Carlton 4th XI 2016 Fixtures and Results


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Sunday 1st May 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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v
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Dunbar
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157 for 4

Eric Edwards 82, Bob Irvine 30*

home GL

114 all out

 Your correspondent picks up where he was so rudely interrupted at the end of last season:

……………..that his examination of fin de siècle scoresheets for Viennese clubs has not discovered any record of bowling spells by the great composer.  This can only mean one thing.  He played under an assumed name, which will make the task of discerning his bowling action even more formidable than it previously seemed.

[Editor’s note – readers who have not ventured to these pages before can be forgiven for wondering what madhouse they have wandered into.  If they hoped for a simple account of the cricket match played at Grange Loan on 1 May 2016, they will have to work hard to discern what happened on the field of play.  For many of a weaker disposition the task will prove beyond them and the might give up and find something better to do now.  Perhaps the dog needs walking.  Readers who wish to venture further have been warned.  They may be wise to carry a nourishing snack and a compass. ]

Cricket was far from your correspondent’s mind [Who’d have guessed it?  Ed] as the weekend began with snow and hail storms across the country.  It looked unlikely that on Sunday he would find himself at Grange Loan watching the newly promoted Carlton Positively 4th XI cut their teeth in the sport’s elite levels of ESCA Div 6. But May Day dawned clear, no more overcast than a usual July day, no more windy than a normal August day and certainly less snowy than some June days your correspondent has known on the cricket boundary.

Your correspondent has always regarded the quaint rituals of May Day with an ironic detachment.  May Day heralds the first day of summer – always a challenge in Scotland, where the first day of summer is in many years also the last. Dancing round the May Pole and crowning the Queen of May clad in diaphanous white may be all right for effete southerners, but here in northern latitudes the old folk rhyme tells its own story - Ne’er cast a balaclava, till May be over. 

Your correspondent understands that in Bulgaria they look on May Day a bit differently.  They celebrate Yeremiya and it is a holiday associated with snakes and the celebrations are based on rituals to scare them.  This would seem to be a reference to early season wickets which can spit and twist like snakes.  Except the Bulgarians are not a cricketing nation.

Grange Loan lay in its usual verdant splendour as your correspondent entered the ceremonial gates.  A tribute to the efforts of the Doughty Groundsman and his colleagues who have faced the challenges of the unseasonal weather with their customary good humour.  But had they managed to remove all the snakes from the batting surfaces?

The first thing your correspondent saw was Carlton’s Industrious Membership Secretary brandishing a power hose with some skill and a more than purposeful look on his face.  The thought strayed across your correspondent’s mind that the dressing room must have suffered unduly at the hands of the First XI following their triumph over Heriots the previous day.  But he was relieved to find out the CIMS was terrorising some offending herbs and mosses which had collected in an inappropriate space.

Unaware of this entertainment the teams were assembling.  A familiar cast of Carlton celebrities met your correspondent’s eyes.  Barnacle and the Pub Landlord.  Eric Mahler (no relation) and Meadows Andrews. All athletically lounging under the stern gaze of their skipper.  Ah the skipper – there he stands stretching credibility and the bounds of medical insurance by appearing for yet another season.

Your correspondent will report only briefly on the toss.  [Thank goodness for that – perhaps you’ll get on to the cricket soon.  Ed] Carlton lost.  The skipper declined to reveal the margin, suggesting that those interested could find out in his memoirs. 

Carlton were inserted and took first use of an inevitably greenish track.  Barnacle and Eric opened.  Eric looking unfamiliar batting in a helmet following his heading practice last season.   Dunbar’s opening bowling was tight without being unduly threatening.  The pitch was slow, but snakes seemed few and far between.  Does the DG have Bulgarian heritage?

Savage put down 4 consecutive maidens as Eric got his eye in by hitting the ball to fielders.  Things were a little easier at the other end where Barnacle took the huge crowd by surprise by eschewing his legendary forward prod for once to get the score board moving by slapping a 2 past backward point.  The batsmen were finding it difficult to time the ball and the score moved slowly.  Eric teased slip with an edge that fell just short, but both batsman looked solid.  Indeed Barnacle was just too solid altogether when Eric called for a single.  He churned up the gears – a spectacular dive might have saved his bacon, but he decided that such heroics were beyond the dignity of a player at his station in life and was run out.  Having built up considerable momentum it carried him all the way to the pavilion.  46-1 after  15. Al, whose liking for red ink has been a feature of recent seasons, followed soon after as Eric plundered a loose over for 17 and Carlton were 71-2 at the half way point.

Eric took off his helmet.  He meant business and the score accelerated as he took advantage of some looser bowling and buttery fingers in the fielders.  At 76 Mikey Brown showed the difficulty of timing on the slow wicket and skied  to mid on.  This meant that the crowd could sit back and watch what they had paid their entrance money for.   [Oh come on -Ed] The skipper shambled to the middle.  Surely some rich comedy would follow soon.  Eric passed 50 to rapturous applause.  He was pulling with some power and was looking good for the ton when on 82 he was caught in two minds, at least, to be bowled.  A great start to his season.

Young Fin Thornton now strode confidently to the wicket.  He eyed the skipper. ‘Listen old man,’ he said, ‘I know you oldies find these things difficult but I expect fist bumps at the end of each over.  Don’t let me down.’  Fin played with style and purpose and for the most part got his fist bumps.  He also got a few surprising calls to run from his skipper.  Together they got the score past 150 to secure full batting points.  The innings ended on 157-4 – it might have been more had the skipper not decided to pick the fielders out with his hernia risking heaves in the last couple of overs.   Skipper 30*, Fin 13*.

After a spell in the oxygen tent to recover, the skipper observed that he could recall the first time he gave his batting partner 10 years, then it was 20 and so on………..this afternoon he gave his batting partner 50 years plus some.  And he still ran 3 off the last ball.

Having filled themselves with empire biscuits, Carlton took the field confident that they had the bowling to get the job done.  Saif and Steven opened and the batsmen were watchful.  Saif bowled good lines and was convinced that every ball striking the pads was plumb.  Steven gradually eased the rust out of his system in his first bowl since last August.  But it took a bowling change at each end to get wickets.  First, Duncan trapped Binnie LBW and then next over Dunbar’s skipper misjudged Mike’s extra pace to be bowled.  35-2 after 12.

Carlton then had to dig in for a spell as Savage and Vance took the score to 70 – Savage in particular looking good on the off side, powering the ball up the hill to the boundary and giving Al a few long runs down to the nets.  This partnership looked more than capable of taking the game away from Carlton.  But Mikey’s slower ball caused Savage to swing too early and took the top of middle stump.  Duncan then had the next batsman caught by Mikey . When Tristam came on to bowl an immaculate first over from the top end, he had Vance caught behind and things looked good for Carlton.  Dunbar had gone from 67-2 to 76-6 in a spell of 4 overs. 

There was still work to be done as Bell and Amabilino put in some hearty blows, cleverly targeting the skipper in the outfield.  ‘Why did you take so long to get that one?’  asked the bowler.  ‘I was waiting for the taxi to arrive,’ said the skipper having slowly returned from the furthest point of the ground.  Steven came back from the bottom end and settled into a good rhythm to bowl Amabilino and when a smart bit of fielding by Fin ran out Bell all that was left was for Saif to wrap things up by taking the last man’s middle stump out.  Dunbar finished on 114, leaving Carlton the victors by 43 runs.

An excellent team performance and a great start to the season.  Many thanks to Dunbar for playing the game in such good spirit, and we look forward to the return.

Scorecard

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Saturday 7th May 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Kirk Brae2
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v
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Carlton 4
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164 for 9

Mikey Brown 4 for 48

away

165 for 5
Eric Edwards 74, Paul Kentish 24

Scorecard

As your correspondent made his way under grey skies to the wind-swept tundra of Double Hedges Road to observe the Carlton Positively 4th XI attempt to extend their winning run [Er, there’s only been one match?  Ed] against the wily badgers of Kirkbrae, he reflected on the fact that the day’s date, 7 May, was the very day in 1794 [Oh for goodness sake.  Ed] when Robespierre, leader of the French Revolution, introduced the Cult of the Supreme Being.  The Cult may not have caught quite on as Robespierre intended as the state religion of revolutionary France, but there are still pockets of the cult’s adherents to be found here and there.

There are some suggestions among theologians that the skipper of the Positively 4th XI may lean too closely to the cult’s teachings, despite the empirical evidence demonstrated week in week out that as a being he is about as un-supreme as you can get.  Nevertheless, the skipper needs reminding that within 3 months of establishing the cult, Robespierre was executed on 28 July 1794 after a run of lost tosses lost him not only the captaincy but his head too.

The skipper’s supreme failure last week to win the toss was overcome by a supreme performance from his team of all the talents, but Kirkbrae on their home ground might present a sterner challenge.  Any claim to supremeness therefore had to be matched by performance.

The selection committee had worked long into the night to balance the requirements of Sunday availability and representative fixtures and the need to rotate to the new venture of the 5th XI, which meant a number of changes from the supreme XI that turned out last week. But the side looked eager and exciting as it watched their skipper make his way to the middle [Oh no you’re not going to go about the toss are you – I thought you were going to shorten things up this year.  Ed] As they reached the middle Fin watching from the boundary remarked, ‘Well he doesn’t look very supreme to me.’ [Out of the mouths of babes…..Ed]

Players swathed themselves in as many layers as possible to take the field. [Eh?  Is that it? Ed].  

Vae Victis!  [Oh dear – no it isn’t.  Ed] The skipper had returned from the toss supreme in his triumph in single handed combat.  He proudly bore the head of his opponent on a platter.  [I think you’re getting carried away here.  In fact most of us wish you would be.  Ed

The skipper had obviously been watching too much T20 [A shocking accusation.  Ed]  For he asked young Harry Simpson to open the bowling asking him to toss the ball up into the ever strengthening wind. ‘Is that what supreme means?’  Fin asked.

There did seem a touch of supremacy about the tactic.  A sleight of hand by Eric behind the stumps brought the first wicket in the first over.  A second followed soon after when the slow bounce caused Raja to scoop the ball to Mikey at square leg.  Harry 2-16.  Sibley was bowling well at the other end and when he took the middle stump, Kirkbrae were 21-3 after 10.  Claims to supremeness were looking good as bowling changes at each end tightened the screw, with both Duncan and Katie passing he bat with regularity, but without luck.  After 20 overs Kirkbrae were 47-3.  Now the batsman had to chance their arm and this Umer and Rashid did.  Rashid might have been caught on the deep long off boundary but the cold made it a tough day for catchers.  Katie and Duncan were bowled out and Mike and Pete drew the short straw suffering a bit of an assault as the batters accelerated the scoring.  After 30 the score was 98 and the batsmen looked in control.  Another 30 off the next 4 overs and things were looking ominous. 128-3. That supreme status was looking a bit questionable.  What did the skipper have in the locker?

Nothing – but Finn and Pete did – the youngsters  had been in the game from the off, performing heroics in the covers.  The two combined to force a run out as a failure in communication saw Rasheed stranded between the wickets and run out for a commanding 50.  A smart pick up and accurate throw by Finn, and a secure and calm take by Pete at the bowler’s end. Well done boys.  Supreme work.

Umer and Rasool continued to score, but wickets began to fall – Pete recovered from his pounding by Rasheed to get an LBW. Sibley came back but could not bag himself another wicket as Mikey found his range and snaffled 4-48 – one to a great catch by Paul diving far to his left. 

After 40 overs Kirkbrae were 164 for 9.  A decent score but Carlton’s bowlers and fielders had done well to regain control.  Honours looked pretty even as the teams sought the welcome warmth of the pavilion for tea. 

The wind had risen and the temperature had fallen as Carlton began their chase – a steady 4 an over would see them home.  Eric and Arsal opened and there were soon some nice red marks on the clean surface of Eric’s brand new bat.  Both looked confident.  Nothing seemed threatening so it was a surprise when Usman squared Arsal up and cut the ball away to take the off stump.  23-1. Paul joined Eric and the pair made good progress to be 83-1 at drinks. Shortly after, Paul swished a high no ball from Raja to the boundary.  He was looking good but at the next one, he swished down the leg side again.  A big appeal.  The skipper was umpiring  – he was upwind, his ears were swaddled in several layers – both factors making him even more deaf than he usually is.  He had to rely on Paul walking which he did with supreme good grace.  Paul, caught behind for a valuable 24 - 88-2.

  

Eric was motoring now and brought up his second supreme 50 of the season. Harry played a good supporting role before being caught.  Eric went almost immediately after to a fine catch by Raja at gully just getting his fingers under the ball.  Eric 74.  Duncan’s batting could not match his bowling and when he mistimed a full toss, the Positivelys were 135-5. 

Last week’s batting hero Fin decided to concentrate on the scoring masterclass he was getting from Pete Gill and allowed the skipper and Katie to go to the crease ahead of him. ‘Get in there old man, and get the job done. ‘  His instructions to the skipper couldn’t have been clearer. 

Katie and the skipper did just that knocking off the required 30 runs without misadventure, although the skipper had to add to the amusement of all by calling for a runner after twanging a quad.  Everyone was confused – most of all the skipper - as he repeatedly raced his runner up the wicket after his shots.  [Not quite as supreme as he claims then.  Ed]  Katie decided she had seen enough of this incompetence and duly delivered the coup de grace to score the winning run in the 38th over. 

Carlton win by 5 wickets.  Katie 15*  Skipper 12* limping but  supreme [Really? Ed].

Well done the Positivelys  - good performances all round – supreme tight bowling from Harry, Katie, Sibley and Duncan.  Supreme wicket taking from Mikey.  Supreme fielding from Fin and Pete.  And another supreme innings from Eric. A supreme start to the season at this elite level.  Supreme captaincy [Oh for goodness sake.  Ed]

It is always a pleasure to play Kirkbrae who accepted their fate with good grace and your correspondent looks forward to the return fixture when with any luck the temperatures may edge into double figures.

 

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Sunday 15th May 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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v
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Livingston 2
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86 for 0

Eric Edwards 51*, Tristram Holden 29*

home GL

85 all out
Nick Thomson 3 for 14

Scorecard

Photos

THE SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY

NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS 2016

NOT VERY ADVANCED HIGHER

Subject : Carlton Positively 4th XI v Livingston 2nd XI – Paper I

This examination takes the form of a series of multiple choice questions. 

You should mark one and only one answer. 

Time allowed – 40 overs a side.  You may break for tea at the half way point. 

You may not use a calculator (even in the attempt to get the scorebooks to add up).

Question 1 – The match begins at 1.00pm.  When the skipper asks his team to assemble at Grange Loan at 12noon, what time do they interpret that they should appear?

  • 12.57pm
  • 12.58pm
  • 12.59pm

Question 2 - It is a beautiful May day at Grange Loan.  The sun is high in the sky.  Barely a breeze stirs the air.  The ground looks perfect.  The cherry blossom is at its height. The wicket is hard and dry – nearly 500 runs were scored on it yesterday.  The outfield is dry and the SQA have pleasure in noting how extremely well cut it was [Readers may smell a rat here – and if they didn’t hear it already they might as well know that it was none other than the Fourth team skipper who assisted the Doughty Groundsman in this important duty.  It may be the most useful thing he does all season.  Ed The skipper wins the toss.  What does he decide?

  • Bat
  • Bowl
  • Offer the best of 3 to the opposing skipper.

Question 3 - On learning that the skipper opted to bowl, and taking into account the batting surface, how many of his teammates threw themselves on the ground weeping profusely?

  • 10
  • 10
  • 10

Question 4 – Steven Andrews and Saif Khan open the bowling and don’t give much away.  Saif removes the opener’s middle stump in his 5th over.  The skipper then asks Nick Thomson to bowl and he takes a caught and bowled in his first over.  Who should take the credit?

  • Nick Thomson for his quick reactions
  • The skipper for an inspired bowling change
  • Neither – there is no credit in such a dismissal - Nick and Saif are both left arm over and this should not be allowed in lower league cricket.

Question 5 – Ruth bowls a great spell bending the ball away from the batsman and beating the bat with monotonous regularity. See Figure (i) belowThe skipper sets 3 slips and a gully.  Which words most accurately describe the  probability that any of them will catch any snick?

  • Snowball’s
  • Nae chance
  • Scooby’s.

      Figure (i)

 

Question 6 – Eric snaffles one from Ruth.  Nick takes 2 more, another even better c&b diving to his left.  From 43 for 3 at drinks, Livi are 60 for 6 and in some trouble. Fin comes on to bowl at the bottom end see See Figure (ii) belowHis first ball is a bit short but the batsman mistimes an attempted big shot and the ball is held at midwicket by Feds. Taking into account Aristotlean logic, how would a rationalist explain this outcome?  Was it:

  • The outcome Fin would always have expected from his carefully disguised mystery delivery
  • Another inspired bowling change by the skipper
  • What makes lower league cricket what it is.

      Figure (ii)

Question 7 – Arsal and Eric combine to force a run out.  Fin traps another batsman plum as does Duncs an over later.  The last pair are now at the wicket.  Saif comes back into the attack.  He gets the edge of the bat and the ball speeds towards the skipper at slip.  Does he:

  • Leap like a salmon high to his left to grasp the ball in one hand like a Collingwood
  • Pluck the ball sweetly off his toes with the soft hands of a Dravid
  • Let the ball hit his chest, bounce off a shoulder, trickle down one arm, up the other before letting it nestle in the crook of his elbow and claiming the catch without the ball ever coming in contact with either of his hands. 

Question 8 – Livi are all out for 85 in the 36th over.  They may feel that they haven’t quite done themselves justice, nor taken advantage of an excellent wicket and batting conditions.  The Positivelys can be pleased at an all round top drawer bowling and fielding performance with Nick 3-14, Saif 2-5 and Fin 2-18, Ruth 1-21, Dunc 1-7.  Catches for Ruth Eric and Feds.  After a splendid tea, Eric opens the chase with birthday boy Tristam See Figure (iii) below.  How does he celebrate his birthday

  • With an excess of Prosecco and swan diving into Blackford Pond
  • Quietly cataloguing his collection of matchbox covers
  • Growing in confidence at the crease eventually taking 3 steps down the track to smack the spinner back over his head and finishing on 29*

      Figure (iii)

Question 9 – Eric pulls a 6 up the hill to bring up his third 50 in a row and shortly after the match is over.  The Positivelys win by 10 wickets, coincidentally the same margin as the First XI at Prestwick.  All the Positivelys’ batsmen are still weeping at missing out.  The skipper ruthlessly justifies his decision by pointing at the name of Carlton 4 at the top of the division.  What word best describes this

  • Insane
  • Demented
  • Only too typical of the man

The SQA would like to thank Livingston Cricket Club for their enthusiastic participation in the field work necessary to prepare this examination paper.  They look forward to gathering further data to assist the preparation of a Paper II later in the season.

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Sunday 22nd May 1pm

ESCA Division Six
  Teuchters
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v
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Carlton 4
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    away

 

Match cancelled

Your correspondent has gained access to a recording of the highly secret planning meeting of the Leith Constabulary. He presents these controversial disclosures in the public interest ...


.....Right assembled rozzers – we need to plan carefully for Leith Links on Sunday... all leave is cancelled....

[There are moans around the table]

There’ll be a huge crowd. Maybe quarter of a million.

Yes it’s ESCA Div 6 - Carlton Positively 4th XI against Teuchters CC.

The risk of riot is high.

Fantasy Bob is playing.

[A collective groan]

Both sides unbeaten. One must lose. Things might turn ugly.

Fantasy Bob is ugly already.

We have a duty to ensure public order.

We’ll need the horses...

......and the water cannons.

What about tear gas?

Good idea.

We should cordon the area off. Make it an empire biscuit free zone.

Excellent suggestion...........[the telephone rings..........]

Yes sir...yes sir.......YES SIR.... [the phone is put down]

Now listen up. That was Central HQ - apparently Hibs have won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 411 years [muted cheers from the back of the room]. They’ll be having a victory parade in Leith Links tomorrow. They’re expecting at least 20 people. There’ll be an open top bus.............

...........and 3 additional cars.

[There is a stunned silence as the implications sink in].

What can we do? We can’t let it happen. It’s too risky.

You’re right. There’s only one thing for it.

The cricket cannot be allowed to impose a threat to public order

..or cause distress to football fans...

...and make parking difficult.​

Absolutely right we simply cannot endanger peaceable parking.

We must act.

Quick - get a warrant for the arrest of Fantasy Bob and his known associates.........

[There is the sound of several police sirens as the recording comes to a close........]



Editor’s note – Carlton CC would like to point out that it does not condone the eavesdropping into sensitive police communications which was undertaken by the correspondent on an entirely personal basis. Anyone who has seen him on the golf course will know that he is a bit of a hacker. The correspondent is now understood to be holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy.

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Saturday 28th May 1pm

ESCA Division Six
L SMRH 3
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v
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Carlton 4
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168 for 4

away

166 all out
Douglas Blood 39, Hari Thaivalappil 36

Scorecard

Your correspondent has many fond memories of visits to Inverleith – [You might well, but the readers don’t - they’re still only just getting over the report you did in Scots verse of a match there a couple of years ago. Please don’t pull that stunt again. Ed].

He therefore looked forward to another visit to follow the Carlton Positively 4th XI on their latest adventure in the elite heights of ESCA Div 6 as they took on the mighty SMRH 3. In his experience, Inverleith is a meteorological site with rare and special properties. Under a grey sky as the wind sweeps across its tundra it can chill to the bone. Then the sun will appear – and it gets even colder.

As your correspondent made his way to Ferry Road through the series of connected road works that Edinburgh quaintly presents to tourists at this time of year [Let’s face it – at any time of year. Ed] his mind was on an erudite article he had read in the quality press which suggested that the world had now entered the age of post-factual politics. Politicians assert one thing when the reality is the exact opposite. He wondered why political discourse had taken so long to catch up, since he had developed the concept of the post-factual match report many years ago. [As if the few brave folk who read this stuff didn’t realise that. Ed]

This post-factual thing could make things difficult. When your correspondent reports that when he arrived at Inverleith he found it necessary to shed his parka, his balaclava, his goose down gilet, his merino base layers, his ear muffs, his ski mitts, and his beanie, will he be accused of post factual reporting. Surely any suggestion that weather at Inverleith approached balmy would be post-factual spin?

And when he reports that the skipper of the Positivelys lost the toss by a considerable margin, his readers will reject this as a post-factual denigration of the great tosser himself. They will wonder at your correspondent’s motives in presenting such calumny. [No they won’t they’ll just be grateful that you haven’t launched into Scots verse so far. Ed]


When he goes on to tell his readers that when the Positivelys are put into bat, the skipper retorts that it is what he would have done anyway, they may feel the acrid scent of the post-factual entering their nostrils. For when the skipper last opted to bat, Gustav Mahler was still perfecting his bowling action (whatever it was). [Good Lord, how did you manage to sneak that in. Haven’t you given that cause up. If not, you should. Ed] Even at this early stage in the report therefore, the reader is confused and uneasy [No change there then. Ed]

There may be a whiff of the factual in the suggestion that Eric and young Harry Simpson opened the batting. The reader may be on firmer ground here. He may accept the report that Singh bowled a quality spell from the road end and made it hard for both batsmen as a generally accurate representation of the facts. He may respond with disappointment, but not incredulity, at your correspondent’s sad telling that in his fourth over Singh beautifully yorked Harry- Harry had arrived at Inverleith breathless from a piping competition in Bathgate – and now sat on the boundary to pipe the sad pibroch ‘Harry Simpson’s Leaving of the Crease’ . But will they believe that Singh then bowled Tristram with the next ball and suddenly the Positivelys were 30-2? Or that Al Murray resolutely denied Singh his hattrick.

They will want to believe your correspondent when he reports that Eric and Al then put on 250 together in a dazzling display of batting before the Positivelys enjoyed a sumptuous tea. However, your correspondent is bound in the interests of balance to note that other research materials he has consulted suggest that Eric and Al were out in quick succession to leave the Positivelys on 45-4 after 15 overs and not looking in any kind of shape. Those alternative sources suggest that the innings was rescued by an aggressive stand between Hari (36) and Douglas Blood (39 - gaining his first cap for the Positivelys). They gave the innings a veneer of respectability but both were out just when it looked like they could go on to cause SMRH some serious damage.

A bright last wicket partnership between Duncan and Ruth added another 30 to give the Positivelys a total of 166, and the full ration of batting points. 8 Positivelys were bowled suggesting that the skipper’s legendary inability to repel a straight ball may be contagious.

Your correspondent invites his readers to make their own mind up between these alternative versions in the confident expectation that at least one of them is not post-factual.

Sadly your correspondent has to record that the tea verged dangerously close to the post-factual. The apologetic allegation from the home team that SMRH First XI had scoffed the lot will be the subject of an official inquiry by Sir John Chilcott who is expected to be available shortly.

The Positivelys then bowled SMRH out for 25 [Could you please find corroborating evidence for that statement. Ed]
In a tour de force of investigative journalism, your correspondent has spoken to many eye witnesses and finds that the official dossier suggesting that the Positivelys skittled them for 25 to be slightly exaggerated or ‘totally sexed up’, to quote an unnamed senior source. He now understands that despite a some high quality bowling from Duncan and Ruth in particular, SMRH made steady progress towards the target. Fin (2-37) almost upset them with 2 wickets in an over – bowling Sukamar who attempted an extravagant reverse sweep and got his just desserts [Readers should note that this is not post-factual. Ed]. Fin was denied his hattrick by the cruel insistence of the umpire that the LBW law’s reference to pitching outside the line of leg stump also applied in the case of 11 year old bowlers. But Vic Coltherd proved once again a rock on which Carlton bowlers battered themselves fruitlessly as he batted through the innings to stroke SMRH over the finishing line in the last over with 6 wickets to spare. He finished on 76*. [This has a ring of truth about it. Ed]

And so in the sunshine with the temperature above freezing the bright start to the Positivelys’ season came to an end. They ruefully offered their congratulations to their opponents, stronger in bowling and batting on the day and worthy winners led as they were by former Carlton 4th XI star Shuaib Farooq.

Your correspondent apologises if readers have found all this confusing – he has too. Regretfully, this is the nature of the post-factual world. He is sure that all this confusion could have been avoided by a report of proceedings in Scots verse [Oh no you don’t Ed]

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Sunday 5th June 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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v
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Glenrothes 3
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156 for 9

Alan Murray 50

home GL

130 all out
Nick Thomson 3 for 21

Scorecard

Photos

As your correspondent made his way to Grange Loan yesterday in keen anticipation of the mouth-watering clash between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and fellow promotees to the heights of ESCA Div 6 Glenrothes 3 ,he was reminded that the day was the birthday of Adam Smith.  

Smith is of course Kirkcaldy’s most famous son, and generally held to be the founder of modern economics .  Adam Smith would have been 293 years old today, which is a fair age particularly for an economist. 

Sadly, your correspondent’s reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations suggests that Smith was not a cricketer. Little seems to be known about his bowling action, if indeed he had one, and there is doubt as to whether he would be able to demonstrate the skills required to make an impact in the elite levels of ESCA Div 6.  However he seems to have some familiarity with the task of the match reporter for at an early stage in the text he writes,

‘I am always willing to run some hazard of being tedious, in order to be sure that I am perspicuous; and, after taking the utmost pains that I can to be perspicuous, some obscurity may still appear to remain upon a subject, in its own nature extremely abstracted.’

Your correspondent therefore feels an elevated fellow -feeling with Smith  – for he finds the hazard of being tedious is ever present. [You’ve said it.  Ed] He tries to be perspicuous in his unenviable task of conveying the excitement of the cut and thrust of the Positivelys’ action on the field,  but regrets that obscurity still appears upon some subjects – most notably Gustav Mahler’s bowling action [Oh for goodness sake, not again.  Ed]

Adam Smith’s last will contained the instruction to destroy all his papers after his innings was complete, including most unfortunately all his early match reports .  This is nothing more than a tragedy for the scholar of the evolution of the match report during the Scottish Enlightenment.  However your correspondent is confident that there is agreement that many of Smith’s most enduring ideas must first have found an airing in those long lost match reports.  Your correspondent is uncertain whether those reports could have been for the adventures of Glenrothes CC, for Glenrothes did not exist during his lifetime, far less Glenrothes CC.

Adam Smith may therefore have been an interested observer at yesterday’s match.  Grange Loan lay sun baked beneath the clearest of clear blue skies as the teams assembled.  The Positivelys were keen to get their season back on track following last week’s narrow reverse.  Glenrothes were looking to kick start their season after inconsistent selection had left them second best in all their matches so far.  So there was a lot at stake as the skippers went out to toss.

Now Adam Smith’s view of the coin toss have yet to be established.  However he did comment that  ‘the world neither ever saw, nor ever will see, a perfectly fair lottery,’ which might indicate a certain Enlightenment skepticism about relying on chance events.  His skepticism may not have led him to reflect fully on the more subtle aspect of the cricket toss.  For a skipper it is not the winning or losing that is the issue, it is the having to decide what to do if he does in fact win [If he ever does.  Ed] .  As your correspondent has described on numerous occasions, the skipper of the Positivelys  is unerringly predictable in these matters.  He returned from the toss and told his team modestly, ‘I won.’  His players responded by warming up to bowl. ‘Oh, by the way,’ he said, seemingly as an afterthought,  ‘we’re batting.’

Time seemed to stand still, as his team first looked open mouthed at him and then at each other.  A younger player inquired solicitously whether he was feeling OK, perhaps the sun had got to him, shouldn’t he sit down, does his carer know he is out alone.

Confirmation came from the opposition as they strode out to field.  The Positivelys had invited themselves to bat.

Your correspondent has always taken the view that there are decisions and there are brave decisions.  Four overs into the Positivelys’ innings the skipper’s decision looked decidedly on the brave side of that divide as the score board read 19-2 with both opening batsmen castled by Glenrothes’ lively opening partnership.  Things didn’t really improve much as that became 45-4 after 16 overs with Dougal Main falling to a brilliant return catch and Nick Thomson, having resolutely clawed his way to 20, also dismissed by the wily change bowler Morris. 

A junior player tried to help the skipper understand the calamity, ‘Well , skip, didn’t Adam Smith say, 'The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.’  He probably meant that sometimes you have to dig in to get a score.’ 

The skipper could only agree, feeling uneasily that Martin Robertson, who was now marching out to bat, might not fully be sensitive to the ethos of digging in.  However, in partnership with Al Murray he set about repairing some of the damage and had made a bright 31 when he mistakenly thought Cox’s teasing half volley deserved his most energetic heave [Surely you mean elegant cover drive.  Ed] to take its rightful place on the pavilion roof.  The ball had other ideas, trickily dodged the advancing bat and came to rest against middle stump.

The skipper and Al then added another 40 together before the skipper launched one skyward seeing it land five minutes later in the safe hands of cover.  Al (below) was batting sweetly and moved serenely to his well deserved 50 in the 33rd over.   He was out swinging immediately afterwards and returned to the applause of the massive crowd with the quip ‘Anything Keith can do…………..’  Steven, in his longest innings since he was 6,  Fin and Muzza made sure the Positivelys gained full batting points and the innings finished at 156 for 9.

 

For the first time in the history of the Positivelys tea was provided – the assortment of crisps and chewing gum provided by the student members and delicious home baking provided by the juniors’ Mums was replaced by a proper tea of Carlton standard.  The Carlton Council had decided that the Positivelys should be treated like the First XI – ‘And why not,’ remarked an unnamed player, ‘we scored more than they did yesterday.’

The Positivelys would like to thank Frances and Karen for their great work.  That junior player observed through a mouthful of chocolate cake ‘It just shows that Adam Smith got it right when he said ‘The division of labour, however, so far as it can be introduced, occasions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour.’  ‘Maybe’, replied the skipper, ‘but it doesn’t mean you won’t be collecting the boundary flags after the match’.

The Positivelys felt that they might not have done justice to the track and the skipper’s brave decision.  But they had something to bowl at.  A pep talk from the skipper was needed.  He reminded the team of Adam Smith’s maxim ‘The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives.

‘Wosshetalkinbout?’ whispered a junior player to his buddy through the remains of a lucky bag.  ‘That we need to support each other in the field.’ ‘ Oh why couldn’t he have said that then?’. 

Harry and Muzza opened.  Harry succeeded brilliantly in tempting the batsman into indiscretion but a stinging return catch burst through his fingers.  A bowling change did the trick as Duncan took 2 in his first over and the Positivelys were on their way 30-2.  The introduction of Nick to replace Muzza, who bowled an excellent but luckless 5 over spell for 13 runs, kept wickets falling regularly -  Nick 3-21. 

Steven also took a wicket in his first over - a fine leg side catch by Feds finally ending his wicket drought – Steven 2-24.  There was a controversy when Feds claimed a stumping off Dougal only to find that the umpire had signaled no ball not wide [Please don’t make a crack about Adam Smith and the invisible hand.  Ed] and the batsman was recalled.  This was maybe a mixed blessing for him as Dougal was whanging it down like a man possessed (or at least finally released from exam revision).  Wickets now fell regularly, but there was still a chance that Glens could put in a final spurt to seize victory.  Muzza put paid to that idea when he came back down the hill to sweep up the tail and finish with 2-17, leaving Glenrothes all out still 26 runs short of the winning line.

Adam Smith wrote, ‘People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’  Your correspondent is unaware of any conspiracy against the public from the meeting together of these members of the cricketing trade, or that any prices were raised as a result of their endeavours in a most enjoyable and keenly fought contest.  He looks forward to the return fixture later in the season when there will be another opportunity to conspire against the public.  The Positivelys’ skipper might by then have recovered from his rush of blood to the head on winning the toss. Or perhaps he’ll conclude that batting first wasn’t so bad after all………….[Chance would be a fine thing.  Ed]

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Saturday 11th June 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Drummond Trinity 2shim v
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Carlton 4
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131 for 6

Pete Gill 4 for 20

away

132 for 6
Eric Edwards 88*

Scorecard

Your correspondent notes that the date on which the Carlton Positively Fourth XI assemble for their scheduled fixture against the ever competitive Drummond Trinity 2 is reckoned by Eratosthenes, one of the more reliable of the ancient match reporters, to be the date of the fall of Troy in 1184BC. 

Erathosthenes, for those few readers who are unfamiliar with him and are wondering which team in the East League he might have turned out for, was a bit of an all rounder.  As well as calculating the date of Troy’s innings defeat, he also calculated the circumference of the Earth with an accuracy exceeding that of the Positively Fourth XI’s scorebook on most weeks.  He was however unable to unearth the mysteries of why the ball swings in certain conditions and not in others.

That is by way of an aside [Well, at least it wasn’t another digression on Gustav Mahler’s bowling action.  Ed]. Your correspondent wishes to return to the epic tragedy of Troy which has inspired so many poets and writers through the ages.  While it may be responsible for getting Brad Pitt into a loin cloth and stimulating record sales of baby oil, it is lacking in cricketing content. This is a shame for the medium of dactylic hexameter is perfect for reporting the heroic and not so heroic endeavours of cricketers on the field of play.  [Oh no, what’s coming next?  Ed]  Your correspondent is therefore pleased to find that from beyond his distant grave Homer has submitted  to him the following account of yesterday’s match.  [Younger readers – as  if there are any - might have perked up at the thought that Homer Simpson could be about to feature here, but they should be warned that the correspondent is in communication with Homer the blind Greek poet who is unknown in Springfield.  Readers are advised to proceed from this point with care. Ed]

Sing Gods of the iron will of Fantason Achilles

A tale of heroes, the bravest Carlton Positivelys

Mere mortal playthings of the Gods who weekly tryst with the Fates.

And know that rosy fingered dawn’s light is hid behind grey clouds

That stilled the winds of Boreas as Carlton’s fleet set sail

And safe harbour find far from the towers of Ilium

At Inverleith close by the entrance to the Botanics.

Then see proud Hera watch the ageless  prince-like Fantason

Invoke her aid and with ancient rite beseech the Goddess fair

She stilled his hand from ritual sacrifice of the youthful Gill

Upon her altar. Sayeth she, ‘That’s an oblation too far

And might be misconstrued by the Council’s social services .’

Quoth she , ‘Poor mortal, now prepare to meet thy awful Fate.

Unlikely as it seems to your correspondent’s readers here,

This is a toss that all auguries say you cannot lose.’

Know then that in the middle Fantason calls the Goddess’ name,

And awestruck sees the head of Hera, in figure of Queen Liz,

Miraculously appear.  He Drummond Trinity inserts.

Siblon and Muzza keep the opening overs accurate and tight

But treach’rous Zeus decrees they would never force the break

Though Siblon nearly broke Fantason’s knee as he lets one slip his grip

It disappeared against the dark background of waving trees

And as the skipper static stands at slip with hands on hips

It crashes on his unprotected shin bone at full bung .

The Positivelys grin with ill-disguised and silent mirth

At this cruel trick the Gods bestow upon the static Fantason

‘Oh, might this be a sign,’ they think; despite the blow he still stands firm

Indeed they see Fantason seem e’en yet more static than before

Though a junior player said that that just could not be possible.

It was Stephanos Androculus who generating serious wheels

Doth make the breakthrough and the score is 35 for one.

But hear! The artificial track is slow and offers not the batters bliss

A new mown outfield cloyed with cuttings stops their ev’ry shot .

By Zeus’ devious malevolence more wickets fail to fall

And slowly therefore the score moves on, and the DT batsmen linger.

Then does fair Hera smile on Kate in feminine embrace

A catch to Siblon’s fair reward for Katie’s brave endeavour

And so it comes that Petros Gill – newly saved from sacrificial knife –

Bowls down the hill to take 2 scalps in just his second over.

How the fair Goddess shines her light on him - who ends with 4 for 20.

The innings closes 131 for 6.  Fantason looked Heavenwards –

Too many wides, 3 catches spilled - would these sad lapses seal his fate?

‘Oh Gods, knowest thou how good a total DT have made upon this track?’

With mirthless grin the gods reply, ‘Mortal, have thou thy tea, and then find out. ‘

To bat! To bat – Zeus’ trumpet shrilly sounding in their ears

– or was it just the siren call of passing ambulance?

Then Ericon mighty warrior he and Gill come stoutly to the crease

They face the challenge but find the going tough and the outfield cruelly slow

42 off 15 then Petros is bowled for  a classy 14

As the wickets begin to fall as the Gods played their wanton wicked sport.

But Ericon mighty warrior groans, try as he might he can’t get his cut away

A run out ?  Close !  But judged not out, the pain on DT faces clear

And Hera speaks, ‘ He’s clearly in, my replay on Mount Olympus shows.’

Then Hera pulls her final stunt to summon the ageless Fantason,

Sayeth she, ‘See that Zeus the b*****’s been up to his usual tricks,

You’re 97 for 6 in over 33, it’s looking shaky .

Ah mortal, thou hast work to do, and for your Hera’s sake, don’t swing across the line.’

With Fantason scratchy Ericon mighty warrior finds his touch

A six a four, an over goes for 14 and the battle honours are in sight

The Positivelys reach the target with 3 full overs still in hand.

Ericon mighty warrior he is undefeated  - 88 not out .

Now the god-like Positivelys commiserate with their vanquished foe

For a game well played with brave and skilful deeds on both the sides.

Hear thou then the Dionysian revels (that last deep into the Grange Loan night)

As Boreas fills their sails for home with twenty points safely pouched.

Your correspondent looks forward to hearing that Brad Pitt will feature in the film version of this epic struggle. [Don’t you dare suggest he’d play the Aged Fantason.  Ed]

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Saturday 18th June 12.30 pm

ESCA Division Six
L Carlton 4
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v
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Melrose
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106 all out

Leigh Kasperek 35*

home Pef

144 all out
Daniel Saunders 3 for 18, Hari Thaivalappil 3 for 26

Scorecard

Your correspondent was unable to attend the birthday party of Paul McCartney – or Sir Paul McCartney as he is known to his friends – who turned 74 yesterday. He had prepared a polite notice acknowledging his gratitude at the invitation but expressing his regrets that he was committed to attendance at the day’s top sporting event between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and Melrose CC. He would therefore have to decline. He trusted Sir Paul would understand. Sadly the many hours he spent burnishing this note to a high state of polish would seem to have been wasted, for invitation came there none.

Your correspondent tries hard not to show his sense of hurt , but he finds his exclusion from Sir Paul’s guest list a bitter blow. Did he not personally purchase a copy of Silly Love Songs in 1976? Is that not enough for recognition by the former Beatle? Your correspondent acknowledges that his relationship with Sir Paul has not always run as smoothly as this would suggest. For he has openly and frequently described Mull of Kintyre as the worst song that has ever been written. He thought Sir Paul was big enough to take that as honest constructive criticism. It would seem not. And as the week progressed from one rainy day to another, with nothing coming through the letterbox, your correspondent’s mood darkened. Yesterday, all his troubles seemed so far away. ……….[Maybe I’m amazed that you can write at such length about nothing at all – on reflection, actually I’m not. Get on with the cricket. Ed]

The weather forecasters’ integrity was being called into question as the Positivelys assembled for their long and arduous journey to Peffermill. They had been promised Good Day Sunshine. But it looked just Another Day of grey and foreboding skies. [Very good – are you going to get the Frog Chorus in? Ed]

Your correspondent spotted a number of new faces in the Positivelys’ ranks - it would seem that unlike him several of the regulars had successfully secured invitations to Sir Paul’s party and were unavailable for cricketing duties. Not that any of them had been honest enough to say as much in the long list of characteristically absurd reasons given for non-availability. Your correspondent puts his hurt behind him, he knows none of these players are as enthusiastic about Mull of Kintyre as they may have pretended in pursuit of an invitation.

Looking round the team your correspondent was delighted to note that one of Carlton’s brightest stars, Leigh Kasperek, wintering (or is it summering) from her New Zealand home, was gracing the scene. Since they first appeared in Carlton colours together many years ago [7 June 2008 v LFAB to be precise Ed], Leigh has followed your correspondent’s glittering career with great interest [Eh, do you think you have that the right way around? Ed]

At Peffermill the weeks’ deluge had rendered the grass wicket a muddy wasteland suitable only for a frog chorus [Ha very good Ed] and the powers that be wisely redirected the teams to the artificial surface. Your correspondent is investigating the relative performance of the Positivelys’ skipper on different surfaces. Does he win more often on artificial or turf wickets? He has his suspicions that the skipper’s fallible technique is more resilient on truer plastic surfaces. So how would he do today? Well to cut a long story short, [Hooray Ed] he won. ‘With a little luck?’ asked a junior player new to the side and therefore unaware of the risk he took in asking such a seemingly simple question. He soon learned his error as he was subjected to an unnecessarily long description of the skipper’s skill in positioning the coin relative to the minor wind shift he felt on his face. [Definitely with a little luck then, Ed] Melrose were inserted.

Muzza and Gill opened proceedings. Muzza took the first wicket as opposition skipper Barry Scott carelessly slapped a full toss straight at David Simpson honourably subbing for Harry who was delayed playing the Pipes of Peace. Muzza then pegged the other opener, he and Fin behind the stumps uttering the quietest most polite appeal for LBW in the history of the East Leagues, honourably given by Melrose’s travelling umpire the redoubtable Angus Wolfe-Murray. Not so much Listen to what the man – rather what the under 13s squealed . Murray 2-30 but Pete Gill bowled without luck. Hari Thaivalappil (The scorer asked how it was spelt and was told the usual way) then produced some unplayable deliveries to take 3 quick wickets and Melrose seemed to be rocking at 61 for 5 after 16. Hari 3-26.

But they rallied after drinks and with a warm sun now on their backs the tail wagged with increasing vigour. Impressive debut spells from Fabian and Hari Kallat couldn’t break the momentum. Catches were coming up from Leigh but went to the open spaces rather than fielders and it was left to Daniel Saunders to mop up the tail with 3-18. The youthful pairing of Rogerson and Brett swung the bat with gusto to put on an invaluable 27 for the final wicket and Melrose finished 144 all out.

The Positivelys felt that somehow they had let their opponents of the hook, they’d let ‘em in. But the large crowd was confident that a good batting performance would see them live and let die. This confidence was shaken as they saw the skipper walking out to open the batting with Pete Gill. They rubbed their eyes – had they fallen asleep ? Had the game moved on that far? Who was out? Say, say, say, it can’t be. But no this was real. Preternaturally, unhappily real and explained to the team with some guff about We all stand together. Pete and the skipper stood together by both meeting their demise from Loftus’ canny leg cutters. And the band was soon on the run - apart from a bright cameo of 20 by Martin Robertson the innings never really got going. Melrose’s bowling proved just too accurate, cruelly finding out the Positivelys’ weakness against full pitched straight bowling. Leigh gave a master class in how to stay at the crease and also taught a couple of junior players a hard but important lesson in the need to back up at the non-striker’s end. These well-executed run outs were fair reward for Melrose’s general excellence in the field. Wickets fell with ominous regularity. In the end, another tail wagged as Leigh and Muzza valiantly put on 30 for the final wicket in the chase for valuable batting points. But with another just in sight, Muzza lofted to mid-on and that was it. Leigh was unbeaten on 35 and the Positivelys all out for 106. Out batted and out bowled.

Well played Melrose and thanks for a game played in fine spirit. As their luxury Jet bore them back to the Borders they basked in the knowledge that their win consolidated their position in the promotion slots as the Positivelys slide back. For the Positivelys, there were signs of promise from debutants Hari and Fabian, Fin did well behind the stumps. As a team they worked hard to earn their bonus points which will be important at the end of the season. But there should be no more lonely nights this week – intensive net practice is needed to master how to repel the straight one.

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Saturday 25th June 1pm

ESCA Division Six
  Falkland 3
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v
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Carlton 4
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    away  

RAINED OFF

Your correspondent spent the week in eager anticipation of accompanying the Carlton Positively 4th XI as they made their way to Falkland for their latest tussle in the elite heights of ESCA Division 6. He was confident that the Positivelys could put last week’s disappointing reverse behind them. It seemed a good day for them to prosper for your correspondent had noted that the day was the birthday of George Orwell, greatest of English essayists who ended his career with a top score was 1984 not out.

This seemed more than appropriate. For as he has devotedly followed the Positivelys this season, with , he might add, no thought as to his own personal danger, your correspondent has on many occasions witnessed the truth of Orwell’s observation that ‘Cricket is a game full of forlorn hopes and sudden dramatic changes of fortune and its rules are so ill-defined that their interpretation is partly an ethical business.’ Your correspondent has already run the full gamut of these factors and the season is only half done. He has seen tosses dramatically won against all the odds. He has seen tosses forlornly lost at the batting of an eyelid. He has shared the ill-defined emotion of the team as their skipper returns ashen faced from the ritual of the toss, to tell them the unwelcome news. Hopes forlorn hardly describes it. Dramatic change of fortune is an understatement. Eager to bat they are told they must field. It is ethically dodgy. Falkland, once the hunting grounds of the Royal Stuarts, seemed just the right place to put these thoughts to the test. Your correspondent looked forward to more by way of ethical business.

Even as the rain thundered against his roof during the night, his rest disturbed, your correspondent found solace in Orwell’s praise of doughty groundsmen – did he not extol their efforts in his well-known quote ‘People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.’ Surely the team that prepared the royal hunting grounds would get things right to allow the match to proceed.

Sadly it was not to be. The news came through. Wicket not only green and a tad soft, but a tad underwater. Match off.
And was it not Orwell who wrote that ‘The best books are those that tell you what you already know’. Just as best the match reports are those that tell you what you already know. Except if a match report were to reveal the secret of Gustav Mahler’s bowling action [Oh for goodness sake. That’s enough. Ed]

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Saturday 2nd July 1pm

ESCA Division Six
L Dunbar
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v
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Carlton 4
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65 for 5
Pete Gill 2 for 11

away

64 all out
Gregor McIntyre 21

Scorecard

It is not often, if at all, that your correspondent’s enjoyment of the adventures of the Carlton Positively 4th XI in the elite ESCA Division 6 have been interrupted by a large flying machine attempting to land at square leg. But there is it was, large as life and three times as noisy.

Your correspondent looked up and read the word RESCUE written in capital letters on its belly. ‘Good,’ he thought, ‘the call to Tracy Island had got through.’ Thunderbirds are Go. International Rescue were here. Just in the nick of time. For at that moment the Positivelys’ innings against Dunbar was hanging off the cliff by a thread……………. It was time for Virgil. [Oh no you’re not going to go all Latin poetry again are you? Ed] He would surely stand up to the accurate and feisty bowling in the strong cross wind which had done for the flower of the Positively’s batting. Your correspondent acknowledges that string puppets do not have a strong reputation as batsmen. But this is Virgil Tracy we are talking about. A man [Er, puppet surely. Ed] with individually animated eyebrows. All would be well. The stirring theme tune swelled in your correspondent’s breast. Dum, di,di,dum………

 

But as Thunderbird 5 loomed overhead, no Virgil Tracy descended dangling on a line. It overshot the outfield and landed in a neighbouring car park. Still no Virgil Tracy. Not even Scott Tracy. No Supermarionation. No eyebrows. No Dum, di, di dum…..Thunderbird 5 turned out only to be a coastguard helicopter liaising with local police.

The Positivelys were on their own. And it was not a pretty sight. Over the years, Dunbar has been the sight of 2 pitched battles, in 1296 and 1650. On both occasions, the home side lost the toss and was routed, by Edward I and Oliver Cromwell respectively. The Home Side made clear that they were going to use this match to put this shameful record to bed. Not only did they win the toss in a manner that would have gratified Edward I, they bowled and caught with Cromwellian endeavour. Only GMac (21) and Hari (18*) got any measure of the conditions as the innings stumbled its way to 64 all out. This was not the swashbuckling Caribbean cricket for which the Positivelys have gained a reputation across the cricketing world. The sole crumb of comfort for your correspondent was to see the Positively’s batters sportingly walking when they nicked behind rather than waiting to be given out. But did so many of them need to do so to make the point?

‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when we’re out for 64?’……runs the song. [Come on you’ve done Paul McCartney already this year. Show some imagination. Ed] It was the ‘Will you still feed me’ bit which was uppermost in the youthful Positively minds. They barely deserved tea after such a performance, but they were generously provided for with a fine selection of sandwiches from the adjacent Rock Hotel and they gave a fair impression of the gannets on the visible Bass Rock as they demolished the provender. Sandwiches gone they turned expectantly in search of an Empire biscuit. But there were none, nor any other cakes – perhaps a justifiable comment on their performance with the bat.

A heavy squall blew in from the west as tea was taken. The Bass Rock disappeared from view. The boundary -side gazebo looked in danger of joining the gambolling kite that had earlier made a bid for freedom across the ground. Maybe the weather would save the Positivelys from further ignominy. Test matches have been abandoned in less exacting conditions. But the rain relented, and as the sun uncertainly came out from behind the towering black clouds, to illuminate the Bass Rock again, play got underway.

As the Positivelys prepared to bowl, inspirational words were needed from the skipper. ‘Don’t let the absence of empire biscuits get you down. Remember Oliver Cromwell. Remember Edward I .’ ‘Weren’t they available today?’ inquired a fresh- faced junior. A good question, although your correspondent does not believe either meets the registration requirements of ESCA having been dead for more than the allowed number of years. Otherwise, they might have been an option for the Carlton selectors whose deliberations this week had had to make use of more computing power than it took to get a man on the moon as they sought to juggle the available players across the weekend’s teams while meeting the need to ensure transport to the distant, if not exotic, venues of Glenrothes and Fife.

The skipper’s oration seemed to work. Excellent opening spells from Sibley (1-17) and Gill (2-11) had Dunbar 11-3 and the Positivelys started to believe. Dunbar were on the ropes. Callum was going past the bat 4 times an over but just couldn’t bring that vital nick. Slowly the Dunbar score mounted. In desperation the skipper turned to himself. [That is beyond desperation. Ed] Desperation became inspiration as he took a wicket in his first over. Then GMac castled the dangerous Vance - 42-5 and perhaps………………..But it was not to be. Binnie and Wanless buckled down, minimised risk and brought their side home in the 26th over.

‘Virgil Tracy would have made a difference,’ muttered a junior member as the chastened Positivelys slumped from the field. ‘Yes,’ said his pal, ‘He might have won the toss……………’

Congratulations to Dunbar, who leap above the Positivelys in the league table. A match played in excellent spirit. Good luck for the rest of the season and we hope to see you again next year.

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Sunday 10th July 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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v
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Kirk Brae 2
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118 for 7
Eric Edwards 32, Neil Kirk 31*

home GL

117 all out
Bob Irvine 3 for 11

Scorecard

Jean-Paul Sartre [ Oh no – I dread to think what might be coming next. Ed ] remarked, in that pithy French existentialist way of his, that we are our choices.

It is not clear, at least to your correspondent [ Groan.Nothing ever is, is it? Ed ], the extent to which cricket was uppermost in his mind in making this observation or, as seems more likely, whether he had in mind the consequences of yet another amorous dalliance with someone other than Simone de Beauvoir. But your correspondent is sure that Sartre will not have faced a choice as agonising as that facing your correspondent yesterday. Had he done so, the course of Western philosophy might have changed. Existentialism might never have got going. There would have been no Being and Nothingness. No Roads to Freedom. Sales of black polo necks would have languished.

For as he looked at his calendar, your correspondent was faced with a cornucopia of elite sporting spectacles: the European Championship Cup final at the Stade de France, Murray v Raonic at Wimbledon, the Carlton Positively 4 th XI vs Kirk Brae at Grange Loan. He agonised. He tossed and turned all night. He had to choose. How would Sartre have faced up to this decision? For according to him, ‘It is in our decisions that we are important.’ He also said that ‘We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is a fact.’ It was clear therefore that Sartre was going to be absolutely no help at all. Your correspondent had to face the decision alone. And maybe that’s what Sartre was on about. [Oh very clever. Ed ]

In the end your correspondent brought to mind Sartre’s remark that ‘Hell is other people.’ There would be 80,000 at the Stade de France, 30,000 at Wimbledon. Many would be existentialists. Some would be celebrities. While a sizable crowd might be expected at Grange Loan to see if the Positivelys could regain some momentum in their season after the disappointment of 2 consecutive defeats, there was unlikely to be such a press of people. Thus persuaded, your correspondent made his way to Grange Loan. His chances of encountering an existentialist were low but he would take his place amongst the celebrities that were likely to appear in the course of the afternoon.

As your correspondent arrived at the ground, the weather forecast did not look promising with regular and steady showers promised but play started on time. ‘Existence precedes and rules essence’, according to Sartre. The toss precedes and rules play, he might have added had he shown any interest in cricketing matters. It would seem consistent with a Sartrean view of the world that the Positivelys’ skipper lost the toss by an existential margin.

The Kirk Brae skipper defined himself by the choice of batting. Three balls into his innings he recognised the truth of Sartre’s observation that ‘Man is anguish’, for a snick to Matt Edwards was safely pouched by the Positivelys’ skipper at slip [ Good Lord. This is beyond belief. Ed ] to give the home team the perfect start. Matt and Pete Gill kept things tight until Pete bowled the other opener Raja round his legs. Carter then got into the act bowling the number 3 bat just when he was looking to cut loose and Kirk Brae were 48 for 3 at drinks. The pressure was on them to accelerate the scoring. They began to look for quick runs. The Positivelys had to be on their toes. Usman Tahir pushed and called his partner Umer. The youngest man in the side Jamie Beattie swooped from midwicket and threw down the wicket. Umer short of his ground. Out! A superb bit of fielding. Once again the opposition learn the hard way that there is never an easy single to a Positivelys’ junior. Jamie remarked to your correspondent later, ‘Listen mate, you know that Sartre said that ‘For an occurrence to become an adventure it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.’ So I’m expecting something good in your match report about this.’ [I suppose we have to take your word for it that he really said this. Ed ]​

Kirk Brae are a high scoring team but accurate bowling and a slow outfield, dampened by a light shower, meant that they found runs hard to come by. While Usman looked secure, ending up undefeated for a patient 32*, the Positivelys chipped away at the other end. A c&b to Carter, which a more excitable match reporter might have described as involving an athletic dive to his left (followed by a slightly less athletic regaining of his upright posture) gave him the characteristically miserly figures of 2-14 off his 8 overs; another Positively junior run out as Fin stretched turned and threw accurately; Fin then tossed one up to clean bowl Bilal leaving it to the skipper to clean up the tail thanks to a fine catch by Matt up the hill and the batters’ inability to deal with the extreme pace of his even slower ball. [ He hasn’t developed an even slower ball has he? The laws of physics shouldn’t allow that. Ed ] Fantasy Bob 3-11 and Kirk Brae all out for 117 after 33 overs.

‘To eat,’ says Sartre,’ is to appropriate by destruction.’ And a lot of appropriation by destruction went on. The table groaned with provender. Even Sartre, a man with an eye for a biscuit, would have been gratified at the generous display of empire biscuits of various colours and sizes.

Batting is. Batting is in-itself. Batting is what it is. The skipper reminded his troops of Satre’s wisdom as they prepared for the chase. Jamie disagreed, ‘Bob that’s wrong, I think you’ll find Sartre said ‘Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.’ He was of course making the point that we lack a predetermined essence and we are forced to create ourselves from nothingness. I agree that you can infer that he was referring to batting here, since every batter starts on nothing, some of course stay on nothing which is another matter. But you need to get the quote right.’ The skipper thanked Jamie for his observation and once again wondered at the rich talent that the Carlton junior section presented to him.

Eric and Beattie senior opened. They looked secure until John was narrowly run out – Being and Nothingness with the emphasis on the Nothingness. A bowling change brought the left armer Ali in to the attack and he began to make inroads, getting both Eric (32) and Gregor caught behind. Neil Kirk was joined by Jamie and they pushed the score on to 66 with Jamie looking good - solid in defence and running well between the wickets before he was undone by the additional pace of change bowler Raza. His splendid 3 is the highest score by a 10 year old in Carlton senior teams.

Pete Gill looked elegance itself, sublimely stroking a four up the hill through point, until he played too early and was c&b by Ali. Fin then also played too early to give Ali his fourth wicket. 77-6. Ali 4-35. There was a collective in-take of breath in the crowd - Nausea. Surely the Positivelys weren’t going to let this one slip? Al Murray didn’t think so. He arrested the slide and brought his team within sight of the finishing line with a bright 15, complementing Neil well who had moved steadily into the 30s with secure defence and positive treatment of the bad ball. Your correspondent joined the many in the crowd who were pleased to see Neil at GL again after a long injury and childcare induced absence. It looked like Al and Neil would see it through until Al was well caught at mid off ,leaving it to the skipper to scrabble about for a couple of overs as Neil brought up the winning runs. Victory for Carlton by 3 wickets.

Sartre said ‘Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.’ Which shows how much he knew about cricket or match reporting. [ Are you sure? Maybe he was referring to your match reports where no one can work out anything about what happened. Ed ]

Well done Positivelys back on the victory trail with good contributions from every player. Many thanks to Kirk Brae – always a pleasure to play against. Have a good second half of the season and we’ll meet again next year.

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Saturday 16th July 1pm

ESCA Division Six
T Livingston 2
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v
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Carlton 4
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116 all out
Saachin Chandran 3 for 14

away

116 all out
Eric Edwards 53

Scorecard

On arriving at Grange Loan yesterday in anticipation of accompanying the Carlton Positively 4th XI on their latest tussle in the elite levels of ESCA Division 6, your correspondent noted a myriad of unfamiliar keen eyed youngsters swarming around the Pavilion.

Your correspondent didn’t have to think too hard for an explanation. He has no idea what Pokémon Go is but he rapidly concluded that the ever go-ahead powers-that-be at the club are light years ahead of him and have demonstrated once again their uncanny grip on the modern world by ensuring that the hallowed ground is a Pokestop. The frantic quest to capture the devious Carlton Pokémon , the Fraggleagon, was on. But only disappointment showed on the boys’ faces, for the Fraggleagon was gone – deserting his natural habitat for the Open at Troon. [Shocking. Ed] The disappointment soon turned to delight when the Positivelys’ skipper assured them that there was rich Pokemon hunting to be had at the West Lothian cricketing centre of Livingston. The Carlton powers that be firmly believe that youngsters learn many lessons from the experience of playing senior cricket at an early age – one of these lessons, which they usually learn within 10 minutes, is not to believe anything the skipper says. [Surely it doesn’t take them that long. Ed]


So it was that the Positivelys’ ventured forth with 3 young debutants. Saachin, Eric and Murdo, eagerly looking forward to some serious Pokémon hunting. Also in the mix were 2 familiar faces in Kevin Whitaker and Michael Scott, making their first long awaited appearances of the season and who seemed less animated by the possibility of Pokémon hunting. They would settle for a good tea.

Your correspondent is ashamed to say that among the cricket grounds in the world he had not visited previously is Livingston’s Turpie Sports Ground at Dresselrig. This much he had in common with the Positivelys’ skipper. [Funny that. Ed.] They found a well presented and well prepared ground - a credit to the club and its membership. However your correspondent is bound to point out to the Livingston management that they need to get in tune with the modern world. Covers may be all very well. Big screen TV too. But his new young charges advised him respectfully [They’ll get over that soon. Ed] earnestly looking at their I-Phones, that the ground did not seem to be a Pokestop. He urges Livingston CC to address this issue as soon as possible.

It took some time for the Positivelys’ skipper to counsel his young companions to put behind them their disappointment at there being no Pokemon action in prospect. He promised everything. Thrills, excitement, spills, drama. ‘And that’s only the toss,’ said Kevin.

Speaking of which, the skipper returned from the middle to report that he had won the toss. With due modesty he described the margin of victory as immeasurable – a significant achievement at this stage of the season. ‘Don’t you always win?’ a new player sought clarification. There was silence from the more experienced team members as without so much as an instruction they prepared to field. The young voice piped up again, ‘Are we fielding? How did you know that?’ ‘These young players have so much to learn.’ said Fin.

Matt Edwards and Steven Andrews opened in a fresh cross wind. Matt made early inroads with 2 catches to (Old) Eric behind the stumps : c Edwards b Edwards. Another young voice piped up from Pokemon free midwicket ‘Is this a family game, or are we allowed to play too?’ Soon enough the frustrated Pokemon hunters got into the act. Saachin replaced Steven after a tight but luckless spell and struck gold immediately getting Livi skipper and run machine Neil Jarvis to top edge high into the grey sky. There was never ever any doubt that (young) Eric McKinley would pouch it as he stood firm and focussed under it at Pokemon free fine leg . Well done boys. Saachin then struck twice more to finish his 5 over spell with 3-14, a great introduction to senior cricket. Fin was twirling it from the other end and he too got into the act as Daniel took a fine catch on the distant mid-wicket boundary (also a Pokemon free environment).

At half way Livi were 49-6 and the Positivelys were looking good; at 62-7 even better as Fin got another. Fin 2-25. But then the highest partnership of the afternoon between Naveen and Bash took things away from them. [Are you going to tell us that the skipper was bowling ineffectually for most of this? Ed] They put on 45 together before Steven came back to get Naveen well caught in the deep by Matt for an aggressive 38. Daniel then cleaned the tail up with 2-7 and Liv finished on 116. An excellent effort in the field from the Positivelys – the new boys all did particularly well in stopping runs and getting quick returns in. While 116 looked more than seemed likely at certain stages in the innings, it looked like a total the Positivelys could match.

What was required at this stage in the proceedings was an excellent tea. This was duly presented and the Positivelys duly got stuck into it with relish.

Fin and (Old) Eric opened. Fin knuckled down well to the opener’s role but was unlucky to be undone by the change of pace from the change bowler. Timing the ball was hard as the ball held up on the wicket. It was as struggle to keep up with the modest run rate. No one could stay with Eric and wickets fell too regularly as Livi chipped away. In his first senior innings Murdo showed more purpose and stickability than his more experienced team mates. As the overs went by a tight finish looked in prospect. Eric brought up his 50 with a big 6 and for the moment things looked good for the Positivelys. Then he mistimed the next ball and was caught at square leg. Things didn’t look so good for the Positivelys. Another wicket and things looked good for Livi. 98 for 8 and 6 overs left. Who is your money on? A couple of tight overs and things looked good for Livi. 106 for 8 with 3 overs left. A couple of forcing shots from Daniel and an elegant glance from Steven for 4 and things looked good for the Positivelys. 114 for 8 - 2 overs left.

The Positivelys’ skipper looks out his victory speech. 2 off the first ball. Scores level. Victory in sight. A fumble in the field, the batsmen run, but the ball is recovered and thrown at the bowler’s end, the bowler is facing the wrong way without turning he flicks the ball behind him – miraculously it hits the wickets. Out! The next ball is a miracle ball and completely cleans Steven out. The game finishes with scores level – a tie.

The skipper looked proudly at the three debutants each of who made an important contribution. ‘Well boys, didn’t I promise you drama? Isn’t that better than Pokémon hunting?’ The answer came only slowly, ‘The tea was good.’ ‘Yes, we liked the tea.’

Many thanks to Livingston for a fine match with lots of incident, great spirit and a truly excellent tea. In the end a tie was a fair result as the outcome swung back and forward and each side will dwell on those ‘if only’ moments which could have secured victory.

As the Positivelys returned to Grange Loan there was still no sign of the Fraggleagon.

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Sunday 24th July 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4 v
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Teuchters
 

109 for 7

Bob Irvine 37*, Mikey Brown 34

home
GL

108 for 8

Matt Edwards 3 for 18, Steven Andrews 3 for 19

Scorecard

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, your correspondent thought it was high time the 400th anniversary of Britain’s most famous bard [I never realised Fantasy Bob was that young.  Ed] was celebrated in one of Carlton’s match reports.  But first my favourite Shakespeare QI fact [Oh that famous bard – yes, he hasn’t appeared in any of FB’s reports because he is not ‘Greek’ enough.  Ed].  There are six known examples of Shakespeare’s signature appearing on documents, and in an era where spelling standards were similar to the current requirements of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Shakespeare is spelt in five different ways, not one of which is the spelling with which we are familiar with. 

What has escaped everyone’s notice is that it is clear from his literary output that have left such an impact on the English language that our FB [I’m assuming you’re talking here about the Famous Bard because this doesn’t sound like Fantasy Bob at all.  Ed] was a cricket obsessive [I’m confused again.  Ed].  For example Now is our winter of discontent is borne out of Shakespeare's frustration awaiting next summer and the restart of the cricket season.


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? the Positivelys asked as they assembled at Grange Loan.  So foul and fair a day I have not seen replied the Doughty Groundsman. With rain in the air, the skippers went out to toss.  Et tu, Bartsche? FB asked as he tossed his coin in the air - the Teuchters skipper called incorrectly.  To bat, or not to bat, that is the question that the FB so eloquently put.  However, it is not a question when FB is skipper.

 [Look, this is too confusing.  In interests of clarity I will henceforth use the Greek characters φβ when I think you are referring to Fantasy Bob.  Ed.  Do you think our younger readers are ready for Greek?  Sub Ed.  Let's get on with it please.  Brevity is the soul of wit.  Our younger readers have given up long ago and are out searching for Pokémon.  Tea Boy]. 

So the Positivelys took to the field in front of a large crowd.  However, it has to be said most were searching for Pokémon at the Pokéstop down at the nets.  There were even a couple of guys visiting from the Western Isles - the Two Gentleman of Iona.  The first stint only lasted 14 balls before heavy rain set in, during which Matt got the key wicket of the dangerous and experienced Teuchters skipper Ritchie Bartsch - the Taming of the Shrewd - with another caught behind to his old man - It is a wise father who knows his own child

In the next stint, Matt struck again, leaving the visitors 32-2 after 12 overs, when the rain returned and forced an early tea.  The already high standards of the Carlton tea was sent into stratospheric levels when Kerry Simpson turned up with a Lemon Drizzle cake fresh out of the oven.  Your correspondent turned up at the table 30 seconds after its arrival only to find that it had vanished into thin air.  Kerry let slip that she had made two, but had kept one so we didn't eat her out of house and home

After a long break, the rain finally relented.  The Positivelys wearily removed the covers, with φβ agreeing with the opposition to give it one last go despite the gloomy forecast.  Surprisingly the teams didn't have to leave the vasty fields of Grange Loan during the rest of the day.  Meadows and Harry now provided an excellent combination of pace and spin.  Harry bowled an excellent line throughout in his best spell of the year for the Positivelys, finishing with 1-15 off 8 overs.  Meadows picked up the key wicket of Grosenthwite and your correspondent made amends for an earlier drop of Harry's bowling by snaffling their top scorer behind the stumps.  Meadows then ripped the heart out of the middle order with 2 more wickets, finishing with 3-24.  As a Tory he Love’s Labour’s Lost the last election.  Mikey Brown also bowled superbly, with good variation of pace, and deserving better than 1-15 off 6 overs.  The Gods were against Muzza though, who passed the bat on numerous occasions.  The scorebook showed an unlucky 0-26 off 8 overs.  What's done cannot be undone.  Teuchters finished on 108 for 8, with Matt picking up another wicket bowling 2 overs at the death to finish with 3 for 17.  From behind the stumps it was very much As You Like It.  The best 40 overs put down by the Positivelys this season. 

With tea already had, it was an immediate turnaround between innings.  Is this a bat which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? as your correspondent returned to the dressing room to pick up his trusty blade, which promptly deserted him as he chopped a wide one back onto his stumps.  This brought the Senior Junior Pro out to join the Junior Pro.  But Harry edged his first ball to be well caught at first slip and Nick was given out LBW to his first ball, giving Grosenthwite a hat-trick.  Double, double, toil and trouble for the Positivelys who were now 2 for 3.  Senior Senior Pro Martin joined Fin and briefly steadied the ship, before Fin timed one superbly off his legs but straight to mid wicket.  Already half way down the pitch, he was sent back, slipped a bit and was narrowly run out - A Comedy of Errors.  It's been a tough few weeks for the Junior Pro.  He's also had to deal with losing his lead in the Fantasy Cricket, but most devastatingly he has recently been learning about hereditary traits at school and after reviewing the 2nd XI match report from the 14th May is now undergoing counselling.

Martin was unlucky to snick a very wide one to the keeper, saving me much embarrassment by immediately walking off as your correspondent hadn't heard it and was thinking about giving a wide.  No legacy is so rich as honesty.  The Positivelys were now 20 for 5, but Mikey was looking solid at the other end.  David Simpson stayed with Mikey for a few overs before giving a return catch without troubling the scorers - Much Ado About Nothing.

This brought φβ to the crease with his carefully crafted batting line up in tatters at 24 for 6 [Er, do you mean random number generator.  Ed].  Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.  Could φβ help his team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?  [Look, even though he has been dead for 400 years, I am in 2 minds as to whether there is more chance this should be FB rather than φβ.  Ed]. 

Well Ed, you're not going to believe this.  Departing from his infamous Hermia inducing heaves [Look Edwards, if you are thinking of using this obscure character reference from Midsummer Night’s Dream as a pathetic ruse to slip in a sentence containing Puck and Bottom I am standing ready with the censor's pen.  Ed] φβ and Mikey put on a match winning 50 partnership, with φβ superb on anything short outside off stump and Mikey hitting anything loose.  Mikey eventually departed for an invaluable 34. 

Meadows was next in.  After Livingston, he needed guidance.  Oh Mario, Mario, wherefore art thou Mario?  Just follow the noise.  Empty vessels make the greatest sound.  Whatever advice Mario gave was super, as Meadows and φβ knocked off the remaining runs without further incident, with φβ finishing with 37, the high of the day. Ed, I thought you would have more to say about this?  [Ed is currently passed out and we are trying to resuscitate him.  Sub Ed].  

Meadows is the latest fast bowler to claim all-rounder status.

Thanks to Teuchters for an excellent, fluctuating game played with great sportsmanship.

So a great result for the Positivelys, keeping their outside promotion hopes alive.  A victory built on an excellent bowling platform.  There were times when we were not favourites, but a match winning partnership from Mikey and φβ turned the game around.  All’s Well that Ends Well.

Ed's Epilogue

It’s only been a few days since the events of last Sunday (I’ve recovered now, thanks for asking) but over the past few days my office has been inundated with research, academic studies, books, a film script and the usual nutcase conspiracy theorists suggesting that φβ could not possibly have been the author of the match winning innings for the Positivelys last Sunday.  The argument goes that the innings was played with such authority, calmness and polish that it must have been the product of someone else.  Several hundred names have been put forward as more likely alternatives, including every cricketer at Carlton except Cheeky (as this couldn’t explain the confident back foot shots through the off side).  However in the interests of brevity I will only list the top five “Claimants” [Will this list be appearing in a future Carlton Quiz?  Sub Ed].

  • Jonathan Trott – this explains why the batsman never seemed to be ready when the bowler was about to bowl.
  • Mohammed Amir – suspicious betting patterns, with some punters making a killing after bookmakers offered Leicester City type odds of 5000-1 on a Positively’s win as the batsman strode to the crease with the score at 24 for 6.
  • Fraggle – the ease with which the batsman looked at home on the Grange Loan pitch, though there have been scurrilous suggestions that it couldn’t have been Fraggle because he was at a golf tournament during this important occasion. 
  • Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford - The strongest argument against this claimant is the fact that he was incontestably dead before the events of Sunday took place, though on the other hand this can often give a reasonable impression of φβ.  [This Earl of Oxford was also dead prior to the earliest date that Shakespeare could have written many of his plays, but that didn’t stop him becoming the most popular Shakespeare claimant and the subject of a preposterous film.  Arts Critic]. 
  • Claudio Ranieri – a master of engineering unlikely triumphs, and wouldn’t arouse any suspicion in going on incessantly about the Romans. 
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Saturday 30th July 1pm

ESCA Division Six
L Carlton 4
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v
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SMRH3
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131 all out

Hari Thaivalappil 39, Mike Scott 30

home
Mead

142 all out

Daniel Saunders 3 for 25

Scorecard

Your correspondent [Oh no, you’re back this week are you? Ed] was looking forward eagerly to his first visit this season to the hallowed environs of Edinburgh’s Home of Cricket.  For the Carlton Positively 4th XI faced the arduous cross-town journey from Grange Loan to the Meadows as they pursued their challenge for promotion from the elite level of ESCA Division 6 to the even more rarified atmosphere of Division 5.  A win was necessary for the Positivelys to stay close behind the leaders and ready to exploit any slip up.

A mouth-watering tussle with SMRH was in prospect and, with the sun high in the sky, your correspondent had little doubt that the cricket’s musical sounds of leather on willow would be accompanied by a full range of less musical bongo drummers and steel bands, the nostalgic smell of linseed oil would fight for recognition in the players’ nostrils with the mixed odours of barbecue and ganja and play would be interrupted now and then by the need to untangle the energetic romantic trysts which would take place behind the bowler’s arm. Field setting would have to take account of random cyclists, Frisbee chasers and dog walkers.  For as Psalm 65 has it - The meadows are covered with flocks    and the valleys are mantled with grain;    they shout for joy and sing.

This reference by the Psalmist has always convinced your correspondent of the Biblical authority for the Meadows claim to be properly regarded as the Home of Cricket.  Other mentions of cricket grounds in the Old Testament are few and far between.  There may be frequent references to the House of the Lord and such like, but your correspondent asks, compared to the Psalmist’s work, can these allusions really be taken as evidence for that well known ground in St Johns Wood to be regarded as the Home of Cricket?

There were some changes to last week’s victorious Positively’s line up but, despite the vagaries of availability, it was still a star studded eleven who assembled under the skipper’s steely gaze.  He warned his charges to beware the famous Meadows bounce, a phenomenon of more certainty than the phantasmagorical Brexit bounce of which the popular press has made much of in recent days.  The Meadows bounce will happen he told his side.  It was first identified by scientists attending early matches at the Home of Cricket when it was observed that the ball on landing proceeds towards the wicket at a lower height relative to sea level than it showed on hitting the turf.  Newtonian physics suggests that this is impossible.  Stephen Hawkins has been stumped [Er you might care to rephrase that.  EdStephen Hawkins has yet to find the answer.  Considerable scientific effort involving the use of all kinds of high tech equipment including the Hadron Collider, the Earthscope, and 6 inch rulers has delivered no accepted explanation.  String theory may have something to say about the phenomenon.  Chaos theory is probably a better bet.  [Oh ha ha, very clever.  Ed].

Thus put on their guard, the Positivelys went through their last minute preparation of standing about as the skipper made his way out to the middle for the toss.  The playing surface was mottled light and dark green.  A rather pleasing effect if it was used for the design of camouflage gear for the commandos, but less convincing as a cricketing surface.  Undaunted the skippers did the deadly deed as a result of which the Positively’s skipper graciously allowed SMRH to take first use of the batting paradise. 

Pete Gill opened for the Positivelys and got them off to a perfect start getting the opener Hay to nick off to Eric who reaped yet more fantasy points by taking a straightforward catch.  The Positivelys then faced the experienced pair of Spiers and Coltherd and while Ruth, making a very welcome return from injury, and Pete continued to bowl tightly they had no further luck.  A convincing partnership of 55 was looking menacing for the Positivelys before young Jamie Beattie speared a Yorker through Spiers.  Great bowling by the youngest player on the field who ended with 1-19 off his 5 overs. 


Fantasy Bob exchanges pleasantries with an autograph hunter at the Home of Cricket

Hari coaxed the Meadows to deliver that famous bounce to dismiss Smith and further perplex Stephen Hawkins, and wickets began to fall regularly with 2 to Fin (2-27), making good progress in learning the spinner’s craft,  and 3 to Daniel(3-25).  There were more fantasy points for Eric as he snaffled Coltherd for a well-made 55, proving once again a thorn in Carlton flesh.  It became impossible to keep David Simpson out of the game as he took 2 catches and a direct hit run out.  Young Eric McKinley had fielded superbly through the game and he querulously suggested to the skipper that it was about time he was given a bowl.  Having set his field with an exactitude that was beyond the skipper’s ability to grasp, Eric reached the end of his run up, turned and pounded rhythmically in.  The vast crowd watched with bated breath [Do you mean his Mum and Dad?  Ed]  He reached the crease, Trueman like he arched his back, his front foot  stepped high and his arm came over.  The ball sped to the batsman.  There was only one winner here.  Michael safely bagged the catch.  Eric’s first ball in senior cricket takes a wicket.  ‘Easy game,’  he said as they walked off. ‘What took you so long to bring me on, skip?’  Out of the mouths…………..

SMRH finished on 142.  A decent total.  Would it be beyond the Positivelys?

Tea was to usual Carlton standards, which meant that there was sufficient to feed the entirety of the throngs disporting themselves on the hallowed turf.  This, as your correspondent recalled, was foreseen by the prophet Isaiah who wrote, ‘And the firstborn of the poor and the poorest of the poor of Judah shall feed on my Meadows….’  The prophet did not foresee that even as the poorest of the poor had their share, there would be empire biscuits left over.  Truly we are blessed.

The multitude fed and safely returned to Judah, it was time for the Positivelys to begin their chase.  Things did not begin that well when Pete chased a wide one in the third over to nick to slip.  The skipper had asked for volunteers to bat at 3, every one took a step back leaving him in unchallenged possession of the spot.  Nose duly bleeding from the altitude, he hung around grimly for 12 overs before  he was undone by a combination of Meadows bounce and horrendous shot [A little honesty would help readers here, observers suggest it was a bit more of the latter than the former. This also seems to be the view of Stephen Hawkins. Ed].  When Fin followed and Eric was run out for 28, the Positivelys were perilously placed at 45 for 4.  But then Hari and Michael buckled down.  With some fine hitting, good running, and a little luck from buttery SMRH fingers they brought the game round to the Positivelys. 119 – 24 wanted off 9 overs and both batsman looking untroubled.  SMRH had spilled a few catches in the deep causing skipper Farooq to strip off his keeping pads and join the outfield.   Was this a master stroke? For almost immediately Michael, on 30, miscued allowing Shuaib to demonstrate the safe hands he had first shown during his legendary years at Grange Loan. 

Your correspondent must look to the record books for what happened next.  In the history of Test cricket there have only been 2 instances when a side has given up 4 run outs in an innings.  In the history of ODI cricket there have been 10 instances of a side giving up 5 run outs.  It looked like the Positivelys were determined to break those records.  SMRH gave up catching to concentrate on run outs – with some success getting 3 in quick succession including Hari out for an excellent 39.  This took the steam out of the Positivelys’ chase. However 126-8, 17 wanted in 5 overs.  Still there was hope.  Ruth topped edged to slip. 129-9, 15 in 4 overs.  Still there was hope.  But Daniel tried to clear the infield only to see Hands Farooq (who else) take a running catch to end the innings. Hope had left the building and the Positivelys had fallen 11 short.  They also set a new club record for run outs in an innings.

As all good cricket matches show there were many tales of ….if only, if only.  Well done to worthy winners SMRH who played with great and positive spirit.  Good luck for the rest of the season.

The Positivelys hang on to the league leaders’ coat tails, but their promotion challenge looks that little harder.  The dream is still possible, but they cannot afford another slip up.

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Saturday 6th August 1pm

ESCA Division Six
  Glenrothes 3
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v
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Carlton 4
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    away

145 all out

Eric Edwards 37

MATCH ABANDONED

Scorecard

Your correspondent journeyed to the cricketing epicentre of Fife at Gilvenbank Park, Glenrothes to the accompaniment of Test Match Special’s commentary on events at Edgbaston as England struggled for supremacy against Pakistan.

For a reason not readily apparent to your correspondent, whose concentration was rather on navigating the slalom course of pot holes that Edinburgh’s City Fathers take pride in presenting to drivers as an additional Festival time excitement, the conversation turned to unfinished innings and batsmen left stranded on 99. A familiar name suddenly diverted your correspondent’s attention back to the commentary. Graeme Swan told of an incident when he played at Northants involving a certain Toby Bailey who was left high and dry on 99 as his batting partner took a mighty and ineffective dart at the bowling only to miss by a country mile. ‘Poor old Toby….’ murmured Swanny with the hint of a giggle.

He would certainly have had more sympathy for his erstwhile team-mate if he knew what was coming later in Bailey’s career. For a few years over the horizon lay in wait the skipper of Carlton’s Positively 4th XI who, when Bailey was appointed head coach at Carlton, was not slow in seeking his advice on how to improve his lowly batting average. Having for a minute or so watched the skipper in the nets facing the demons of Carlton’s 11 year old bowlers, Bailey considered immediate resignation - the task seemed beyond even his gifts as a coach. He wondered how to get out of this difficult spot. Suddenly it came to him – a diversionary tactic was necessary. As the skipper untangled himself from another heave across the line, Bailey nodded approvingly. ‘By the way, what do you think Gustav Mahler’s bowling action was? Did he bowl the doosra…………….’ This was a metaphorical half volley outside off and the skipper’s metaphorical bat came through the line of the metaphorical ball - all interest in the batting lesson was forgotten as he explained at some length how the Mahler’s doosra was left unfinished alongside his tenth symphony at the time of his death. The symphony has been completed by other hands working from sketches, but the doosra remains a mystery. [Dear readers, we think this an exceedingly unlikely story, we hope Toby Bailey’s lawyers will not advise action, and have urged the correspondent to get on with something relevant to yesterday’s match. Ed] Your correspondent has it from the skipper that following this session his batting has improved [Now we know you’re making this up. Get on with it. Ed].

Gilvenbank Park lay green under a blue sky as the Positivelys arrived. It looked a perfect afternoon for cricket. It was vital that, after last week’s narrow reverse, the Positivelys got back on the winning trail to maintain any kind of chance of promotion. The skipper looked at the record books with satisfaction – he was unbeaten at this venue. Two tosses won out of two. It was therefore with a rare confidence that he strode out to the middle. ‘Leave this to me, boys,’ he said inaccurately to his team which included two girls as they went through their extended warm up routines.

The coin spun. ‘Heads,’ called the skipper, with a slight swagger. He looked expectantly at the coin as it lay on the wicket and his knees buckled. ‘Tails – you bat,’ said Glens’ skipper with a cruel chuckle.

Eric opened with Euan Burgess, making a long overdue debut for the Positivelys, and they started at express pace, taking advantage of a couple of loose overs and a short legside boundary. 49 came up in no time. But the introduction of left armer Assad changed things – he cleaned Euan up, had Al plumb, and got Eric, 37 and looking good for lots more, to play on. When Leigh also played on at the other end the bright beginning did not look so good at 66 for 4. The clouds were building not only metaphorically but also literally. [Very clever. Have you been taking lessons? Ed] The sun that had welcomed the players on to the field was fast disappearing behind banks of grey.

By 93 both Hari (22) and Michael had gone bringing the skipper to the crease. The Glenrothes fielders began to think of the early tea that was in prospect, but they were confounded and had to wait. The skipper knuckled down – this was not pretty, the heavy outfield slowed the scoring rate [Observers suggest this was as much due to the skipper’s inability to time the ball. Ed] Batting the overs was the priority. But in partnership with Fin and then Jamie, the score moved on steadily. Fin was unluckily caught at square leg with a shot that would have cleared the fielder in junior cricket – maybe only 8 against his name but an excellent effort. Jamie – at 10yrs 2months he sets a new club record for age gap between batting partners - was also looking solid when he was unluckily hit on the head by a fielder’s throw. A nasty blow. He retired hurt but was later in the evening reported well and enjoying tapas and ice cream. [ It is rare to say that we are very glad to read anything in these reports but we make an exception for that news. Well done Jamie. Ed] The skipper then pulled a muscle as he called Ruth for a quick single and accelerated to a moderately brisk walk which was too much for his groin. A runner was necessary. The usual hilarity ensued which was too much for Ruth and Muzza who both were bowled soon after leaving the innings complete on 145 in the final over with the skipper undefeated on 25 and the first drops of rain now falling from the slate grey sky.

After a fine tea and several hopeful looks at the sky the skippers decided to call it a day as the rain became heavy and persistent. The Positivelys were unable to make up any ground on their promotion rivals – a nail biting end to the season is still in prospect. Many thanks to Glenrothes for a most enjoyable half match and a fine tea.

Mahler’s Tenth Symphony was left unfinished. Mozart’s Requiem too. Sadly this match joins that list of unfinished great works of art. Your correspondent would not place this match report anywhere near these works, but at the same time he


[The communication from the correspondent ends here. Is this some pathetic attempt at a joke? Ed]

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Sunday 14th August 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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Drummond Trinity 2
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99 for 1

Eric Edwards 51*, Alan Murray 39*

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GL

98 all out

Steven Andrews 3 for 9

Scorecard

Your correspondent was serenely minding his own business at Grange Loan waiting for the highly attractive encounter between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and Drummond Trinity 2 to get under way.

As the Positivelys’ first season in the rarified elite levels of ESCA Division 6 reaches its climax they find themselves in bronze medal position.

Overtaking the sides above them may seem a tall order unless one or other of them blows up in the final stages. But stranger things have happened, so it was important for the Positivelys to maintain their winning form and secure at least the coveted bronze medal. An entertaining tussle was in prospect – the reverse fixture earlier in the season had been a tightly contested affair.

Your correspondent’s tranquil reflection on these points was disturbed by a loud cry from the pavilion area of ‘You’ve done WHAT?!?’

He looked up to see the great Fraggle Watts, red faced, eyes bulging, waving his arms in what can only be described as an excited manner. The bloodcurdling scream had evidently come from him. Throughout the neighbourhood, dogs had started barking, emergency services were being scrambled – the world’s media descended eager to learn what horror had taken place.

Prostrate in front of the gesticulating Fraggle was the Positivelys’ skipper. What could such supplication imply? Had the skipper’s over eager cleaning out of the dressing rooms following the first XI’s occupancy of it the day before led him to put Fraggle’s favourite lucky socks, never washed since he scored his last century, in the rubbish bin? [Unnecessary, the socks could have walked there by themselves. Ed]

No – the cause of Fraggle’s ire soon became clear. He continued his outburst, ‘You WON the toss and you are BOWLING! At GRANGE LOAN!’

Your correspondent will leave readers to imagine for themselves the tirade that followed in which the skipper’s sanity, fitness for office and genetic make-up, among other things, were rigorously questioned. There might have been a suggestion that this ‘apology for a decision’ showed the result of listening to too much Gustav Mahler. Eventually the storm abated and Fraggle departed for the tranquillity of his darkened room. As he left the ground, the Positivelys’ skipper raised himself from his prostrate position and dusting himself down, murmured to himself, ‘That Fraggle may have scored a million runs for Scotland, but he doesn’t know anything about lower league cricket.’

This touching incident reminded your correspondent that the day was the precise 60th anniversary of the death of Bertolt Brecht, the great German dramatist and poet. Your correspondent is aware that cricket does not feature much in the work of Brecht, more is the pity. But one of Brecht's most important theatrical principles was what he called the Verfremdungseffekt - the distancing effect. This involved stripping the event being depicted of its self-evident, familiar, obvious quality to create a sense of astonishment and curiosity. To this end, Brecht’s plays employ techniques such as the actor's direct address to the audience, harsh and bright stage lighting, the use of songs to interrupt the action, explanatory placards and so on.

Deciding to bowl at Grange Loan would have been one such technique. Except that the sense of astonishment as shown by Fraggle, was matched only by a weary sense of familiarity by the chosen members of the Positivelys. What the critics might consider Verfremdungseffekt of the Verfremdungseffekt [Oh very clever. Now can you get on with the cricket. Ed]

The new juniors to the side whispered to the more experienced colleagues, ‘Has the skipper ever decided to bat?’ Their innocent enquiries were met with rueful chuckles, ‘You’ll learn boys. You’ll learn.’

Ethan Wood, making a welcome debut to the Positivelys, opened with Matt Edwards. He struck gold with his second ball as an off cutter took Reed’s middle stump and finished with an excellent 1-17 off his 5 over spell - up the hill against the wind, like all the great Positivelys’ bowlers. [Who on earth have you in mind – Mario hasn’t played at this level, has he? Ed] Matt bowled three maidens on the bounce and then struck with 2 caught behinds – the son father dismissal thing is becoming a feature of the Positivelys’ season – Matt 2-21 off 7 and DT in a bit of trouble at 26-3. Further misfortune was to come as Weatherstone could only watch a delivery from Leigh spin off his bat to his pad and thence trickle gently onto the leg stump from which the bail gently fell to earth. [Very poetic. Have you been reading the Guardian again? Ed] Kumar offered some resistance with aggressive hitting until he was splendidly caught by Michael Scott on the long off boundary – Michael made a good 20 yards to take the ball on the run and give young Sachin a well deserved wicket – good for Sachin keeping the ball up to the bat like a true pro. Leigh got another (2-11) and there was a wicket also for Cameron Keatinge, debuting for the Positivelys and bowling nice away swingers (1-22). These were two more catches behind – after each of which Eric was able to calculate the number of Fantasy points he had accrued from each dismissal – as Fraggle observed an hour earlier, there are consequences from listening too much to Mahler. 64-7.

The stage was set for Meadows Andrews who had been scratching his hooves in the outfield while this was going on. Steven charged down the hill generating considerable pace and tore through the remaining batsmen, cartwheeling the stumps on each dismissal. He finished with 3-9 and DT were all out for 98. Perhaps they might feel they did not do justice to the quality of the batting surface but they were faced by an excellent bowling performance from each of the Positivelys’ bowlers and the Verfremdungseffekt they caused.

Your correspondent’s limited vocabulary does not contain enough superlatives to describe the tea that was then laid out. Sachin had arrived for the match on the stroke of 1pm and it became clear why. Your correspondent thought that the youngster was seeking to emulate the great diZZee kartah [New readers to these pages may not be familiar with this personage – it is a term of endearment given in the mists of time by the correspondent to Dave Carter one time President and present Secretary of Carlton CC for reasons that escape the editorial staff. New readers might of course not care a fig about this but are simply wondering why they began to read this and may be wondering if there will ever be a conclusion to these ramblings. In that they are joined by the editorial staff. The correspondent’s skill at Verfremdungseffekt is reaching danger levels Ed] As your correspondent was saying before being so rudely interrupted, diZZee’s legend includes the apparently superhuman ability to arrive just as the umpires cross the boundary - a skill which has given rise to the slanderous suggestion that he has been outside the ground for half an hour waiting for that precise moment to make his entrance. Anyway, Sachin was not so inspired by diZZee’s example, but had been delayed by his Mum’s extended visit to Waitrose in which she appeared to have cleared the store to provide Sachin with his tea for 3. The table groaned with provender which, in addition to Sachin’s bounty, included the world famous Kasperek pancakes. Test match quality. It was a tea beyond the understanding of Fraggle. Well done the Positivelys.

There was still a feast on the table when the time came for the Positivelys to take up the chase. In a truly Brechtian development, causing astonishment and not a little Verfremdungseffekt , the skipper invited Martin Robertson to open with Eric. Martin took to role of opening bat with admirable rigour. He played out 2 consecutive maidens in a manner that reminded all of the great Barnacle himself, although his forward defensives did demonstrate a firmness that eludes even the Barnacle full blooded cover drive. However the illusion of Barnacle was shattered forever when Martin pushed to mid off and called Eric for a quick single. A sigh went round the crowd. Having shown his Boycottian merits for 8 overs Martin decided that it was up to someone else to score the runs, he fancied another of Leigh’s pancakes. Nobly he made way for Al Murray – and that was it. He and Eric knocked off the runs without any further scares and the Positivelys ran out winners by 9 wickets in the 25th over, with Eric on 51* (his 6th half century of the summer – he is 139* against DT) and Al on 39*.
Speaking to the world’s media after the victory, the skipper commended Drummond Trinity for being worthy opponents, he went on vigorously to deny that there was any rift between him and the Fraggle. ‘Fraggle’s lucky socks are safe at the bottom of this cricket bag.’

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Saturday 20th August 1pm

ESCA Division Six
  Melrose
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Carlton 4
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RAINED OFF

Your correspondent is ashamed at his lapse in standards. He has long upheld the convention that a report for a cancelled match should be filed and available by the time that the match was scheduled to start. He was unable to meet this requirement yesterday and he apologises to all readers to whom the non-appearance of a timeous report on the cancelled Carlton Positively 4th XI’s match in the elite levels of ESCA Division 6 yesterday caused distress [Don’t kid yourself – all of them reported considerable relief. Ed]

Your correspondent has noted the the confirmation yesterday of Carlton’s First XI’s outstanding achievement in winning the East Premier title. This most welcome news may prove some – but not total - compensation for his own failings.

At or around noon yesterday a fleet of high powered executive vehicles left Edinburgh filled with enthusiastic supporters eager to discover whether the Positivelys’ skipper could maintain his outstanding form with coin in hand to confirm his most successful season. Or would he fade when the challenge was at his highest? [We all know the answer to that one Ed.]

As the convoy powered down the A68, the message came through that heavy rain had arrived in Melrose, the coast guard had been summoned to assist the doughty groundsman who had been trapped by the deluge as he marked the crease. One by one the convoy did a handbrake turn and fled the flood waters. Traffic was thrown into chaos. Police helicopters were scrambled to monitor the mounting confusion as tractors from Hawick, caravans from Epping, and visiting continental motor-bikers faced turmoil in a skidding cacophony of ill-tempered horn pressing. A state of emergency was declared by Traffic Scotland, relieved for once that pot holes were not to blame for the mounting disaster. A NATO peace-keeping force was sighted heading for the epicentre of the disaster at the roundabout at Carfraemill. Later reports discounted this as spy cameras confirmed that it was the local TA Landrover heading for the petrol station at Lauder to top up supplies.

Local householders took in distressed travellers, ‘We’ve nivver seen onythin’ like the chaos,’ commented one resident who wished to remain anonymous. ‘This gagder says he’s the skipper, he’s oot in the road an’ just stauns there waving his airms aboot. Totally clueless, he wis.’ [Readers will recognise this uncannily accurate description of the Positivelys’ skipper approach to field placing. Ed]

Your correspondent narrowly avoided the disaster area and sadly returned home. There would be no toss. No cricket. And most disappointingly no opportunity to sample the home baking that is a feature of visiting Borders clubs.


The cancellation of the fixture means that Melrose will be promoted – many congratulations to them - whether they win the league and who else is promoted depends on next week’s final fixtures. The Positivelys are still firmly in the mix – if they win and Dunbar lose, the even more elite levels of Division 5 could beckon. There is therefore still one all-important toss for the skipper to win.

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Saturday 27th August 1pm

ESCA Division Six
W Carlton 4
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Falkland 3
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MATCH CONCEDED BY FALKLAND 3

Your correspondent has spent the week in careful preparation for his visit to Edinburgh’s celebrated Home of Cricket (aka the Meadows) to witness the culmination of the Carlton Positively Fourth XI’s adventures in the elite levels of ESCA Division 6. A mouthwatering fixture with Falkland 3 had been scheduled – a jewel to complement the multi-cultural extravaganza that is always the Meadows during the Festival weeks.  Your correspondent was therefore devastated to receive the call from the Senior Executive President of Falkland Cricket Club…

‘Eh, we can’t make it tomorrow……’

What do you mean?

We haven’t a team

But it’s the Meadows…….there’ll be bongo drummers.

Mibbe so – but ye’ve also got that Meadows Andrews laddie – we can’t face him….

 ….there’ll be Zuma dancers…..

Aye right, but that match reporter might write us up in poetry – we can’t take the risk…it would be bad for Fife.

What do you mean?

You see that survey this week which says folk in Fife are the happiest in Britain?

Yes..

Well it’s main question was – If you don’t have to play on the Meadows this season how happy would you be?

Ah I see

Nothing about bongo drummers……..

Oh

..or Zuma dancers

I see

We just can’t risk the happiness of Fife.  Bye.

But I was thinking of dong the match report in haikus

That does it – we concede. 

The phone went dead. Your correspondent was left hanging – like the Positivelys, like Meadows Andrews who will therefore pass the season without an appearance at the ground which bears his name [Eh?  The other way round surely?  Ed] That exceptional cricketing surface that was in preparation will lay unused other than by Saturday afternoon barbecue parties. 

So that is the Positivelys’ season over and done.   They finish a highly creditable 3rd in the elite 6th Division.

One match was abandoned, one conceded by the opposition and 2 cancelled through rain. One match was cancelled on police advice [See match report for 22 May above.  Ed].

Of the 13 matches played, the Positivelys won 8, lost 4 and tied 1.  In all 46 players turned out – 21 of those are juniors.

1751 runs were scored over the season.  Of these 527 were scored by Eric Edwards who topped 50 on 6 occasions and had a top score of 88*.  Eric also had 19 catches and 2 stumpings. [A modest contribution then. Ed]

Of the other batters, only Al Murray had a half century – and only Al (121) Hari Thaivalappil (124) and the skipper (159) scored more than 100 runs.

The 92 wickets taken were more evenly distributed: Steven Andrews had 12, Pete Gill and Fin Thornton 9 each and Matt Edwards and Daniel Saunders 8 each.

The skipper was on great form with coin in hand. 10 tosses were won and 4 lost.  On one occasion the skipper actually opted to bat – statisticians are scouring the records to establish whether this has ever happened before. [They needn’t bother – it hasn’t.  Ed]

Miraculous events occurred on 2 occasions when the skipper held on to catches at slip.

A full set of match reports was submitted. [Don’t expect anyone to thank you for that.  Ed]  As usual a number of guest players were introduced for no apparent reason.  They included Adam Smith, George Orwell, Paul McCartney, Shakespeare, Robespierre, Eratosthenes, Vergil Tracy, Jean Paul-Sartre, Stephen Hawkins, Mozart, Bertolt Brecht.  Mention was also made of Gustav Mahler but sadly no further clarity was established as to his bowling action.   [A source of great disappointment – not. Ed] Next season perhaps. [You mean you’re thinking of playing again next year?  Ed]

Your correspondent would like to note that Hari Thaivalappil will leave Edinburgh shortly and will not be available next season.  He would like to thank Hari for his contribution over the last 2 seasons – Hari works in London during the week and makes the trip north each weekend specially to turn out for the Positivelys [Don’t you mean to see his family?  EdHe’s a great lad.  All the Positivelys send Hari their best wishes for his new life in Cambridge, where local scorers are already trembling at the prospect of having to spell his name.

Your correspondent mentioned to his interlocutor from Falkland CC that he intended to prepare this week’s match report in haiku………..[Oh no Ed]:

A match conceded

Guards not scraped on the creases

Empire biscuits fade

Your correspondent thanks all his readers for their support [You don’t really think anyone has read any of this stuff do you?  Ed] He looks forward to joining you all again in 2017 when he is confident that the bowling action of [Right ,that’s enough.  Ed].

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