justified in the context of the epic and historical struggle that he is describing. Nevertheless he advises all parents to assure their young ones that the references are metaphorical and are well precedented in Thucydides' if not Herodotus. Ed]

Who is your money on? 6 balls, 2 to win. The bowler is twice as old and more than the 2 batsmen. Din bowls. Dot. Din bowls. A forcing shot from Ruairidh but straight to the fielder. Dot. Din bowls. Ruairidh drives. A fumble. 'Yes, run'. Sam charges. The ball comes to the keeper who has the bails off. 'Howzat?'. FB at square leg can't pretend that he didn't see Sam fail to ground his bat. His finger goes up. A collective sigh on the boundary. In comes DC. his age is undisclosed and the subject of a superinjunction. Last man, 3 balls, 2 to win. Who is your money on now?

Din bowls. DC swings leg side. Misses by a country mile. 2 balls. 2 to win. Din bowls. A flurry of everything and Ruairidh yells 'Yes'. DC is startled into moving faster than he has moved for 20 years. Home. Scores level. 1 ball one to win. Din bowls. Leg side. A pad? A bat? Who knows what it shaves, but it is enough for the keeper to lose sight of the ball. No one knows where it is. Tourists on the top of Arthurs Seat are mystified by the sudden below of 'Yes!' that comes to their ears from they know not where. DC is at full volume and full speed - he arrives at the crease before his call. Ruairidh sprints to the other end. A run! Carlton win.
Carlton have squeezed home to win by 1 wicket off the last ball.

No more heroes anymore? Don't you believe it. Match reporters will tell of this for centuries to come. Keith's resolute knock made it possible. But it was the tenacity of all the youngsters batting which carried us over the line. Tributes to each of them - and special laurel leaves for Sam (5runs) and Ruairidh (16*).

What an enjoyable game. Many thanks to Holy Cross for playing in their usual good spirit. No one should lose a game like this. We all look forward to the return. Let's hope it will be as tense a thriller.

Scorecard

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Sunday 13th May 1pm East League Division Eight
W
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Largo 3 v
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Carlton 4
 

138 for 9

Dougal Main 4 for 36, Dave Carter 2 for 16

away

185 for 7

Kevin Whitaker 95, Rory Allardice 45

Match reporters have regularly observed on the impacts of hypothermia on many significant campaigns. Key players have too often been lost due to hypothermia and with them vital league points. For example Xenephon in 401 BC led 10,000 of his best cricketers on a retreat through the mountains of what is now Armenia. Only 4,000 survived such was the impact of the cold. Hannibal lost nearly half his 47,000 bowlers in his crossing of the Alps in 218 BC and of the 500,000 casualties in Napoleon’s Russian campaign in 1812-13, the exact number who died from cold can never be known, but in addition to those who died from cold alone, thousands of wounded must have died from the combined effects of their wounds and the cold. Some of these cricketers may well have regretted embarking on that series of matches with only a sleeveless sweater in their bag.

And so Napoleon’s prospects of dominating the league was lost. He was eventually to end up playing beer matches in St Helena when, for the wont of a base layer, he might well have dominated the Test scene for many years.

These are lessons that commanders in the lower leagues of the ESCA leagues would do well to bear in mind. Fantasy Bob, as commander in chief of the Carlton All Stars Fourth XI, was aware of these factors. Once it was established on Sunday morning that the invasion of the Steppes of Largo [Er, surely you mean the Division 8 match. Ed] would proceed, his army’s strategic plan for the looting of league points was bolstered with an urgent text message to all his troops suggesting that they bring additional sweaters.

Thus prepared, the army left Grange Loan in high good humour fondly waved off by a bevy of beautiful young maidens [It looked like the GL groundstaff to me. Ed]. Barring a few skirmishes with speed restrictions and temporary traffic lights, the army found itself at the battlefield [I take it you mean East Drive Largo. Ed] in good time. The wicket looked remarkably healthy after the recent monsoons and was a credit to its groundsman [Who is obviously another fine example of that Doughty breed. Ed]

Carlton’s selection this week had veered away from the previous week’s policy of picking children yet to be born. Instead anyone with the surname Main was automatically selected. 3 could be identified, although a fourth travelled with the army and wrapped in duvets was strategically deployed during the engagement to protect the left flank. [Don’t you mean Ruairidh’s chocolate stash? Ed] Another 8 players not named Main were also included to make up the numbers.


The non-playing Main guards against the onset of hypothermia

FB tossed and lost. The margin of this loss is still the subject of some dispute among historians. [You won’t let this gag go will you – you’ve all the club’s tweeters at it too. Are we to look forward to another 16 versions of it before the season ends. Ed] The Main XI were inserted in what didn’t look propitious circumstances for batting. The sky was heavy, rain could be seen all around and the wind was howling across the ground. A typical day at the Scottish seaside.

Those forebodings seemed justified as Carlton were soon in trouble at 29 for 3 with Feds, Keshav and Dougal back in the relative shelter of the pavilion. All, like Napoleon, architects of their own downfall but none a casualty to hypothermia. Kevin and Rory then laid the foundations of the innings with an excellent partnership of 130. When emergency rations [Drinks? Ed] were taken by the fielding side, things had moved on to 56 for 3. There were concerns that as Kevin approached his 50 he might well be demonstrating the first stages of hypothermia which include paradoxical undressing when he took one of his 18 sweaters off. His beanie hat remained firmly in place so the danger of exposure was reduced.


Kevin smashes a flat six that put the pavilion in danger

Both innings were top quality. There was something in the wicket which required careful shot selection. Driving was not easy but anything short could be hit way. A short boundary on one side was a help when the bowlers strayed – as they did on what were increasingly difficult conditions for bowling. Kevin accelerated rapidly once he passed his 50 peppering the boundary with a fine set of 6s. The ton was in sight when he tried another big one only to get himself stumped on 95. Rory had played the foil to Kevin perfectly, taking no chances but keeping his own score moving. As he tried to accelerate, he was out on 45 shortly after. Ruairidh required to demolish his chocolate stash to compensate for the emotional trauma of being run out by his father. After a few more overs the innings closed on 185 for 7.


Rory looks the part on his way to 45

All round an excellent effort. Largo bowlers found it hard going but the bearded Nairne, possibly a veteran of the Napoleonic wars, returned excellent figures of 3-17 from his 8 overs. There were no reported casualties from hypothermia in the field although DC’s body temperature after his extended umpiring spell was in the danger zone.

Tea was top quality and all body temperatures were restored to something like normal. But during the interval the weather worsened and as Carlton took the field if it wasn’t raining full on, it was definitely wet. Dougal opened the bowling and had immediate success trapping Largo skipper Tooze in front for LBW in the first over. Wickets then fell regularly as all Carlton’s bowlers battled the elements successfully. FB feared that Sam might have succumbed to cold related disease and would have to be left behind curled up on the battlefield but he perked up enough to bowl some good overs and get a good wicket bowling J Gillin when he was looking set. The conditions made it hard for Carlton’s young spinners to grip it and rip it so FB used them sparingly. Ruairidh was so well bundled up that he had to be forcibly peeled of his top layer when he came on to bowl. DC was his usual parsimonious self with 2-16. It is not often your correspondent has to use the word wide and DC in the same sentence but a number of those were wides as he experimented with a new delivery. Clearly he had suffered the first stages of hypothermia while umpiring and this had lodged delusions in his mind for he thought if he started on the line of cover point the wind would carry the ball on the line of off stump. Sadly this circuitous journey did not work.

Your correspondent is also surprised to note that FB out-parsimonied even DC putting down 8 overs for only 7 runs with one wicket. Good catches by Feds and Keshav and a smart run out by David Main also maintained the momentum. But Dougal was Carlton’s main weapon with an excellent return of 4 for 35 – 3 bowled, one LBW which tells the virtue of bowling at the stumps. Perhaps it was disappointing not to bowl Largo out, the last wicket put on 21 and they were left 138 for 9 at the end of the 40 overs. Nairne was again Largo’s top performer with a resolute and attacking 31*.

A fine win in miserable conditions. No casualties left frozen in the outfield. Valuable league points looted and returned to safe keeping in the GL vaults. FB now claims that it was a good toss to lose because the after tea conditions were worse for batting. However they were probably worse for bowling too, so as usual with any of FB’s remarks it means nothing.

Many thanks to Largo for a good and keenly contested sporting match – the wicket was excellent given the week’s conditions. We look forward to an equally well contested match on the return when we hope that the risk of hypothermia is significantly lower.

Scorecard

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Sunday 20th May 1pm East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Dalgety Bay
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146 for 6

Bob Irvine 45, Keith Murray 37*

home
GL
202 for 4

It was an unusual sight for your correspondent to see Grange Loan bathed in sunshine.  The Doughty Groundsman was putting the finishing touches to his latest masterpiece.  But your correspondent learned that the DG had had to work quickly, for a mere 24 hours previously he had been deeply engaged in faithfully fulfilling alternative instructions. The ever wise Carlton Council had observed the continual rainfall and reached a conclusion about the imminence of divine retribution.  Following a short meeting which took no more than a mere 4 hours, the Council determined, by a narrow majority, that the end of all flesh had come and that the earth is full of violent doings, such as playing across the line and not walking when you know you’ve hit it, and the IPL. 

As the Doughty Groundsman reported ‘They texteth unto me and commanded me to make for himself an ark of gopher wood and make it safe from the water inside and out. They suggested that it should be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high.’ The DG had struggled to find gopher wood but had made a start using a fine heap of sticks twigs and other cuttings left behind by the resolute husbandry of the Redoubtable Membership Secretary.  At no little difficulty to himself the DG had established that a cubit was approximately the length of a stump and had trimmed the club's supply of stumps to make useful measuring gauges.  All seemed to be going well.  The Council had commanded 2 of every species, so he had begun a list - 2 opening bats, 2 top order bats, 2 fast bowlers (right hand) 2 fast bowlers (left hand), 2 spinners (left or right hand).  It was all taking shape.  At the precise moment he was agonising about what to do about Fantasy Bob since there were not 2 of that species [For which many are eternally grateful.  Ed] he received a further visitation by text which sayeth, 'Sorry DG, duff weather forecast, all sunny tomorrow, ark no longer required, pitch needed for Carlton 4s v Dalgety Bay.  Sure you'll manage.'  So it was that the DG, with only the mildest of imprecations, put aside the understructure of his ark, putting it in temporary storage behind the score hut for to judge from recent years it could be needed again in August.  He set himself to work with blotting paper and sponge.  All in all a standard kind of day for the Doughty Groundsman.

Carlton 4 are made of stern stuff.  Alone in the club and perhaps in Scotland, they have fulfilled all their fixtures this year. A set of hardy men, and 11 year olds, grizzled by extreme weather conditions, they laugh at freezing temperatures and jeer at gale force winds.  Driving rain only heightens their enjoyment. But sunshine is another thing – so unusual in their experience that they might require the attention of the emergency services.

And so the stage was set for the match with Dalgety Bay.  The skipper won the toss by a margin similar to Hearts’ victory over Hibernian the day before.  Would that be an omen for good things to come?  Sam opened the proceedings and immediately struck gold, bowling Dalgety’s opener in the first over.  But the second wicket pair put on 65 before Shaz bowled Newsom. 

The skipper then came on and immediately took another wicket.  Perhaps it was his day with the ball?  Regrettably not.  At the other end Forbes had been going along well but after drinks he began to accelerate, taking 2 sixes off FB’s spell.  While Ruairdih got another wicket, skipper Picksley being caught and stumped (which doesn’t count as 2 wickets much to Ruairdih’s disappointment) that was as much damage that we could inflict.  DC struck a blank, and that usually means trouble. Forbes motored past his hundred, another in a long tradition of batsmen who decide that Carlton 4 at Grange Loan is the one match they want to play that season.  He ended on 122, not completely chanceless for there was a steepling catch dropped when he was in the 20s.  His efforts saw Dalgety Post the challenging total of 202 off their 40 overs.  For Carlton bowlers old and young had toiled well and there was a good effort in the field particularly from Shuaib, Angus and Murray.

A sunny day, a drying ground, a firm wicket.  Surely Carlton could mount a decent assault on the required total?  The skipper found himself having to open the innings, always a reason for the crowd to feel slightly queasy.  But he stuck there resolutely.  He started with a flourish cracking 2 boundaries in his first few deliveries.  But then the field went back and FB found it hard to penetrate.  He seemed to have the idea in his head that hitting the ball to the fielders was the object of the exercise. Nevertheless things were looking good at 50 for 1 in the 13th over when Kevin was smartly caught at gully as left arm opening bowler Pearson took exception to being hit into the road for 6 by going over the wicket and pushing one across him.  Your correspondent has had reason before to comment on the questionable tactics of using left arm bowlers before – and Dalgety Bay were flirting with the spirit of cricket if not the laws in replacing Pearson with another left armer.  

Shaz came and holed out and FB was joined by Keith.  Although the scoreboard kept ticking over we were getting behind the run rate and needed a couple of big overs.  But neither FB not Keith could lift the momentum.  FB was diddled out by occasional bowler Dawson’s first gentle lob – just when he was gathering himself for the final frantic assault. Caught behind for a creditable 45.  Murray’s debut innings was cut short by a cruel run out, when he looked good. Shuaib cracked a few lust blows before being stumped.  Al had a brave effort to hit 5 off the last ball to get a final batting point but just got himself stumped.  This left Keith undefeated on a valiant 37.  Our innings closed on 146 for 7 leaving Dalgety Bay a winning margin of 56 runs.

Well done Dalgety Bay, worthy victors who took better advantage of the DG’s work than the home side.  Many thanks for a most enjoyable contest with amusing banter between the teams.  We were glad that you enjoyed the tea – the spread of which was sumptuous even by Carlton’s legendary standards.  As for Carlton, a bit more positivity in the batting might have seen us get nearer the total.  And many thanks to the DG for his great efforts – let us hope he doesn’t need to restart work on his ark for the rest of the season.

Scorecard

Photos

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Saturday 26th May 1pm East League Division Eight
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Hawick & Wilton v
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Carlton 4
  174 for 5 away

173 for 8

Kevin Whitaker 78

The East of Scotland Cricket Association has welcomed the teams from the Scottish Border League into its set up this year.  The Border teams have been distributed across the divisions and the much sought after place in Division 8 was drawn by Hawick who had the privilege of acting as host to the dizzying mix of youth experience and decrepitude that is the Carlton 4.  As your correspondent arrived in the town for the match he found it buzzing with excitement, presumably at the prospect of welcoming a celebrity rich side including Fantasy Bob into their midst.  The crowd at the ground was fully 5 strong reflecting the great draw.  All 5 left once they had secured the requested directions to the food fair on the other side of the river.

Your correspondent has not immersed himself deeply in the history of the Scottish Borders but he does know that there is a long history of cross border rivalry.  In 1514 a year after the Battle of Flodden, in which the James IV XI suffered an innings defeat at the hands of England, a band of local Hawick cricketers came upon a party of English at net practice and 'routed them and took their colour' at Hornshole a few miles beyond the town.  Hawick's much celebrated Common Riding commemorates this event and, as far as your correspondent can gather, involves several days communal drinking interrupted by riding horses to various points around the town for the purposes of falling off them.   A Cornet is appointed each year as the figurehead of this celebration an appointment which is considered a great honour.

However the Riding is not due for another 2 weeks and the prospect of play being interrupted by a group of horsemen marking the boundary was believed to be slight.  Nevertheless Carlton’s selection committee took into account the equestrian skills of the players chosen to represent them in Hawick.  However competition for the role of Carlton Cornet was not so fierce as in the Border Town.  Knowing that Fantasy Bob has ridden tall in the saddle and has a fondness for ice cream, he was the unanimous choice of the Committee.  The team welcomed Duncan Sutherland as a debutant, although the skipper had to think twice about whether he would be allowed to play when he donned a West of Scotland CC playing shirt.  Multi-culturalism can only be taken so far. 

As the Carlton horse boxes [This is no way to describe Shuaib's parents' Merc.  Ed] arrived at the showground, the sun shone brightly, the temperature was in the high 20s.  A strong breeze blew at right angles to the pitch.  The skipper was unconvinced that it was possible to play cricket in such extreme and unusual conditions, but was persuaded by the clutch of 11 year olds who are much wiser than he in the ways of the world.

The skipper's first thought on inspecting the wicket was 'Where is it?', for all that differentiated it from the ground around was the stumps pitched at either end.  The surface was heavily thatched and it was no surprise when he lost the toss [Don't you mean it was no surprise that he lost the toss....again.  Ed]  Actually it was a surprise that he lost the toss, at least to him.  Having taken account of the atmospheric conditions, the lie of the coin in the opposing skipper's hand, and the state of the Euro a call of heads seemed certain to win.  However a late surge on the currency markets must have occurred unbeknown to FB and for the want of market intelligence the toss was lost by the narrowest of margins ie totally.  As your correspondent was saying it was no surprise when he lost the toss that he was invited to bat.

FB thought the wicket might do anything as he prepared to take first ball.  A left arm over the wicket bowler - always a treat first up - had ESCA not explained that this type of bowling was not sanctioned when FB was batting?  Obviously not.  While the opening overs were a bit fiery, and FB and Keshav found it hard to get the ball away past slick fielding in the ring, as the match progressed the surface became easier.  After a slow start the scoring accelerated [Er don't you mean after FB has lamely given up his wicket by slapping it down the throat of fine leg.  Ed].  A fine innings of 78 by Kevin ably supported by Duncan (despite the shirt) with a good 29 was the mainstay.  Tom played with technique and courage to show real potential and some lusty hitting by Neil (10 including a 6 of the outside edge) and Shuaib (15 including the biggest 6 of the day) brought Carlton to 173 for 8 off the 40 overs.  Your correspondent should note that in their 5 matches played this season, the Fourths have yet to be bowled out.

The middle of the innings brought the entertainment of the missing over.  You’re your correspondent presumes is an entertainment in rehearsal for the Ridings.  Change bowler McDougall picked up the ball ready to bowl only to be told by the scorer that he had bowled his allotted overs. 'Na, I huvnae' he responded in the Borders' dialect.  'Hiv' said the scorer, from the look of him a veteran of the Hornshole Raid,  'He cannae hae' said the skipper from behind the stumps.  'Weel the computer says he his' for the scorer uses a computer package to score, nothing being too modern for the club.  'That cannae be right.'  ‘The computer’s niver wrang.’ The Hawick skipper appealed to the umpire, who happened to be FB.  'He hisnae bowled a' his overs, his he?'  FB had to respond by saying he had no idea, but observed that since the evening star was now ascending the sky they'd better get on with it.  The rest of the innings was accompanied by much muttering and counting on fingers.  The whole incident may have undermined the faith in information technology that had so hard been won in the Borders and is therefore of serious concern to the future of the region.

At tea Carlton thought that they had a defendable score although the skipper was concerned that his reading of the wicket had been totally wrong.  It was a hitter's surface.  And so it proved when Carlton bowled.  Only Neil, generating some kind of pace on an unresponsive surface, avoided being swung to all points of the ground.  The batting did not remind your correspondent of David Gower, but it was effective and the score rattled along.  Carlton's cause was not helped by a couple of dropped catches.  Wickets came for Sam, Ruairidh (with his first ball - why wasn't he on sooner?) Mike and Neil: another couple of wickets might have disturbed the batting side's confidence but wickets did not come regularly enough and Hawick ran out worthy winners by 5 wickets in the 30th over.  

All in all disappointing day in the sunshine for the Carlton team.  The slow start did not allow a big enough total to be posted.   Dropped catches were a factor also.  Thanks to Hawick for the match - it is very good to have the Borders teams in the league. 

 

Scorecard

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Sunday 3rd June 1pm East League Division Eight
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Carlton 4
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Tranent
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  75 all out home
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77 for 5

Sam Marchbank 2 for 13

On a very pleasant Sunday afternoon, the 4th XI entertained Tranent in the first formal fixture between the two clubs. Before the cricket got underway there were a couple of logistical problems to deal with. Firstly, there was the last minute change and the need to replace Ruairidh Main, who appeared at the ground with a 'Haribo hangover' from a sleepover the previous night, resulting in the ability to fall asleep at any given moment. Murray replaced Ruairidh, who retired to his bed. DC was his timely self, however this came with the statement, 'My handbrake is broken'. Most of the elder players accepted this to be part of the Volvo machine, however some of the younger generation thought it was Dave's personal handbrake!

Back to normal cricketing events. Fantasy Bob lost the toss, and the 4th Xl was asked to bat on a flat Grange Loan wicket. The opening pair of Bob and Tom Simpson took to the wicket to see what Tranent had to offer. They quickly found out that this was a sharp opening bowler, with a high volume of encouragement from all. The volume was further enhanced as Tom was bowled 3rd over by a quick delivery. Kevin and Bob focused their eyesight on the increased pace of the Tranent bowling, as much for personal safety as the run rate. The opening bowlers were changed, however this led to the downfall of Bob looking to punish a loose ball, only to glove it down the leg side to the keeper standing up. To avoid any confusion, Bob (12) walked in good manner, to be followed by the volume of congratulations by the Tranent bowlers. Mike was next in and had a good look at the bowling prior to mistiming one straight up in the air. Next in was Keith, who has been in good nick in all games this season, but today was not his day, getting a good ball that turned first up, being bowled.

This collapse meant that Carlton were 4 down for not very many and were in trouble. Calum Everett calmed everything down and batted sensibly with Kevin for a few overs and was starting to get used to the bowling when he hit one straight to the fielder, at a time when he seemed in no trouble at all. This brought Neil to the wicket, during his 2 week break from his rugby commitments. The need to bat sensibly was discussed with Kevin.  This clearly had no effect as Neil's third ball went for 4. At this stage both change bowlers were on and there was an opportunity for Kevin and Neil to bat away, however this was not to be. Kevin (39) skied one to long on for no particular reason and left Neil with the tail to get through the next 20 overs.

This was a big ask and was not helped by Shoaib being bowled almost immediately. This brought Murray to the crease, who appeared at least 3ft shorter than Neil as they chatted at the wicket. The arrival of the tail brought back the Tranent opening bowler looking for wickets. This had immediate affect with Neil (12) mistiming one and being caught in the outfield. At this stage Carlton had Murray and Sam comparing notes on how quick the bowler was.

However 2 bouncers later Murray was bowled leaving Carlton 9 down for 75. That was the end of the innings as Carlton's number 11, was dealing with the AA and the handbrake. Being bowled out in 24 overs was clearly the 4th's worst batting performance so far, and they all missed out on a fantastic Grange Loan wicket. The Tranent bowling attack was very capable however the Carlton batsman could have applied more patience.

The Tranent innings started in a quiet fashion with both DC and Neil bowling well. Neil was rewarded for bowling full, by clean bowling the opener for 4. Dave continued to bowl tightly and got his just reward by bowling the other opening batsmen for 12. At this stage it was clear that Tranent  were looking to hit the runs rather than wait for them to be scored. This led to another wicket for DC, with a very good catch from Mike Kennedy, claiming it was due to the quality of the sunglasses. It was a good catch, irrespective of the glasses.

Noor Ali played very sensibly to move the Tranent score forward. A change of bowling gave Sam the chance to shake things up. This had the required effect when Noor Ali skied 1 to cover, with a safe catch being taken by Neil. Almost immediately Sam clean bowled their next batsmen. At 5 down it felt that Tranent were now struggling, but with only chasing 78 could see the finish. A couple of clean strikes later and they had reached the total after only 17 overs. It always felt that it was an uphill struggle, however dropped catches did not help the 4ths chances. Bowling figures of 1 for 24 for Neil, 2 for 31 for Dave and 2 for 13 for Sam tell part of the tale.

Given the nature of the game it appears that it could have been so different if Tranent had batted first. It was a shame that it was not more of a game, given the nice weather at Grange Loan. More runs required.........

Scorecard

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Sunday 10th June 1pm East League Division Eight
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SMRH 3 v
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Carlton 4
 

197 for 7

Mike Kennedy 5 for 47

away

158 for 5

Mike Kennedy 41, Kevin Whitaker 40, Calum Everett 36*

Your correspondent is familiar with the symptoms of jet lag, known jocularly to his acquaintances in the medical profession as desynchronosis. It is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body's circadian rhythms following rapid long-distance transmeridian (ie east–west or west–east) travel on a jet airplane. Medical science has attributed a number of symptoms to the condition, including headaches, fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, insomnia, disorientation, grogginess, irritability, mild depression and constipation or diarrhoea. Your correspondent will pass over the final symptom but he notes that all the other symptoms are characteristic of Fantasy Bob performing his cherished role as skipper of the Carlton All Star 4th XI. Your correspondent was aware that FB had just returned from rapid long distance transmeridian travel as he turned up at Grange Loan for the latest outing of his star studded team in ESCA Div 8. Jet lag is unlikely to follow his usual journey from the heights of Morningside to Grange Loan, demanding and disorientating though that is. So it is unclear whether his fatigue, his disorientation, his grogginess and irritability were his normal demeanour or the consequences of his desynchronosis. Perhaps a brave junior member would ask the question directly. But the juniors kept any curiosity on the subject to themselves.

The side welcomed the Barnacle back into its embrace, absent too long through family and business commitments. The side also celebrated the 13th birthday of Calum Everett which took place that very day. The side also welcomed back Ruairidh Main, whose high flying clubbing lifestyle had played havoc with the bowling resources last week. Ruairidh eyeballed the skipper and assured him that he had learned the error of his ways; he had everything under control and knew when to stop after just one bag of Haribos. The short cross town journey to Inverleith to take on the challenge of SMRH 3 was therefore made in a state of some optimism - other than the possible victim of desynchronosis who was groggy, irritable and may well have been suffering from either constipation or diarrhoea, if not both.

The first thing they encountered on arrival was former Carlton great Cedric English - FB was flattered that SMRH thought so much of the All Stars that they had had to promote players from their higher teams to meet the mighty challenge. But Cedric was there for another purpose - actually the purpose of going home, since the SMRH Corstorphine match had been cancelled due the wetness of the square and surrounds. But these matters are of little consequence to a side of Corinthians such as the Carlton 4th XI (and indeed the SMRH 3) and the match on the artificial square could proceed.

In a surprise manoeuvre - which may have surprised the opposition, but certainly surprised his team - FB won the toss. Scientists are speculating that this unnatural phenomenon may have been caused by the transit of Venus. Others suggest that this in itself is a symptom of desynchronosis - FB was in fact addressing last week's toss. Either way the margin of victory was compelling. [But not this longwinded description of the event. Get on with it. Ed] The opposition were duly inserted and Adam and DC got proceedings underway. The bowling was tight but failed to cause the batsmen any real difficulty and it was not until the 12th over that DC got the first breakthrough trapping Cowman LBW with the score on 40. The great error was made shortly after when Cassidy was dropped - he took advantage of the generous gift to go on to make 50 and Carlton struggled from then on to maintain control over the run rate as the arti played up to its reputation of a batter's paradise. The next wicket did not fall until 121 when Mike Kennedy got skipper Colthert caught behind by the Barnacle for a well played 48. Mike had steam coming out of his ears for most of his bowling spell. He could not understand that when he bowled it down the leg side the batter would hit it to leg side. This surely could be countered by moving all the fielders to that side. The skipper suggested a more conventional approach ie to bowl at off stump whereupon Mike had real success bagging another 4 wickets to get his first 5-fer. Mike 5 for 47 - well done. Ruairidh and Sam toiled without much luck or reward. Calum came back at the end to get a birthday wicket but some vigorous hitting by the SMRH middle order left them a handy 197 for 7 off the 40. The skipper's desynchronosis seemed to worsen as the innings wore on.

This was not helped by the absence of empire biscuits from the tea table. Surely ESCA had communicated to all clubs the requirement for this food of the Gods to be made available when the All Stars are in town? After all if pop stars of whom FB has never heard can make extravagant demands for their dressing room, then surely an empire biscuit is not too much to ask for.

Carlton now had to bat. A high total had been set, but the side was confident that they could get it. Had the club website not said that the Barnacle's return would bring much needed stability to the top of the order? Indeed it did. For 2 deliveries, the first of which Keshav pushed for a single, the stability was there for all to see. Then the Barnacle gloved a lifter and the keeper scraped his gloves under it just as it was falling gently to earth. Sigh. Stability over. Sigh (again). Keshav was out 2 overs later, well bowled by Doshi to put Carlton in a bit of trouble at 9 for 2. But Kevin and Calum bravely saw off the openers and began to make headway against the change bowlers and at halfway we were more or less even with SMRH. But then things went wrong. Kevin was accelerating well and beginning to time the ball well when he put one right down fine leg's throat who did not have the decency to return Carlton's gesture of generosity in dropping their number 3. Kevin gone for 40. This brought Mike to the crease - his 5 wickets being more than the total of runs he has scored this season, or the number of balls he has faced. But he got going and was beginning to motor as only Mike can until he mistimed and was caught at cover for 41. This brought the skipper to the wicket - with 12 or so overs to go and 6 an over the ask, it was demanding but he was confident. The return of the Barnacle meant he could reinhabit the powerhouse of the middle order. Opening curbed his natural stroke play [Eh? You mean the swinging with eyes closed? Ed] He faced lots of balls but had scored slowly. Today was the day to change that. Well, your correspondent can report that he certainly did that. He was out second ball to a well taken catch in the covers low down. An obvious victim of desynchronosis - he played the shot in a different time zone to where the ball was. Allan (18*) and Calum then saw out the remaining overs making sure we got our full batting points, leaving us 158 for 5 at the end, 39 runs behind.

Calum was 36*. He came in in the 4th over and played immaculately. The heavy outfield did not give him good return for his shots but his innings was a delight to watch and a real batsman's effort, strong straight defence, driving the ball between fielders and using the pace of the ball to pick up runs down to third man. Excellent. And a fine way to celebrate his birthday.

A disappointing result and one that sucks the All Stars towards the relegation zone. So work needed by old and young alike.

Many thanks to SMRH for an enjoyable game played in good spirits. We won't be so generous on the return and Calum (if he is not in the Firsts by then) will be on his way to his maiden ton. Your correspondent fears that the skipper will still show all the symptoms of desynchronosis particularly when he has the bat in hand.

Scorecard

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Sunday 17th June 1pm East League Division Eight
  Carlton 4
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Edinburgh South 3
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RAINED OFF

Your correspondent understands that some £14bn worth of food is wasted in Britain every year.  How much of this mountain is attributable to cancelled cricket fixtures he is uncertain. He thinks it must be a significant proportion.  And of that proportion, the amount attributable to the Carlton 4th XI must in turn be significant.  For in the wide world of cricket teas, those regularly offered to the All Stars' opposition are perhaps the most sumptuous of all.  But when it rains non-stop, the team's efforts in the kitchens and bakehouses count for nought and the egg sandwich and empire biscuit mountains rise nearer the sky.  Given the cancellation of the Carlton 4 v Edin South 3 match as a result of this week's incessant deluge, your correspondent is in communication with Oxfam suggesting the incorporation of a new branch of the charity specifically to redistribute unwanted cricket teas - Sandwiches Sans Frontiers.   This could make a telling impact on world poverty.  He will keep readers posted of the progress of this initiative.  

Many readers, who are not faced with a mountain of unwanted sandwiches in every corner of their household, welcome the cancellation of Fourth XI matches.  They can face the next morning relaxed in the knowledge that they do not have to drag themselves through another incomprehensible match report which seems to include much extraneous information but rarely advises the reader of the outcome of the match. Or if it does, does so by allusion and hint rather than direct reporting. Readers must prepare for these exercises by bringing down from their shelves a range of reference books and dictionaries without whose help the match reports would be wholly opaque.  But when there is no match to report, the match report is always simpler.  There must however be a match report.  

There are of course many stories of journalists being caught out by events like this.  Thus the theatrical reviewer who filed a review of the play at the Ford's Theatre Washington in April 1865 but went carousing elsewhere.  He was challenged the next day with some irritation by his editor who wondered why he thought that the assassination of President Lincoln was not worth a mention in his piece.  Your correspondent will not so easily be caught out and the report of today's game that he had prepared on Thursday will be laid aside.  He assures readers that that report was of a high standard.  Its opening paragraphs compared the skipper's movement in the field to the orchestration of the sublime slow movement of Gustav Mahler's 5th Symphony - there is no suggestion that FB's movement is sublime only that if it was any slower and it would be stationary.  There is then the customary reference to the grand ritual of the toss - on this occasion it is won by acclamation, in which the opposition skipper recognises the overwhelming odds facing him as FB readies to spin the coin and concedes.  Then the report parts company with reality for it refers to FB batting peerlessly and chancelessly to a half century in even time.  This is when readers will guess that there is something phoney going on and will demand their money back. They may suspect that the reviewer was elsewhere - probably somewhere in outer space. So this report has been filed and will await a happier occasion to be published.  

Having inspected the puddles gathering at all points of Grange Loan, even on the artificial wicket, the skipper faced little option but to cancel the match.  He suggested to the team that swimming practice might be useful and could be arranged.  The team declined, noting that they had sandwiches to eat that afternoon.

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Saturday 23rd June 1pm East League Division Eight
  Morton 2
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Carlton 4
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RAINED OFF

Forward planning is generally reckoned a good thing. Not the forward planning which commits the batsmen to that premeditated unedifying heave at the ball which can only end in one outcome. But the sensible laying out of kit the night before a match. The consultation of Google map or the AA to ensure that the route to a strange ground is secure in the driver’s mind. The checking of dates and times; the confirmation that 11 are actually going to turn up. All that kind of stuff is generally reckoned to be helpful to a successful cricket experience. There are in short many things that can be done before a match is scheduled to get underway.

However in the experience of most cricketers, spectators and administrators the preparation of a match report well in advance of a match being played carries a certain risk. However this week there is no such risk for Edinburgh Leisure deemed on Friday morning that their pitches would be unplayable at the weekend and games were cancelled well before lunchtime. It is of course traditional during the week of the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston that there should be torrential rain – and the influence of the Show’s organisers with the weather gods has again been shown to good effect. So the matches might as well have been cancelled a year ago, but Edinburgh Leisure are nothing if they are not optimistic. The Highland Show might have been cancelled.

So the clash between Carlton 4 and Morton 2 at Edinburgh’s prestigious Meadows, a tussle that the crowds of fanatical supporters of both sides and many neutrals, were ardently awaiting will not take place. Instead the Meadows will be left to ducks and swans and the occasional straggler who fell asleep on his or her journey home after a night’s carousing.

Messages of disappointment have reached your correspondent from around the globe – so hot was the ticket, so fast does the news travel. Additional measures of support for Carlton’s middle order will be discussed at the G20 meeting in Mexico. Such support is much needed after recent performances has led rating agencies to classify FB as a junk bond. [Speaking of junk – do you really expect me to publish this junk? Ed]

Encounters between the teams in recent years have always been tightly contested and honours were even last season with home advantage telling on both matches. Perversely, and to the mystification and indignation of the Doughty Groundsman, both sides scored more runs on the soggy wicket and clinging outfield of the Meadows than the pristine batting surface and rapid outfield at Grange Loan. This shows the level of skill that is available to both skippers. What would have been the result of this week’s match? The All Stars are badly in need of a victory to get the season’s campaign back on track. There is a risk that match reports will be submitted with a black border to be read in darkened rooms accompanied by Brahm’s German Requiem or other suitably sombre sound track.

But the skipper was confident that he and his side would deliver tomorrow.

Fantasy Bob, who apparently is an anonymous cricket blogger not known to your correspondent, made recent reference to the 1960’s song Down Came The Rain by Mr Murray. [Readers should note that this Mr Murray is not Carlton’s very own Alan Murray far less Keith Murray and may not even be related to them. Ed] The cricketer’s version of this song includes the following sensitive treatment of the frustration of the rain interrupting achievement.

He walked to the crease in the glare of the sun

He played himself in with pushes for one

Some fours and his timing was fine

But just as he hit forty-nine…..

Down came the rain

It’s happened again

The thunder and lightning

Down came the rain.

This might have been written for the 4s skipper [In which case the verse’s last line should surely just say nine and even that’s stretching things. Ed]

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Sunday 1st July 1pm East League Division Eight
  Carlton 4
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Morton 2
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RAINED OFF

Your correspondent has seldom seen a more exciting pitch inspection.  The skipper of the All Star 4th XI and the Doughty Groundsman stood with their eyes cast downwards, as if in silent prayer.  They each lifted a foot, once, twice and placed it back on the ground deliberately.  They took a pace and lifted a foot again.  Again they placed it deliberately and let it linger.  This was poetry in motion. They looked up at the sky.  Was this an invocation?  The drizzle seemed at that moment to stiffen.  Arthur’s Seat had disappeared from view.  They shrugged.  The tension was unbearable.  A couple of muttered words were barely audible.  The drama deepened They slowly shook their heads.  And that, apparently was it.  Match off.  Again.  

The back to back fixtures with Morton have thus come to nothing and the search for much needed league points for the All Stars will resume next week. A surge away from the relegation zone is forecast.  

Three matches lost to the wettest spring since records began is testing your correspondent’s imagination.  He has already used up his stock of prearranged reports and facile observations.   He may struggle to maintain his readers’ interest without new tosses to describe. [Let’s face it he struggles to maintain readers’ interest on most things.  Ed] This does not bode well for match reports in the second half of the season.  There is an anxiety that some jokes may have to be repeated. [That’s nothing new.  Ed]  A recruiting drive for new jokes will have to be contemplated if standards are to be maintained.   

Your correspondent is much impressed by new coach Toby Bailey’s practice drills. He is sure these will help improve the standards of his reporting. He therefore commits himself to practice them throughout the week in an effort to improve standards.  He will turn round three times on the spot before setting off in pursuit of skied literary allusion.  He will aim to catch 20 historical asides in a row while touching the cones at the corners of the square.  He will bat one handed against a series of put-downs.  Even if it rains he will practice in line with the club’s new policy.  If practice is not possible he will have a mentoring session about how Mahler’s music can improve running between the wickets.  Next week he will be as prepared as ever he has been.  His description of the toss will scintillate.  Readers will stagger back with amazement as he analyses the fall of wickets and the accumulation of result.  They may even be able to work out the result of the match.  

All that is needed is for the rain to stop. 

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Saturday 7th July 1pm East League Division Eight
  Carlton 4
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Kirk Brae 2
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P

 

RAINED OFF

Your correspondent is disappointed to report that for the first time since records began, this match report has been cancelled.  Abandoned without a pathetic joke about the margin of the skipper winning the toss. [Surely you mean losing the toss. Ed] 

Your correspondent pays fulsome tribute to the efforts of the doughty groundsmen who worked without rest to try to ensure a playing surface which could withstand the usual assortment of atrocious puns, irrelevant asides and pretentious references to cultural figures who have only a tenuous if any linkage to any cricketing matter.  The option of using the artificial report was considered but this proved to be as saturated by cliches as the rest of the ground.  The club has always had player safety as its primary concern.  No reader could have read a match report in these conditions without hazard and risk of injury to the boredom muscles.  The report has accordingly been cancelled.  

In accordance with usual media practice in such situations, your correspondent will now bring you highlights of previous match reports. [Oh no you won’t.  What do you mean highlights anyway? Ed]

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Saturday 14th July 1pm East League Division Eight
  Holy Cross 3
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Carlton 4
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RAINED OFF

There are some distinguished fixtures in the annual cricket calendar which just stand out.  Occasions when the professionals and Test stars have to stand aside and allow cricketers from other walks of life to have centre stage.  Eton v Harrow.  The Varsity Match.  Army v Navy.  But the most distinguished of these fixtures are the tussles between old rivals Carlton 4 and Holy Cross 3.  This fixture is celebrated for having the widest gap in years between the youngest and oldest participant of any fixture in the whole cricketing world.  On some of its playings the aggregate age of the Carlton XI is lower by some margin than the Crossers’ youngest player.  Statisticians accept that the presence of Fantasy Bob on the Carlton side evens things up, but it does not eliminate the gap.  

Not only among those who are honoured by selection for this fixture is it keenly awaited.  Many in the cricket loving public also plan their summer around it, often travelling as far as a a few hundred yards just to witness the unique display of sporting skills that grace the field where it is played.  Match reports recording the endeavour, heroism and self sacrifice that have become a feature of these contests over the year are regularly nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  There are regular rumours that Steven Spielberg scrutinises the scorecards with a view to a cinematic account of the fixture.  He is reported to be hesitating only because he is undecided who to cast in the key role of the legendary Colin McGill – although he has narrowed the choice down to Brad Pitt or  Leonardo de Caprio.  [And I suppose you think Daniel Craig will play FB.  Dream on.  Ed]  

All this was on offer this weekend and the excitement had been mounting during the week.  So secret were the preparations of either club that press speculation had been reduced to zero. [Just like FB’s batting average then.  Ed]  Carlton had heard a report that their adversaries had been resorting to the extremes of practising, but dismissed it.  For this is too low a device to be adopted by such an honest and venerable set of players.   

Fans’ hearts were beating a little faster as the big day approached.  Day after day there was an unrelenting absence of rain.  Under the blistering heat of low lying clouds surely the cricket grounds of Scotland would be drying out enough to allow these great athletes to demonstrate once again their commitment to the triumph of hope over experience.  Four long weeks of inactivity and completely useless match reports had passed since a ball was last played in earnest.  This week surely the jet stream would relent...................[Get on with it.  We all know what’s coming next.  Ed] There was discussion in either club about by how much the toss would be won or lost [I knew it.  Ed]  But to no avail, for on Friday morning the supreme powers at Edinburgh Leisure declared Campbell Park unplayable.  With some justification, for the ground’s restoration as an ancient marshland is near complete and water snip can happily wade where once fine leg chased to stop the boundary.  

No toss.  No tea.  No match report.  No summer.

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Sunday 22nd July 1pm East League Division Eight
W
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Carlton 4
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Largo 3
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101 for 4

Alex Fedenczuk 50*, Mike Kennedy 26

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GL

98 for 8

Leigh Kasperek 4 for 17, Dave Carter 3 for 18

It is well known that your correspondent has an uncertain grasp of military history. [And lots of other things – reality for one.  Ed]  For instance, he remains uncertain which Alexander Brother – the one who played the accordion or the other one – was Alexander the Great.  Similarly he does not fully understand how Leonidas, the great Spartan commander of the Graeco-Persian Wars of the 5th Century BC, could have found time to develop an enticing array of Belgian chocolates. He remains befuddled to explain why neither the Roman Empire nor the Mughal Empire could develop the empire biscuit.  These are the small gaps in knowledge that even Wikipedia can overlook.

However your correspondent does understand that history shows that to reverse a series of defeats, innovative generalship is often required.  So too did the expectant crowd who thronged to Grange Loan in unfamiliar sunshine to see the Carlton All Stars 4th XI take on the might of Largo 3rd XI.  For, before the floods the All Stars had suffered a series of defeats similar to those of British Expeditionary Force in 1940.  After a bright beginning to their campaign, their momentum had been lost and they had been driven back to the Belgian beaches. [Er….. I think you mean to the relegation zone. Ed] Personnel had been sacrificed to higher teams.  Equipment had been lost – gloves and socks abandoned in enemy dressing rooms.   As the exhausted troops of the All Stars gathered, their morale was at a low ebb. Bold thinking was required from their commanding officers.

A much changed All Stars XI was limbering up as the skippers prepared for the all important toss.  In particular, the team welcomed young Caitlin Heathcote (left) into its ranks.  With Leigh Kasperek also in the side, this meant for the first time in its history Carlton fielded a team with two female members – confirming the club’s reputation in the blogosphere as a go-ahead club.  Callum Sibley and Ollie Brown also donned the league colours for the first time this season.

The crowd fell silent as the skippers met in the middle for the toss.  There have been few more dramatic moments in the history of warfare.  [I think lower league cricket in ESCA is more accurate.  Ed]  Perhaps Robert the Bruce’s single combat with Henry de Bohunn at Bannockburn might rival it, and certainly that event gave spectators a bit more wielding of the battle axe to enjoy.  But up the coin went, glinting in the sun and down it came cleanly.  No DRS was necessary – an overwhelming victory to the home skipper.  Now, thought the crowd, was the time for some bold innovative thinking on the part of the skipper.  No chance.  The Doughty Groundsman turned his back in disgust, as the skipper turgidly took the conventional league game response ‘We’ll have a bowl.’  The DG had been up since the crack of dawn mowing, rolling and marking to create a fine playing surface.  Why does he bother?

In an effort to suppress the crowd’s enjoyment even further, the skipper opened the bowling himself. DC being held in reserve?  This was a radical departure and the crowd struggled to understand this level of imagination.  Leigh Kasperek took the other end.  Both bowlers were economical and runs were hard to come by for the Largo batters.  Largo skipper and opening bat Roger Twooze evaded destruction at the hands of FB’s inswingers only to perish to a smart c&b by Leigh.  She then bowled the next Twooze in the same over, which only brought the third Twooze to the crease. Twooze company but Threeze a …[Groan. Suggest you stick to jokes about the toss.  Ed]

Runs became even harder to come by.  Mike, Olly and Callum all bowled tidy spells without getting the rewards.  At drinks Largo were 49 for 2.  The heather was not burning.  They needed to press the accelerator. But Leigh got a third wicket to a catch by Neil Kirk as FB tightened the screw in the field.  Then DC was introduced which did little for the run rate.  He trapped Singh LBW in his second over.  Caitlin had 2 promising overs, flighting the ball nicely to make it difficult for the batters. 

A couple of catches went down, as, to the skipper’s despair, is traditional in the All Stars who continue to prefer the challenge of taking 12 wickets rather than 10.  The skipper came back.  Having conceded next to nothing in his first spell, he was then splattered for 13 in his final over. The crowd was not expecting him to take a wicket – that would be against nature, but equally they were not expecting that punishment either. They had to conclude that it was some kind of retribution from the divine powers. 

But back on earth, Tom got his first stumping in senior cricket as Leigh (right) finished off her 8 overs.  DC got as near acrobatic as it is possible for him to do to take an C&B and there was a last ball run out to leave Largo on 98 for 8 off their 40 overs. Opener B Coates top scoring with 24. Leigh 4 for 17, DC 3 for 18.

Carlton could repair to the tea table reasonably confident that they had put themselves into a winning position.  Tea was to usual Carlton standards, so that some necessary adjustments to their waist bands had to be made before the Largo men could take to the field.

There have been military innovations which have changed the course of history.  The stirrup, the long bow, gunpowder.  There have been novel tactics – the phalanx, the blitzkrieg, leg theory [Er….. Are you sure about that last one, England and Australia weren’t actually at war.  Ed].  But nothing so bold as what the astonished crowd now witnessed.  Poets will sing of this through the ages.  Medals will be cast for those who were there.  Statues may have to be erected in public places.

For stepping out to open the Carlton innings alongside Feds was Mike Kennedy. This was taking the fight to the enemy.  And so it proved.  Feds narrowly survived a scare in the first over as he feathered one just beyond the keeper’s grasp. Then Mike took guard for the second over.  Boom! The first ball went for a one bounce four down the ground.  Boom! The next ball went into orbit landing just beyond mid-on’s flailing grasp.   And so it continued. The crowd wondered whether Mike could suffer from some rare form of dyscalcula (dyslexia with numbers) – with only 2.5 runs an over required to win, it is not arithmetically necessary to attempt to score 4 off every ball.  Boom!  Another screamer through the covers.  This was 21st Century cricket – it was Sehwag, Gayle and Warner all in one. Feds meanwhile also scored positively, but in a manner more fitting to the 20th Century.  So the score rattled along until Mike tickled behind and was out on 26.  Job done.

FB then triggered Neil LBW for 2 – observers remarked that this had nothing to do with the merits of the ball. Those with binoculars reported that FB’s eyes were firmly shut at the time. Commentators therefore suggest that this was a tactical decision. No more than a pathetic attempt to ensure that Neil, who has only recently arrived at Carlton, is not stolen by jealous skippers of higher XIs where he rightly belongs.  Keith was also sent off LBW by Mike as Carlton’s batsmen tried to manipulate the strike to Feds.  All 3 wickets fell to W Twooze who finished with 3 for 18.

The main drama was whether Feds could reach 50 before Carlton passed the finish.  Bets were being laid. Or would there be serious jug avoidance, if not evasion? The tension caused confusion as both Leigh and Feds stopped mid-run to discuss with the aid of electronic calculators whether taking a second would ruin Feds’ chances.  It didn’t, largely because Leigh was run out.  FB then graced the crease for a cameo 0* and Feds creamed the winning runs through cover (below) to give himself 50*.  A fine effort.

 

So, victory assured for Carlton and with any luck a change in momentum for the All Stars.  Many thanks to Largo, as always, for an enjoyable game in excellent spirit, and we look forward to seeing you all again next season.  Innovative tactics may again be required.

Scorecard

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Saturday 28th July 1pm East League Division Eight
  Dalgety Bay
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Carlton 4
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    away

99 for 4

Kevin Whitaker 41, Mike Kennedy 34

Match Abandoned

Your correspondent had not paid full attention at the end of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday night.  So he had missed the announcement that the show was going to be continued at selected venues throughout the country the next day.  He was therefore perplexed at what welcomed him and the Carlton 4th XI when they arrived at Dalgety Bay’s prestigious arena for the scheduled fixture between the two famous sides.  This could only be a continuation of Mr Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony in all its colourful, noisy and confusing exuberance.   For there was an expanse of grass, just like the Olympic stadium at the outset of Mr Boyle’s presentation.  It looked suitably bucolic, even if there were no shepherd girls tossing apples to each other or other random rural activities going on.  But what caught the eye were the cultural icons around the boundary – a collection of vintage motor cars, a small fair ride in the form of a train, an ice cream van and perhaps most pointedly of all a fish and chips stall.  Your correspondent could think of nothing that was missing in this representation of all that Britain – or Dalgety Bay at least – has donated to the world.  And with the arrival of the All Stars, the ground was now heaving with celebrities.  The massed crowds watched in hushed awe as they descended from the car park towards the playing area.  There was an excited rumour going round the masses that Her Majesty the Queen was about to abseil into the ground from a helicopter in the company of Fantasy Bob.  Anticipation was electric.  

Unfortunately so was the weather and thunder was not far away.  A heavy shower just before Carlton arrived had left several areas of squelch in the outfield.  There was nothing for it but to wait for a bit to let it dry off a bit.   This was an opportunity for some team members to do an Olympic warm up in the queue for the chip van.  Others just stood about as if  in a taking part in an Olympic opening ceremony kind of way.  But after a bit the rain seemed to be holding off, so the toss was duly undertaken as the fair-ride launched into action. A late start would mean a reduced match – 35 overs per side.  

Now tosses are there to be won or lost.  But for a toss to be thrown away in the cavalier manner that the All Stars’ skipper did this afternoon is a shock even to one so inured in the ways of the world as your correspondent.  He had to assume that this careless action was related in some mysterious, but deeply meaningful, way  to the themes of Mr Boyle’s presentation the night before.  Perhaps it was a continuation of Mr Bean’s performance. If so there was nothing funny about it. [Just like the rest of this rubbish then.  Ed] But it was shocking.  As a result, Carlton were inserted.   

Feds and Mike took up the contest against an old and young opening bowling combination as the heavy clouds began to build up again.  Good progress was being made until the rain started again.  Feds got to 12 without much danger and decided things were too wet for him and gave a catch behind.  The rest of the players came off in sympathy with him and the first rain break was taken.  The musical accompaniment from Sir Paul McCartney was not forthcoming.   The rain relented and play resumed.  Kevin and Mike kept the score moving along, both clearing the boundary with positive strokes until the rain started again and it was Mike this time who thought it a bit wet.  Having scored 33 he deemed himself wet enough and played over a straight one.  Again the fielders came off in sympathy.  60 for 2 with Mike out for 33.  Still no Paul McCartney.  Instead Murray managed to wheedle his Dad into purchasing the largest ice cream known to humanity. The rain eased again allowing Kevin and Calum to take up the chase and a good partnership was developing when Calum’s first loose shot led to him being caught and bowled by Dalgety skipper Picksley.  Things were getting difficult for the bowlers now as Duncan joined Kevin in heavier rain.  The low clouds meant that the Queen’s helicopter trip had been postponed.  

A couple more overs were possible until with the rain getting heavier Kevin got himself out for 41 to leave Carlton 99 for 4 after 20.  The sky was dark grey all the way up the Forth and the skippers rightly concluded that the prospects of a result were zero and proceedings were suspended.  Alarm spread among the juniors that this might mean having to go home without tea; luckily that crisis was averted and sustenance was taken.  

Carlton were in a strong position when play was abandoned.  Would they have gone on to win?  Would the Queen have found an alternative way into the ground?  Would Paul McCartney have sung in tune?  We shall never know.    

Thanks to John Beattie for turning out at short notice when Angus was poorly this morning.  He said he would only do so if his performance was not ridiculed in the match report.  There is no risk of such treatment.  He watched from the boundary like he’d done it for years and his skill at eating sandwiches showed great potential.  He even contributed this photo of Murray hiding behind his ice cream.  

Thanks to Dalgety Bay for an enjoyable quarter game. We tried to beat the weather.

Scorecard

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Saturday 4th August 1pm East League Division Eight
  Carlton 4
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Hawick & Wilton
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MC
 

CANCELLED Ground at Merchiston too wet

Your correspondent was absent from Edinburgh for the weekend, giving himself a position of distance from the action which would normally improve the intelligibility of his match report. But he understands that previous claims of doughtiness on the part of groundsmen at Merchiston Castle School have proved open to question after they found themselves unable to prepare a wicket for the glamour fixture of Carlton 4 v Hawick & Wilton CC. Midweek deluges had left the grounds waterlogged. There is a disappointment in the realisation that the high standards of doughtiness taken for granted week after week at Grange Loan are available only to the privileged elites and are denied members of deprived communities such as those at Merchiston Castle.

The glamour fixture had therefore to be cancelled and takes its place alongside all the other cancellations in this depressing season. A lost opportunity for the Carlton 4s to assert their superiority against the leaders of Division 8. For this was the only possible outcome to the contest. Carlton would clearly win the toss and stand-in skipper Al Murray would mount the winner’s rostrum, and with tears welling in his eyes, display the raw emotion that had driven his performance at the toss to the highest level. He would have thanked his parents, his coaches, his doughty groundsmen, his Sunday school teachers, anyone who has ever sat beside him on the number 11 bus for their unflagging support and inspiration, not to mention the polo mints, they have given him on his way to the top. He would have paid particular thanks to the home crowd who gave him that additional lift needed top push for victory. It would have been the pinnacle of his sporting life. Gabby Logan would have beaten a path to his door. Instead Al had to sit and watch a procession of British victories during Super Saturday in the Olympic Games, which is by comparison with ESCA Div 8 a relatively minor sporting event.

Your correspondent, meanwhile, was on a talent spotting mission to Headlingley from where he can report that following their very poor shots to get out neither Mr Bell nor Mr Trott should no longer be considered by the All Star 4th XI’s top order. They may have been overawed by your correspondent’s presence in the crowd, but candidates for a place in the 4th XI should be able to deal with pressure more convincingly. However Mr Pietersen rose to the challenge and could be a realistic candidate for the number 8 berth in the season’s remaining fixtures. He is however reported to be quite headstrong and has given confusing statements as to his availability recently. In addition, he may not take easily to the rigid discipline that is such a defining feature of the All Stars. Together with his inexperience in the matter of bringing tea, this could cause problems in the dressing room. Your correspondent therefore concludes that the selection committee should leave the balance of the side undisturbed for the rest of the season’s critical fixtures.

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Saturday 11th August 1pm East League Division Eight
L
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Tranent v
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Carlton 4
 

132 for 5

Bob irvine 3 for 32

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126 for 7

Kevin Whitaker 29, Neil Kirk 46

As the Carlton All Stars Fourth XI assembled in unfamiliar sunshine to take on the cricketers of Tranent, they guessed they were in for a tough time. Earlier in the season their high powered batting line up had succumbed at Grange Loan to a pace bowling and aural assault to return their lowest total of this campaign leaving the East Lothian side easy victors. Historians have dubbed this incident the Second Massacre of Tranent.

The first took place in 1797, shortly before Fantasy Bob had his first ever net practice. In that year, in furtherance of the Militia Act which aimed to enforce recruitment to the British Army from Scottish communities, a recruitment squad visited Tranent. There was a protest from a contingent from the local mining communities. When confronted, the troops fired on the protestors, killing several and wounding others. They then pursued the protestors and are reported to have cut people down. Estimates suggest that between 12 and 20 died. The Massacre of Tranent, as the incident is called, is commemorated by a monument in the town’s centre.

History however does not need to repeat itself and after several late changes in personnel to accommodate withdrawals in the club’s higher teams, the usual intoxicating blend of youth and experience descended on Campbell Park. At one time, Campbell Park must have been a near idyllic location to play cricket – the Pentland Hills loom behind it and it is surrounded by trees and bushes so the surrounding housing cannot be seen. But in the 1980s the City Fathers took the view that tranquillity was not what cricketers desired and built the City Bypass hard on the midwicket boundary. The continual noise of heavy traffic is therefore an accompaniment which drowns out all but the loudest calls between batsmen, raising the risk of run outs to danger levels. Umpires have also been known to struggle to hear appeals. Philosophers have long discussed whether a tree falling in a forest where there is no one to hear its crash actually makes a sound. So at Campbell Park – if an appeal is not heard, or cannot be heard, has it been made? [For goodness sake, who cares? Get on with it. We want to hear the bit about the toss. Well, we don’t really, but we know we’re going to have to, so you might as well get it over. Ed]

At the toss [At last. Ed] there was much shaking of heads between the skippers. The City Fathers may have managed to construct a modern highway on the boundary but the engineering challenge of making a wicket seems to have been a step too far. On the square, there was evidence of 2 pitches having been used this season and much smooth and undisturbed grass in between. Rather than present the elite athletes who assembled with a new pitch, the authorities had simply remarked an old one that looked from the creases to have been used several times this season. It was green and grassy. A seamer’s dream. The coin spun, it landed on the grass on its edge, it seamed. Definite movement off the wicket. The corridor of uncertainty had just got wider as the coin came down tails. Carlton’s skipper had called wrongly. He had failed to account for the seaming wicket. Carlton were inserted.

There being no natural openers in the side, Al Murray and Mike Kennedy drew the short straws. They found the going tough with the bowling hostile and accurate. Carlton were soon 5 for 2 with Kevin and Neil looking to repair the damage. Scoring was difficult, the outfield was slow and the field was set defensively. The 50 did not come up until the 21st over, but no further wickets had fallen. Carlton needed to accelerate, but Kevin was soon caught behind for 29 as he tried to move things along. Duncan did not last long- LBW to one that kept low. In came the skipper, always a reason for unease in the crowd. The noise from the bypass was at its weekend crescendo but was outdone by the noise from deep fine leg from where stentorian encouragement to his team mates came after every ball. Neil began to dominate and looked good through the covers, and the batting points began to rack up. After a firm thump back over the bowler’s head for 4 to open his account (which did no more than lead to an even more defensive field setting) the skipper scratched around in the way only he can. In over 37 Neil tried to open his shoulders but skied to cover – out for a fine 46. Murray and Gregor heroically fell on their swords trying to give the strike to the skipper. Ruairidh smacked one impressive 4 in the final over. The innings finished on 126 for 7 with the skipper 17*. When Neil and the skipper were together there seemed the prospect of getting closer to 150. But from where Carlton were at the halfway point this seemed a reasonable effort, for this is undoubtedly the strongest bowling attack in the league.

By Carlton’s 3 Michelin star standard, tea was on the disappointing side. Juniors were reduced to roaming in packs in search of chocolate biscuits as they faced the catastrophic risk of malnourishment, a risk that it has taken Carlton long years of humanitarian campaigning to eliminate.

The skipper and Sam opened the bowling. They kept things quiet for a few overs until Sam drew a false stroke from Ali who mistimed a drive to mid off. It came fast and shoulder high. The skipper plunged a full foot to his left. Both hands on the ball. One hand; the other; his shoulder; his chest; his hands again; his chest again; he rolled over; the ball in his grasp. Out! [Tthe Edinburgh Festival Fringe Office has confirmed in a late addition to its programme that Fantasy Bob will be demonstrating his supreme juggling abilities daily in the Royal Mile. Ed]

The ball then began to swing for the skipper and he took 3 quick wickets, all bowled, to reduce Tranent to 31 for 4. Carlton could win this. But that was as good as it got. New batsman Anderson announced his intentions, hitting his first ball from the skipper for a big 6 over long off. Carlton had no answer to his clean hitting as suddenly the boundary that had seemed so far away in Carlton’s innings seemed too close as he cleared it with monotonous regularity. Ruairidh took a stunning catch at fine leg, but the ball was controversially adjudged a no ball by the umpire. Mike got a figure in the wickets column to add a bowling point, but Tranent ran out winners by 5 wickets with junior bowlers traumatised by Anderson’s assault which left him 65* at the close.

The third massacre of Tranent was complete and the secure a promotion slot. Good luck to them in Div 7 next year.


Scorecard

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Sunday 19th August East League Division Eight
  Carlton 4
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SMRH 3
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229 for 6

Leigh Kasperek 68, Kevin Whitaker 58, Neil Kirk 40

home
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8 for 1

MATCH ABANDONED

It is widely reported that prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese Government set up arrangements to seed rain clouds so that any rain in the offing would fall elsewhere than on the opening ceremony. It is an open question as to whether the supreme executive authorities at Carlton, who have powers and abilities not far removed from the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, might have profitably spent more time investigating the availability of this technology rather than fuss about flattening the run up areas beside the nets or the date of the next barbecue. In Carlton’s defence could be pointed out that the Communist Party of China’s approach to those who are concerned about practice facilities compares unfavourably with Carlton Council’s, at least in so far as no Carlton member has yet been arrested and imprisoned for complaining that the bowling machine has blown a gasket again. There are suggestions that the Council may be reviewing its previous liberal policy in this area. But as yet its approach to seeding rain clouds has remained highly secretive. Sources have declined to comment on the suggestion that the Doughty Groundsman has been invited to investigate whether supplies of silver iodide, the material most commonly used as cloud seed, could be purchased from his usual suppliers of high quality grass seed.

On a bright Sunday morning these important matters of policy were far from the minds of the specially chosen squad of elite athletes who assembled at Grange Loan for the glamour fixture with SMRH3. This could be a season defining fixture for the sides, who were separated by the merest wafer of 0.17% in the league table. Reputations could be established or ruined by the afternoon’s events.

Reputation is a tricky subject when your correspondent comes to describe Carlton Fourth XI’s skipper. His once legendary prowess in key areas of the game seems to be waning alarmingly. He would at one time stride out to the middle with confidence, knowing that the toss was his area and would dominate it from the start. Now he is hesitant and undecided. His team mates look away as he returns to the dressing room. Eye contact is too painful. They do not need to hear the words. They have seen at a distance the calamity. Some of them are considering penning a letter to the Politburo suggesting that such lamentable performances at the toss may be evidence of revisionist anti-patriotic thinking and would justify arrest and confinement. Others are just wondering how to avoid the invitation to umpire for a few overs. Junior members who are embarking on courses of study into numbers and statistics are reviewing whether to believe what they have been told in their first lessons on probability……. [Is this just an immensely long winded way of saying that you lost the toss yet again. Ed]

Carlton were invited to bat. The Doughty Groundsman tweeting under an assumed name betraying his Viking heritage unkindly suggested that as an act of revenge for his pathetic peformance at the toss, the skipper chose to open the batting himself. There is no surer way to empty the grandstands. In an effort to maintain the crowd’s good humour, he invited Leigh to join him. On a muggy afternoon they made good progress. That is to say that skipper used both edges of the bat to great effect to give Leigh as much of the strike as possible, which she took full advantage of keeping the score rattling along. SMRH unfortunately lost a man whose knee buckled in his delivery stride. Leigh was severe on anything short and quickly got to a sparkling 50. A measure of her severity and timing could be seen from one shot that she pulled to the boundary up the hill. With the wicket on the street side of the square that was a long, long hit. Eventually, the skipper was castled with the score on 84 in the 17th over, a fine opening partnership that laid the foundation for Kevin to accelerate the scoring rate. Out of the blue Leigh holed out to Adam, substituting for the injured man. An excellent 68. Neil came in and after a few swishes got the pace of the wicket and maintained the momentum. Kevin smacked a stylish 6 and gave the next ball the charge only to be undone by the slower one, out for 58. Neil was also going well before he too was deceived by the slower one to be out for 42. The innings ended on 228 for 6.

After last week’s disappointments on the tea front, all players had played it safe. The table was groaning under the weight of provision. A big total on the board and lots of cake. What more could a cricketer desire?

It is at this point that the issue of cloud seeding raised its head. For although the Carlton innings had started in blue sky, bit by bit it had clouded over and the flat grey stratus cloud looked ominous. But there was always hope that it might just pass by the other side of Blackford Hill. [Aye right – you’ll be saying next that there is always the chance that the skipper will win the toss. Ed]

Carlton made a bright start in the field, Gavin getting the early wicket which put SMRH on the back foot but at the end of 6th over the rain was too heavy to carry on. Within 20 minutes it was clear that the prospects of starting again were zero as puddles spread across the square. The match was abandoned.

Frustration for Carlton who were in a hugely strong position, and an immediate review of the club’s policy on cloud seeding was mandated. Is there time for it to be implemented for next week?

 

Scorecard

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Sunday 26th August, Noon East League Division Eight
  Edinburgh South 3
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Carlton 4
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RAINED OFF

Your correspondent is in the final stages of applying for substantial financial support to allow him to prepare a compelling scholarly work in which he will analyse the twin subjects of irony and cricket. For there is no more startling context for a display of irony in all its forms – verbal, dramatic, situational - than our noble game. But perhaps the most acutely painful form of irony is cosmic irony – where, according to definitions, there is disparity between human desires and the harsh realities of the outside world. ‘Lord what fools these mortals be..............’ Although your correspondent has to note that some authorities contend that situational irony and cosmic irony are not irony at all, which may be just another irony. [For goodness sake get on with it. Ed (not an ironic statement – I mean it).]

Your correspondent is sure that today provides an example of cosmic irony which will persuade those sceptical commentators of the reality of the condition. The sun is shining with an unfamiliar enthusiasm for these latitudes, yet the elite athletes of the Carlton All Star 4th XI are inactive. Forced to find their own entertainment; forced to forage for their own sandwiches at tea time; forced for yet another empty weekend to contemplate what might have been. The Inch, the prearranged scene of their meeting with Edinburgh South 3rd XI, has been deemed waterlogged following Saturday’s rain. Is it possible to find a more telling an example of the disparity of human desire and the harsh reality of the outside world, or at least that part of the outside world that is prone to flooding and has lain underwater for the best part of this summer. It does not need a Greek chorus of slip fielders to point out the cosmic irony of this situation.

In contrast, the season has been full of other ironies – there has been stunning verbal irony, where there is a disparity of expression and intention. As in ‘Yes I’m available next week’, by which is meant ‘No, I’m on holiday again, taking the mother in law to IKEA, got a sore foot/leg/arm/brain.........or something else that will not be discovered until late on Friday night.’

Dramatic irony displays a disparity of awareness between actor and observer. This is most commonly observed in running between the wickets. The observer may well respond to the actor’s panicked call of ‘yes’ by charging headlong down the wicket, only to find too late that he meant ‘no’. There we have the basis of all tragedy, from Euripides to Shakespeare to Arthur Miller. Over the season the All Stars have shown commendable restraint in the use of this form of irony and run outs have only been occasional. But there have been other displays - it has been increasingly evident during the skipper’s barren bowling spells. ‘Howzat’ he will scream as the ball smacks the pad. The umpire thinks the skipper is being ironic and entering into what he thinks is the fun of the situation utters in a non-ironic fashion, Not out. He is surprised by the lack of irony in the skipper’s thunderous expression which, were this a Greek tragedy, would turn him to stone or some form of reptile.

And then there has been the situational irony of the toss, when the disparity between intention and result is only too painfully evident. Never has the call of Heads so often led to the result of Tails. In 11 tosses this season, the skipper won (and this word must be understood in its ironic context) only 3. [Yes, yes, about time you got something about the toss in. Ed]

Despite all these trials and tribulations, the All Stars season has not been without its highlights:

The team finished 6th in the ESCA Div 8. This is despite the ill judged speculation about relegation in the Carlton website (which is the subject of a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission). This is the highest position ever achieved by a team of 11 year olds.

9 matches were completed, with 3 wins and 6 losses; 2 matches were abandoned with Carlton in a very strong position in both. The skipper is counting these as wins. 7 matches were cancelled outright, 5 of those against teams who finished lower than the All Stars. The skipper is counting these as victories too.

In each game the team successfully ensured that the ratio of the age of the oldest member of the side to the youngest exceeded 5.5. A Government think tank is investigating whether, in the aging society, this rule should be applied more widely.

Congratulations to Kevin Whitaker who is the Division’s leading run scorer with 425 in 9 innings, an average of 47.22 and a jug avoiding top score of 95. Significant runs were also contributed by Keith Murray who had a golden start to the season before the rain interrupted his momentum. Among the youngsters, quality innings by Rory Allardice and Calum Everett showed the conveyor belt of talent continues. It also meant they were immediately snapped up by higher level teams.

It is worth noting that only once in the 9 completed matches were the All Stars bowled out.

The team’s bowling performance was a bit weaker with the skipper only rediscovering his bowling arm at the end of the season. Leading wicket takers were the President and Mike Kennedy with 10 each and Mike contributed the only 5-fer in the season.

In 2 matches the All Stars fielded 2 female players.

The skipper reports, without a trace of irony, that he is confident that the team provided the best teas in the league, although Largo ran them close.

Security services across the world are investigating the reasons for the unnaturally high level of text traffic from certain locations in Edinburgh over the last 3 months.

In all, 32 players were privileged to turn out and are awarded full All Stars colours. Many thanks to each and everyone for all their efforts; and to the Doughty Groundsmen at Grange Loan; and to Barbara who helped with the teas throughout the season.

See you next season.

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Home venues: GL= Grange Loan, P = Peffermill, MC = Merchiston Castle School

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