Carlton 4th XI 2017 Fixtures and Results
Saturday 29th April 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Largo 2
v
Carlton 4
A

Carlton 4s 112 for 9

lost to

Largo 2s 114 for 4

Scorecard

CARLTON POSITIVELY 4TH XI

(the only cricket team in the world named after a song by Bob Dylan)

NEW FOR SEASON 2017

Grand Prize Competition

Have you ever got half way through a match report of Carlton Positively 4th XI and thought ‘Why am I bothering?’ ‘What’s the point of this?’ ’Was any cricket actually played here?’

Then our new competition is for you.  You can make reading these reports fun and exciting. [Oh come on. Ed]

The table below contains 40 names.  None is likely to turn out for the Positively 4th XI this season.  Yet 11 are going to be mentioned in a match report.  Why?  Nobody knows.

All you have to do is identify the 11 names who you think are going to feature in the Positively 4th XI match reports for Season 2017. 

Glamorous prizes await those who get it right!!!!! Exciting is not the word!!!! [Just what I was thinking.  Ed]

Examine this list carefully:

Richard III

Marcus Aurelius

Bonnie Prince Charlie

John Maynard Keynes

Captain Pugwash

Gustav Holst

Gustav Mahler

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Eiffell

The Bee Gees

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Wade

Virginia Bottomley

Valerie Singleton

Jeremy Clarkson

Neville Longbottom

Neville Chamberlain

Neville Cardus

Neville Marriner

Screaming Lord Sutch

Cole

Porter

Gail Porter

Nyree Dawn Porter

Endymion Porter

Champion the Wonder Horse

Brunnhilde

Blondie

Clytemnestra

Bonnie Tyler

Donald Trump

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Horowitz

Vlad the Impaler

Sophocles

George Orwell

Joe Orton

William Shakespeare

Snoopy

Now make your selection.  Be careful - this requires supreme skill – luck does not come into it [The exact opposite of the Fourth’s skipper’s batting then. Ed]

Send your 11 names to competitions@carltoncc.  Each week read the match reports and have the thrill of seeing your bonus points mount up [unlike the 4th XI’s league points. Ed]

****************************************************************************************************************************************

Through no fault of their own,  the Positively 4th XI find themselves promoted this season from the elite level of ESCA Div 6 to the super-elite level of Div 5.  Tossing and match reporting skills will be tested to the utmost – to say nothing of the cricket [Which is what your match reports generally do anyway.  Ed.]

First up on the fixture card was a visit to Largo, cricketing jewel of the East Neuk of Fife.  The skipper’s ineptitude at the toss meant that the Positivelys were put in to bat on a dry well prepared wicket.  ‘It looks like it could be quite pacy,’ reported the skipper to his openers.  This proved to be unhelpful instruction.  Largo’s opening bowlers were clearly musicians – for them Largo took its musical meaning – very slow – think Handel’s Ombra Mai Fu, think Dvorak New World (or Hovis Bread), Vivaldi’s Winter…….. [Just hold on there – is there anything by Bucks Fizz you can mention?  Ed]  

Scoring was also painfully largo, even Eric found himself in several minds as the ball parabola’d its largo way to the batter’s end.  Keith decided to shut up shop and wait for the tempo to rise towards Adagio with the change bowlers.  Little did he know – the first change went Molto Largo shading to Larghissimo.  This did for Eric, mistiming to loop a largo-motion catch to the keeper.    Keith finally got going, but flashed prestissimo outside off and fell, as only he can, to a miracle catch at slip.  Ollie bravely tried to push things along, Rua and Jamie played correctly but found the field hard to penetrate.  If the bowling was largo then the scoring rate was never faster than Andante – and not a trace of con brio in it.  No one got to grips with the looping deliveries.  Duncan and the skipper rallied briefly but both perished before they could capitalise.  Muzz and Ewan ensured that the overs were fully used but the total of 112-9 looked a bit under par.

But some quick wickets could put the pressure on.  Muzz, left arm over allegretto, duly obliged taking Coates’ off stump out of the ground in the first over.  But then Frankland and King dug in and took the game away from the Positivelys.  Charlie found the ball following him and fielded like a tiger, Ewan chased and threw as well as any.  Duncan (right arm over Presto ma non troppo Molto inswing) had a couple of decent LBW shouts turned down.  Duncs finally got some reward by bowling Frankland for 28.  King was well set however and never in trouble and passed his 50 with the total in sight.  The light faded, the wind got up and the temperature dropped.  Wickets for Rua and Ollie prolonged the Positivelys’ agonies but the inevitable end came in the 30th over as Largo triumphed by 6 wickets.

The Positivelys hope for brisker tempos in future matches.  Next up is MDAFS – Groves Dictionary of Musical Terms does not identify this as a tempo marking.

Many thanks to Largo – it was good to visit East Drive again after a number of years and find the teas still well up to standard.

Sunday 7th May 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Carlton 4
v
MDAFS 3
H
GL

Carlton 4s 101 all out (Alan Murray 33)

lost to

Murrayfield DAFS 3s 102 for 4

Scorecard

As your correspondent attempted entry through the hallowed gates of Grange Loan intent on enjoying yesterday’s fixture between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and MDAFS 3 in the super elite ECSA Div 5, he was almost trampled underfoot. There seemed a tinge of hysteria in the air. A roar in the distance came gradually nearer. High pitched screams came to his ear. ‘Run for it.’ ‘Quick, don’t look back.’ ‘It’s going to be a disaster.’ A stream of humanity, mostly under 4ft tall, pressed him to the wall. The seething tide of 10 year old kwik cricketers and their doting parents desperately clogged the entrance. A laggardly infant was hastily gathered into the loving arms of his frantic father with the words. ‘Justin - whatever you do, don’t watch. Fantasy Bob is about to toss. Cover your eyes.’ With this inchoate scream he stuffed the recalcitrant infant into a cricket bag and made off in the direction of the line of gleaming BMWs parked outside.

There were a few stragglers, who moments before, had been happily brandishing bright blue bats at anything that looked like a cricket ball, and at many things that had little such resemblance. They were left quivering and trembling desperately seeking a hiding place. A formidable mother with a weeping child on each arm made her point forcefully, ‘It’s disgraceful that they let this kind of thing happen when they know that there will be children about. You will be hearing from my solicitor in the morning.’

Your correspondent was not sure whether she was justified in levelling this accusation directly to him. He had endured many ghastly tosses at the hands of the Positivelys’ skipper. With time and the best medical attention, the trauma could be overcome. But, discretion being the better part of valour, he chose not to make such a rebuttal, but meekly shrugged. This incensed her further. ‘Look at him – he’s out there now. Has he no shame? He even looks like he’s enjoying it. It’s beyond a joke.’ [As is this – just get on with the cricket. Ed]

The hysterical wish to avoid what was coming proved to be well based. Members of the Positively 4ths turned from their emergency task of consoling kwik cricketers to find that their skipper had lost his second toss on the trot. They had been inserted. The skipper put a brave face on it. ‘I was contemplating batting anyway.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ came the response from a dark recess deep in the dressing room, ‘and having contemplated it you would have bowled.’ The skipper protested in vain.

The Positivelys’ line up was more mature than usually take the field as the u13 cup tie had robbed the side of its usual quota of junior superstars. The skipper looked around and spotting Cameron Keatinge, by some way the youngest in the side, said to his older colleagues, ‘Chaps say hello to Cameron, he’ll be doing the fielding this afternoon.’


The Positivelys approached the challenge positively [Very good – how long did it take you to make that one up. Ed] A wicket on which Preston Mommsen had made 2 million runs the day before must be a bit better than a Meadows track. Or so they thought. But little by little they discovered that Mommsen had sucked all the runs out of the surface, leaving them only scraps. Only Al Murray with 33 escaped with credibility intact as one by one, and for no apparent reason, the Positivelys self destructed to be all out for a poor 101 in fewer than 23 overs. The less said the better. [Unusual for you. It must have been dreadful. Ed]

Tea was taken at a time that seemed more appropriate for lunch. As he bit on his empire biscuit, your correspondent contemplated the fact that today’s date was also the date in 1945 that the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender, bringing to an end the war in Europe. It seemed to him commendable if somewhat misguided that in the manner of their innings the Positivelys had paid tribute to this momentous event. He thinks that the re-enactment of historical events through cricket innings may not be the exciting new art form that it once seemed.


As the readers of the club’s website will already know, the Positivelys welcomed former Grange Loan heart-throb Charles Stronach back to its playing ranks. He was duly rewarded [Surely you mean punished? Ed] for his years away by being made to play under Fantasy Bob’s strong and stable leadership [For goodness sake – how much has he paid you? I think you’ll find coalition of chaos better fits the bill. Ed]

Charles steamed in up the hill with a breeze at his back but had no luck. Which was lucky because if he got an edge there was no way that Fantasy Bob in the slips could have caught it. [He would have been lucky if he’d seen it. Ed] Saif did similar at the other end. The batters sat on the splice waiting for the skipper to come on to bowl. The score crawled along. Charles finally got one through the opener’s guard. Al came on and got another, and another. Cameron bowled a good spell joining the ranks of the luckless. Harris Aslam had obviously sucked all the wickets out of the wicket too. A slick bit of fielding got a run out. But there was never any doubt that when the skipper came on to bowl MDAFS would safely coast home. Which they duly did winning by 6 wickets.

There was reason in the mass exodus earlier in the afternoon. This was not pleasant viewing. The season will just have to begin next week after all.

Sunday 14th May 1pm
ESCA Division Five
W
Carlton 4
v
Kirk Brae 2

H

GL

Kirk Brae 2s 192 for 7

lost to

Carlton 4s 193 for 6 (Eric Edwards 62)

Scorecard

Your correspondent may only have been in the first flush of pubescent development when Sandie Shaw battled gamely to the UK’s first ever victory in the Eurovision song contest. Nevertheless her victory lives long in his memory – certainly longer than the outcome of the preceding year when Kenneth McKellar nobly bared his knees in the national cause. He confesses that since that huge triumph he and the Eurovision song contest have rather lost touch. He did of course share in the joy that surged through the country when Bucks Fizz showed true British pluck to storm to victory having lost their skirts on the journey. But that is about it. To be honest, he has never quite understood why Austria does not enter a song by Gustav Mahler which would surely clean up every year. [Are you sure? Ed]

So his thoughts were rather far from the Eurovision action that had dominated the airwaves the night before as he made his way to Grange Loan to see whether the Carlton Positively 4th XI could overcome a disappointing start to their season in the super-elite realms of ESCA Div 5. Two comprehensive defeats had left them languishing in the bargain basement area of the table. Your correspondent took inspiration from this year’s Eurovision entry – he had told the Positivelys that he was Never Giving Up on You. However, he was still anxious that they might be unable to avert Rock Bottom today.

Today’s opponents were near neighbours Kirkbrae and recent matches between the 2 sides have been high scoring and competitive. As Grange Loan lay resplendent in the sunshine, Love Shine a Light, another feast of cricket was in prospect. But first the tricky matter of the toss had to be addressed. The skipper’s early season form has been poor, with 2 absolute maulings. He should have been slumped in his corner with his head in his hands wondering Why Do I Always Get it Wrong? But without any reason at all he exuded confidence. ‘That coin, it’s just a Puppet on a String,’ he said to his team. Not that they were listening. Finding the opposition skipper he sauntered to the middle, spun his coin high in the air saying, ‘It’s time for Making Your Mind Up. ‘

The openers had already donned their pads in expectation of the inevitable reverse when he returned ‘Boom Bang a Bang’ he said ‘ I won, we field. Believe in Me.’ The margin of victory was undisclosed.

The Positivelys welcomed Clément McGeown to the side. The Belgian age-group international is the first cricketer with an acute accent in his first name to turn out for the Positivelys. Clément was concerned that he did not have a club shirt. ‘Don’t worry,’ said the skipper, ‘no need to Beg or Steal you can Borrow one of mine.’ The skipper had a choice of wicket keeper; Let Me Be the One said Clément (below) and the 3 other possible wicket keepers were left to prowl the outfield, which they did to good effect.

Stronach and Simpson got things under way, but the Positivelys were made to wait for some time for first blood. It was not until the 9th over that Rasheed gloved a rising delivery from Charles into the les mains sûres du Clément. [Oh very good – are you going to do it in Flemish too? Ed] Harry finished his spell without luck but had kept excellent control. The score had moved on to 70 when 3 wickets fell quickly, with 2 catches to Harry, a real Jack in the Box – his second catch was a stunning dive and 2 handed take from a rasping drive off Cameron’s bowling. Rua, in an excellent pacy spell down the hill that gave him first spell figures of 5-2-10-2, then sublimely took the off peg of the dangerous H Raja. [That Sounds Good To Me – oh no you’ve got me at it now. Ed] 71-3 at drinks represented a good effort by the Positivelys in such benign batting conditions. After the break, M Raja proceeded to a solid 66 before being run out by a smart return by Cameron. How far out was he? Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit. One Step Further and he….would still have been out.

Skipper Vipend moved to a fine 50 as he accelerated the scoring towards the end. Well, he did have the skipper’s bowling to feast on - Better the Devil You Know. Another excellent piece of fielding by Harry with a superb accurate flat throw from the midwicket boundary brought another run out. Ben D’Ulisse took a fine catch on the boundary off the skipper who bowled 7 overs on the trot [From the photos it looks like this well and truly brought him to his knees. Ed] Concerned geriatricians in the crowd asked whether he really should take another over, I’m Never Giving Up he said [What not another season of him?! -Ed] Cameron and Gavin also contributed good bowling spells in a pretty good bowling and fielding afternoon by the Positivelys keeping Kirkbrae under 200 as they ended on 192-7.

Could the Positivelys match what looked to be a challenging total given their recent batting horror shows? No Dream Impossible. Eric and Harry opened the response. Harry unfortunately mistimed a pull and had to Go leaving proceedings unjustifiably early. Eric was due a score and ably supported by Teenage Life Ben (below, 28) and Euan Burgess (25) duly racked up a fine 62 before popping one up to mid-off shortly after drinks with the score on 119.

Say It Again, still work to be done. Charles knuckled down. There was a minor gulp when with the score on 166 wickets fell in successive balls as first the skipper (11) and then Euan Murray succumbed to H Raja, but Clément (2*) stayed with Charles (29*) who began to find his timing. Boundaries began to flow and The Positivelys reached the required total with 4 wickets and 3 overs to spare.

Congratulations.

Photos

Saturday 20th May 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Watsonian 3
v
Carlton 4
A
RAINED OFF

Heartened by their hard fought victory last week, the Carlton Positively 4th XI were due to continue their campaign in the super elite ESCA Division 5 with a fixture against the might of Watsonian 3.  Your correspondent had spent the week in keen anticipation of a festival of attacking cricket.  He was aware that the date of the match was the same as that attributed to the first publication of the Sonnets of William Shakespeare in 1609.  A victory for the Positivelys would be a fitting celebration of that momentous event. 

Unfortunately overnight and morning rain forced the cancellation of the match.  Your correspondent was left to thumb his much loved copy of the Sonnets.  To his surprise, deep in the annotations, he found this previously unpublished draft of perhaps the best known - Sonnet 18. 

There is often controversy about the real meaning of the Sonnets – but in this one Shakespeare seems very clear.

Shall I compare thee to a summers day

Dripping rain defies such definition

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

Consigning play wetly to perdition

Some time too hot the eye of heaven shines

But on the Scottish cricket player dimm’d

As hour by hour that clement temp declines

Our chance of play, once good, then poor, now grim

Bright through the week the sun hath shone

Come Saturday, the magic dissipate

Apollo from his azure heav’n hath gone

And grey the cloudwrit sky doth set our fate

This poet hath but one damp thought to share

Cricket in Scotland - a whoreson nightmare

Sunday 28th May 1pm
ESCA Division Five
W
Carlton 4
v
Tranent & Preston Village 2s

H

GL

Tranent & Preston Village 2s 109 for 9 (Douglas Tidy 4 for 8, Leigh Kasperek 3 for 10)

lost to

Carlton 4s 110 for 2 (Douglas Blood 68*)

Scorecard

[The Editor writes: Readers will have noted mounting campaigns against major internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to exercise editorial control over controversial distasteful and fake-news material posted on their services. Carlton CC is sad to report that after last week’s publication of a so-called match report for the cancelled match of their 4th XI in the form of a poem (if the word can be used in its loosest sense) they have also come to the attention of these campaigners. This item was offensive to many readers and may have stimulated inappropriate behaviour in some. It is clear the editorial staff should have exercised some discretion. Carlton CC apologises for the offence caused and assures readers that it takes this issue extremely seriously. The so-called correspondent has been strongly warned against further attempts at such malarkey. To do so will lead, amongst other things, to the suspension of empire biscuit rights while the club consider further disciplinary action. For what it’s worth they have also suggested that the recent silence on the issue of Gustav Mahler’s bowling action has been immensely pleasing and it would be good if he could keep that up.]

As your correspondent made his way to the seething cauldron of Grange Loan in search of some top flight sporting action, a compelling couplet in iambic pentameter took shape in his head [Oh no you don’t. Ed]………..but the rhyme eluded him [Phew – that was too close for comfort. Ed]. For his attention was drawn to the fact that around the ground there was no sign of the heightened security that sadly has become a necessity at major sporting events these days. He was relieved to find his access to the ground unencumbered by policemen bearing automatic weapons. He could not detect evidence of snipers posted on adjoining rooftops. He wondered if the authorities had been unduly lax. However his anxiety eased when stationed near the entrance he found the former Doughty Groundsman, still active in the scarifying department and now performing under his Twitter handle of Magnus Barelegs, passing waspish observations on the realities of post-doughty existence as the crowd assembled. This itself was enough to deter any miscreants among the teeming mass from potential misconduct.

A tasty encounter between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and the recently constituted Tranent and Preston Village 2nd XI in the super-elite Division 5 of ESCA explained the keen buzz of anticipation around the ground. Or so your correspondent imagined. But as he circled the boundary he found a distinct lack of interest in the prospects of the Positivelys; instead there was excited speculation that the afternoon would be graced by the presence of Barack Obama as part of his much publicised short visit to Edinburgh. Some of those ringing the boundary had stood in Friday’s sweltering heat outside the Conference Centre in the hope of seeing him, only to be cruelly disappointed that he ducked in the back entrance. Recognising their disappointment, Fantasy Bob had taken action. He assured anyone who would listen to him [ie precisely no one you mean. Ed] that he had been in contact with the recent POTUS to invite him to Grange Loan, promising him a decent empire biscuit at tea time. He also added, as if by way of added inducement, that Fantasy Bob himself would be gracing the field of play. [Are you sure this would have the effect you imagine? Ed] Asked if he had received an answer FB said, ‘Not in so many words, but I’m not taking no answer as no answer.’

Whether in expectation of the imminent arrival of the former leader of the Free World, or for some other reason, Grange Loan has rarely looked so handsome. A warm sun shone in the sky. The rain of the previous day had receded but had freshened things. The pitch lay dry and firm, just asking to be batted upon. Which is what the TPV skipper did on winning the toss. On hearing this news Magnus Barelegs looked hard at the Positivelys’ skipper raising a querulous eyebrow. The skipper quickly stuttered, ‘Yes, and it’s what I would have done too.’ ‘Aye,’ responded Barelegs, ‘and I suppose Barack Obama will be dropping in later.’

The Positivelys welcomed to their ranks young Billy Bertram and Mohammad Neuman for the first time. Rather than wait for the arrival of Obama, they decided to get play underway. They were confident that Barelegs could fill him in on the detail when he arrived. Despite some early nippy bowling by Stronach and Sutherland the match got off to a gentle start as TPV’s openers took no chances. Perhaps they were holding back the fireworks for Obama’s arrival. But it was not until Leigh Kasperek came on that the crowd had something to cheer. Craigmile drove hard off the back foot and must have seen in his mind’s eye the ball crashing into the boundary, for the only fielder in the way was the Positivelys’ skipper. By some accident, perhaps attempting to get out of the way, he found the ball in his hands. The startled look on his face was only exceeded by that on the batters – and those of the rest of the Positivelys. If only Obama had been there he might have relished such athleticism [Oh get on with it. Ed]

Leigh took 2 more quick wickets, bamboozling the batters with variations in flight and pace, and at the break TPV were a mere 43 for 3. Leigh 3-10. TVP ambled on to 78 when Douglas Tidy took a dazzling c&b off his first ball, the first of a 4 wicket haul. Unfortunately [or fortunately depending on your point of view Ed] Obama had still not arrived and so missed another catch by the skipper. [Oh no you’re not going to go about that as well are you? Ed] Was it the prospect of Obama’s presence that had produced this miraculous achievement in which he had held on to more catches in one afternoon that he had in the previous 12 seasons. [So you’re not going to make any reference to the one he grassed in the slips? Ed] Douglas Tidy 4-8. Billy did some damage from the other end with a sharp c&b and then a jaffa to take the outside edge and a catch behind. Billy 2-13 - an excellent debut. Mohammad bowled a good spell as did Duncan and Charles without the rewards they deserved. The innings finished on 110-9.

A tea fit for a President was laid out. Sadly the President it was fit for was still a no-show. Nevertheless diplomatic protocol required an empire biscuit to be carefully laid aside for him. This formality over, the teams got stuck in.

110 on such a surface was surely not enough. And so it proved. After Al had yorked himself (perhaps distracted by a noisy arrival at the gate which might have been Obama but was in fact Max) and Euan unluckily mistimed to mid wicket when looking good, the two Douglases made the best of the conditions and light of the bowling. They brought up the winning total in the 16th over. Blood hit a fine aggressive 68* (8 4s and one 6) with Tidy playing a supporting role for 27*. Even Obama would have enjoyed this display – except that inexplicably he stayed away.

A compelling win for the Positivelys in the sunshine. They could have been upset by the non-appearance of Obama but they did not let that get to them. FB was left how he could have been let down so and faced the dilemma of what to do with the specially kept empire biscuit.

Your correspondent should note that it was extremely heartening to welcome TVP to Grange Loan. A series of unhappy events and depletion of playing resources had threatened Preston Village’s very survival at the start of the season. Happily, an imaginative merger with neighbours Tranent had saved the fixtures and maintained the level of cricketing opportunities in East Lothian. The team gracing Grange Loan contained a balance of players from both clubs, putting local rivalries aside in the interests of their joint cause. These words of Barack Obama seem appropriate to these circumstances: "If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress." He hopes progress comes to those walking at Tranent Preston Village.

Your correspondent knows that by comparison with these life or death struggles in smaller clubs, things at Grange Loan seem easy. There is a wide and growing player base. A small group of volunteers work extremely hard to make the club what it is. The majority of players simply turn up and everything is in place for them. Perhaps however Obama also has some wise words that they would do well to contemplate: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

It is just a pity that the man could not have been there to deliver these inspiring lines in person or watch a most enjoyable cricket match. Should he wish to turn up in future, he can be assured that that very special empire biscuit is still waiting for him.

Saturday 3rd June 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Dunbar
v
Carlton 4
A

Dunbar 162 for 9

beat

Carlton 4s 150 for 8 (Douglas Tidy 43, Leigh Kasperek 33*)

Scorecard

In December 1926 [Oh for Goodness sake Ed] Agatha Christie, then at the height of her literary powers, went missing. A huge manhunt (as it was then described in those gender inappropriate days) ensued. Eventually, 11 days later, she was identified by a banjo player safe and well in a hotel in Harrogate, registered under the name of her husband’s mistress. The nation breathed a sigh of relief. She remembered nothing about the 11 days. What happened remains the subject of speculation.

Your correspondent was put in mind of this mystery by a similar perplexing disappearance of a literary eminence gris. Edin Blyton, authoress of the stunningly successful Famous Fives series, in which an intrepid band of never-say-die 11 and 50+ year olds carve out all manner of arduous adventures across the cricket grounds of Edinburgh and its environs, has been missing since 13 May. She has left no clue as to her whereabouts. Readers are bereft and stare forlornly to the pages she used to grace. The police are baffled. A nationwide person hunt gave no result. Public appeals have proved fruitless. The trail seems to have run cold.

All manner of speculation is rife. Has she taken the vast earnings from her first series of tales and retired to the Cayman Islands? Is she living in Harrogate under an assumed name and keeping a careful look out for sharp eyed banjo players? Has she been kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet? Did she go to Falkirk? Did she in fact ever exist?

All this and more ran through your correspondent’s mind as he travelled with the Carlton Positively 4th XI to the Shangri-la of Dunbar for the latest in their encounters in the super-elite Division 5 of the East League. Dunbar CC had started the season well and were undefeated so far – a contrast to the Positivelys’ more stuttering start. A stern test was therefore in prospect.

But more significantly for your correspondent, Dunbar is just the kind of stately watering hole where a famous authoress could quietly live under an assumed name. So, despite only having indifferent skills on the banjo, your correspondent vowed to keep his eyes peeled in the expectation that he could solve the mystery. He imagined the glory of restoring Edin to her devoted followers.

There were no suspicious looking potential authoresses as the Positivelys arrived at Winterfield’s al fresco changing facilities. A man and a dog. A child and a bicycle. None seemed to have the capability to submit an amusing match report. [You must have felt in good company then – get on with it. Ed]


A drift of haar off the Forth preserved the players’ modesty as they donned their whites. The captains proceeded to the ritual of the toss. How would Edina describe it? [Certainly in fewer words than you usually do. Get on with it. Ed]

There was only one word to describe it. Slaughter. The Positively’s skipper was well and truly gubbed, routed, demolished, destroyed, overwhelmed, humiliated, vanquished, trounced….. [That’s considerably more than one word. Ed]

After the skipper had put the thesaurus back in his bag he was able to inform his side that they [They?!? Ed] had lost the toss and Dunbar had opted to bat.

The Positivelys opened with Leigh and Gavin Rittoo who was making a guest appearance before flying to New Zealand to do tea reports for the British Lions. J Newell opened the innings and looked like the batsman who had already scored 2 centuries this season and entered the match with an average of 386. He was very quick to dispatch anything slightly short. The Dunbar innings was built around him but the Positivelys screwed his average up big time by getting him for 66 – now a mere 226. This which might have been more had the heavy outfield not been a 12th fielder for the Positivelys. Bit by bit the Positivelys chipped away. Wickets were spread around – 1 for Euan, 2 each to Matt Spencer and Ruth and 3 to Doug Tidy. Rua and Leigh were unrewarded for their fine efforts. Although a couple of hard chances failed to stick, the Positivelys fielding effort was excellent - 3 catches to Rittoo (secure as Stuart Hogg under the high ball), 2 to Al (even moreso), and a great throw from Pete Gill on the ground to bag a run out. They got the last wicket in the 40th over so that Dunbar ended on 162.

But there had still been no sighting of likely celebrity authoresses as the Positivelys made their way expectantly to tea. It was only then that the full horror of the afternoon became evident. Where sandwiches had been expected, there were none. Campaigning in the election stopped immediately.

While apologies were gracefully accepted as junior players stripped bark from surrounding trees in a desperate effort to find sustenance, it was made clear to the Dunbar skipper that there was no way this misfortune could be overlooked in the match report. He looked appalled, aghast, shamefaced… [Oh no we’re not going through that again are we. Ed] Conciliatory offerings of jam tarts, tablet and snowballs were dispatched to appease this awful prospect. Eventually ham and mustard sandwiches appeared – but too late to avert the match reporter from his steely purpose.

Black clouds had appeared in the sky as the Positivelys set out to chase down the required runs. The Bass Rock had disappeared like the sandwiches. There was still no sighting of likely celebrity authoresses. Pete Gill and Al looked comfortable against the opening attack until one popped on Al and shortly after Pete was dragged out of his crease to be smartly stumped – 19-2. A situation made for Edin Blyton to describe. But still no sign. Douglas and Euan then batted well to put the game within the Positivelys’ reach – a rain break as the lightning flashed overhead did little to slow their momentum and at 20 overs the Positivelys were ahead on the rain calculator. But although there was another shower it soon passed and the rain didn’t come to the Positivelys’ aid. Euan and Doug were out in rapid succession for 21 and 43 respectively. Fine knocks both with Doug timing the ball particularly well. The middle order dynamo of Fedenczuk and Rittoo failed to spark. That much vaunted captain’s innings proved to be as elusive as the promised sighting of Edin Blyton [Why is that not a surprise? Ed]. Leigh batted well for 33* to ensure the Positivelys scraped the final batting point as they finished their innings on 150-8.

This was a good performance against the strongest side in the league so the Positivelys can take much from it – only Edin Blyton could assess whether timeous sandwiches consumption might have made the difference. But she proved elusive. Well done Dunbar – a game played in most enjoyable spirit. Your correspondent looks forward to the return later in the summer.

And as for Edin Blyton? No trace. The mystery deepens. But next week the Positivelys journey to Peebles – just the kind of stately watering hole where a famous authoress could quietly live under an assumed name ………………….

Saturday 10th June 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Peebles
v
Carlton 4
A

Peebles 247 for 7 (Alan Murray 3 for 34)

beat

Carlton 4s 225 for 4 (Pete Gill 78, Alex Fedenczuk 44)

Scorecard

A statement was issued this morning by the leader of the Positively 4th XI Party:

‘I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen and with her gracious consent I will continue to lead a cricket team. A team that can provide certainty at a critical time in our history in the super elite world of ESCA Division 5. The British people have spoken and their will must be respected.

‘For make no mistake this was a match which the Positivelys won in all important respects other than the result.

‘This was a match in which the Positivelys emerged the clear winners of the toss – even though the skipper called heads and the coin turned up tails. A coin of inordinately low value was used by our opponents confirming their questionable commitment to our way of life. As we go forward only this party can offer the certainty that no toss will ever be undertaken with a foreign coin.

‘Our opponents may claim that by scoring more runs than we did they deserve the right to claim the points. To do so misunderstands the will of the people. By taking more wickets our party has clearly gained the mandate we need. It is only those who pay undue attention to the foreign nature of the Laws of Cricket who suggest that we lost this match. We shall launch an immediate inquiry into those laws and ensure that they are rewritten in our favour. They must give the certainty we need to maintain our place in this league. No longer can the clear wishes of the British people be undermined by a set of Brussels bureaucrats and unelected ESCA officials. We have had enough of those experts.

‘We are the party of youth and equal opportunity. Our excellent candidate opening the bowling at the football end constituency took 2 early wickets – one a catch by C Kentish and the second an excellent caught and bowled. Ms Willis increased her majority 2 for 30. Our young candidates at constituencies around the field worked hard to deliver the result we deserved. McIntyre, Bertram, Kentish and Keatinge all bowled their socks off and only the undue influence of the biased media dominating the scorebooks suggested that runs were scored off them. The British people also gave a huge vote of confidence to our senior front bencher Al Murray who was returned with an overwhelming majority of 3 for 34. No candidate on the opposition side came close to this majority.

‘We will be seeking an immediate review by the Boundary Commission of the extremely short boundary on the Pavilion side constituency which was clearly rigged to give a series of 6s to top edges by our opponents. Such tactics ignore the will of the British people.
‘Our candidate for the wicket-keeping constituency took a good catch down the leg-side. We reject the social media campaign suggesting that he is unfit for office on account of the nature of his celebrations after this historic event. Such suggestions misunderstand the will of the British people which is clearly that batsmen should walk when they hit the ball. Only our party can create the certainty that will ensure that this happens.

‘The Positively 4th XI Party candidate for the Opening Bat constituency, Pete Gill, whose late registration due to sleeping in all election morning could have proved a major setback for our Party, had an outstanding majority of 78 – the largest majority for an u15 candidate in the history of the Positivelys. No candidate from the opposition got anywhere near this majority. Other candidates in the batting constituencies also did well proving the effectiveness of our policies, whatever they were. Our policy of seeking runs on the side of the long boundary clearly demonstrated our commitment to fairness and open borders. There may have been u-turns due to some chancy running between the polling stations. But the British people recognised these as signs of ambition and a willingness to listen to late calls – the suggestion that they reflected confusion and weakness is unworthy of our opponents.

‘We will therefore continue to work with anyone who will prop us up in this league and give the certainty that the will of the British people is respected. We will go forward into our next match with the certainty that whatever the apparent result we will once again emerge the only winners. That is a certainty.

‘That’s what the people voted for.

‘That’s what we will deliver.

‘Now let’s get to work.’

Saturday 17th June 1pm
ESCA Division Five
W
Carlton 4
v
Old Contemptibles

H

Inv

Carlton 4s 133 for 7 (Rob Grisenthwaite 46 not out)

beat

Old Contemptibles 87 all out (Mohammed Nouman 3 for 22)

Scorecard

The Editor writes – Readers may have noted that the 4th XI were visiting Inverleith Park his week with some trepidation.  Many will only just have got over the effects of their last visit to this venue at about this time last year when as a so called match report they were presented with an account in Homeric dactylic hexameter.  After consultation with PoliceScotland the editorial staff have taken strong measures to ensure that the risk of a similar event occurring again has been minimised.  However, the correspondent being the correspondent, readers proceeding beyond this point do so at their own risk.  The editor wishes them luck.

 

Your correspondent finds his knowledge of Vlad the Impaler sadly limited.  He is however vaguely aware that whatever his other claims to fame, the 15th Century Wallachian ruler was not a cricketer of any talent.  Massacre and wholesale slaughter were more in his line. So it is that Wisden does not report that on the 17 June 1462 Vlad failed in his attempt to assassinate the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet, but made up for it by impaling over 20,000 locals on stakes.  This was not his first impaling adventure.  Nor was it his last.  It was a nasty habit.

Your correspondent mentions this only to give his readers an idea of the sort of momentous events that have unfolded through history on this apparently inoffensive date of 17 June.  [To be honest, they rather wish you hadn’t bothered.  They suggest that if you have any intention to describe a cricket match here, you should better just get on with it.  Ed]

So, what would this date portend for the Carlton Positively 4th XI, who made the long and arduous cross town journey to the sylvan glades of Inverleith Park to take on the might of the Old Contemptibles CC in their latest tussle in the super elite levels of ESCA Division 5.  A couple of worthy defeats to teams at the top of the table had given the Positivelys cause to believe that they were finding their feet in these exalted levels of the game. A win against opposition nearer to them in the standings would help confirm that self-belief.  The alternative was impaling near the foot of the table. [Dear Readers – no dactyls so far we could be alright here – fingers crossed.  Ed]

The skipper arrived a tired exhausted shadow of the athletic figure he normally presents.  [Oh come on Ed]  As slumped onto the bench he explained that he had spent every waking moment of the last 48 hours attempting to assemble the 6 teams that Carlton required to put on the field this weekend.  His attempts had been met with excuses of increasingly Baroque splendour and improbability.  He really wonders why so many modern players have to wash their hair on a Sunday.  He suspects that had he had a bit more of the Vlad about him, Grange Loan might have been festooned with impaled bodies.  Which would of course only have made his task of assembling teams in subsequent weeks more difficult.

As it was he had to put thoughts of impaling behind him; not easy, as it happened, for the regular moans and groans of the crowd from the nearby Grange CC ground told him that Scotland’s national cricketers were being impaled in a cruelly gory fashion by a vengeful Zimbabwean team. [Er….are you going to say anything about the 4th XI’s match at all?  Ed]

 

In his dilapidated state the skipper delegated the business of the toss to Feds.  The skipper’s record this season had been woeful, so anyone could improve on it.  Anyone could.  But not Feds. He lost comprehensively.  The Positivelys were invited to bat. 

The sun was pushing the clouds aside and a warm sunny afternoon developing.  Perfect for cricket.   Could the Positivelys play any?  They had a number of barriers to overcome – the plastic track was a bit variable in bounce, pace and whatever else it is that cricket pitches require.  Its celebrated slope – believed to have been closely modelled on Lords with a few features of the Eiger thrown in - made the ball prone to changes in direction. The outfield was lush and clinging – so much so that when the Positivelys took the field there was some risk that their smaller young players would be totally hidden in the grass.

Added to all this, the Comtemptibles’ bowling made things difficult and they soon made inroads as Rua was bowled trying to force it.  Things settled for a bit until Feds pushed to midwicket and came for a run or did he? And Al came for a run or did he? Feds said no or did he? Al turned, turned again said no or did he?  A Pinteresque dialogue replete with dramatic pauses went on for some time in which the fielder calmly stopped the ball returned it leaving Feds well and truly impaled.  A bit later, Al, looking good on 26, mistimed to be caught at short fine leg (the fielder apparently writing a novel in the course of the game and putting aside his notebook and pen to do so – it is not recorded how many other novelists have taken a similar approach to stimulating their creativity although it is known that neither Jane Austen nor Virginia Woolf liked fielding on the leg side).

The Positivelys were uncomfortably 42-3.  They were crawling along at barely 2 an over.  Could Mo and Kevin push on a bit?  The huge crowd held its breath, but needn’t have bothered. Mo buckled down but found little to hit, played out 17 balls, eventually lost patience and was impaled on flying stumps and bails.  Kev (11) tired of the clinging grass took the aerial route successfully with a big 6 but then holed out (another chapter for the aspirant novelist).  Ewan looked well set then was caught mistiming a full toss which a kinder umpire than Al the Impaler might have called a no-ball.  70-6 off 24 overs was not brilliant.  But the stage was set for the Positivelys’ debutant Rob Grisenthwaite, the man with the most Lancastrian surname in world cricket and a welcome recruit from the sadly discontinued Teuchters CC.  He Grisened and Thwaited and in partnership with the skipper repaired some of the damage.  A junior remarked ‘Does the skipper bat?  I thought he only did the toss.’  To which his pal responded, ‘And he can’t even do that properly.’ The skipper was impaled giving it the charge in the second last over for a chanceless 22 [Really – eyewitnesses suggest that he was dropped by the same fielder off successive balls.  Ed

Gavin was scoring in technicolor.  He decided his time had come to pad up and handed the full colour spectrum to Kevin to take over.  The sense of panic swept round the ground for Kevin is strictly monochrome when it comes to scoring.  Rua saved his bacon by taking the colour palette for the final overs.  Never a more noble deed done in support of a team mate.

Rob finished on 46* - well played he - and the total of 133-7 – the holding outfield had perhaps taken 40 off the score - gave the Positivelys something to bowl at. 

There was enough tea to feed 20,000 or more had Vlad not impaled them before they could get there.  So the Positivelys were well nourished as they took the field.  Rob had immediate success in his first over as Charwood played on, a good wicket to get early on.  Mo kept up the pressure and took 3 wickets – with 3 Afridi poses to follow – and the Positivelys had Mo-mentum [Oh for goodness sake – how long did it take you to think that up.  Ed].  Mo 3-22.   Only Watson looked secure and was batting very sensibly.  The other end was open and the Positivelys kept chipping away at it - Jamie (1-28) and Rua (2-19) had success – with Feds taking a good catch down the leg side for the third week in a row.  But with the arrival of Ramsay the Contemptibles scoring accelerated rapidly and suddenly they looked to be in with a shout.  But those who start swinging finish swinging and a solid catch by Al the Impaler off Rua did for him and at drinks OCCC were 71-6.  But opener Watson was still there looking impregnable.  Something special would be needed to dislodge him.  Instead the skipper brought himself on to bowl.  A junior remarked ‘Does the skipper bowl?  I thought he only did the toss.’  To which his pal…..  [Yes yes you’ve done that one. Get on with it.  Ed] Watson was tempted into rashness and Kevin took the catch. 

Unfortunately Fogarty, who was hitting it well, retired ill – the Positivelys wish him a quick and strong recovery.

The remaining wickets fell in quick succession with the skipper administering the final impaling (skipper 2-5).  OCCC all out for 87 giving the Positivelys a 46 run victory.

A good day for the Positivelys – a match in warm sunshine played in excellent spirit.  Thanks to OCCC.

Saturday 24th June 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Melrose
v
Carlton 4
A

Carlton 4s 163 for 5 (Kevin Whitaker 57, Alan Murray 48)

lost to

Melrose 164 for 7

Scorecard

Your correspondent has always been impressed how the erudite selection committee of the Carlton Cricket Club takes inspiration from the high points of Western Culture and beyond in reaching its decisions.   This came forcefully to him once again, as he scanned this week’s team list before journeying to Melrose in support of the next tussle of the Positively 4th XI in the super elite levels of ESCA Division 5.  For the team gave him much to think about. [I suppose this means that it’ll be sometime before we get to any description of the cricket, if we ever do.  Ed]

Had the Committee taken its shining inspiration from Richard Wagner? [Oh no, not him – you’ve lost most of the readers already.  They’re off to mow the grass or do something useful.  Ed] In his Ring Cycle, trios of female characters are important at several points in the action.  There are the three Rhine Maidens who fail to guard the Rhine gold at the start of the cycle and later warn Seigfried of his impending fate at the hands of a deceiving leg spinner.  And there are the Norns, who spin the fate of the world on a continuous thread which snaps at the start of Gotterdamerung portending the fate of the Gods, as their batting crumbles on a green top. 

The Norns themselves are long established figures of Norse mythology and are echoed in Shakespeare’s trio of witches, secret black and midnight hags, brewing eye of bat and toe of frog, to give Macbeth something to think about as he promotes himself to the top of the order.  So perhaps there was a Shakespearean glint in the selectors’ eye?  

Then again your correspondent brought to mind Chekhov’s Three Sisters, bereft in provincial Russia dreaming nostalgically of Moscow next year, a year that never comes; a fitting analogy, surely, for the Positivelys’ skipper forlornly thinking that with his next toss he will finally call correctly.

But then again the committee might have been more influenced by popular culture.  They might hope to Dance in the Streets with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas; that it would be Automatically Sunshine with the Supremes; and that at the end of the day admirers would come to them breathlessly uttering Baby I Love You with the Ronnettes against the wall of sound of admiring supporters.  However one thing he was certain of was that they could take no inspiration from Bananarama. That’s really saying something.  [No it’s not.  Is there a point to all this flummery? Are you going to say anything remotely relevant to the 4th XI’s match yesterday?  Ed]

These thoughts and more [Oh no – surely that’s enough for anyone?  Ed] ran round your correspondent’s head, for prominent in the team list was a trio of awesome female superstars – the first time in the history of the Positivelys that they had been so blessed.  When shall we three meet again?  Norns or Supremes which would they be?

Predictably the skipper’s call to assemble at 11.15 for the journey to the jewel of the Scottish Borders, and the home of Rugby Sevens, was met with varying degrees of accuracy.  An advance guard was despatched while the skipper waited for the rest.  Mo – pursuing a fast track career as an Uber driver was, in the manner of taxi drivers the world over, splendidly late.  The skipper let him know there would be no tip for him today.  So it was that the skipper was last to arrive in Melrose.  He had given precise instructions to Kevin over the phone and was confident that a positive outcome could be expected but arrived to discover [To no one’s surprise surely  Ed]  that the toss had been lost again.  Distressingly the scorebook records that the loss was by a large margin.  A record run of lost tosses this season - 7 out of 8.  Not even the Norns could foretell this Tosserdamerung.

The Positivelys had been instructed to bat.  The ground lay pleasantly under the Eildon Hills - the hospital comfortingly close by for all those who felt a little queasy when they noted that skipper donning his pads to open the batting -  Put Yourself in My Place.  A stiff breeze blew from end to end of a grassy pitch – was this the blasted heath on which Macbeth’s witches cooked their brew?  But the skipper was not to be king hereafter [Quel surprise.  Ed] - after a few overs scratching around a tight opening attack he was undone by a bowler not of woman born [Is that really the way to describe a left arm over action?  Ed] The stage was therefore set for an excellent partnership between Al and Kevin – Someday We’ll Be Together - who put on 95 in good time making the most of the change bowlers and exploiting the wind to hit down the ground.  Al was eventually caught trying to hit against the wind for a jug avoiding 48 – Somethings You Never Get Used To.   Kevin zoomed past 50 but ran out of gas and was - Run Run Run – run out shortly after for a fine 57.  A brisk partnership between Martin (11*) and Sam (20*) brought The Happening to a close on 163-5.  Full batting points and a supreme effort [How long did it take you think that one up?  Ed] against the league leaders.

For the first time the Positivelys had an international skipper, Abbi Aitken, in their ranks.  Not that the skipper showed any inclination to learn anything from her wisdom.  Her skills at the toss might have been handy.  But no – as the innings started she found herself clutching the scorebook with a mystified look on her face.  ‘I’ve never scored before,’ she confessed. The Positivelys’ skipper was all sympathy, ‘Time you learned then.’  And she did, most capably under Ruth’s instruction – well done them.

The wind continued to freshen across the blasted heath as the Positivelys took to the field - fair is foul and foul is fair. There was a distinct absence of volunteers to bowl against the wind – double double toil and trouble. Opening spells from Saif and Mo, gamely fighting the wind, gave little away but could not force a breakthrough.  Harry had more success, coming on against the wind he found a leading edge which was taken by Kevin and the Positivelys were in the game. 44-1. Could the Positivelys press harder – be lion mettled, proud and take no care?   But a hard catch went down and a couple of tight decisions frustrated them.  Patience was necessary.  There was some fine ground fielding from Sam sprinting round the boundary and winging it in with force.  Even the skipper was throwing himself around like a spring lamb [Mutton dressed as lamb if ever there was – he was just falling over.  Ed]  Harry got the next breakthrough as Saif plucked a rocket from the air at fine leg.  Harry 2-31.  Then Cameron bowled an excellent spell – 1-17 – knocked the stumps over and Melrose were 99-3 after 20 –  not so happy yet much happier - ahead of the run rate but not by much.  Ruth – 1-25 - deservedly got the prize scalp of Green on 40 (since he is an Australian this should count double for Fantasy points purposes) and the Positivelys sensed an opening. Abbi was bowling drier than a NZ Sauvignon Blanc – 1-18 -  and when Saif came back to blast out 2 in rapid succession, a glimpse of Moscow next year appeared.  20 wanted from the last 4 overs – 3 wickets in hand.  But it was a fleeting glimpse, truly and cruelly Chekovian.  The Melrose lower order pair chanced their arm and clumped a couple of pressure relieving boundaries managing to get to the required total in the second last over.  Congratulations to them, all hail, a win which maintains their table topping position.

The Positivelys might have settled for 9 points at the start of the day. But when the hurly-burly was done, having got as near to pulling off a win as they did, they were disappointed. Nothing But Heartaches.  But they can look back on a good all-round performance - good contributions from everyone especially the women who proved themselves Supreme.  [Good – no more of this Wagner nonsense then.  Ed]

Saturday 1st July 1pm
ESCA Division Five
W
Carlton 4
v
Largo 2

H

Meg

Carlton 4s 134 all out

beat

Largo 2s 129 all out

Scorecard

It is to Douglas Adams, the creator of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that is credited the concept of the Infinite Improbability Drive.  Probably.  The Drive controls probability so making the extremely improbable event happen and is essential to the plot development in the series allowing, for example, the heroes to escape certain asphyxiation in deep space by landing in a passing space ship.  There is, your correspondent understands, a reputable basis for this concept in quantum physics, but he will desist from a lengthy explanation of it on the assumption that his readers would prefer to get to the cricketing action [What?  This is a first.  You must have the Infinite Probability Drive on its highest setting already.  Ed] 

 

And yet quantum physics provides no reputable basis for leg spin bowling.  Probably. [You’re not going to use this probably gag all the way through are you? That would be only too probable.  Ed]

There may be little comparison between deep space and the windswept tundra of Meggetland, where the Carlton Positively 4th XI’s campaign in the super elite ESCA Division 5 was set to continue against the might of Largo 2.   Nevertheless your correspondent had his antennae tuned for the improbable.  A look at the team list had suggested that the Infinite Improbability Drive had already been warmed up.  The usual floodtide of cricketers evacuating Edinburgh at this time of year may be only too predictable, but the Carlton selection committee’s response to this circumstance can take on a barouque character requiring the Drive to be cranked up to a high setting.  Out of the depths of deep space it summoned Charlie Martin, last seen on a cricketing field shortly before the Beatles broke up.  Portobello’s greatest rapper and former President of Carlton CC, the evergreen diZZee kaRTah  was also given the opportunity to display his dazzling skills to a new generation of fans – promoting his greatest hits album - ‘then I’m umping out here in the middle, wearin’ a jacket wot I musta bought in Lidl’ Carlton 4 v Kismet 14/8/10.  [For younger readers and those who have sensibly erased the memory of the correspondent’s efforts of earlier years – this incomprehensible gibberish refers to David Carter, aka DC, miserly seam bowler now in his prime.  It is assumed that the reference is affectionate and respectful.  Ed] This was the retro tour to end all retro tours.  Only Gerry and the Pacemakers seemed to be missing – although the need for Pacemakers of a different sort might become apparent as the match proceeded. [Ha, ha.  How do you do it? Ed]

Your correspondent was sad to note that while the security cordon surrounding Edinburgh seems infinitely permeable as regards letting Carlton players leave the City, only 8 Largo players managed to penetrate it to make it to Meggetland.  Of course 8 might be enough to do the job.  Already the Infinite Improbability Drive was humming merrily.

Smoke began to pour from it as the skippers tossed.  Would the laws of probability prevail?  Would they, squelch.  That infinite number of monkeys were up to their infinity of old tricks.  Another loss (now 8 out of 9 for the season and counting).  By an Infinitely Improbable margin.  Carlton were inserted.

With Largo’s fielding resources so limited, readers might be permitted the assumption that Carlton’s batters would find the open spaces and rack up the runs.  But they reckoned without the influence of the Infinite Improbability Drive.  Catchers were improbably found in the wide open spaces with unerring accuracy.  And straight balls were missed comprehensively.  The innings stuttered along.  Martin, with the Infinite Improbability Drive on a high setting, made a good fist of a responsible opener, but when he got to 24 there must have been a power failure to Drive for he perished trying to heave a straight one into the railway.  Mo looked well in control on 19 with a few commanding boundaries until another power dip reduced the odds and his attempt to find the railway was similarly doomed.  It was left to Billy Eric and Jamie to rescue the innings – only too probable.  Billy with a splendid 20, Eric with a fighting 12 before he took a very sore rap on the knee and Jamie holding things up to ensure that Carlton squeezed an additional batting point to finish all out on 134.

Would it be enough?  The tea table groaned with provender.  Twitterati extracted comfort from the fact that empire biscuits had been sourced despite the skipper’s anxieties.  The natural order seemed to be restoring itself.  What would the Infinite Improbability Drive offer for the second half?

It looked like it was on a high setting. Eric’s knee was black blue and red all over.  He bravely hobbled for a couple of overs but common sense prevailed and he left the field to be subbed by Amelia – the first time a son and mother had appeared together on the field for the Positivelys.

The high setting was confirmed when the skipper took an early wicket, getting his world famous in- swinger going to dismiss Largo’s opener. [Nothing to do with the cross wind then?  Ed]  Billy gave nothing away at the other end.  However the Positivelys were now faced with run machine Simon King who had done them such damage in the reverse fixture at the start of the season.  Simon nonchalantly launched the skipper for a maximum [The Improbability Drive switched off again then.  Ed]  While Charlie rolled back the years to take a good catch over his head off Jamie, Simon looked wholly in control. The match was slipping from the Positivelys’ grasp. 

A master tactical stroke was required. The lights dimmed, the music crescendoed and out of the swirling mists of deep fine leg came – tah dah - diZZee kaRTah.  [Hooray.  Ed] Playing with Simon, he offered a couple of half trackers (it should be an inspiration to youngsters that even at such a late stage in his career diZZee can still develop a ball he has never bowled before).  Both were deposited perilously near the canal.  A scintilla of scepticism about whether this was the master tactical stroke the skipper claimed ran through the Positivelys’ veins.  But then a power surge went through the Infinite Improbability Drive, the knob turned up to 11 -  diZZee bowled, Simon played firmly through the line but early and uppish.  The skipper, statuesquely surveying the scene at midwicket, bent and plucked a low catch a couple of inches from the turf.  [Now you’re talking serious improbability.  Ed]  Simon out for 31 - the combined age of the wicket taking duo 130 years – only 20 years younger than Canada.  diZZee celebrated by castling the next batter and with Largo 68-4, suddenly the Positivelys were in with a shout.  But the mustachiod Mowat had other ideas.  Some vigorous hitting began to take the game away from them.  Mo was struggling in the strong cross wind but came good to snaffle Mowat down the leg side – young Gavin Murray, in his first outing behind the sticks, taking a smart catch.  117-5.  Still the game hung in the balance.  Largo could afford simply to wait for the bad ball.  Golden Arm Murray stepped up – a big LBW shout and the finger goes up - 120-6.  Only one more wicket required.  Largo skipper Coates in.  Get them in singles.  Skipper came back, couldn’t dislodge him.  They inched closer to the target.  Jamie back.  Gives nothing away.  A couple of singles from Al.  Then Jamie bounds in – on a length Coates swings, misses, the stumps are broken.  A huge squeal from Amelia. The Positivelys are home – a win by 5 runs.  Is the Infinite Improbability Drive on or off?  Who cares?

The Positivelys’ win was all down to the juniors – the vital stand between Eric and Billy.  Jamie’s 2-20 and Gavin ‘no-byes’ Murray’s excellence behind the stumps.  Your correspondent must also commend  Amelia’s zeal in the field.  And he supposes that diZZee kaRTah (and the 130 club) should also get a mention.

Many thanks to Largo for sportingly turning up with depleted resources.  They certainly made an entertaining and enjoyable game and might well have deserved victory. Best wishes for the rest of the season.

The Positivelys - minus the injured Eric

Saturday 8th July 1pm
ESCA Division Five
W
MDAFS 3
v
Carlton 4
A
Carlton 4s 168 for 7 (Douglas Tidy 102*)

beat

Murrayfield DAFS 3s 146 (Jamie Beattie 3 for 18)

Scorecard

"When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like this"; so sang the great Van Morrison, now known to his friends as Sir Van the Man, and one of the more celebrated followers of the Carlton Positively 4th XI. [Yes you've mentioned him in match reports before; now get on with it. Ed]

For your correspondent does not need to remind supporters of the Positivelys of days like 4 July 2009. Nor 31 July 2011. Nor yet 4 May 2013. And not to forget 11 May 2013. Henceforth they will not need reminding of 8 July 2017. "When you ring out the changes of how everything is, well my mama told me there'll be days like this.'" Yes yes , all very nice, now can you get on to the point. Ed]

Your correspondent was put in mind of these dates when, at around 3.00pm, young Positively batsman Douglas Tidy dabbed MDAFS skipper Malik for the single that took him to a richly deserved century. Douglas finished 102*, with 10 fours and a six in the Positivelys' total of 167 for 7.

Days like this - 4 July 2009 Mike Kennedy 103 v Peebles; 31 July 2011 Fraser Allardice 103 v Fauldhouse 2; 4 May 2013 Kevin Whitaker 102* v Kirkbrae 2; 11 May 2013 Neil Kirk 103 v SMRH3. Great days all. The stuff of legend. The Positivelys' cherished Honours Board. [Ah, I see very good. Ed]

Douglas is 16. There will be many more days like this for Douglas, of that your correspondent is sure. It's what his mama told him. [And she is right. Ed.]

Your correspondent had made his way to the construction site that is now the former flood plain of Roseburn with hope in his heart to witness the latest tussle in the Positivelys' campaign in the super elite ESCA Division 5. That hope was soon dashed as the Positivelys' skipper returned from the toss with the unsurprising news that he had lost it for the 9th time this season. The margin was yet again undisclosed. "When you don't meet a chancer, there'll be days like this."

So a little downcast, your correspondent took his place in the swelling crowd thronging the boundary to see whether, notwithstanding the skippers' ineptitude in defying the laws of statistics, the Positivelys could maintain the momentum from last week's scrambled victory.

The construction works converting Roseburn into Edinburgh's first line of defence against the melting ice caps meant that bowling was confined to one end. The Positivelys' skipper looked on with approval, as this arrangement would allow him to be even more static in the field than ever.

But first there was the business of batting to be done. Things did not get off to a great start when young Ru McIntyre unluckily feathered to the keeper and was dismissed in the first over. Martin reprised his now celebrated impression of an opening batter but was hampered when he put his back out turning for a second run. Down he went and inflicted on himself all manner of yogic contortions in a vain bid to restore the damage. He was out shortly after (14).

Kevin put one huge 6 back over the bowler but having got to 22, tried to take the long thick outfield out of the equation and perished to a juggled catch at mid-off from a firmly hit drive.

49 for 3 didn't look great but Douglas was getting going. However wickets kept unhelpfully falling at the other end, although Paul Stones (summoned to the side only an hour before play as withdrawals from higher team forced some juggling of personnel - well done Paul) [Yes - and you should also thank Paul Bailey for stepping in at short notice too. Ed] did a fine job only to be cut off when a promising partnership was developing.

As Paul made his way back, the crowd murmured excitedly as the new batsman's name was announced - De Villiers has a certain cricketing ring to it - when AB played with FB [Oh dear must you. Ed]. But it was not that DeV but young Matthew who then played sensibly getting singles and giving the strike to Douglas, who was now well into his stride. The score began to mount as Douglas found the boundary with thunderous lofted drives through the offside or found the spaces on the leg side for 2s. His 100 was richly deserved - and warmly congratulated by the fielders (well done MDAFS - excellent spirit of cricket) as well as those on the boundary.

Matthew was out in the final over. The score 167-7. Probably worth 250 on a proper outfield.

Days like this.

Days like this indeed, for your correspondent was delighted to find strawberry tarts on the tea table. Could life get better - "when you don't need an answer there'll be days like this."

Martin hobbled over to the skipper. His yogic exertions were not having the desired impact, fielding was going to be impossible. With the generous and sporting agreement of MDAFS skipper Ali Malik, a sub was found. So it was that the Positivelys took the field with, twice as many De Villiers as South Africa have ever done, as Matthew's brother, 9 year old Nicholas, gamely agreed to show the oldsters how it is done. He was excellent and did not put a foot wrong. [Yes, many thanks Nicholas and well done. Ed]

Ruth and RuMac opened the attack - a good length and a good line would make things difficult for MDAFS. They did just that, giving away only 20 runs off the first 10 overs with Ruth bagging Modi LBW.

Ruari Shand replaced Ru and kept things quiet although neither got due reward for some fine balls. Jamie replaced Ruth and immediately had success as Ruth took a catch in the covers. At the half way point MDAFS were 46-2 - well behind the run rate but with wickets in hand.

Verma had joined Watson and long standing fans of the Positivelys needed no reminding of the damage he can do to an attack. A couple of hard chances went down - a reminder that there are many kinds of days like this.

MDAFS accelerated after the break and for a few overs made the 6 an over that they required. The prospect of a tight finish was increasing. But then Verma perished in a most unlikely manner -- he smoked Jamie into the covers where the Positivelys' skipper was serenely surveying the scene, calmly relishing the memory of his strawberry tart. The scorer was already marking 4 in the book when the skipper took off to his right and plucked the speeding ball from the air. Clean as a whistle. Days like this. [Well done - a relief that you've dealt with that so concisely, everyone was fearing several paragraphs on that routine dismissal. Ed]

Matthew is bowling well and the squeeze is on again. Jamie castles Stansfield to finish his spell with 3-18 - excellent from Jamie again. The pressure is now on Watson to maintain the momentum. He has the ideal partner in Hussain who trusts his eye and hits it long.

But it is time for Douglas Tidy to get in the action again.

A drive to mid on, as Douglas picks he ball out of the cloying grass the batsmen go for a second, a tidy Tidy throw [Groan - you couldn't resist it could you? Ed], RuMac, calm at the stumps does the rest -- Watson gone.

Tidy then steady under a steepling catch and Ru gets a well-deserved wicket. Tidy then bowls - another steepler and remarkably the skipper makes no mistake. Hussain is running out of partners but he puts Tidy into the Water of Leith with a monstrous drive. A few more like that and things could get interesting. But nothing phased, Tidy turns, puts in the quicker one and Kevin has the bails off - Hussain out for a brave 34. Tidy 2-16. Days like this.

MDAFS finish on 145-8. A good effort but not enough.

A good victory for the Positivelys, no one stepped on their dreams and they consolidate their position in the super elite Division 5. It's indisputably Douglas Tidy's day - 102*, 2-26, a catch and a run out. The suggestion that he must be able to walk on water and recover the ball put in the river did not seem out of place. But there was also excellent bowling from all the youngsters and Ruth on the day. And a solid fielding display from young Nicholas De Villiers.

Many thanks to MDAFS for a competitive game played in excellent spirit and for the strawberry tarts.

Saturday 15th July 1pm
ESCA Division Five
L
Kirk Brae 2
v
Carlton 4
A

Kirk Brae 2s 131 for 9 (Duncan Sutherland 4 for 15)

beat

Carlton 4s 78 for 8

on ERC

Scorecard

On a morning when the Guardian Prize crossword was themed on the Incredible String Band [Oh no what’s coming now? Ed], your correspondent, leaving just a trace of twilight sleep, spent the morning whispering to the baby raindrops playing on his window, wondering when he could safely dash off one of his celebrated match reports for a match not played. [For those unfamiliar with the Incredible String Band, they were formed in Edinburgh folk scene and became one of the most influential acts of the 1960s.  The correspondent here quotes from Painting Box, a song from the 1967 album The 5000 Spirits. I fear we may be in for some more of this. Ed]  

Overnight rain and a damp morning seemed to make play in the Carlton Positively 4th XI’s match with Kirkbrae 2 in the super elite ESCA Division 5 an unlikely prospect.  About as unlikely as a reference to Virginia Bottomley in any cricketing context. [Oh no – it’s worse than we might have feared – mystified readers just recovering from an unnecessary reference to the Incredible String Band, may have to sit down and rest.  They may find helpful in understanding this apparently random bit of name dropping that at the start of the season the correspondent made great play of challenging readers (as if there  were any) to predict which of a series of apparently random names would appear in his match reports in the course of the season. Sensibly no one rose to the challenge. The former Secretary of State for Health in the early 1990s, Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, was for some reason among those named, which probably says more about the correspondent’s state of mind than anything else.  With any luck he will pass over it and get on with something interesting.  Ed]

However as the morning passed the rain relented and the clouds began to lift, the purple sail above your correspondent catches all the strength of summer. [That wasn’t a Virginia Bottomley quote – it’s more ISB.  Ed].  A report from Double Hedges, the prestigious home venue of Kirkbrae, suggested that, although damp, the pitch was playable and so, stepping like a tightrope walker putting one foot after another [You’ll get so you can spot these.  Ed], the Positivelys made the short journey from Grange Loan.  Could they maintain the winning momentum of the last two weeks?  A much changed XI, with familiar Positively heroes Eric Edwards and Duncan Sutherland returning to the fold, were going to give it their all to secure the vital points. 

As the build up to the Women’s Final at Wimbledon came over the air waves, a victory would be a fine tribute to the last British winner of the title exactly 40 years ago in 1977 when Betty Stove was beaten in a 3 set thriller by Virginia Bottomley [Er, are you sure?  Most accounts suggest this was Virginia Wade. Can you please get on with it. Ed]

Your correspondent is not one to make much of the toss, the half remarkable question, which by ancient tradition precedes each match.  [What – you are kidding – how many paragraphs are you going to rabbit on about the toss this week?  Ed]  It would stretch a point to say that the skipper’s performance this season has been anything other than dismal.  Your correspondent saw no reason for his record to change and so, along with the rest of the side was prepared for the inevitable.  He had even prepared some soft words of comfort for the wounded leader on his return from the middle.  He would remind the skipper of the words of Virginia Bottomley [Oh for goodness sake. Sometimes we yearn for the simple days when all we had to endure was the occasional reference to Gustav Mahler.  Ed] You know what you could be, tell me my friend why you worry all the time what you could be.  [Are you sure that’s Bottomley?  That’s incredible.  Readers I am sorry – this is what reading this gibberish week after week can do to you.  Ed]

But these words would not be necessary, for this moment is different, from any before itFor the skipper returned with the unlikely news that he had won the toss and, in a report with a little more credibility, had inserted Kirkbrae.  The surface was damp but drying as the sun began to push the clouds apart and a wind swept down the ground.  While Murray manfully strove down wind, Gavin Rittoo had early success with a wicket in his first over gently kissing the top of off – suggesting he had perhaps learnt something of the Southee way during his recent NZ trip.  He then got another in his 5th over.  Duncan replaced Muzza downwind and soon had the batsmen in trouble – he struck in his first over and followed up in a fine spell with 3 more – 1 LBW and 3 bowled – 4-15, a fine effort.  At drinks Kirkbrae were 60-5 and the Positivelys felt in control.  However, despite some fine bowling from Matt (1-5 off his 5 overs) and luckless spells by Jamie and Rua, Kirkbrae rallied and through careful batting and the occasional big hit, began to build a score.  They finished on 131 for 9; maximum bowling points for the Positivelys but a slight feeling that Kirkbrae had dug themselves out of a hole.

The Positivelys’ batting line up looked strong and well capable of knocking off the runs.  The first over confirmed their quiet confidence as Eric took 3 runs to get the scoreboard moving.  The scoreboard kept moving in the second over - but in the opposite direction as the Positivelys were well and truly Bottomleyed.  The fiery Raja blasted his way to a hattrick, taking each of the stumps in turn and the Positivelys were 3-3 and struggling to stay in the game.   First ball I faced, time will come I will sing this sad goodbye song……..[Ah very good – more Incredible String Band – sort of - now can you just get on with the cricket.  Ed]

I‘m starting to grieve, man…….Some resolve and rebuilding were needed, but they never came.  And gently tender falls the rain. 

Only Gavin showed any instinct for survival with a solid 22* as the Positivelys hirpled along.  Matt stuck around long enough to confirm he can bat as well as bowl but eventually fell to scoreboard pressure and ran himself out.  The mizzle turned to drizzle then went well beyond gently tender.  Typical Scottish cricketing weather, so the players stayed out long enough to get truly soaked.  Eventually common sense prevailed and the match was abandoned after 28 overs with the Positivelys well behind the ELC par score. 

Congratulations to Kirkbrae who batted and bowled better on the day and were deserved winners.  Many congratulations to H Raja on his game changing hattrick, perhaps it will be a soothing balm to his fiery temperament.

Many thanks to Gavin Murray who scored in technicolor again - somewhere in his mind there is a painting box, and he has every colour there it’s true. [Very good, you know your Incredibles don’t you.  Ed]  Gavin  makes the book look considerably more aesthetically pleasing than the events on the field ever were. 

So it’s back to the drawing board for the Positivelys – in the words of the Incredible String Band - dust be diamonds, water be wine.  Improvement is necessary.  Next week a monkey is coming to stay [The fixture card says Watsonians 3.  Ed]

The 2017 Edinburgh International Festival Programme features a show about the Incredible String Band.  Sadly, there is no show about Virginia Bottomley.

(Painting Box, First Girl I Loved, Gently Tender, You Know What You Could Be, No Sleep Blues are all songs on The 5000 Spirits; The Half Remarkable Question, Witches Hat are on Wee Tam and The Big Huge (1968); Dust Be Diamonds on Changing Horses (1969);  and This Moment on I Looked Up (1970))

Sunday 23rd July 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Carlton 4
v
Watsonian 3
H
GL
RAINED OFF

Your correspondent has been led to believe that many of the readers of these pages look up with relief when they find that his latest report describes a match that has not taken place.  He has heard it said that they are happy to be spared the mystifying intellectual challenge of working out what – if anything – happened on the field of play.  They do not miss the emotional distress caused by dragging themselves through paragraphs of empty prose describing the minutiae of events surrounding the toss with their hopes cruelly dashed by the inevitable unsuccessful outcome.  They do not mind, it is said, foregoing references to such as Gustav Mahler or Virginia Bottomley. 

 

Your correspondent knows that there is nothing in these meretricious suggestions.  He knows his readers have spent every waking moment of this week looking forward to your correspondent’s account of the Carlton Positively 4th XI’s juicy contest with Watsonian 3 in the super elite Division 5 of ESCA.  They will have done some serious training in preparation for the report – starting lightly with a few paragraphs of Marcus Aurelius and building up to immersion in the works of Sophocles and Bonnie Tyler.  They will be in peak condition, ready to learn whether they have properly understood the reason for previous references to Virginia Bottomley [As if there were any.  Ed], and eager to establish whether last week’s reverses in the Positivelys’ fortunes would themselves be reversed – for the skipper’s recovery of form at the toss led to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Kirkbrae.  [Thanks for clarifying that – there were many who are still unsure of these facts having read your report of last week’s match.  Ed]

 

But reverses will have to remain unreversed for another week.  Although it is commonly held that the eskimos have hundreds of words for snow, most attempts at counting them have failed to get much above 50.  However attempts to count the number of words that Scottish people have for rain have been more fruitful, with the century and more easily exceeded.  Scottish cricketers may well have double that number, such keen observers of every shape and form of precipitation do they become.  And there is an even larger number of words for the mental state of any misbegotten soul who thinks that cricket is a game appropriate for Scottish conditions.

 

Your correspondent is therefore spoiled for choice to describe the conditions.... … [Oh no, an essay on words for rain is the last thing we want – we all know it was too wet for cricket and the match was off.  Ed]

 

Readers may therefore wish to start limbering up for next week’s match with Tranent Preston Village.  Your correspondent suggests familiarity with the works of Gustav Klimt, Captain Pugwash and the Bee Gees might be helpful.  [Or they may sensibly reach their own conclusion that nothing is likely to be helpful.  Ed]

Saturday 29th July 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Preston Village
v
Carlton 4
A
 
Sunday 6th August 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Carlton 4
v
Dunbar
H
GL
 
Sunday 13th August 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Carlton 4
v
Peebles
H
GL
 
Saturday 19th August 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Old Contemptibles
v
Carlton 4
A
 
Saturday 26th August 1pm
ESCA Division Five
 
Carlton 4
v
Melrose
H
Inv
 

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