Carlton 4th XI 2014 Fixtures and Results

All matches start at 1pm unless indicated

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Saturday 26th April

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4
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v
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Morton 2
 

170 for 9

Eric Edwards 67, Katie McGill 36

home Pef

136 all out

Katie McGill 3 for 16, Gregor McIntyre 2 for 7, Dave Carter 2 for 30

As readers fortify themselves for another series of Carlton All Stars 4th XI match reports with the thought ‘Why us?’, they are reminded that these reports are based on real events. They may find it hard to discern what these events were. They may not even care. But these things happened. More or less. Sometimes in the order presented. More or less.

Many readers may turn to these reports looking for a reference to their own part in the proceedings or a contribution made by a loved one. Some are bound to be disappointed. Among those who will not feature in these reports any more are Kevin Pietersen whose All Stars career has been ended following his generally poor attitude to the provision of empire biscuits. However readers will be comforted that references to Gustav Mahler are likely to continue as your correspondent continues his ground breaking research into whether the legendary Austrian symphonist and leg spinner can be credited with the invention of the caroom ball.

At this point many readers will be wondering why they bothered. [All of them probably. Ed] They may have seen the intense rain falling on Friday evening and felt a quiet excitement that they could look forward to a report reporting on a match that did not take place. These are always their favourite reports for they do not have to worry about working out what actually happened. For nothing did.

But the overnight rain relented and the opening match of the season – a glamour fixture against old friends and rivals Morton - took place under a grey sky at Peffermill.

As the teams assembled, the skippers agreed that they should abandon the proposal to celebrate the opening of the season by blowing up the two high rise blocks that tower above the ground.

Instead, they proceeded in a business like manner to the toss. [Readers unfamiliar with these reports may wish to skip the next few pages for there will be a lengthy rabbiting on about the historical, literary, metaphysical and various other long worded aspects of the toss. Comparisons with the great toss winners of the past, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery and Nigella Lawson will no doubt feature. The psychological significance of chance events may be mentioned. The geophysical influences on the spun coin may be given consideration. Climate change may have a bearing. In this editor’s view there is no point in all this. The outcome is always the same. Toss lost. Readers will then be told that the margin of loss was minimal. Ed]

The skipper confidently threw his specially chosen coin in the air. His opponent made the call. He got it right. Carlton’s first toss of the season was lost. By a minimal margin, but lost. [See. Ed]

The juniors in the side were aghast, ‘But Bob, you said you’d been practising all winter.’

Your correspondent would like to apologise to his readers for the unexpectedly and atypical brusque treatment of yesterday’s toss. This is not because his interest in tosses has waned. Far from it. He is at present compiling what he is confident will be a definitive work on the toss with the working title Tractatus Logico-Philotossicus – Wittgenstein Calls Heads – data from yesterday’s toss will be fully evaluated and discussed in that work to be published later in the season by The Carlton Press Inc [Not if I have anything to do with it. Ed]

Carlton were invited, indeed instructed, to bat. Things were a bit sticky half an hour later when the scoreboard read 21 for 3 with Al Murray. Gregor McIntyre and debutant Euan Lister all dismissed. Euan’s dismissal was a great disappointment. He absolutely nailed his first ball in senior cricket. It sped six inches above the ground through the covers where a fielder took a sensational one handed catch. He may never be out to such a fine catch again for a long long time.

Morton tails were up. Some repair work was necessary. Eric and Katie (star of the women’s team debuting with the weaker sex) dug in. Slow at first, as Eric got the measure of things and began to find the boundary with regularity. Eric brought up his 50 and the hundred partnership. Morton felt the pressure. A succession of bowlers had no joy. They had only one trick left. The baying crowd told the skipper what to do. ‘Bring Belton on.’ ‘We want Belton.’

Your correspondent does not suggest there are many points of comparison between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Morton’s David Belton. For one thing – the latter has not yet proved his worth as a writer of detective fiction. But historians of the game will be aware that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a lob bowler of some standing and once had the wicket of WG Grace with such a delivery. And so Belton’s slow lobs were enough to end Eric’s fine innings as he was caught at backward square leg for an excellent 67. Elementary my dear Belton, as Conan Doyle might have written. Belton then went on to snag FB LBW – FB failing to get the bat on the ball with any of the 5 strokes he attempted as the ball achingly arced towards him. DC confidently raised the finger to the extravagant appeal. FB agreed he had been hit in front but suggested with some vigour that the ball did not have enough momentum to reach the wicket far less to dislodge a bail. A flicker crossed DC’s face and his on board hawk-eye reviewed the physical evidence. His finger remained erect.

Katie took charge as wickets fell at the other end until she was cruelly cut down backing up at the bowler's end as the wily Kinghorn auditioned for the soon-to-be-vacant goalkeeper spot at Hibs by tipping a firm drive onto the stumps.

The innings closed at 170 for 9 – a fine recovery from 21 for 3 and something to bowl at.

Readers who have stuck with things thus far will be pleased that your correspondent can report that tea maintained the standards of previous years. An appropriate number of empire biscuits had been provided.

The Carlton bowlers got to work. FB and Gregor opened. FB bowled dry [You mean he failed to look like he would ever get a wicket. Again. Ed] Gregor generated some decent pace and had 2 early victims. When DC had an early success, Morton were 27 for 3 – similar to the hole that Carlton found themselves in. That became 38 for 4 with DC’s second victim. A partnership was necessary and that is what Farrell and Nanda delivered with some good running and lots of vocalisations from Farrell. At one point the council’s noise abatement officer circled the boundary, summoned by a nightshift worker in the overlooking flats whose repose had been disturbed.

The tide looked like it was turning Morton’s way. Worry lines furrowed the Carlton’s skipper’s brow. Carlton needed something to happen. And that is just what happened in the form of a spectacular run out. Farrell drove DC to long on. Just over Gregor’s head. The batsmen turned for the second. Gregor turned, picked the ball up and threw. Direct hit from 40 yards. Nanda out by a mile. (Veterans in the All Stars ranks were put in mind of the fielding of All Stars great Fraser Allardice who could similarly conjure run outs from nothing. There is no higher compliment.) 84 for 5. Tom Kujawa and Pete Gill then got in the wickets and Katie ended the innings with her 3rd wicket to cap her fine all round performance. There were two good catches for Euan which lifted his spirits after his first baller.

A good win to get the new season off to a successful start and well done the All Stars – Eric and Katie laid the foundations; the bowlers and field kept the pressure on. The skipper told your correspondent in an exclusive interview after the match that he is confident that the empire biscuits at tea made a decisive contribution to the victory. ‘They give Carlton the cutting edge.’

Many thanks to Morton – game played in excellent spirits. Matches between these side are always a good tussle giving the huge crowd good value for their money. See you on the Meadows in July.

Scorecard

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Saturday 3rd May

ESCA Division 7
L Murrayfield DAFS 4
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Carlton 4
 

116 for 8

Harry Simpson 2 for 8

away

115 all out

Kevin Whitaker 57

Your correspondent will find it difficult. He therefore presents his ever sensitive readers with an anticipatory apology. He may find it impossible to stop himself using the J word. He recognises that use of the J word will offend and disturb in equal measure. The J word has rightly been exorcised from polite conversation among the sorts of person who are interested in the stirring deeds of the Carlton All Stars 4th XI. The J word is just not used. But as he walks the mean streets distant from the safe and civilised environment of Grange Loan your correspondent finds that the J word is in constant use.

Jeremy Clarkson is freely mentioned.

Your correspondent must apologise. He did not mean to use the J word there.

He had several attempts at not using it. He tried to stop it. He merely muttered it. Mumbled it. Sotto voce, as it were. He is not sure that he was there at the time.

Your correspondent is on his final warning. One more slip and he will be sacked. The online petition calling for him to be hanged drawn and quartered, or alternatively and more cruelly, subject to 24 hour leg spin bowling, has racked up an overwhelming response. [Any reader wishing to sign it can do so by contacting me. Ed]

Once again it has been made clear to your correspondent – there is no place for the mention of the J word in a Carlton match report.

There was little thought of the linguistic tightrope your correspondent might be walking as the specially chosen All Star XI assembled for the tussle with MDAFS at Roseburn. The All Stars welcomed new arrival Kumara Raja to their ranks and Cameron Ede became the first player with a birthday in 2003 to be capped. Hard bitten senior junior Tom Kujawa screwed up his eyes and biting on a plug of tobacco recalled the distant memory of his All Stars debut. He spat the juice in a long stream and said, ‘Skipper lost the toss by a mile.’

[Parents of junior members reading this should simply roll their eyes at this nonsense. It is pure fiction which unfortunately happens all too often in these reports, usually in descriptions of the actions of the skipper. They will see from this what the editorial staff is up against week in week out. Tobacco chewing is not a recognised part of Carlton lower XI warm up routines. However excessive consumption of Haribo may be. Ed]

Your correspondent would like here to apologise for the use of the T word. He recognises that it is offensive to many ears. In certain contexts it is as offensive as the J word. [Not offensive just enervating – everyone knows you’re now going to drone on for ages about all kinds of rubbish. Get on with it. Ed]

This is one of those contexts, for the All Stars skipper returned to his team with the unsurprising, yet still harrowing, news that he had lost the Jeremy Clarkson - by an embarrassing margin. As the skipper slumped wondering what went wrong – suspecting that the use of a low value coin by his opponent might have to be an issue to be raised with the Competitions Committee, if not the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, his team worked out that as a consequence Carlton would bat.

Even to those born in 2003, the soft artificial track with a heavily grassed outfield did not quicken the batsman’s pulse. And Carlton found it tough going. MDAFS bowling pinned them down and openers Neil Kirk and Gregor McIntyre were early victims. A strong partnership then developed between Kevin and Keith.

Keith soon found himself in the firing line and taking evasive action. Not from the bowlers. But from Kevin’s straight hits. ‘It’s so slow I can only hit it straight,’ said Kevin. ‘Does it have to be straight at me?’ said Keith as his dancing feet [What?! Ed] narrowly avoided a broken ankle for the third or fourth time. His charmed life could not continue. One of these rifle shots would get him and it duly did. The shot rang out and Keith went down. Poleaxed. Jeremy Clarksoned. Just like in the movies. Quentin Tarantino could not have directed it better.

‘Tell........ Mother.......,’ his words came haltingly from his dying breath, ‘tell........... Mother......... I died................ not out.’

Your correspondent commends the sporting attitude of the MDAFS boys at this point. With Keith prone three yards down the wicket the ball had ricocheted to land beside the stumps. There was no thought of running him out.

Keith came round. He picked himself up. He dusted himself down. He started all over again.

Kevin reached his 50 and was beginning to accelerate. He attempted another sweep against Hardeep Singh. An appeal..... and oh no, that Jeremy Clarkson of a Jeremy Clarksoning umpire triggered him. [It is understood that this villain was none other than the All Stars skipper. Ed] LBW.

Your correspondent apologises for the use of the L word. He recognises the L word is offensive to many clubs in the lower leagues where its use has been banned for many years.

Kevin out for 57. Keith followed not long after, second top score with a resilient 17, and the innings petered out to leave Carlton on 115 after 38. Would it be enough?

MDAFS presented a fine tea with a colour-coded-graph-assisted guide to the sandwiches (the prototype for a new app - SandNav). It was suggested to your correspondent that the absence of empire biscuits in the otherwise commendable spread might be regarded as unsporting. If deliberate, it could have a touch of the Jeremy Clarkson’s about it since it is well known in elite sporting circles that the All Stars bowling attack works best when fuelled by empire biscuits. On this occasion, they had to make do with scones and jam instead.

Carlton took the field knowing that they would have to bowl and field well to win this match. Kumara and Pete Gill opened the attack. Kumara (2-21) got rid of the openers although not before they had done some damage – 42-2. The match then became a war of attrition as Carlton chipped away at the wickets while the runs came slowly. Fine bowling from Gregor (2-19) Harry (2-8) and Tom Kujawa, and a dazzling direct hit run out by Neil took Carlton near to pulling it off at 96 for 8. But a rearguard action by skipper Rob Fortheringham held up an end allowing de Souza (35*) to score the runs needed to bring DAFS home in the 38th over.

Well done MDAFS – as with all close games, it could have been so different. A bad T*** to lose. Carlton were always just a few runs short on a surface which made scoring very difficult; a couple of catches went just inches too high for the juniors to reach.

Many thanks to MDAFS for a game played in excellent spirits. Well done to all the young Carlton bowlers who performed at a consistent high standard under great pressure. Excellent each and every one. They can only get better. As for the skipper and his declining skill level during the T***, there is only one thing to be said: J***** C******!

Scorecard

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Sunday 11th May, 2pm

ESCA Division 7
L Carlton 4
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v
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Dalgety Bay
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185 for 7

Kevin Whitaker 87, Murray Whitaker 24

home GL 219 all out

There was an intense buzz of speculation on the lips of many of the vast crowd as it assembled at Grange Loan yesterday for the exciting tussle between Carlton All Star 4th XI and Dalgety Bay.

It was, after all, 1112 years to the day since, on 11 May, 902 Alexander was crowned the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople. This was around the time that many in the crowd recalled they last saw Carlton’s ever popular, but reclusive, opening batsman Barnacle Barrett take a wicket. He is widely believed to have given up bowling around that time to concentrate exclusively on perfecting the forward defensive prod. Authorities consider that work is still in progress on that project.

A rumour had swept through the ranks of All Stars supporters that there were prospects of Barnacle turning his arm over in the course of the afternoon’s proceedings as withdrawals had thinned the bowling ranks of the All Stars. Cynics amongst them suggested that this was a mere ploy by Carlton’s marketing department wishing to swell the crowd beyond its usual size. The speculation ebbed and flowed around the boundary as the teams assembled.

Younger supporters sought some clarification on this obscure historic figure and his claims to fame. Scholars set out the record. And there were tears in many eyes as fans brought to mind epic scores of 2 made from 207 balls and exhibitions of lithe athleticism behind the stumps as Barnacle’s many heroic deeds were recalled.

Alexander was popularly (or not so popularly) known as Alexander III – to differentiate him from other imperial figures such as Alexander Ferguson and Alexander Salmond. Regrettably historians are pretty negative about Sandy the Third depicting him as lazy, lecherous and malignant. There is a tale that he planned to castrate his nephew the young Constantine IV to exclude him from the succession.

Comparisons with the All Stars’ skipper’s machinations to promote himself in the batting order were silenced as the man himself stepped into the arena alongside his opponent from Dalgety Bay for the customary ritual of the toss.

The crowd groaned. [Along with all the readers of this nonsense. Ed] They had seen all this before. Too many times. An endlessly repeating loop. The stuff of nightmares. The triumph of hope over experience. The outcome long predicted by sages. [Yes, yes, get on with it. Ed] Up went the coin. Down went the shoulders as another resounding defeat was recorded. An astonishing margin of defeat not seen since the days of the Byzantine emperors.

Dalgety Bay decided to bat. Would this be a decision they would regret as the wicket was still damp from an earlier shower?

If they had any doubts they were dispelled after the skipper’s opening over. Dalgety Bay’s openers started like a train refusing to be bamboozled by the All Stars’ skipper’s mesmerising mix of half trackers and half volleys. While Gregor provided some stability and common sense at the other end, the carnage could not continue. It took Tom Kujawa to show the way as he took two wickets in his first 2 overs. Ominously Murray Forbes was setting himself for his customary long stay at the Grange Loan crease. But Gregor came so close to having him - a slash outside off, the ball sped to point, Harry Simpson sprawled, he had it, things went into slow motion, he crashed to the ground, his elbows jarred and the ball dislodged. Oh! A collective sigh around the ground. What an effort! So near! Murray never looked back and would go on to reach his century in the 36th over. In the meantime the ball followed Harry around and one hard blow got him bang on the knee forcing him to withdraw – he had just taken a wicket, so the blow was doubly cruel as he was obviously on the point of cleaning the Dalgety Bay batting up.

Carlton’s thin bowling resources were already stretched and the crowd began to realise that the rumour of Barnacle’s return might have some substance. Their anticipation built up as Murray Whitaker went through a good spell (2-38). Tom Kujawa eventually got Murray Forbes caught in the deep by Eric Edwards for 100 – Tom ended with 4-43, including the miraculous event of the skipper holding a catch. But it was Barnacle who ended the innings, clean bowling big hitter Singh for his first wicket since 1112 AD. In the circumstances the celebrations were muted. For Barnacle's attempts to rip off his shirt to wave it around his head were defeated by his exhaustion at his bowling efforts.

This put the crowd in mind of the demise of Alexander III who died of exhaustion following a game of tsykanion. [The correspondent evidently expects readers to be familiar with this game – a form of polo popular among the Byzantine nobility. Ed]

Dalgety Bay all out for 218 – a big target to chase.

Carlton did not get the best of starts and after 4 overs were 4 for 2 as the openers succumbed to excellent opening spells from DB skipper Picksley (deadly out of the cherry tree at the bottom end) and young J Price. The Whitakers then put on a decent partnership with Murray keeping his Dad well in check. They had got the score to 67 when Murray was caught in 2 minds and top edged Newsom to slip. Ian Thompson, making his first appearance of the season, concentrated on giving Kevin the strike and the score moved along until Kevin holed out for 87. With 70 still needed off 10 overs, the ask was too much for the remaining batsmen. David Simpson on debut looked good until he nicked one to slip and a fine catch low down. Carlton then concentrated on securing the full batting points and the honour of not being bowled out. They finished on 185 for 7.

Many thanks to Dalgety Bay for an enjoyable game played in the best of spirits. Thanks also to David Simpson for stepping into the team at a late hour and to Team Allardice for setting out the tea so efficiently.

Scorecard

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Saturday 17th May

ESCA Division 7
L Clackmannan County 2
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Carlton 4
 

141 for 8

Pete Gill 2 for 15

away

137 for 9

Shaun Barrett 32

Readers of these columns will be aware that it was the great American journalist Ambrose Bierce who remarked ‘History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant.....’

This is a creed to which your correspondent has held firmly in his compilation of these match reports. He finds it inspirational. However in this report he ditches precedent for he has to deal with events that are mostly true and mostly important. He apologises for any adverse impact this will have on readers.

For the Carlton All Stars Fourth XI participated in a momentous historical event yesterday. Not a toss winning performance by the skipper – that would be an event beyond all probability. Readers would think that your correspondent was simply making it all up if he reported such a happening. [I hope that’s all that’s going to be said about this subject this week. Ed]

No, the toss was duly and comprehensively lost, by a margin that may well itself constitute a record. [We’re not interested any more. Ed]

Carlton being invited to bat, the innings was opened by Russell Weir, former President of Carlton, able assistant to the World Famous Doughty Groundsman, St Mirren supporter and a legend in his own household. Russell last played 5 or so years ago, but a series of strong hints to the skipper as he wistfully stood watching net practice earlier in the week indicated that the rigorous diet of tonic wine and empire biscuits over the winter had returned his athletic frame to something approaching his former glory and he was ready to do service.

And so, as he stepped onto the damp Arns at Clackmannan, history was well and truly made. Russell became, your correspondent is confident to assert, the first cricketer to play with players born in 3 different centuries.

As a twinkle-toed brilliantined youngster he played for Ferguslie alongside the veteran JBH Watson, one time Secretary of that club whose birthday was firmly in the glory years of Victoria’s reign in the 19th Century. Russell’s own glorious playing career was in the company of many of the 20th Century’s finest sledgers. Yesterday the All Stars had the usual complement of youngsters - all 6 of who were born in the 21st Century. 3 centuries all in one person.

It would have been understandable if the emotion of occasion had got to Russell. But he gamely got in line as if he had never been away. His youthful opening partner Tom Kujawa declined the 19th Century approach and essayed an expansive drive which looked good in every respect other than middling the ball and was caught behind. But Russell duly prodded and poked. He was joined by Barnacle and the crowd sat down to enjoy some PROPER CRICKET. The two veterans did not disappoint. Carefully they made sure that all their strokes went straight to fielders to minimise the risk that they would have to run to the other end. This was gripping stuff. A flutter of excitement went around the Arns as, with the assistance of extras, they accelerated to a heady run rate of 1 an over. In the 10th over the remarkable happened and Russell got off the mark. He then got the crowd on their feet by smacking one through the covers and scampering 2. [Scampering? You are making this up. Ed]

It was too much of a good thing. A half century seemed certain, but big fast bowler Campbell had other ideas. Having made Russell regret his assertion in the dressing room that he had never used a thigh pad - ‘It’s not what people from Paisley do,’- by thumping into his thigh a couple of times, he took out Russell’s leg stump. Carlton 30 for 2. The bruise on Russell’s thigh already glowing bright through his whites as he returned to the pavilion

Kevin and Shaun looked solid but boundaries were hard to find in the thickening drizzle. Just as he looked well set Kevin slapped one to midwicket to go for 28 and cause a set of jitters in all those who have him in their Fantasy team.

After Russell historically triggered Shaun for a resilient 32, debutant Broy Blood joined the skipper. Now Broy is a sensible and intelligent young man. He has wisely not exposed himself to danger or irrationality of any sort. He may have thought that the disaster of the lost toss was the only calumny that the skipper could bestow on him on this historic day. But no one had warned him of the skipper’s propensity for the suicidal single. After all Broy had observed the skipper for a couple of overs from the other end. He could barely move. A taxi was necessary to get him into line outside the offstump. Why on earth would he think he could get to the other end in less than 20 minutes? Why would he call ‘Yes’ when he stroked it more or less straight at mid off? Never run on a misfield his coach had told him. Broy backed-up-turned-back-backed-up-turned-back and to his horror still saw the skipper coming towards him. He turned again – dizziness was now overcoming him. There was nothing for it - he put his head down and charged. Most unluckily the throw flicked the bail to leave him run out by inches. The skipper was bowled for 14 shortly after that shameful event, which will be reported to the Children’s Commissioner, and it was left to David Simpson ably to see out the remaining overs leaving Carlton 137 for 9.

Fewer than the skipper would have liked but something to bowl at in difficult conditions. Russell became the first cricketer to have taken cricket tea with sandwich eaters born in 3 different centuries. He warmed his sausage roll on his throbbing bruise.

Calum Sibley and Pete Gill formed Carlton’s youthful opening attack and soon had the batsmen under pressure. Calum generated some impressive pace and got the edge - just too wide and fast for Finley’s brave effort but Pete had more luck in the 6th over when Shaun demonstrated his supreme juggling skills taking a catch at the third attempt. This brought Campbell to the crease and with Dodds they set about what would be the definitive partnership of the innings until Dodds retired out for 42 at 79 as he had pressing business elsewhere.

The skipper then had Campbell caught by David and there was a flicker of hope for Carlton. Broy showed great skill in the field and took a miraculous catch in the covers off the skipper’s bowling – well beyond the call of duty considering the run out. ‘You owe me skip......big time,’ he said with an icy stare.

It was evenly balanced – another 2 catches for Shaun, a smart pick up and throw from Calum and Carlton made some headway but Nicoles managed to relieve the pressure with a couple of boundaries and although Carlton got 8 wickets, they could not make the final breakthrough and a 4 from Nicoles ensured the victory for Clacks in the 34th over. Pete Gill was the pick of the bowlers with 2-15 and the skipper chipped in with 2-19. One wicket to Calum and Harry each was a disappointing return for their skilful efforts.

So, as Russell’s bruise shone into the night a beacon for all shipping, it was a sad end to this historic day of days. But even in the drizzle that drizzled throughout – ‘Just a summer’s day in Paisley,’ said Russell – a most enjoyable game played in the best of spirits. Well done Clacks who had just enough to get over the line.

Back to the drawing board for the All Stars skipper – four tosses lost out of four – the record books are being scanned for a precedent. It cannot go on.... [Neither can you. That’s all you’re getting. Ed]

Scorecard

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Saturday 24th May

ESCA Division 7
L Carlton 4
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v
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SMRH 3
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101 all out

Kevin Whitaker 32

home Pef

228 for 8

Ruairidh Main 3 for 49

While there are records of cricket being played in testing surroundings, such as the Antarctic and the Higher Alps, none presents so hostile an environment to the cricketer as Peffermill.

Your correspondent has reported before on events taking place in the bleak wilderness of Peffermill. This exposed vastness was briefly considered by Soviet cricket supremo Josef Stalin as the site for a labour camp, but he concluded it too hostile and opted for the Siberian tundra instead. It was also here that members of the Falcon Scott XI perished as they heroically, but futilely, attempted to return to the distant pavilion.

Your correspondent could only therefore look with sympathy on the Carlton All Star 4th XI as it assembled for its latest league tussle against league leaders SMRH3. Were there enough base layers and sweaters in the kitbags?

The skies were low, grey and menacing. [Is that not the skipper you are describing? Ed] The wind was from the east – reminding your correspondent that in Native American Iroquois culture [Oh no, here we go. Ed] , the east wind is said to be brought by the moose, whose breath sends down cold rains upon the earth. It is certain that the Iroquois did not play cricket when there was a lot of moose breath about. However the All Stars eschewed such folk wisdom, as they huddled against that moose breath to watch the ancient ritual of the toss. Anthropologists believe that the Iroquois, lacking coinage of any sort, had yet to discover the wonders of this ritual. It is thought that they decided who might bat or bowl by armed combat to the death between selected junior members of the respective tribes. It is a great honour to be so selected. The ESCA competitions committee is believed to be considering this as a viable alternative to the present approach. [You’re making this up again. Stick to the point. Ed]

It was at this point that the wheels fell off the All Stars wagon, or in a more fitting analogy, the huskies fell off their sled. The coin was flipped, the opposition captain called heads, the coin came down tails. The All Stars skipper looked bemused and asked his opponent what he wanted to do. ‘Er.......you won,’ he said, uncertainly wondering what he was dealing with here. ‘Eh?’ ‘I called heads – it’s tails – you won.’ This information took a while to sink in. ‘I won? Er.........what happens now?’ The opponent sighed, ‘You get to say whether you want to bowl or bat.’ ‘Do I? I’ve forgotten. It’s been so long. We’ll definitely bowl and bat. In that order.’

Subsequent proceedings suggest that the skipper’s tossing winning episode served only to disorientate the team beyond measure. For that was as near as they got to making an impact on the match. SMRH raced to 228 for 8; a significant score considering the heavy wet moose breath on the outfield. Bowlers struggled with the wet ball and the cross wind. Fielders’ frostbitten hands failed to grasp catches. Heads were down and body language unprintable for ones so young. There were few crumbs of comfort, although Dilip with 3 for 30 and Ruairidh Main with 3 for 49 had something to give their Fantasy investors.

Tea was excellent with Fiona Giles-Book bringing a plate of hot food and a chocolate cake just out of the oven. She should rack up the fantasy points for such an heroic effort.

Carlton’s innings gave even fewer highlights than their bowling effort. Only Kevin (32) and FB (19) managed any kind of resistance as the side were efficiently dispatched for a mere 101.

Well done to SMRH – worthy winners and consolidating their place at the top of the division. Of course they are well experienced in playing in Arctic conditions since they have to turn out every second week at Inverleith, the second coldest ground in the world. The moose breath is therefore their friend – an unfair advantage over cricketers from the sunnier uplands of Grange Loan.

Well, it’s only a game and no one died (the skipper carefully counted his side to ensure that no one had succumbed to exposure in the deep). But such a heavy defeat is disappointing. After due consideration, the skipper announced his resignation. [Don’t be melodramatic – he’s swanning off to the warmth of the New Zealand winter for 4 weeks. Ed] By some quirk your correspondent will also be absent for the next four matches. [Excellent, we’ll be spared any more of this rubbish for some time. Ed]

Scorecard

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Saturday 31st May

ESCA Division 7
L Broomhall 2
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Carlton 4
  152 for 2 away

148 for 9

Kevin Whitaker 93

Before he headed to New Zealand to support Scotland, and more importantly son Neil, in the IRB Junior World Championship, in a last act of unselfishness our leader Fantasy Bob scoured his social circle to identify a few select friends he could call on to maintain the highest standard of match reports in his absence.  This week the Guest Editorial has been written by Professor Paige Turner, Fellow of English Literature.  Paige's research interest is "Celebration of the Unreliable Narrative Voice in the works of Joyce, Faulkner & Woolfe".

MATCH REPORT CARLTON IV Vs BROOMHALL II (Paige Turner)

He is young Barnacle, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That ancient figure of then is truly seen, precious manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Morningside to Grange Loan, his cricket bag on him bandolier wise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a loving mother’s thought.

What a lark! What a plunge! For so it always seemed to me when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which I can hear now, I burst open the changing room door and plunged at Broomhall into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the mid day hue; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet solemn, feeling as he did, standing there at the pavilion gate, that something awful was about to happen …

Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward where the flags were and I went along the fence...they put the bails on, and they were hitting. Another put the pads on in and they went to the wicket, and he hit and the other hit. Then they went on…and on...

It partook, he thought, shifting his weight in the saddle, of metempsychosis, the way his humble life fell into moulds prepared by boundless temptations of cricket. Pineapple rock, lemon platt, biscuit reminders of an empire bygone, butter scotch. A sugar-sticky woman shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother. Some school treat. Bad for their tummies.

Or was it, he wondered, picking his nose, the result of closely studying the sentence structure of ambiguity? One had resigned oneself to having no private language any more, but one had clung wistfully to the illusion of a personal property of events. A find and fruitless illusion, it seemed, for here, inevitably came the limousine, with its Very Important Personage, or Personages, dimly visible in the interior. The umpire saluted, and the crowd pressed forward, celebrated youth and wisdom, murmuring ‘Martin’, ‘Kevin’, ‘Harry’, 'Tom', ‘all for the fisted arrow’.

For some seconds the light resurgent on becoming brighter and brighter, and they saw everything more and more clearly and the clock ticked louder and louder until there was a terrific explosion right in our ears. Findlay leapt as if he had been violently struck on the head. Four times it was struck. In fact it was four o'clock in the afternoon. It was the thirty first of May It was 2014. It was the present moment.

Findlay is recalled to the present moment by incredibly violent means. Like most of us, he usually spends time thinking about the past or the future and getting absorbed in his surroundings.

Once more I could see them hitting. They were coming again toward where the flag was and I returned back along the fence...they had taken the bails out, and they were hitting again. Then they put the pads back on and they revisited to the wicket, and he hit and the other hit. Then they again went on…and on...

I am I and you are you and I know it and you dont know it and you could do so much for me if you just would and if you just would then I could tell you and then nobody would have to know it except you and me and Fantasy Bob.  A face reproachful tearful an odor of camphor and of tears a voice weeping steadily and softly beyond the twilit door the twilight-colored smell of honeysuckle.

The final denouement, raising his eyebrows at the discrepancy—that was what he was thinking, this was what he was doing—ladling out soup—he felt, more and more strongly, outside that eddy.  Broomhall had won by 8wickets.

Scorecard

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Sunday 8th June

ESCA Division 7
  RH Corstorphine 3
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v
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Carlton 4
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    away  

RAINED OFF

This was a first for the 4th XI this season – a cancelled match. The volume of water that fell on Barnton the previous day proved too much for the square and the 4s had to sit idle in the Sunday afternoon sunshine. A case of what might have been.

We might have won the toss (with Bob on the other side of the planet it was a definite possibility). Keith might have made a stunning return to the side after nursing a troubling knee injury. He might have opened the batting, he might even have scored some runs on the off-side. Ruairidh might have opened with him, although he’d have had to master the art of time travel as his U13 match wouldn't quite have finished by the scheduled start time. Martin might have seen the ball like a beachball and smashed it to all parts in his own particular idiom. Ben might have finished where he left off last week and ended up second top scorer again. Kevin might have accumulated a few more fantasy points to help keep Murray at the top of the table.

Russell might have continued to roll back the years and open the bowling for the first time in many years (“many” in this case is in terms of the ancient Polynesian counting system of 1, 2 & “many”). Ethan might have joined him in opening the attack – making full use of a seaming track to take the first of many senior wickets. Tidy might have made his Carlton debut giving future match reporters plenty of scope for gratuitous wordplay. The stand in skipper might have had to bowl, a pastime he has cunningly avoided so far this season, much to the relief of anybody foolish enough to have picked him in their fantasy team. And finally Broy & Douglas might have batted and bowled with distinction. They might also have been the second set of brothers to take the field on the day and so the match might have seen a rivalry of sibling rivalries. What might have been...

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Saturday 14th June

ESCA Division 7
L Dunnikier 2
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Carlton 4
 

139 for 9

Tom Kujawa 4 for 17

away

106 for 6

Paul Kentish 33

Before he headed to New Zealand to support Scotland, and more importantly son Neil, in the IRB Junior World Championship, in a last act of unselfishness our leader Fantasy Bob scoured his social circle to identify a few select friends he could call on to maintain the highest standard of match reports in his absence. This week the Guest Editorial has been written by Michelin starred Chef and Restaurateur Charlotte Waffle who was a finalist in Masterchef - the Professionals 2011.

MATCH REPORT DUNNIKIER II Vs CARLTON IV (Lotta Waffle)

Saturday saw the all star fours dust off their passports and head over into fife to Kirkcaldy to play Dunnikier II. Skipper Alan Murray comprehensively won the toss and elected to bowl on a wicket resembling a moist spoke cake. The sodden outfield, heavily laced with a topping of buttercups, suggested it would be a low scoring affair. The all stars numbers were bolstered by the presence of cricketing legend Carter, who like Beyoncé and Oprah has achieved sufficient prominence amongst his peers to have earned mononymity.

Dunnikier's top order found Carlton's starters of Peter Gill and Tom Kujawa heavy going. A couple of early wickets for Tom and tasty line and length from Peter left the batters hoping that subsequent bowling changes would produce easier pickings. That wasn't the case as first Gregor McIntyre and then skipper Murray continued where the opening pair left off. At the half way stage Dunnikier were struggling at 46 - 5. In the 24th over, with the score at 51-6, Murray played his trump card and brought on old faithful Carter to bowl out his usual miserly spell, tie up one end and rotate the remaining four bowlers from the other end. Carter's first ball bounced three times and landed at second slip, accompanied by a horrible squeal...."gout?" inquired Kevin from first slip. Carter's second and final ball, accompanied by mild obscenities this time, looped high, dropped vertically and plugged a yard short of the batting crease. Carter's day was over, forced out with a shoulder problem and Murray's master plan was in tatters. Alan bowled out his four front line bowlers in the hope of taking the remaining wickets but none came and on 32 overs was required to bring in reinforcements. Paul Kentish, on all stars debut, and Barnacle came on to close the innings out. Paul looked like a bowler whereas the bloke from at the other end threw pies. Momentum in the last 8 overs was with the hosts and they ended on 139-9 off 40 overs. For Carlton, the frontline bowlers fared well: Gill (1-15) Kujawa (4-17) and Murray (1-11) with standout performances.

Cricket tea at Dunnikier is all about good taste: from the interior designers who have laid on a supremely elegant (and yet informal) setting; the soft backdrop of Tchaikovsky's cello sonata in E minor whose harmonies blend so well with the warm chatter (of players and umpires; young and old); of the sumptuous delicacies pon which you feast: open faced sandwiches, including smoked chicken with a dollop of guacamole, were light but satisfying, and balanced with refreshing palette cleansers such as fruit sorbet and lime apple jelly; cucumber and organic chicken sandwiches, scones to sigh for; perfectly formed pastries fusing the flavours of pears and walnuts, chocolate and crème brûlée; the requisite finger sandwiches with smoked salmon and hay roasted ham, alongside fresh raisin and apple scones and cakes on a tiered cake stand that also held mini eclairs and fruit tarts topped by another layer of macaroons and light, raison-infused scones sided with Marco Polo gelée. The sumptuous offering was paired nicely with the Silver Needle White Tea, a delicate infusion of cucumber, melon and other fruit flavours. Carter’s impeccably diplomatic advice for those unsure of where to start: “There is no one way to eat your scone, boys. It is only a matter of taste.”

The Carlton chase was pretty similar to the Dunnikier innings. Runs were accumulated, albeit slowly, on the heavily pock-marked pitch. Barnacle(15) and Tom(11) made steady progress before both were sent back by the first change bowlers. A key moment in the match was the dismissal of Kevin(10) caught behind off the first ball of M. Ahmed's spell. After completing a controlled wicket maiden, Ahmed proceeded to bowl an amazing combination of 16 wides/no balls in his second over. Carter umpiring at the time needed further physiotherapy on his injured shoulder after excessive signalling. The all stars, way behind the rate, were given brief hope by an aggressive 33 from Paul until he was run out ...after that the innings petered out and Carlton finished on106 -6 off their allotted overs.

Congratulations to Dunnikier, a well deserved victory, gracious winners, played in perfect spirits and we look forward to return on the Meadows in August.

 

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Saturday 21st June

ESCA Division 7
L Kirk Brae 2
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Carlton 4
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  158 for 9 away 126 all out
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Saturday 28th June ESCA Division 7
W
Morton 2
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v
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Carlton 4
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66 all out

Pete Gill 3 for 7, Adam McDonald 3 for 12, Murray Whitaker 3 for 16

away

67 for 5

Shaun Barrett 26*

Historians [Oh no – you’re back and you’ve started all that stuff already. Ed] have long speculated about the type of cricketer Gavrilo Princip might have been. There is a school of thought that had cricket been a sporting option in Bosnia Herzegovinia in the early years of the 20th Century, he might have found himself on Sunday 28th June 1914 warming up for a bowling spell against a rival village team. Perhaps not a league match but highly competitive in the Balkan fashion of the time. Cricket was played in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time – at least in Vienna – but had not spread to its wider regions. It seems likely [To anyone but you? Ed] that this fuelled tensions in the volatile Balkan region. The denial of cricketing entitlements was surely a trigger that explains why Princip, instead of carefully marking out his run up was huddled in the crowd in Sarajevo, with a pistol hidden in his pocket, waiting the passage of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of that hated Empire. But nor was Ferdinand known as a cricketer. Had he been, he too might have been elsewhere on that fateful day. A lot of suffering might therefore have been averted had cricket been allowed to flourish in those regions.

One hundred years to the day that Princip fired his shots, the Carlton All Stars 4th XI had these weighty thoughts on their minds as they prepared for their latest league tussle with old friends Morton 2 on the cricketing paradise otherwise known as the Meadows. The recognition that, by their participation in this fixture, they could avert another catastrophic World War was a heavy responsibility for young shoulders to bear. It is as well, therefore, that they welcomed back their perspirational skipper Fantasy Bob from a lengthy sojourn in the Southern Hemisphere. Before leaving he had successfully led his side to a commanding position at the bottom of the league table. A position they had ably consolidated in his absence, while maintaining, if not exceeding, the high standard of match reports. [Not only were they better, they were much shorter than what you typically produce. Get on with it. Ed]

The skipper inspected the playing surface with his opponent. It had many of the features associated with a cricket wicket. Principally that it was a grass surface surrounded by more grass. But it lacked the feature that cricketers generally welcome. Marked creases were distinct by their absence. No balls, stumpings and run outs would therefore be a matter of conjecture. [Are they ever anything else? Ed] Is there something sinister going on here? Unmarked notes are frequently requested by kidnappers for the payment of ransom. Are Edinburgh Council holding Morton CC to ransom by providing unmarked wickets? Or had someone simply mislaid the Council paintbrush on Friday? Forget the inquiry into the trams fiasco; the scandal of the unmarked Meadows wicket is surely a more pressing question.

Long experience has told the All Stars skipper that a dry Meadows wicket could be capricious – not easy to bat on. [Let’s face it, no wicket is easy for the skipper to bat on. Ed] This would be a good toss to win. [Oh no, here we go. Ed] As the skipper made his way to the middle, head spinning with confused thoughts of heads or tails, his opening batsmen prepared for the inevitable. They were just finishing strapping their pads on when the cry came from the middle. ‘Toss won – we’re bowling.’ Some of the junior members in the team had never been in a toss winning situation before. They fainted in shock. They looked for parental guidance. A more seasoned player shouted back, ‘We don’t believe you unless we see it in writing.’ Confirmation of the toss outcome was given by the opposing skipper. Pads were unstrapped and boxes ejected. Fainting juniors were revived. Carlton took the field.

The wicket, in all its unmarked glory, proved difficult. Seaming and spitting occasionally. Runs were hard to come by for Morton against accurate opening spells from Pete Gill and Gregor McIntyre. Pete struck the first blow before giving way to Mike Kennedy who took a wicket with his second ball. Mike was firing on all cylinders generating a fair bit of pace to warm young Ben Dulisse’s hands nicely behind the stumps.

But in Mike’s fourth over disaster struck. Something went all wrong in his delivery stride and Mike was on the ground clutching his knee and in great distress. With some difficulty he sat up. A cold pad was applied and he managed to straighten his knee. He was helped on to his feet. He put weight on it and immediately collapsed. He could not bend his knee. Phil McIntyre nobly volunteered to take him to casualty. He brought his car onto the field and Mike was gently lifted into the front seat and off. He texted a little while later to say that he had ruptured the tendon on his knee cap, an operation would be necessary, and that he would be unlikely to be able to bat. [We understand the operation is scheduled for Tuesday and all of us at Carlton wish Mike the best and a speedy recovery. Ed]

Drinks were taken during that extended medical interval with Morton making slow progress at 35 for 3 after 15. Carlton are grateful to Morton for offering a sub fielder until Martin Robertson hotfooted it from GL to field the rest of the innings. This he did with some distinction taking a blinding catch at short mid wicket off Murray’s bowling. He will forever be able to look at the sub in the scorebook and tell his grandchildren ‘That was me.’

Carlton’s bowlers continued to make life difficult for the batters. Adam went past the bat again and again and Murray asked all kinds of questions. Both ended up with 3 wickets. Ben snaffled the first of what are likely to be many Carlton catches off Adam and put in a super show behind the stumps. Pete came back to wrap up the innings – leaving the team’s leading wicket taker Tom Kujawa without a wicket for once. Morton were all out for 66. A startling fact is that no boundaries were conceded in the innings. A solid Carlton performance with good bowling from all the youngsters and catches – Al and Gregor to add to Ben and Martin - for once all taken. Pete 3-7; Murray 3-16, Adam 3-12.

Tea was an enticing blend of spicy treats, complemented by Mrs Gill’s banana cake. The forecast rain had not amounted to more than a shimmer of drizzle and things looked good from Carlton’s point of view. Not an easy batting surface but surely they would be able to do the needful.

Barnacle and Kujawa opened. Barnacle specialised in playing and missing while Tom hit solidly but straight to the field. In the seventh over a miracle happened. It is well known to scientists that Barnacle does not deal in boundaries. Singles are his thing. Indeed he can turn any easy 2 or 3 into a scrambled single, so adept is he. The world was therefore better prepared for Gavrilo Princip’s actions 100 years ago than it was for Barnacle’s action. He smacked a short one through square leg for a boundary. The first four of the day. Players from both sides rubbed their eyes. Were they waking or dreaming? What had they just seen? Had Barnacle overindulged on the onion bhajees at tea? Did he have his eyes open during the shot? Was he seeking to honour the fallen Mike Kennedy? We may never know, as he reverted to his comfort zone to play and miss the next ball.

A bowling change brought the wicket of Tom after a good effort. Murray was done by Sudesh’s slower ball which brought Kevin in. He had a look, thought he might as well get on with it and took boundaries off successive balls. This stirred Barnacle’s blood and he SCORED ANOTHER BOUNDARY [This is stretching credibility too much. Ed] Carlton eased into the 40s and the win was in sight. But then the competitive Farrell came on and suckered Kevin into holing out at long on. 44 for 3 and a bit of work to do. Adam played an effective foil to Barnacle to bring Carlton crawled into the 60s but was bowled. Al then decided that the skipper could not be allowed to get through the game neither bowling nor batting and sacrificed himself to Farrell. The skipper then imperiously [Oh come on. Ed] stroked the winning runs. Carlton won by 5 wickets, Shaun Barrett’s 26* being the rock on which the win was built. Well done all Carlton’s young bowlers in making the best use of the wicket.

For Princip, his day out in Sarajevo was as good as it got. Things didn’t really go his way after that. For the Carlton All Stars it will get better and the climb from the bottom has started. Thanks to Morton for their usual enjoyable and competitive approach to the match. Morton are pushing for promotion – good luck with that, but if you miss out we look forward to further enjoyable tussles next season.

The skipper has requested that this victory is dedicated to Mike Kennedy.

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Sunday 6th July

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4
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Murrayfield DAFS 4
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119 for 2

Gregor McIntyre 46, Eric Edwards 41*

home
GL

118 all out

Matthew Edwards 5 for 25, Gregor McIntyre 3 for 8

Your correspondent reports that Mike Kennedy, so seriously injured in last week’s Carlton All Star 4th XI victory on the prestigious Meadows, is on the way to recovery.  His knee was operated on last week and the medicos have pronounced themselves satisfied.  Mike is wearing a very flashy brace to keep his leg straight. It is a real high tech affair – it probably has sat nav and Freeview.  After a couple of weeks a magic switch will be pressed to allow his knee to bend 10 degrees, a week after 20 degrees, and so on until full recovery and beyond.   At the end of the process Mike’s knee will be able to do things that Mike’s knee never did before. Medics are confident that the forward defensive shot will be possible. 

So Mike is hopping around – a latter day John Silver.  He says a quick single is probably beyond him.  But since he only dealt in boundaries, there is no change there.  [And no change in you making that gag yet again.  Ed]

The medical bulletin heartened the members of the Mike Kennedy Tribute XI (previously known as the All Stars) who assembled for their tussle with MDAFS at Grange Loan.  They recognised that the large crowd which streamed through the gates would be sated with elite sport.  World Cup, Wimbledon, the Tour de France - the week has been full of action – penalty shoot outs, tie breaks and Cavendish crashes.  How could the Tribute XI offer anything to compare with this cornucopia?  They would have to be at their best.

To the Romans [Eh – what have they got to do with it?  Ed] might be credited this midsummer feast of sporting excellence.  For it was they who instituted the Ludi Apollinaires, generally thought to have been held on 6 July.  They were first held in 212 BC in honour of the God Apollo. The tradition goes that at the first celebration, they were suddenly invaded by the enemy, and obliged to take to their arms. A cloud of yorkers and googlies fell upon their enemies [Are you sure?  Other sources suggest darts and arrows. Ed], and the Romans soon returned victorious to their sports.  Your correspondent was wondering about the significance of this and whether he would witness a proper tribute to Apollo – he was only too aware of the distinction made by critics between the Apollonian and Dionysian impulses where the former is concerned with imposing intellectual order and the latter with chaotic creativity. He has to admit to a foreboding on this – for there had been precious little order in the approach taken by the Tribute XI’s skipper throughout the season.  Which is not to say that there was much creativity either.  But of chaos there has been lots. 

So what could your correspondent expect? [We expect you to get on with in.  Ed]  Apollo [Oh for Heaven’s sake.  Ed] was the god of the sun (amongst several other things) – and he certainly seemed to be present as Grange Loan slept in warm sunshine as the teams went through their strenuous pre-match rituals – finding that they’d left their socks at home, searching for their car keys, gingerly stretching that slight strain caused by last night’s leap from the sofa as Krull saved another penalty.

As far as your correspondent knows, the Ludi Apollinaires, or other Roman games, did not feature a toss (unless it was Christians tossed to the lions) [Oh Ha Ha.  And lucky Romans not having to read the pages of drivel about tosses which you’re now going to offer.  Ed]. 

Out the noble combatants strode to the middle, while their teams watched in keen anticipation.  From the distance of the boundary the eagle eyed could see the sun glint on the coin as the Tribute XI skipper skilfully spun it - high into the blue sky it soared.  Before landing on a perfect length.  [He’s never got anything on a length all season.  Ed] They tried to read the body language.  A murmur ran round them ‘He can’t have won again.  Can he?’  It seemed improbable. Wholly unlikely. Impossible. 

They put such fanciful notions out of their minds as the skipper returned.  ‘How much did you lose by this week then?’ a weary senior member of the team asked.  ‘’Miles, I bet.’  a junior, old beyond his years, suggested.  ‘Oh ye of little faith,’ retorted the skipper, ‘I won – not by much I grant you – but I still won.’  

It took some time for the team to recover from the shock. Two in a row. Had this ever happened before [Oh don’t bother telling us.  Just get on with it.  Ed]  Even then as they took the field to bowl there were some who disbelieved it. It must have been the opposing skipper who won.   After all who would not have chosen to bat on a perfect GL surface with a fast outfield and a short road side boundary?  Who would not want to feel the ball on the bat?  Who would have chosen to bowl? 

It seemed for a moment that the skipper had had an Apollinian moment – making a good choice to bowl as Matt Edwards (young Mahler to his Teamer followers) had instant joy – with wickets with his second and third balls.  But then the Dionysian crept in as Darren Kidd pummelled the bowling (and the roadside wall and houses opposite) to get the scoreboard spinning in a blur.  Shaz Gulzar, making a welcome return to GL after 2 years, felt Kidd’s wrath more than most.  After 10 overs MDAFS were 75 and Kidd had 50.  Then Matt struck again – with another 2 wickets in successive balls.  Kidd finally skied one and was well caught in the covers by Mike Scott.  Again the hat trick ball got close, but failed.  However that broke the back of the MDAFS innings.  Two more fine catches to Mike Scott – one plucked from the air as it zipped past him at shoulder height and another huge skier, which had all other fielders scattering to make sure they were nowhere near it when it landed.  Gregor replaced Matt – 5 for 25 – and proved too much for the remaining batting, finishing with 3 for 8.  Other wickets went to Pete Gill, who bowled with great control even when Kidd was at his most expansive, and Shaz, eventual reward for taking the brunt of Kidd’s hitting.  Only the skipper’s Dionysian ineptitude in the slips [For goodness sake, what was he doing there? His reaction times are measured in daysEd] undermined the fielding performance.  MDAFS were all out for 118.

Ian Thompson and Gregor opened the chase and made good progress reaching their 50 partnership in the 12th over.  Everything seemed serene until Ian was run out at the bowler’s end by a sharp direct hit from Mark Adamson.  Old Mahler (Eric Edwards) came in – and the vast crowd began to worry whether Gregor would have enough time to get to his deserved 50, such was Eric’s strike rate.  Gregor had played really well, with strokes all around the wicket, but at 46 he went back when he should have gone forward and was bowled.  What a pity not to get to 50 – next time for sure.  Kevin and Eric knocked off the remaining runs in double quick time as heavy grey clouds built up over the pavilion.  Eric 41* finished things off with a huge Mahlerian six.  And the first drops of rain came down as the ball fell from the trees.  The MK Tribute XI win by 8 wickets. 

And so Carlton’s Ludi Apolliniaes ended in a suitably Apollinarian victory but the basis for a Dionysian celebration – well a quiet contemplative beer in the pavilion anyway. [What are you on about?  Ed]

Many thanks to MDAFS for an enjoyable game – a reverse of the earlier fixture in outcome (and temperature).  Thanks to Phil McIntyre for setting out the teas so well –  and he could enjoy Gregor’s man of the match performance with ball and bat.  With successive victories the  MK Tribute XI are looking in good shape.  Holidays are now cancelled as they seek to consolidate their league position.

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Saturday 12th July

ESCA Division 7
L Dalgety Bay
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Carlton 4
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226 for 6 (40 overs)

Bob Irvine 3 for 45

away

118 for 4 (25 overs)

Kevin Whitaker 30, Shaun Barrett 28

Carlton lost on rain calculator

Anthropologists [Oh no, here we go. Ed] have made limited discoveries about the ancient civilisation that is believed to have populated the gentle slopes of Dalgety Bay in ancient times. However there is increasing evidence that the worship of an all powerful rain god may have been central to the community’s vision of the world. Parallels are increasingly being drawn to the Classic Mayan deity of Chaac, who was celebrated in cults that originated in pre-history but were still present when the Conquistadores arrived in Mexico.

Dalgety Bay evaded the worst of the Conquistador excesses, although its charming but reclusive native population was not to escape invasion by the rampaging Tescos. Despite the ravages of buy-one-get-one-free, your correspondent is increasingly of the view that the indigenous Dalgetians remained true to their native traditions, among which the central role played by the local rain deity, a Chaac like figure, was of critical importance. [Is this of any relevance to cricket, Carlton ...or anything in fact? Ed].

Unlike classical anthropologists, your correspondent has not dwelt for years with the Dalgetians nor observed their everyday ritual. However over a number of years he has observed their behaviour when they come into contact with the more advanced civilisation originating at Grange Loan. He thinks that this presents incontrovertible evidence for the survival of the cult of Chaac. For three times in the past three seasons has the rain intervened in the ritual engagement of these civilisations with the Carltonians in an advantageous position. Chaac has saved the Dalgetians and they are duly grateful and laud him with great honour in their chosen temple of the Hillside Tavern.

Your correspondent’s studies tell him that the Mayan ritual for invoking the rain deities, the Yucatec Cha-Chaac, included a ceremonial banquet in which four boys (one for each cardinal point) acting and chanting as frogs. An alternative form has young men and women lowered into wells and left to drown there. Or in a gentler version, thought to be more frequent in the Kirkcaldy side of the settlement, they were thrown into the wells later to be drawn up again, and give oracles.

Your correspondent acknowledges that he has yet to observe young men and women being lowered into wells in Dalgety Bay. But during his most recent field expedition yesterday, there was a ceremonial banquet involved – known in the local dialect as cricket tea – and there was quite a lot of noise at times which could be construed as froggy chanting. (This seemed to involve tribal elders particularly one venerated as the Coleman rather than boys, but it was uncannily similar to other examples of ritual froggy chanting familiar to your correspondent from long attendance at Edinburgh Festival events.)

A mild invocation to Chaac had delayed the start of proceedings at Dalgety Bay Sports Centre by 20 minutes or so through a light drizzle. A critical delay given later events.

Your correspondent does not know what deity the Carlton Mike Kennedy Tribute XI invoked to secure an unprecedented third toss win in a row. Victory by a huge margin it was reported to a disbelieving team. Such triumphalism by the skipper may not have been wise – it may, in the circumstances have done no more than provoked Chaac.

The MK Tribute XI took to the field with a record three father-son partnerships in the make up – Robertson, Simpson and Whitaker. So the expedition had plenty of boys to put down wells, should that be necessary. It is only through a characteristic lack of imagination on the part of the skipper that this option was not considered.

Play started in a slight drizzle, which thickened and then lifted towards the end of the innings. The Tribute XI soon found life in the field tough. Not only was the grass slippery but the surface was lightning fast (Chaac is also in many theologies the God of thunder and lightning) and uneven here and there. Shots raced to the boundary – speeding past, through, over, round and under fielders. Catches were put down, one after the other – opposing skipper Picksley was given 5 lives in as many overs.

Only Al Murray seemed to have sticky fingers, as he took a good catch off a firm drive of opener J Price to give Carlton their first wicket – reward for a good opening spell from Gregor. DB made rapid progress and were 104 for 2 at drinks with Simon Kirkman on a well managed 50. Carlton’s fielding did not improve in the second half. It had all the steadiness of a Brazilian world cup defence.

The skipper finally removed Kirkman – caught and bowled – for 94, an act of jug avoidance that was to cost him heavily later in the Tavern ceremonies invoking Chaac. That was the skipper’s 3rd wicket – 3 for 45. [So he got smacked about a bit as usual. Ed] DB ended their innings 226 for 6 – Gregor 2-29 and Murray 1-45 were the other wicket takers. Harry Simpson and Saif Khan remained luckless despite bowling many good balls. Al Murray’s the golden arm who the skipper mindlessly did not deploy. David Simpson put in a tireless shift in the field.

A good total for the Chaac worshippers – but Carlton felt - they felt that they had limited the damage on an outfield that gave more than full value for shots. Nevertheless errors in the field awarded DB a big bonus – perhaps 30 runs. Chaac observed the ceremonial banquet which ensued and chuckled lowly to himself. But if boys and girls were lowered down wells, they were not observed by Carlton players.

But invoking the spirit of Mike Kennedy Carlton thought the total should be gettable on the surface. Carlton’s innings began well as Shaun clipped his first ball for 4. [What – that’s invoking the spirit of Mike Kennedy a bit far - did someone put something in his tea? Ed] But the pace slowed as DB’s bowler’s found their line and length. Some short stuff from Picksley thudded into Shaun’s manly chest. He rebuffed the fielders’ concerns, ‘My wife hits me harder than that.......’

Meantime Chaac was gathering himself and the rain began. The scoring accelerated as Kevin came in, and Carlton were beginning to catch up with the run rate. At 20 overs the rain was still quite light. But it got heavier, Carlton accelerated again, but the frogs began to croak. The rain became steady. Bowlers feared for their safety – and their averages. Chaac was rampant.

Play was abandoned after 26 overs – a disappointment for the Mike Kennedy Tribute XI, who were nearing the rain target with the skipper and Martin Robertson in full flow - but they were still short at 118 for 4.

In the last 2 seasons, the records show that Chaac saved DB from a poor position. This season he has gone further and secured victory for them. Anthropologists have yet to ascertain whether Chaac has power over fielding. It would not surprise your correspondent such was the poor standard of Carlton’s efforts – there must have been some supernatural forces at play.

The 20 minutes lost at the start might also have been critical. But that is the charm of elite sport – it is full of might have beens. [And, in your case, has beens Ed]

Good luck to DB for the rest of the season. See you in sunshine next year.

Scorecard

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Saturday 19th July

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4
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Clackmannan County 2
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113 for 3

Kevin Whitaker 63, Murray Whitaker 21

home Pef

112 all out

Murray Whitaker 4 for 18, Bob Irvine 3 for 31

The Water Babies, the classic children’s novel by Rev Charles Kingsley, was first published in 1863. It is perhaps no coincidence that that was the same year as the Carlton Cricket Club was founded. For Kingsley’s novel has long been regarded as an important stimulus to the campaign against exploitative child labour, a significant evil of the time. Carlton’s founding fathers evidently took its messages to heart and did not prevail cruelly upon their junior members to trek from fine leg to fine leg, or expose them to the ravages of Scottish summer weather.

Sadly, Kingsley’s ‘Fairy Tale for a Land Baby’ has rather fallen out of fashion. It has been Pottered and Lemony-Snicketted out of the market place. And, on the evidence of what he saw yesterday, your correspondent fears that Carlton’s cricketers may have forgotten its important messages. Human rights lawyers will easily refute those cricketers’ argument that in order to understand what Kingsley was on about it is necessary to become a water baby. They will point out that many generations have succeeded without such extreme of literal mindedness. [Previous generations did not have Fantasy Bob to deal with. Ed] They will establish beyond reasonable doubt that it has not been necessary for readers to be subjected to a near drowning experience on a cricket field to support the Factory Acts. Yes, the lawyers will have a field day. [As usual. Ed]

The ring leaders of this child exploiting cabal will surely be condemned for what they are. They may plead in mitigation that they did what they had to do in tribute to Mike Kennedy, one of their hideous band so traumatically injured in a recent exploitation exercise. They may utter in their defence that they were aided and abetted by a partner in crime from Clackmannanshire 2 (who cannot be named for legal reasons but who is known to friends relations and the tax authorities as Scott Bisio) who, apocalyptic weather forecasts notwithstanding, sportingly (they will allege) agreed to travel and to have a go at a 30 over match to see how far we could get. [This has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy. Ed]

Fantasy Bob’s golden tongue may have seduced Scott and his troops to Peffermill with tales of sunshine dappling the meadow and balmy breezes stirring the mid-summer heat. [FB seems to have read too many VisitScotland promotional leaflets. Ed] These proved to be a slight exaggeration of the conditions actually found on arrival, conditions that were certainly playable but there was a lot of moisture in the air.

Exhausted from these efforts and from his exertions of leading a crusty selection of older cricketers against an Australian touring party earlier in the week, [I suppose you want me to make a reference to your match report of that occasion too. Ed] FB ceded control of the afternoon’s events to Kevin Whitaker who promptly won the toss, declined to dwell on the margin of his victory, and inserted Clackmannanshire 2 [If that’s all we’re going to get on the toss this week, can Kevin be skipper more often. Ed]

The Mike Kennedy Tribute XI had an even greater family feel this week – 2 Simpsons, 2 Whitakers and 3 McIntyres – as Phil and young Rua nobly answered the call from late call offs. Rua became the youngest player to play league cricket for Carlton at 9 years, 10 months and 10 days. He strode onto the field of play, looked FB in the eye and said, ‘I’ll take the Arthurs Seat end when I come on, skip.’

On the face of it, there is not a lot of similarly between FB and Stuart Broad. One is the pouting poster boy of world cricket, and the other plays for Notts and England. But yesterday’s opening spell by FB had many of the characteristics of Stuart Broad – it was a struggle to find the right length. FB took several attempts to comprehend Kevin’s suggestion that the waist high full toss was not the right tactic – his efforts at this delivery were smashed for miles by Clacks’ opening batters. Clacks therefore made rapid early progress until FB found the right length to bowl both openers in successive overs – Dodds 23, Carman 28. FB finished his spell with 3-31. Gregor bowled brightly but without luck at the other end. Murray then made major roads into the middle order – assisted by a fine diving catch at point from Phil McIntyre , skilfully rolling his body under the slippery ball. Murray – 4 for 18, another excellent performance from him.

Harry Simpson was once the youngest player to play for Carlton. He has relinquished that honour and is now a seasoned campaigner and showed his skills with 2 for 14 off his 5 overs. [I take it you are not going to mention that a certain senior player put a dolly down to deprive him of a third? Ed]

It was then that Rua marked out his run up. Stretched his hamstrings. Warmed his shoulder up. Adjusted his field. Ran up and put the ball on a length. [Well, what else did you expect? None of that FB waywardness from these youngsters. Ed] Rua bowled 2 well controlled overs before the first ball of his third comprehensively bowled Clacks’ last batter. He thus becomes the youngest player to take a wicket in senior cricket for Carlton. ‘The beers are on me after the match,’ he said.

Clacks were all out for 112 after 27.1, overs with skipper Bisio left stranded on a resolute 21. Not a bad effort in a damp outfield. As usual the picnic table groaned with provender – pride of place of which goes to Kerry Simpson’s lemon drizzle cake. A nice touch baking to match the weather – for it was a bit damp at that point. Proper Scottish picnic weather.

As Carlton’s response got underway, the mist came down. [What do you mean – looks a fine summer’s day from the photo. Ed] Arthurs Seat had long disappeared. The Gilmerton flats faded from view. Shadowy figures leapt out of the fog – spectres? ghosts? chimera? No, just deep fine leg checking that play was still going on and that he’d not been abandoned in the mist they rest of the team found drier things to do.

Shaun started in fine fashion again. [You’re not going to tell me he got off the mark with a powerfully struck boundary or some such hokum are you? Ed] He got off the mark with a powerfully struck boundary. [I’m staggered. Ed] Murray followed suit, and pair were going along nicely until Murray was bowled off his legs by Dodds for a sprightly 21. Gregor was LBW shortly afterwards as the rain became stronger. Shaun then fell on his rear turning and was run out, but the momentum was with Carlton and Harry Simpson marshalled Kevin’s aggression (63*) to secure the victory making the winning hit in the 21st over.

This was a form of madness to carry on as the conditions got worse. There is no shelter at Peffermill so there were 22 drookit Water Babies who made their way from the field, shamefully thinking that they could have read Kingsley a bit closer and making a mental note to write to their MSP about cruelty to young cricketers as soon as they dried out. The cricketing gods have ordained two damp games between Carlton and Clacks this season, honours have been even with one victory apiece – and very enjoyable tussles they have been too.

Many thanks to Scott for travelling and giving it a go and good luck to his young squad

Scorecard

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Saturday 26th July

ESCA Division 7
L SMRH 3
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Carlton 4
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217 for 8

away

215 for 8

Kevin Whitaker 63, Michael Scott 39

There is much that can be said about the opening ceremony for Commonwealth Games. Too much has already been said so your correspondent will not dwell on the moments of horror he felt at the start of the event. He notes that the occasion was saved by the arrival of Robbie Shepherd, broadcaster, Chieftain (or something) of the Braemar Gathering and one of the North East of Scotland’s finest. An honour he shares with Fantasy Bob. FB therefore suggested to your correspondent that rather than his usual drivel of a match report [An assessment we all agree with. Ed], it would be better if in honour of Mr Shepherd’s achievement he could be invited to do the report for the glamour fixture of Carlton’s Mike Kennedy Tribute XI’s latest tussle with league leaders SMRH 3.

Ever the gentleman, Mr Shepherd agreed and provided the following report - should any readers wish to sing it it broadly takes the tune of the great North East Bothy Ballad Nicky Tams

Fan Carlton cam tae Inverleith, the sun wis affa hot
Twenty p’ints wis fit they socht but nine wis a they got
They hid tae stan aboot a bit afore they could begin
Cos Kevin lost the toss, the gype, so Carlton wis pit in

Thon Barnacle Chiel he opened things wi Kevin’s young loon Murray
The score wis going steadily but Barnacle needs tae hurry
Murray’s caught and Ruairidh Main moves quickly on to twenty
But he is oot jist fan he thinks he could be on for plenty

Noo Kevin’s in an hittin oot, the run rate’s starts tae smile
But Barnacle’s o’er slow for him an’ he’s rin oot by a mile
Martin Robertson is next an he can score real quick
But the feel is caught for nought, an a’body feels sick

But Carlton didnae dae sae bad and were gettin near twa hunner
Fan Kevin pulled a muscle, an that wis sic a scunner
He’d sixty three rins to his name, an’ wis really goin’ well
But he couldna barely mo’e himsel and he wis bowled by Bell

David Simpson he excelled and he scored twenty five
Fan Michael Scott wis dropped on nought he wis kept alive
So he blasted a’thin a’wye and he soon had thirty nine
But - the rain began an’ Mike got oot, which wisnae a that fine

Carlton’s score o’ twa fifteen wis nae cause for despair
But Fant’sy Bob’s a pessimist and winted a puckle mair
The rain wis comin stead’ly doon as Carlton’s field gangs oot
The ba’ wis weet, the grass wis drookit, so the fielders skite aboot

But Saif and Gill make a tidy start and SM find scorin’ hard
Saif he gets the ba’ tae dip an’ LBs Vic Coltherd
Then FB dis the same tae hae Sukamar triggered
Fan Murray juggles a c&b, SM are lookin’ jiggered

Sev’nty for three, Carlton feel they’re on the way
But Campbell ‘n’ Malik think itherwise and they begin tae play
A stand o’ ower ninety rins pits Carlton on the rack
But Malik’s rin oot by Mike Scott and suddenly Carlton’s back

Runs an wickets come the gither, the rain is nae receding
Can Carlton squeeze the last pair oot? Twa wickets a’ they’re needin
We’re in the very last over noo, and only 3 is needed
Dry smacks it square an’ that’s the game an Carlton’s is defeated

Mony thanks tae SM’s loons who played the game well fair
Good look wi’ yer promotion and we’ll miss this game next year.


And many thanks to Robbie Shepherd.

Scorecard

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Saturday 2nd August

ESCA Division 7
  Carlton 4
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Broomhall 2
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RAINED OFF

Rain sweeping across Edinburgh all morning put paid to the enthusiasm of Carlton’s players for another 6 hours soaking in the shelter-less expanses of Peffermill, compelling though the view of Arthur's Seat in the clouds is to each and every one of them.

As the rain dashed against his window and reports of cancelled matches tweeted through cyberspace, your correspondent found himself reflecting that all around the East League, and possibly beyond, were tosses that would be left untossed. What happens to them?

A toss won is cherished and cared for – taken out on dark winter evenings to be polished and made the centre of conversation at polite dinner parties. A toss lost is obviously lost, its existence is not doubted - it joins all the other lost tosses in a coin-operated Neverland.

But an untossed toss is something different. Will each untossed toss become a tossed toss in due course, perhaps next week? In which case what happens to the tosses originally prepared for that week? Is there a danger of an oversupply of untossed tosses? Can a skipper be confident that the correct toss has been used?

Or do untossed tosses simply fade away – like so much mist in the morning, dew on the grass or smoke on the water. [For goodness sake, what have Deep Purple to do with it? Ed]

When the untossed toss is tossed, will the outcome be the same as it would have been if the untossed toss had been tossed before it became untossed? [Who gives a toss? You’d still lose it. Ed]

Your correspondent must leave these vital questions to philosophers and quantum physicists. He is sure that the answers can be found. But whatever conclusion they reach about the toss, the outcome of this unplayed match leaves the MK Tribute XI in a mid table position as the final weeks of the season begin.

Quantum physics suggests that all possible universes exist at anyone time. There is a universe in which the Tribute XI win all their remaining matches [As opposed to tosses. Ed]. Out there. Somewhere. All that is needed is to find it.

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Sunday 10th August, 2pm

ESCA Division 7
  Carlton 4
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RH Corstorphine 3
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    home GL  

RAINED OFF

Reprinted from the local press:  

BERTHA CAUSES WIDESPREAD DISTRESS

Your Correspondent Reports  

Hurricane Bertha caused devastation at well known beauty spot Grange Loan today.  

After a month’s rain fell in a minute, the season’s glamour fixture between the Mike Kennedy Tribute XI, previously known as the Carlton All Star Fourth XI, and local rivals,  RHC 3, was cancelled without a sandwich having been eaten.  

Among the victims of the storm were scores of empire biscuits left abandoned as the waters rose. It was also reported that several Tunnock’s Teacakes had to be humanely destroyed – there being no Commonwealth Games Ceremony to donate them to.   Veteran Barnacle Barrett told your correspondent of his narrow escape, ‘I was just on my way to the shop to purchase a bargain family sized pack of chocolate fingers when a well timed text from the skipper saved me – and the chocolate fingers – from a fate worse than death.’  

However some were not so lucky.  A tearful Keith Murray gave an exclusive statement to your correspondent .  ‘I am still in shock.  I had just finished putting my cheese and chutney sandwiches in cling film when the call came.  10 minutes earlier and the tragedy could have been averted.’    Mr Murray also said he was considering legal action to recover lost fantasy points.  ‘It looks like proper procedures may not have been followed,’ he added.  

Social media were overwhelmed as many struggled to come to terms with the devastation. ‘This devastation is devastating.  I’m devastated,’ said one tweeter.  

Another said,  ‘We thought last week was bad when we got a lot of guff about untossed tosses, but this is disastrous.’  [I think we all agree with that.  Ed]

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Saturday 16th August

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4
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Dunnikier 2
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108 for 3

Shaun Barrett 48*, Keith Murray 25*

home Pef

104 all out

Angus Beattie 3 for 30, Bob Irvine 2 for 10

The vast crowd assembling at Edinburgh’s prestigious home of cricket, the Meadows, buzzed with anticipation. They had come for the LadyBoys of Bangkok, but on finding that the glamour fixture between the Carlton Mike Kennedy Tribute XI and Dunnikier 2 was due to get underway shortly, they had decided that this was entertainment that no fan of the slim-hipped, the lithe and the athletic could miss.

However consternation was soon to break out. The crowd was faced with an impossible choice. For the ever diligent Fixture Secretary had arranged two venues for this match – a tasty strip at the Meadows lay fresh and green but a pitch at Peffermill had also been booked. Speculation was rife as to whether this was this part of some radical new plan to pep up cricket – if each team had a pitch to itself would a more thrilling contest be secured? The debate was keen. Was the dual pitch option part of the chimerical Plan B that has dominated the sports pages recently. Or was it just a cock-up? Your correspondent is, as on all issues of substance, undecided.

However the teams reached rapid agreement that they would prefer only one pitch, and opted for Peffermill, leaving the Meadows to the slim-hipped and overly-sequined. [Surely you don’t mean Morton 2s. Ed]

The sky was grey with flecks of blue and darting sunshine. Your correspondent tightened the zip on his wind-cheater. A howling gale, described locally as a light breeze, blew energetically across the open expanse of Peffermill. But at least Arthurs’ Seat was in view, unlike on the last appearance of the MK Tribute XI to this hallowed ground. Perfect cricketing weather.

As the captains came out to the ground your correspondent’s senses keened. Two long inactive weeks had passed since he had last had the opportunity to observe the solemn beauty and splendour of the toss. [Oh no, here we go. Ed] If only all those fans who stayed with the LadyBoys knew what they were about to miss they would surely not have stayed on the Meadows. [Um is that what you really think? Ed]

But what is this? A sense of horror comes over your correspondent. There is no handshake; there is no striding to the middle; there is no sweeping the back of the hand across the surface; no gentle prodding with the foot. There is no reaching into the pocket for a coin. There is no coin spun Heavenwards and careful inspection as it lands. There is no gesturing – gesturing known the world over - to the bowlers or the opening batters that they should prepare. For the toss has happened indoors in the changing room, a good taxi ride from the playing arena.

As he recovered his shock, witnesses assured your correspondent that a fair and valid outcome to the process was obtained - Carlton won. They were not prepared to divulge the margin of victory. Dunnikier were asked to bat.

Carlton welcomed the return of Angus Beattie, the snarl back on his face after a long spell off with injury, and he opened with Pete Gill in a strong cross wind which tested the youngsters’ control of line. Dunnikier’s openers rode the opening overs comfortably, but Angus began to get the range and made the first breakthrough trapping Yousaf LBW – the second loud appeal off successive balls convincing the young umpire that something was up. His finger.

The skipper came on to chip in a couple of wickets as Dunnikier found the going tough, although Naseem dealt well with all he was given. But Carlton’s fielding was lacklustre and they would have made greater progress had catches stuck and run out chances been grabbed. It was Murray who suffered most from the drops.. Your correspondent understands that he is still in negotiation with Kevin about his pocket money compensation package for Kevin’s miss at slip off a sharp chance (Murray’s affidavit reports that it was a simple dolly – Kevin’s that it was coming fast and low to his right and only his superhuman reflexes meant that he did well to stop a certain four and anyway Murray needs to clean up his bedroom floor before any further talk of pocket money can be undertaken. Your correspondent is, as on all issues of substance, undecided.)

Nevertheless wicket by wicket the MK Tribute XI made headway. Good catches by Martin and Murray and a smart piece of fielding by Shaun for a run out, made up for the earlier flatness and Dunnikier were all out for 104. Wickets were shared around, 3 for Angus (3-30), 2 each for Gregor (2-16) and the Skipper (2-10) and one for Pete (1-18).

The wind continued and the clouds lowered as Ruairidh and Shaun began Carlton’s innings. Ruairidh had been timing the ball well when he got too eager to smash a half tracker, played a day early and was bowled. Murray similarly looked solid but was caught in two minds and pushed half heartedly - midwicket took a good catch to his right. Martin Robertson had just got his range finders in focus and was targetting the railway line when he alone saw the possibility of a run from a push into the covers. Shaun politely but firmly declined, and followed it up in writing in case of doubt. Martin was run out, and at 40 for 3 there was some work still to do. Which Shaun and Keith duly did.

As the drizzle began, little was on offer to commend itself to fans of the Lady Boys and their search for glitter and and sparkle. There was none of that. It is as well they stayed in the Meadows. This was attritional cricket of the sort that won two world wars.

The two veterans, slim hips a long distant memory, did the job and inch by inch Carlton closed on the target, finally getting there in the 29th over when Shaun smashed a short one down wind for four. Carlton win by 7 wickets, Shaun 48* Keith 25*.

In a tearful post match address to his adoring fans, Keith paid moving tribute to his crumbling knee which has limited his appearances this season. It was the knee’s last appearance in public. For Keith will go under the knife shortly to return next season a new bionic super-Keith with turbocharged knee capable of all manner of wonders. A new world of possibilities will open. The tango, the paso doble, the Highland Fling, the cover drive. Your correspondent is sure all Carltonites join him in wishing Keith all the best for the procedure. [Hear hear. Ed]

Dunnikier, fielding a weaker side than they usually muster at home, had tried hard and with positive spirit. Their appealing was an entertainment in itself. Properly orchestrated and choreographed it may well inspire a routine in the next Lady Boys Show.

[That’s enough of this rubbish. Readers will wish to know that the editorial team is overwhelmed with letters of complaint from Fantasy managers who have Kevin in their team that the skipper’s batting order denied their hero the opportunity to consolidate their chances of the prize. They allege empire biscuits have changed hands to drop him down the order. A full inquiry is underway. Ed]

Scorecard

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Saturday 23rd August

ESCA Division 7
L Carlton 4
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Kirk Brae 2
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127 all out

Kevin Whitaker 64

home M

141 for 7

Every cricketer should be made to play at the Meadows at least once. One game and you are left for life with stories to entertain your grandchildren as they listen disbelievingly and wide eyed, leaving the rest of your career to concentrate on the game itself.

The fun started mid-morning when our magnificent leader Fantasy Bob was informed that Edinburgh Council*/Edinburgh Parks Commission*/The Wee Guy in the Hut*/Martin Robertson* (*delete as appropriate) had failed to prepare a pitch for us at the Meadows. This was the first time that many of us learnt that pitches were, in fact, prepared at the ancient home of cricket. Armed with a spray gun of white wash and an 8 foot rule I marked up my first cricket pitch – I was pretty proud of my efforts. With the extra white wash I painted “Fantasy Bob says Better Together” in a 9 foot font at deep fine leg. As with any time invested at the Meadows you learn a life lesson…”Never mark up a cricket pitch in a pair of shoes you want to wear again in public”. I now possess a pair of white toed brogues ...the last time I saw a pair like this they were being worn by Oswald Cobblepot (aka the Penguin) in Batman Returns.

FB was absent, watching son Neil making his debut for Melrose (priorities Bob!) and in his absence Kevin took the toss, won it by a country mile and in tribute to Bob elected to bowl first on a swampy wicket.

Kirk Brae’s opening pair batted steadily against Matthew Edwards and Gregor McIntyre accumulating 48 runs over the first 12 overs until the rain came. Just to quantify the degree of precipitation go see “Noah” at a cinema near you. If you can look past the ridiculous casting of Russell Crowe as Noah, Jennifer Connelly as Mrs Noah and Emma Watson as their daughter Naameh (clearly a Morningside girl judging by her posh Mesopotamian accent) the rainfall that precedes the apocalyptic flood was a fraction of what fell at 14:00. Noah had time to build an ark and assemble “two of every living things of all flesh, of every sort of fowls, cattle, and creeping things”… we didn’t have time to bring in the tea from under the scorer’s table. An early, soggy tea was taken and play resumed, after a 90 minute delay, in a revised 32 overs per side match.

The first wicket fell soon afterwards…Haroon smote Mike Scott towards the heavens at long off where Eric Edwards took an incredible juggling catch…even the theme tune from Benny Hill that roared out from the neighbouring “Ladyboys of Bangkok” show tent could not detract from a fine catch. Wickets fell steady for the rest of the Kirk Brae innings. There was still time for a couple of magical Meadows moments…”we asked for sawdust and a guy turned up with a bale of Hamster bedding bought from a local pet store” and “after a succession of dot balls from Murray, skipper/father Whittaker the elder announced “on your toes boys he’s about to pop one up”, batsman Hassam duly obliged next ball lobbing the simplest of catches to Kevin”. The Kirk Brae innings ended on 141 – 7. Matt Edwards (7-2-24-0), Gregor McIntyre (7-1-15-1), Peter Gill (6-0-25-1), Murray Whittaker (7-0-33-2) and Mike Scott (5-0-37-2) shared the spoils.

After a rapid tea-less turn around Carlton began the chase. On a wicket that had become swampier, after the flood, runs were hard to come by against a fine spell from Raja and Khalid. Ruairidh (2), Murray (3), Eric (0) and Shaun (8) fell cheaply. Carlton’s innings was rebuilt by a fine partnership of 58 between Kevin and Mike Scott (14) before Mike was bowled by one that came in on the spring tide. Matt (9) and Kevin continued to take the fight to Kirk Brae but once Kevin holed out at cow corner for a fine 64 the game was over. With more appeals than Barnardo’s, Kirk Brae’s over exuberance took the edge off the game …when deep square leg on the boundary was the only fielder to contest a wide it was clear that the spirit of the fringe was alive and well. Carlton ended on 127 all out, after Pete was run out off the final ball, Kirk Brae running out worthy winners by 14 runs.

Congratulations to Kirk Brae on the victory and on their promotion to Division 6 which was already secured.

Scorecard

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