Both sides approached this momentous encounter with a degree of trepidation. The visitors were concerned that bodily harm might be on the menu, while the home side were plain terrified of losing.
It was Carlton who batted first, with teenager Angus Beattie opening with the experienced Paul Kentish. Any thoughts of an easy ride were dispelled early when Kentish edged a fine delivery from the impressive Henry Smith between keeper and slip (below).
The Hearts fielding was otherwise out of the top drawer with COO Scot Gardiner leading the way. A man never off duty, Gardiner was deep in serious conversation on his phone at long off when the ball was smashed towards him. Showing remarkable dexterity, the Hearts boss stopped the ball with his phone tucked under his chin. He then juggled phone and ball, hurling the latter in the direction of the keeper while the former landed on the turf.
The first breakthrough came when Phil O’Kane rapped the pads of Kentish and umpire Barrett, clearly in no doubt, raised his index finger in the air in double quick time. This brought Carlton’s returning hero and Sky Sports reporter Charles Paterson to the crease. The elegant right hander had little chance to show just how elegant he was as he was soon adjudged lbw by umpire Robertson. The Hearts attack were clearly bowling a tight stump to stump line as every time the ball struck the pad the batsman was found to be plumb in front.
The only way for Carlton to escape from this Hearts imposed crisis was to send for another Hibee to join Angus in the middle and Fraser Boyd obliged, concentrating on exchanging bad chat with the fielders while Angus played a succession of impressive strokes to take his side to 86 before he retired on 50. If Hearts thought they’d seen the last of Beattie-inspired trouble they would have been disappointed to see that the replacement was Angus’s younger brother Jamie (below).
Jamie, despite his natural Hibbiness, soon struck up a bond with John Robertson who was prowling the outfield with intent - and delivering lots of quality sledging - and Beattie Jnr and Boyd took the score past 100 before the latter unwisely let the ball struck his pads to give Eric Hogg a well-deserved wicket. Boyd’s clear show of dissent towards the umpire on his way off has no place in the gentlemanly sport of cricket.
Keeper Alex Fedenczuk was in next and he clearly hadn’t been watching as he was rapped on the pad second ball and out for a duck, lbw to Alan Whyte. Luckily Carlton women’s captain Ruth Willis was in next, and she batted with class to help Carlton to a respectable total, hitting an unbeaten 19. Jamie was the last man out after a top innings of 19, caught and bowled by the evergreen Henry Smith. Carlton 143 for 6 off their 20 overs.
The Hearts reply began with Henry Smith (below) and Austin McPhee opening, and the pair played impressively – McPhee showing quality defence while Smith was quick to attack anything loose. Panic was just about to set in within the Carlton ranks when Ruth Willis deceived the legendary Hearts goalkeeper as he advanced down the track and Fedenczuk completed the stumping. Smith gone for 16 and the score 33 for 1.
Dylan Kelly looked to push the score on but he was soon undone by a beauty from young Jamie who found an edge which was somehow caught by Fedenczuk when the ball lodged between his legs. Eric Hogg helped first team coach McPhee keep the scoreboard ticking before he was dismissed with the score on 68, well caught by Willis to give TV personality Paterson his first wicket. It was soon two for the Sky man as O’Kane looped a catch to Fedenczuk – 71 for 5 and game on.
McPhee continued to bat in fine style and he was on the brink of a well-earned half-century when he smashed a Paterson delivery towards the boundary only to find the hands of Boyd in the covers, who seemed desperate to show he could catch without the help of his wickie gloves. An excellent 49 from McPhee (below), and with The Guardian’s Ewan Murray smashing some great T20 shots, while receiving support from Scot Gardiner, Hearts were on the brink of a famous victory.
However, after a mix up in the middle, Murray appeared to be run out in controversial circumstances, leaving John Robertson (at number 9 naturally) to stride to the wicket to face the final two deliveries with the Jambos needing 4 runs to win. A scampered two got the legend back on strike for the final delivery. A classy shot off his pads through midwicket then saw the number 9 race through for a quick single to tie the scores.
Honours even then, just as they were when the sides last played back in 1936. A memorable evening and thanks to all at Hearts for their contribution. The one thing everybody agreed on was that it won’t be another 81 years until the next game.