Carlton Hurricanes Under 14s 2018 Fixtures and Results
Monday 30th April 6pm
League
W
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Livi Thunder

H

Pef

Carlton Hurricanes 169 for 7 (J Beattie 32, R Adair 23*, D Firth 22*)

beat

Livi Thunder 98 for 8 (F Megaw 3 for 19)

The Under-14 Hurricanes season got off to a whirlwind start with a tempestuous win over Livingston Thunder.  This season is notable for some rule changes at this age level:  

  • First of all, they’re Under-14.  Readers with very long memories, reaching back to, oh I don’t know, last summer ... will remember that this very same team was known as the Under-13s.  A minor effort of junior-grade arithmetic will suggest that it might even be the same team.  In fact, a major miracle of coaching and organisation has ensured that there is room for some new players in the team, alongside such grizzled veterans as Kentish, Kentish, Keatinge, Beattie and Restall (a Dickensian partnership of sports lawyers).  
  • In an attempt to ensure that players have more things to do, Under-14s now play 9-a-side.  Together with shorter boundaries, the expectation is that more gaps in the field will mean more shots and more runs.  To even out the battle between bat and ball, the wicket is reduced to 18m, or 19 yds 8 ft in old money,  to encourage more accurate bowling, faster reaction times and fewer extras.  
  • In a similar vein, batsmen retire after 20 balls, irrespective of runs scored.  They can come back in again once all their team-mates are out (or are similarly retired).  So only three wickets have to fall for every player to bat.     
  • The final major change is to limit overs to 8 balls.  As a scorer who once had to try to fit 16 balls into the impossibly tiny space provided in most scorebooks, I’m very grateful for this change.  More importantly, this is aimed at helping matches to complete within 2 hours.  

In high spirits therefore, we ventured off to Peffermill, on a delightfully sunny but perishing cold evening.  Spectators were soon appreciating the benefits of a sheltering clubhouse, but alas only in absentia.  Perhaps heeding the warnings of team managers and admins to dress warm, one onlooker was heard to remark that he was wearing more clothes than he wore for skiing.  Peffermill was in fine condition – the boys were playing on the astro strip, but the outfield was mown and daisy-free, and looked like it would provide a happy hunting ground for sweetly-struck ground strokes.  

Someone won the toss, and Carlton were dispatched to bat.  Livingston were a bit short of the requisite 9 players, so Charlie & Euan nobly volunteered to join the opposition, Charlie hiding his embarrassment under the helmet, gloves and pads of a wicket-keeper.  Ally & Dougie strode out to open the batting and set off at a good pace.  Ally caught the eye with some fine boundaries, the pick of which was a well-struck 4 flicked off his toes and through mid-wicket.  Alas, a few balls later his toes were less well protected, and a well-directed yorker had him scurrying back to the, er, wide open spaces at the side of the pitch. Dougie meanwhile began more circumspectly, but started to cut loose, scoring a sequence of singles and fours, which will likely become a feature of these games given the shortened boundaries.

Jamie arrived at the crease in the mood to swing the bat, and after a quiet three balls signalled his intent with a sequence of boundaries, including a glorious six over square leg.  Dougie retired on 22 off 20 balls  - a good result for an opener – and was replaced by Freddie, who was desperately unlucky to be run out being called for an optimistic second run before he’d really got going.  Fraser followed, and played a good foil to Jamie’s increasingly forceful striking, before both were out in quick succession, Jamie scoring an impressive 32 off 19 balls.  

This brought Robbie and Rudy to the crease, both playing U14 for the first time.  Robbie was greeted by Livi’s fastest bowler but was undaunted, hitting him for a series of singles and fours.  Rudy hit out more forcefully, but what really marked this partnership was the intelligence of the running.  Both batsmen were alert to the possibilities of byes and extra runs, and kept the score moving.  Robbie was eventually bowled for a fighting 14, three balls short of retirement, and Rudy then retired on a strong 23.  

Ruairidh came in and accelerated the scoring, opening his account with a huge 6 to the cover boundary, then adding a couple more 4s (plus of course the obligatory singles) before being run out trying to keep up the momentum.  Calum swung heartily in an attempt to keep the scoring rate up, and perished in the attempt.  Kyle was left to face two balls, off which he ran 3 byes, and Dougie returned for a cameo as the non-striking batsman for the last ball, calling the second improbable bye as the fielders became confused by the appearance of two batsmen at the same end, shied at – and hit - the stumps at that same end, and in the chaos that ensued allowed Kyle and Dougie to sort themselves out into the more conventional configuration of a batsman at each end.  The Hurricanes had scored an impressive 169-7.

Freddie opened the bowling for Carlton, and after a couple of looseners fooled Livi’s opening batsman into playing on.  One ball later, Livi’s number three had been and gone, undone by Freddie’s straight one.  Ooh, the excitement: fielders chirped; spectators speculated as to what drink Freddie would have to buy; Livi’s number 4 strode nervously to the crease ... and the final ball of the over drifted anticlimactically down the leg side, but what a start!  Kyle bowled the second over and, after the obligatory loosener, struck again!  Livi were 3-3 after 2 overs.  

The match settled down a bit after that, with Livi’s 4 and 5 digging in in markedly different fashions: 27 off 15 balls for one, 5 off 20 for another.  Rudy and Ruaridh bowled tightly, but couldn’t force a breakthrough.  Calum & Robbie replaced them, and promptly each took a wicket, leaving Livi at a precarious 50-5. 


All this great bowling was superbly supported by some equally great fielding.  Ally made three consecutive stops near the boundary, turning 4s into singles; Ally, Ruaridh and Rudy took excellent catches; Jamie was tidy for a first-time wicketkeeper; and all this athletic fielding kept up the pressure on Livi’s batsmen.  Charlie re-appeared to bat for Livi (still clad in a helmet of course, but he couldn’t fool us) and dropped anchor, ignoring the barrage of sledging from his erstwhile team-mates. Eventually retiring after 20 balls, he returned almost immediately to complete a fighting 19 no.  Unluckiest batsman of the evening was Euan, who stood at the non-strikers end for an age and a half, before finally finding himself at the business end and promptly being hit on the pad.  An  exuberant appeal,  a long pause, an umpire’s fateful finger climbing aloft and Euan’s extraordinary 20-minute innings was over.  

All this bowling and fielding endeavour restricted Livi to 98-8, leaving the Hurricanes comfortable winners.  It was a great team effort: everyone contributed something, be it with bat or ball or in the field.  The fielding performance was particularly good - high energy in the field, super concentration, some great stops, lots of chat (some of it a bit dodgy). Very well done to the team, and to Stevie, Paul & Bruce for coaching through the winter and bringing the team to the start of the season ready to play good cricket.   So, what do we think of the new format? 

Based on a thoroughly unscientific sample of one match: everyone played a part (tick); lots of boundaries were scored (tick); a reasonably small proportion of the runs were extras (tick); but the match took well over the allotted 2 hours (well, we have to have something to work on).

Monday 7th May 6pm
League
W
Carlton Thunder
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

GL

Carlton Hurricanes 132 for 2 ( E Keatinge 27*, R Woodland-Broome 23*, F Kentish 22*)

beat

Carlton Thunder 116 for 8 (R Adair 2 for 3)

Grange Loan was a picture on Monday evening.  The grass was green and verdant, the blossom was pink and full, and a genuinely warm sun shone out of a cloudless blue sky.  Spectators who only a week ago had been clad in ski gear appeared wearing shorts and shirtsleeves.  Spectators who only a week ago had had the great good sense to stay in the warmth of their own homes appeared.  It was a perfect evening for a cricket match, which was just as well, as Carlton’s two under-14 sides, the Hurricanes and the Thunder, met in a meteorological clash that reminisced of our fondest memories of cricketing summers long gone.  Not only that, but they produced a humdinger of a game of cricket to grace the evening.

It’s possible that a toss occurred – who knows?  The Hurricanes went in to bat.  The opening pair, Euan and Matthew, were confronted by the fiery speed of Shaun, complemented by the metronomic accuracy of Isaac.  A titanic battle ensued: Shaun’s first over yielded just a relieved single to Euan as the batsmen dug out threatening ball after threatening ball.  Euan (left) let go a bit in Isaac’s over, scoring 6 runs followed by a pair of scampered byes, leaving Matthew to face Shaun again.  A streaky four and several cautious refusals of byes was Matthew’s reward for blocking the rest of the over.  Shaun departed from the attack for a parsimonious 5 runs, unlucky not to have claimed a wicket.  Having seen off the opening bowlers, Euan and Matthew settled down, both eventually retiring after their allotted 20 balls, scoring 27 and 13 runs respectively.

Cameron followed, and carried on where the openers left off: scoring carefully, running byes alertly, and generally not losing his wicket, until he too retired on 14.  Tight bowling in the middle overs from Thomas, Gaby and Chirag kept the scoring rate down, although wickets resolutely continued to fail to fall.  Kyle batted painstakingly, unveiling a range of defensive strokes that drew comparisons with the Greatest Blocker of Them All, before finally becoming the Thunder’s first wicket when Sergi induced a catch to Boris in the 11th over.  Sergi repeated the trick two overs later, when Thomas caught Calum for a quick-fire 5, and finished with the well-earned figures of 2 for 8 off his two overs. 

This mini-flurry of wickets brought Fraser and Ruaridh to the crease, intent on some middle-order carnage, which they duly delivered.  Both started circumspectly, taking a couple of balls to get their eye in, then both cut loose with a string of boundaries, backed up with quick singles.  Most importantly for the Hurricanes’ scoreline, they accelerated towards the end of their innings, coincidentally both scoring 10 runs of their last 5 balls.  Ruaridh retired on 23, bringing Nate to the  crease for the last ball of the innings, off which he duly stole the customary improbable single, leaving Fraser stranded on 22 off 19 balls.  This late assault drove the Hurricanes to a strong 132-2.

The chat at the interval: was 132 enough?  The shortened boundaries of this year’s under-14 league makes comparisons with previous years tricky, but it was generally agreed that anything over a run-a-ball, particularly with only 8 wickets to play with, was a defendable total, but not beyond overhauling.  Both teams therefore took to the field again with hope in their hearts.

Shaun and Boris strode out to bat, to be greeted by Fraser marking out his longer run.  Shaun saw off the opening over with just a 4 to his name, which brought Rudy on to bowl the second over.  Bowling fast and straight, he had the batsmen in all sorts of bother, conceding just two singles, then finally bowling Shaun with an even faster and straighter delivery off the last ball of his over.  Chastened by this over, Boris carefully saw off Fraser’s second over, but couldn’t score, leading to that rarity of junior cricket, a maiden over. 

The pressure told: Rudy’s first ball of his second over was fast, straight, near unplayable, and clattered Gaby’s stumps.  No-one realised that this left Rudy on a hat-trick, so the ritual moving of fielders into unlikely catching positions sadly didn’t happen.  Boris and Isaac saw out the rest of the over.

A change of bowling brought Kyle on from the Lover’s Loan end (from where a combination of under-14 rules and a low sun over the clubhouse actually meant that all overs were bowled) .  A loosener was followed by his crafty slower ball, which duly deceived Isaac into slicing a catch to Dougie lurking  at midwicket.  Rory replaced him, smacked four runs, then chipped a catch to Cameron, presumably off Kyle’s slower one again, to end an incident-packed over featuring 8 balls, 2 wickets and a brace each of wides and dots. 

At this point, 4 wickets down after only 5 overs, and only about 20 runs on the board, the match was starting to look a little one-sided.  Thomas, however, had other ideas.  Big ideas.  After a couple of range-finding singles, he launched a huge 6 over midwicket, followed by a 4 and another 6.  Boris accelerated, slapping his trademark forehands past the bowler for boundaries, retiring on 16, all but 1 of which were scored in his last 7 balls.  Pausing for breath with a relatively quiet 2 off 3 balls, Thomas continued with more boundaries.  At the other end, Sergi kept him company with some smart running and a few singles of his own, until he succumbed to Matthew, bowled after a valuable supporting innings.  Chirag followed, and played a remarkable and patient innings.  He soaked up the bowling of Ruaridh and Dougie, scoring a couple of fours, but mainly staying in and watching the fun at the other end, where Thomas raced to 32 runs of his 20 balls and retired.

Sam, unluckiest batsman of the evening, perished attempting to keep the score ticking over by stealing an ambitious bye, which brought Boris back from retirement.  He smacked 6 more runs, before gifting a catch to Nate off Ruaridh’s bowling.

Re-enter Thomas.  The match was now interestingly poised: 41 runs needed off 5 overs – by no means unachievable - but only 1 wicket remaining.  Thomas, on strike, hit 12 off Nate’s over.  29 off 4, 1 wicket remaining.  Captain Restall turned to his quickest and straightest bowler, Rudy, to bowl the next over at Chirag.  This was a tussle for the ages: Rudy steaming in, determined to take the winning wicket; Chirag unflappable at the other end, equally determined to block the over out.  Ball after ball came hurtling down; ball after ball was repulsed.  Chirag survived, although Rudy claimed a maiden over, for the truly remarkable figures of 2 for 3 off 3 overs.  Chirag “retired”, only to come straight back in again, as there were no more batsmen to come.

Three overs left, 29 runs required, Dougie bowling to Thomas.  Thomas clattered the third ball away, but only as far as a fielder: 1 run.  Chirag hit a 4.  Two overs left, 24 runs required, Thomas on strike.  Thomas hit a single, stopped on the boundary, a shy at the stumps, the keeper beaten, and no-one backing up, 5 runs!  Chirag on strike, a scampered single, 17 required off 9 balls.

Then, suddenly, it was all over.  Thomas misjudged Fraser’s next ball, and chipped a sharp return chance, which Fraser gleefully clung on to.  Thomas had scored an extraordinary counter-attacking 51 off 32 balls, but the Hurricanes had just managed to stop him from claiming an unlikely victory for the Thunder.

That was a memorable game.  Standout performances included Thomas’ 51 of course; also Rudy’s 3-1-2-3; Rory keeping tidily (and quietly) on his debut behind the stumps; some remarkable fielding, most notably by Nate; and 6 out of 6 catches taken.  Very well played to both teams, and grateful thanks as ever to Stevie, Bruce, Kevin, Paul & John for coaching the teams to this level of performance.  And thank you very much to whoever arranged the weather.

Monday 14th May 6pm
League
L
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Grange Tornadoes

H

GL

Carlton Hurricanes 121 for 6 (C Kentish 28*)

lost to

Grange Tornadoes 122 for 7 (F Kentish 3 for 4)

T20 cricket is all about pace of scoring versus wickets falling.  Having scored sensibly but slowly in the first innings, Carlton put in a super bowling bowling performance to claw themselves back into the game, and in the end fell one wicket short in the 16th over.  All four of Carlton's opening batsmen retired after 20 balls having batted carefully against decent Grange bowling: Dougie 10*, Rudy 13*, Charlie 17*, Freddie 18*) and Carlton reached 70/0 in the 15th over.  Euan, Fraser and Matthew all fell cheaply, the latter having hit a huge six. Dougie’s return was sadly short lived, Charlie dispatched his three final deliveries for 11 and Robbie toughed it out with a battling 18.  


Fraser Kentish bowled a super spell at the beginning of Grange’s reply, taking 3-4 in 2 overs with Rudy supporting well at the other end (0-10). Grange then rallied scoring 60 for the loss of two further wickets (c Euan b Charlie and c Fraser b Euan) with two retirals.  Then Carlton struck back: Rudy took a catch off Dougie’s bowling and Robbie clean bowling the ninth batter.  This brought the two retired batsmen to the crease with 35 needed off the last 7 overs but only one wicket left - the bowlers tried their best but the runs were knocked off with 3 overs to spare.


A really strong performance in the field with some great bowling from everyone.  Getting the right balance of defence and attack is an important skill - in hindsight, we just didn’t have enough runs on the board.  

Monday 21st May 6pm
League
L
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Grange Lightning

H

GL

Grange Lightning 172 for 2

beat

Carlton Hurricanes 143 for 7 (F Kentish 45*, C Grier 23*)

Grange batted first on a sunny evening at Grange Loan. Rudy, Fraser and Freddie bowled tightly and restricted Grange to 20 off the first 7 without taking a wicket. Retirals brought aggressive batsmen to the crease who unleashed a barrage of boundaries to kick start their innings, adding 64 in four overs of remarkable striking before Euan K took a stumping off Kyle’s bowling and Ruairidh bowled the dangerous Brown. After a quiet interlude the hard hitting resumed, Carlton’s fielding looking uncharacteristically ragged as they failed to stem the flow of runs. A final total of 172 looked challenging.

The reply started fitfully, with Euan, Ruairidh and Matthew falling early and only Rudy providing resistance with a watchful 14 including his career first six. Cameron and Fraser started the revival playing sensibly and running well, both retiring on 12 with 12 byes in the partnership. Freddie, Kyle and Callum then all fell cheaply, bringing the dynamic duo back to the crease. Paul had clearly put something in Fraser’s water bottle because he came to the crease like a man possessed, hitting a further 33 runs off 20 balls in his second stint taking his score to 45*. A great knock. It was Grange’s turn to lose fielding discipline and with Cameron supporting well with a further 11 runs, Carlton finished 29 runs short.

A number of lessons for Hurricanes: the need to keep positive in the field when batsmen are on top, the importance of not giving your wicket away (we lost 7 to Grange’s 2) and the fact that aggressive batting of our own puts its own pressure on the opposition’s fielding. In the end the game was much closer than most of us thought it would be, and 20 runs saved in the field might have made all the difference.
Friday 25th May 6pm
Friendly
W
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Carlton Thunder

H

GL

Carlton Hurricanes 156-8 (F Kentish 25, N Beech-Brandt 22*)

beat

Carlton Thunder 109-10 (M Restall 3-1, F Megaw 3-6).

Friday May 25th 2018: time for the first Carlton Cricket Club Junior Barbecue of the season.  While Liz Shand and her merry band of volunteers unleashed the traditional trinity of Beer, Burgers and Bubbly upon a grateful audience, Carlton’s under-14 teams met for the second of their planned trio of derby matches.  This one was labelled “friendly”, but in truth it was hard to tell any difference in intensity from the “league” match a few weeks ago.  Internal derby matches are a strange thing: players who train together happily on a Thursday evening put aside amicability, and become best of enemies for an evening, intent on nothing less than a total humbling of their erstwhile squad-mates.  Once the playing is over though, they revert to being best friends again, sharing a chat over a burger, or just messing around on the outfield.  Or both.

The weather was ... I sometimes wonder why junior cricket match reports discuss the weather at all.  It is traditional to do so, but junior match reports are read only by the participants and their parents, all of whom were in attendance and know perfectly well what the weather was like.  So anyone reading this match report will already know that the evening was in three parts: it started sunny; then the haar came in and briefly deposited a rain shower; and thereafter confined itself to being merely cold and damp.

Someone won the toss, and Matthew & Ally were sent in to bat for the Hurricanes.  For the Thunder, Mark & Gavin opened the bowling, and a cagey tussle ensued.  Matthew hit three fours, but was otherwise restricted to singles and sharp byes.  Ally demonstrated considerable patience and alertness to score almost entirely in singles and stolen byes.  Both were looking well set to reach 20 balls and under-14 retirement, when Matthew offered a sharp chance to Boris standing alertly at mid off, who gratefully snaffled it.  Robbie joined Ally, and continued the policy of sneakily running byes, but was well caught by Lorian off Gaby’s bowling.

Nate joined Ally, and after a quiet start called a sharp single which some over-excitable fielding turned into five runs.  This seemed to get his innings going, and he scored from almost every ball thereafter, retiring on a strong 22.  Ally, meanwhile, also reached the 20 ball limit, and retired on an opener’s 11.  This brought Cameron and Fraser to the wicket: Cameron played the supporting role, scoring a few runs, until he was caught by Ross off Sergi.  Fraser was particularly fierce on the bowling, reaching 25 in short order before being adjudged lbw to Boris. 

They were followed by brief cameos from Kyle and Calum, who became Sergi’s second and third  wickets, and were replaced by Dougie and Rudy.  Nobody seemed to notice that Dougie walking in represented Sergi’s hat-trick ball, which meant that none of the usual excitement ensued, and Dougie was allowed to dead-bat the hat-trick ball without comment.  Both Rudy & Dougie started circumspectly ... for one ball, then each hit a four.  That pattern continued with singles mingled with the fours: Dougie departed for a quick-fire 16 (victim of a vicious in-swinger from Jack), to be replaced by Freddie.  The run-scoring didn’t let up, Rudy & Freddie hit almost every ball and ran everything.  Eventually, this ambition was Freddie’s undoing, and he was run out by a direct hit, which brought Ally back from retirement for two balls, off which four more runs were scored.

All this hitting and running resulted in the Hurricanes posting a challenging 156 for 8.  Even allowing for the fact that we were playing a 22-over match to allow everyone to bowl two overs, that looked like an eminently defendable total.

Mark, opening with Ross for the Thunder, started with a threatening four, but thereafter both openers were kept in check by sharp bowling from Fraser and Rudy.  Rudy was particularly parsimonious, allowing just one single off his two overs, to end with the remarkable figures of 2-1-0-1. 

Neither opening bowler managed to break through the openers’ defences, but that was about to change ...  First change bowler Matthew (who not that long ago was this team’s regular wicketkeeper), struck twice in his first over: a fine catch by his replacement behind the stumps, Dougie, to remove Mark, and a clean-bowled Ross.  After a brief pause in which Ally bowled a tight over, Matthew returned to take a third wicket – Thomas – this time taking the catch himself.  This last was greeted with some relief – the regular reader of these match reports (you know who you are) will recall Thomas almost stealing the last intra-Carlton derby for the Thunder with an exceptional 51.  The Thunder were three down for less than 30, Matthew had bowling figures of 3-1.

Gavin, playing in the pivotal number four position, steadied the ship, assisted by Jack and Rory, although those two perished: Jack to a fine catch by Freddie off Nate’s bowling, Rory caught by Ally off Kyle, for a belligerent 12.  Gavin finally succumbed to a strangling spell from Cameron, who took 1-3 from his two overs.

Enter Gabriel.  One of the great benefits of writing the match report is that I know what happened, so I can write portentous (or should that be pretentious?) statements like “enter Gabriel”.  In fact, he crept into the match quietly, as if to make his subsequent fireworks more noteworthy.  Three dot balls, a single, another dot ... this is hardly the stuff of derring-do!  Then it all changed: six, six, four, four (OK, there were some lesser scores, and even a couple of dots in between, but you get the idea).  He was assisted briefly by Boris, who slapped a couple of forehands past the bowler’s head for four before he snicked one to Dougie off Kyle’s bowling.  Lorian and Sergi came and went, victims of Freddie’s opening over.  Sergi, unluckiest batsman of the evening, tried to step out of the way of a wide one, only for it to strike his toe and, to his horror, cannon onto his stumps. 

The Thunder were still 50 behind, but with Gabriel in the mood to swing, and Chirag redoubtably holding up the other end, all things were possible.  Unfortunately for Gabriel, his six-hitting had perhaps been too consistently in the same spot, and a canny field positioning saw him hit the ball pretty much straight at Dougie (by now reprieved from his vigil behind the stumps) at deep backward square leg, who made no mistake taking his third catch of the evening, coincidentally earning Freddie his third wicket (and figures of 3-6 off 1.4 overs), and the Hurricanes their third win of the summer.

Both teams immediately forgot they were on different sides, and repaired to the outfield for a knockabout game of burger-ball, probably to the delight of walking dogs the next morning, and the disgust of anyone fielding at long off on Saturday afternoon (sorry!).

Well done everyone, that was another entertaining cricket match.  Many thanks as always to John, Paul & Bruce for running the match, Stevie for coaching an excellent level of cricket into the players, and – most of all – to the many people who worked hard to cook burgers, serve beer & prosecco and generally make the evening go with a swing.

Monday 28th May 6pm
League
L
South Muir Sharks
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

Carlton Hurricanes 105-8 (E Keatinge 23, F Megaw 17*)
lost to

South Muir Sharks 144-6 (C Grier 1-5, E Keatinge 0-4)

On a glorious Monday evening, probably the warmest evening of the season so far, the U14 Hurricanes ventured out to Cavalry Park to play against the tall South Muir Sharks. It’s not the easiest place to find if you’ve not been there before, but by about 6pm, two teams had assembled, performed an exercise dubbed “the warm-up” (but to an untrained eye completely indistinguishable from the “messing about in the outfield” exercise which precedes it), and deemed themselves ready to play.

It’s entirely likely that a toss took place. Your correspondent, doubling as he does as scorer, is far too preoccupied with the mundanities of scoring life to notice the precise moment a coin is ceremonially tossed in to the air. And even a student of body language would be hard pressed to tell which skipper had called right, or which had simply not called at all. Both captains look equally surprised at the result, which, to a one-time student of statistics is pleasingly reassuring. No, unfortunately at this point the scorer is too busy trying to recapture his chair, which will undoubtedly by now have an under-14 cricketer sitting in it; or cursing his laptop for an untimely reboot; or working out the optimum arrangement of sun, laptop screen and shadow-throwing head to allow him to actually see what score he is keeping; or agreeing with the opposing team’s scorer the precise spellings of our respective teams’ names. So, it is with some confidence, but little detail, that I can report that a toss occurred, and the Hurricanes were deputed to bat.

Euan and Matthew opened carefully against South Muir’s tall opening bowlers, hitting the ball carefully, and scoring largely in sharp singles and alert byes. All went well for three overs, seven runs were neatly scored from each, and both openers looked well set. Then a suffocating spell of accurate bowling (four dot balls, something of a rarity in U14 cricket) drew Matthew into an optimistic swing, and he was bowled. Ruaridh joined Euan, and ran well in support, but found runs of his own hard to come by. A fine four seemed to indicate that he had cracked it, but alas an attempted repeat on the very next ball was well caught in the deep.

And so a pattern emerged: batsmen would come in, maybe get set, then hole out in an attempt to push the scoring along. The run rate was tripping along at a perfectly acceptable 6-ish an over, but in the batsmen’s minds Something Had to be Done, so they hit out. Or perhaps it was complacency that led to a succession of batsmen missing straight deliveries. Jamie came and went, Cameron played some nice shots, but missed a straight one, Robbie, similarly ambitious, was bowled. Euan meanwhile, sailed on imperiously towards his retirement on 20 balls, until disaster struck: on his very last ball, he too missed the straight one and walked off, out instead of nobly retired, having scored a very fine 23.

This left Freddie and Dougie to attempt to rescue the innings. Freddie in particular was batting very sensibly, hitting what was there to be hit, and running hard. For a couple of overs, the score ticked along nicely, and – importantly – no more wickets fell. Then, alas, Dougie was beaten by a direct hit attempting a sharp single. This brought Calum to the crease, who played a delightful tail-ender’s innings, full of swings, misses, fours, and hard running. Freddie, meanwhile, reached 20 balls, retired, but stayed exactly where he was, owing to there being no more batsmen to replace him. Calum took a swing too many, and was bowled, but his 13 runs took the Hurricanes over the 100, to 105 for 8, Freddie left stranded on 17.

The story of the innings: too many wickets falling in too short a space of time. The Hurricanes scored at a respectable 6 an over, but alas lost wickets at a wholly unsustainable 1 every 2 overs.

The tall South Muir openers strode in. Kyle and Euan opened the bowling, an unusual combination of medium pace and spin, but one which seemed to bamboozle the openers. After an initial flurry of runs, the bowlers found their rhythm, and quietened the batsmen. A sharp run out, followed by a splendid ball from Robbie bowling first change, accounted for the openers. Ruaridh chipped in, bowling South Muir’s number 4, and briefly optimism reigned. Unfortunately, South Muir’s numbers 3 & 5 were tall and strong, with a taste for hitting the ball hard. Nothing quite went right: balls flew tantalisingly just beyond fielders’ fingertips; shies at the stumps drifted agonisingly wide; two brave attempted stumpings were turned down; and Dougie bowled a ball which shaved the stumps without dislodging the bails.

 

The two South Muir batsmen biffed their way on to retirement, which slowed down the scoring rate a bit, but by then it was too late. Dougie hit the stumps again, this time persuading the bails to fall off, but South Muir easily overhauled our score within 12 overs. We agreed to carry on playing, so that the remaining batsmen could have a crack, but once the result was decided the match drifted a bit. Matthew induced a snick behind to Euan at wicketkeeper, and Cameron took a good caught-and-bowled to end the game. South Muir finished on 144 for 6.

It’s easy to get lost in the emotion of defeat and see only what went wrong. A lot went right: the Hurricanes worked hard, fielded well, and supported each other; the chat in the field was lively and positive throughout. They scored runs at a good rate, many scored from tremendous shots, and many very good balls were bowled. In the final analysis, they were unlucky to come up against a strong South Muir team.

Thank you very much to both sides for an entertaining game of cricket, and thank you to the weather umpires for a warm evening!

Monday 4th June 6pm
League
L
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Watsonians

H

Pef

Carlton Hurricanes 94 for 5 (C Grier 19*, F Kentish 16*)

lost to

Watsonians 95 for 2

The Carlton Under-14s’ extraordinarily dry and sunny summer continued with the Hurricanes’ sixth league match of 2018, as yet uninterrupted by anything as mundane as rain.  This was a home match against Watsonians, but in a scheduling twist that would have baffled Inspector Rebus was in fact played at Myreside, owing to the considerable pressure on the single square at Grange Loan. Myreside simultaneously hosted another U14 match, All Stars and primary training, and they didn’t even need the next door Craiglockhart ground.  Oh to have the luxury of such space!  

The area we were using features a steep slope at mid-wicket (which provides a splendid vantage point for scorers, watching parents, and players waiting to bat), so our players should have felt right at home.  More importantly, it boasts a grass strip, the first time this team have played on anything other than astro this season.  The change of surface clearly discomfited our batsmen, but in what way it is hard to tell: in the aftermath of the game, two different batsmen reported with absolute authority that the bounce was (1) lower and (2) higher than they were used to.  I am frequently impressed and bemused in equal measure by the details that Under-14 cricketers have picked up about the game.  Ours for example are absolute masters of berating a pitch.  Surely that’s not an aspect of cricket that Stevie focuses on on a Thursday evening?

A toss occurred - presumably - and the Hurricanes padded up to bat.  Our openers, Ally and Cameron, started watchfully against some fast and accurate bowling, contenting themselves with a handful of exploratory singles in the first two overs, before upping the pace with a trio of fours.  Alas, Ally’s momentum was rudely interrupted by a fine catch, and he departed for a patient opener’s 6, to be replaced by Charlie.  Charlie started carefully, and seemed to have got the measure of the bowling before he too fell victim to a fine catch.

A rough rule of thumb in U14 cricket is that if the opening bowlers appear fast and straight, batsmen should simply bat sensibly and wait for the pace and accuracy to reduce with the change bowlers.  By now however, the Hurricanes were facing Watsonians’ second change attack, with no noticeable let up in the challenge.  Kyle hunkered down, stemming the flow of wickets, before ironically being caught taking a swing at the slowest bowler on display.  Cameron, meanwhile, sailed on majestically, apparently able to pick the fast bowlers’ line well, and retired after 20 balls for a battling 15.  This brought Fraser to the crease, who also saw the ball well, particularly the first one, which he dispatched disdainfully for 4.  Dougie Boycott-esquely blocked the other end, while Fraser continued to accumulate steadily.

We’re still learning what constitutes a par score in this season’s amended Under-14 rules, but it is pretty clear that sub-40 at the half-way point was definitely not on the way to par.  Fraser hit out, and retired for 16, Dougie followed him soon after, leaving our lower order to hit out in search of a defensible total.  Calum, Robbie and Freddie did just that: Calum hit 14 at more than a run a ball, before being well caught by a tumbling mid-off whilst trying to keep the scoring rate up; Robbie hit a run-a-ball 8; Freddie added a couple; and Cameron returned from his exile on the hill to hit the penultimate ball for 4 and steal the obligatory bye off the final ball.  All this late order activity brought the Hurricanes’ total to a nervous 94-5.

Watsonians’ openers strode out to bat and started circumspectly, treating our opening bowlers Kentish and Kentish with respect.  Fraser duly justified all this care by removing number one to a very fine catch by Calum at square leg.  Briefly, optimism reigned – if we could take one wicket, why couldn’t we take eight?  But cricket is a fickle game – at the other end, Watsonians’ number two was hitting a string of powerful fours.  The Hurricanes did eventually winkle him out, caught by a tumbling Ally at mid-off off Kyle’s bowling of his 20th - and retirement - ball, but alas by that time he’d scored over a third of the target himself.  That was as close as we got – Watsonians’ batting was strong, and they knocked off our total without any further alarm.

Previous Hurricanes’ match reports have reflected on the balance between scoring runs and losing wickets.  In this case, we probably erred on the side of preserving wickets, and in doing so left some potential runs unscored.  That said, it is always possible to analyse, and indeed to over-analyse, a cricket match after the event – cricket after all pretty much invented the art of sports statistics which has permeated its way into all modern sport.  Sometimes however, we need to step back and acknowledge that the opposition was simply better than us.  This particular Watsonians team was taller, stronger, and mostly two years older that the Hurricanes, so the main lesson to be learned is to grow taller and stronger ourselves, which will of course happen in time.  Our players should be proud that they stood up to a strong bowling attack and didn’t collapse.  They should feel … actually, I’m writing this so far after the event that, being 12- and 13-year olds, they’ve all probably forgotten all about it in the excitement of about 243,000 subsequent games of Fortnite.

Many thanks to Paul for managing the team, Watsonians for not only proving challenging opposition, but also hosting us when we should have hosted them, and to the legion of parents patiently watching their offspring playing yet another game of cricket on a dry but inevitably chilly Edinburgh evening.

Monday 11th June 6pm
League
L
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Stewart's Melville

H

GL

Carlton Hurricanes 88 for 8 (C Kentish 17)

lost to

Stewart's Melville 93 for 4

For a team named after a meteorological event typically associated with storms and rain, the Carlton Hurricanes’ season has been astonishingly dry. Monday 11th June was another in this exceptional summer, and the Hurricanes duly convened at Grange Loan to do battle with Stewart’s Melville. Some years ago, I asked a Stew Mel Kwik Cricket coach what SMRH stood for. “Stewart’s Melville ...”, he began confidently, followed by a pause and then the admission “I forget the rest”. I imagine that gentleman was relieved when Stew Mel dropped the “RH” this season.

Tradition - and quite probably the Laws of the Game - dictate that a toss should occur. Cricket captains and coaches being flexible fellows however, other means of determining the order of proceedings are employed more often than our overlords at the MCC might imagine. I have seen captains invited to guess in which hand a coach is holding his car keys; rock-paper-scissors; and the tried-and-tested “half our team isn’t here yet, is it OK if we bat first?” All of which is a long winded way of admitting that once again I have little idea of the outcome of the toss, or even if one occurred. The Hurricanes were dispatched to bat.

Ally and Nate opened watchfully against some quick bowling, until Nate swung at a wide one and was caught by the bowler. This unfortunate event brought Charlie to the wicket, who carried on the watchful approach, mingled with some fine fours, and a remarkable ability to farm the strike. He looked to be cruising towards 20 balls and retirement, when one jagged back off a length and rearranged his stumps. Jamie replaced him, and continued the practice of farming the strike. He was cruising along in a carefree manner, until he mistimed a checked drive, and chipped a catch tamely to a lurking mid off. Ally finally got to the business end, and wisely defended 5 balls, only to fall, bowled, to the last ball of the over. Fraser, who had been watching from the other end, attacked the next over, and became Stew Mel’s fifth victim and third catch.

Astute readers will notice that the Hurricanes have just lost 5 of their top 6, for not a lot of runs (38 to be precise), after not many overs (8). And as under-14s play 9-a-side, there is not a lot of batting to come. Euan and Rudy set about stabilising the innings, scoring carefully and patiently in singles, with the occasional double when a particularly firm push pierced the infield. For nearly four overs, it really looked as if the Hurricanes had cracked the tricky business of Not Getting Out. Then disaster: in consecutive balls, both players lofted catches and walked off disconsolately.

Dougie and Cameron were left to mount a rearguard action, with eight overs still to go. Cameron swung lustily at the hat-trick ball, dispatching it for four runs, which ushered in an odd period of play: for three overs, Dougie carefully protected his wicket, and scored a single off the last ball, thus keeping the strike. A couple of fours, and some generous extras by the Stew Mell bowlers kept the scorers interested, but all Cameron could do was to watch from the other end. Finally – finally! – Dougie misjudged the last ball and hit it for four rather than a single, and Cameron got on strike. The excitement was too much, he swung and missed one time too many and was bowled. Carlton were all out for a somewhat tame 88-8. Five caught and three clean bowled in 15.4 overs tells the story: 5.6 runs/over is a reasonable run rate, but a wicket every 1.9 overs is entirely unsustainable in a 9-man batting lineup.

Charlie and Rudy opened the bowling for the Hurricanes, bowling fast, with a tight line and length. Stew Mel found it hard to score, particularly off Rudy, who was unlucky not to take a wicket, and finished his two overs for three runs – at least the third match this season in which he’s given away less than five runs. Fraser and Ally replaced them, and Ally struck: two wickets in two balls! For the second time in the match, the hat-trick ball was bashed away for four runs and the opportunity for glory passed. The Stew Mel batsmen accelerated, and the Hurricanes didn’t quite get the breaks they so badly needed. One skied half-chance fell agonisingly between a triangle of fielders, another catch was inexplicably dropped. Freddie took a wicket, and Jamie bowled a fearsome spell, significantly faster than anyone else on display, but the Hurricanes couldn’t stem the runs, and couldn’t take the wickets. Stew Mel had some powerful middle-order batsmen, who polished off the required 89 runs with little further alarm.

The Hurricanes are struggling to find the balance between attack and defence. Two weeks ago, a similar match unfolded in which runs were scored at a reasonable rate, but wickets fell too fast. Last week, wickets were preserved, but the total posted was not competitive enough. This week, they’re back to scoring runs and losing wickets equally fast. Under-14 cricket is proving to be a tricky learning environment. That said, it feels as if they’re not far from putting the right balance together. Next week, perhaps?

Thanks once again to John and Paul for putting all the work into coaching the team, and standing patiently umpiring while it doesn’t go quite to plan.

Monday 18th June 6pm
League
W
Livi Thunder
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

Livi Thunder 90-8

lost to

Carlton Hurricanes 94-2 (J Beattie 43*, D Firth 38*)

We live a charmed life at Carlton. Many of our players live within a short walk of Grange Loan, and those who don’t are generally only a 5-10 minute drive away. The drive out along the A71 to Livingston is an annual reminder of the alternative reality on our doorstep – an hour of queueing in traffic. Monday’s trip was exacerbated by a tree blocking the penultimate road, necessitating a 2-mile detour to reach Livingston’s ground. Nonetheless, we arrived “on time”, although we didn’t have time for the full warm-up plan that John had in hand. We were warmly welcomed by one of the friendliest clubs in Edinburgh, and treated to a bucolic tree-lined country cricket club – the trip is all worth it despite the A71.

A captain of my acquaintance many years ago used to respond to his opponent winning the toss by immediately asking “first or second shot?”. No matter what the answer, he would quickly turn away and call to his team “we’re batting, lads”. The opposing skipper very rarely called him out, with the remarkable result that his team batted first pretty much every weekend. I doubt very much that any such shenanigans happened at Livingston: I can confidently report that a toss occurred, as I actually saw it, but I was just too far away to hear proceedings, and captain Jamie and Livingston’s skipper looked equally pleased at the outcome, so as usual I am unable to report who chose what. Livingston’s openers padded up to bat.

James (on loan from the under-9s) and Kyle opened the bowling in a miserly mood (and in a miserly Scotch mist). James’ first over yielded just 2 runs, Kyle’s a mere 3. James’ second over went even better, and accounted for Livi’s opener, clean bowled. Kyle’s second was a widen (which very old readers will dimly recall from Kwik Cricket days as an over in which no runs are scored but alas a wide is unaccountably signalled by an unsympathetic umpire). The Scotch mist was replaced by a damp drizzle, and James & Kyle were replaced by Dougie & Calum, both of whom struck: Dougie with his very first ball, Calum with his second and fourth. Dougie’s wicket was a splendid team catch by Freddie and Ben, leading to the unusual entry in the score book “ct Megaw & Stronach, b Firth”.

The match by now was being played in a driving drizzle. Both scorers, having inadvertently stepped into the 21st century, were using electronic devices to keep score, and were increasingly concerned by the awkward mixture of electricity and water. The match tempo changed too: Livi’s number 5 was seeing the ball well, and hitting it even better. Freddie, Jamie, Ben & Rudy all bowled well, Jamie and Ben accounting for two of his partners, but Livi’s number 5 sailed on unstoppably, retiring for a fighting 17. His retirement didn’t last long, Robbie took an acrobatic tumbling caught-and-bowled to remove the penultimate batsman, and number 5 returned. He continued where he had left off: 4..4..4.4... Three overs and 17 more runs later, Robbie finally bowled him to end Livi’s innings on 90-8.

Both teams repaired to the clubhouse to warm up and – astonishingly – the drizzle stopped, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. The Hurricanes’ innings started on a damp pitch, but in glorious Edinburgh evening sunshine. Nate hit the first ball, a long hop wide of leg, to long leg for 4 runs. He hit the second ball, a long hop wide of leg, to long leg for 4 runs. He flicked the third ball, full length on leg stump, to long leg for 4 runs. The fourth ball, full length on leg, deceived Nate, the wicketkeeper and fine leg for 4 byes. The fifth ball was well wide of everyone, and ran away for 5 wides. The fifth ball passed off unnoticed, then Nate hit the sixth, full length on leg, to long leg for 4 runs. 21 runs off the opening over. Nate didn’t last much longer, scoring another 5 before being bowled, but who cares when you’ve scored 21 runs off 11 balls?

James, who unnoticed had opened with Nate, was more circumspect, and batted rather more like an opener, falling, unluckily, off his 20th ball for 15. Meanwhile, Jamie had taken up residence at the other end, and was hitting pretty much everything. “Highlight” of the innings was a pre-meditated reverse sweep, which proved doubly difficult when the ball was delivered well wide of leg stump. Other ferocious shots followed, although the 6 he really wanted eluded him. Dougie joined him and got into the spirit, hitting the ball well and hard. These two retired in quick succession on 43 (Jamie) and 38 (Dougie), during which time Livi’s total was overtaken. Livi generously agreed to keep playing, to give their bowlers 2 overs each, and the Hurricanes’ batsmen an innings.

Kyle & Freddie continued, each scoring a few runs before being caught and bowled respectively. Ben & Rudy replaced them, both hitting the ball well. Ben scored 22 (which ordinarily would be a highlight of the Hurricanes’ innings), before being run out off the obligatory idiotic single from the last ball. At this point, a quick audit of the Hurricanes’ batsmen revealed that Robbie had missed out. A quick conference agreed to return to the field. In an unusual twist, Livi’s umpire bowled what turned out to be the final ball, which Robbie confidently steered down to third man for 4, to the utter delight of Robbie, the Hurricanes, and the entire Livi team and supporters. The match ended in considerable high spirits.

Many thanks to Livingston for a warm welcome, copious cups of tea, and a friendly and high-spirited match. Thanks too to John and Charles for umpiring and coaching on the night. The warm-up plan will have to wait for another day

Monday 25th June 6pm
League
W
Carlton Hurricanes
v
Carlton Thunder

H

GL

Carlton Thunder 54-8 (A Paul 2 for 7)

lost to

Carlton Hurricanes 58 for 4 (M Restall 17)

he Hurricanes’ final game before the July break was the third instalment of the friendly rivalry with their fellow Carlton U14 team, the Thunder.  The Hurricanes had won both the previous encounters, so the question was: could the Hurricanes, like Scotland v England, or England v Australia, complete the whitewash?  Or would the Thunder, like Panama or England’s rugby team, snatch a consolation point at the end?  The Hurricanes were perturbed to see in the Thunder ranks Thomas and Gaby, the two batsmen who had so nearly won the previous two encounters.  This wasn’t going to be easy.

The teams met at Peffermill, owing to Grange Loan hosting an U16 match against the visiting hordes from Xavier College, all the way from Melbourne.  By contrast with the opening match of the season, Peffermill was a sunny and warm oasis: shorts and t-shirts were the order of the day, rather than the ski gear sported at the earlier occasion.  The teams drifted in, in that way that junior teams do: some players arrived fresh from another game, some were bright and early, some were well beyond the 5:30 warm-up time.  A football appeared, and a game broke out.  A group of older players, perhaps mimicking behaviour from senior teams, sat in the dugout and gossiped about who knows what.  The batting order maybe?  Remarkably however, more or less bang on schedule at six o’clock, the football was put aside, players detached themselves from various huddles and made their way to the middle, and a game of cricket appeared, as if from nowhere.  I still don’t know how Paul & Bruce do that.  The Peffermill groundsman had carefully marked out the 18m pitch, with bright red paint, but had omitted to make holes for the stumps, or to leave out free-standing stumps.  Rather than attempt to make holes in the middle of the pitch, the teams agreed to play off the full size pitch for a change.

The Thunder’s openers marched in to bat.  Eh?  The toss?  Probably.  Ross and Isaac settled in against some fiery bowling from Rudy and Fraser.  Rudy was his usual accurate, parsimonious, but unlucky self, his 2 overs yielding a niggardly 3 runs, but alas no wicket.  Fraser’s first over was a busier affair, yielding pretty much every means of scoring known to cricket, and also featuring the run out of Isaac, sent back trying to steal the strike from the immoveable Ross.  Mark joined Ross, and for 3 overs these two blocked imperturbably, gratefully taking occasional singles.  Then Matthew struck, breaking Mark’s wicket (quite literally, that stump won’t be much use any more) off the last ball of his first over.

This heralded a sudden shift in fortunes.  Ross milked a single from Ally’s first ball, but then Thomas chipped the second to Fraser at mid off.  Sean came – and went again 2 balls later, clean bowled.  Ally had the impressive figures of 2-1 off his first over, and the Thunder were suddenly 4 down for 25 runs.  Ross and Gaby settled down to rebuild the innings, both batting carefully, Gaby particularly reining in the attacking shots that had proved so exciting last time.  Both crept towards 20 balls and retirement, until Gaby decided to go for glory off his last ball, and instead missed it completely, and ended up out, bowled by Kyle, for 12 runs, instead of waiting to come back in again.  Ross managed the 20th ball more successfully and walked off for a well-earned rest with 9 runs in the bank.

Jack became Fraser’s second catch of the evening, this time off Robbie’s bowling, it’s as if he somehow becomes invisible at mid-off.  Sam and Lorian resisted for a while, until Robbie’s rather extraordinary second over, in which both were run out, Sam attempting an ambitious single, Lorian 2 balls later called through for a run, initially refusing, but then going for it anyway, always a risky sequence of events.  Ross and Isaac came back in (we’d agreed to play 10 batsmen), only for Isaac to be run out for the second time in the match.  An unusual innings – 4 run outs, including the same batsman twice.  Maybe the players were surprised by the unusual length of the pitch?  The Thunder had scored 54-8, off 12.5 overs.

Matthew and Cameron strode in to begin the Hurricanes’ reply.  The Thunder’s opening bowlers, Sean and Mark, were fast and furious, but a touch wayward, such that the batsmen only had to wait patiently and accumulate extras.  By the end of the opening two overs, they’d scored 22 runs, only 6 off the bat.  Ross took over and bowled straighter, but Matthew was by now batting extremely well, timing his shots sweetly.  Three 4s purred off his bat.  Isaac took over, and bowled beautifully – straight and full – and was rewarded with the wickets of Matthew (17) and Freddie, but by now the Hurricanes had reached 36.

Sean returned, but Nate and Cameron saw off his over.  Mark rejoined the attack, and took a high catch off his own bowling to dismiss a disappointed Cameron, who had clearly hoped to see the innings through.  There was still time for Ross to bowl Nate, but Kyle and Fraser batted on, Fraser in particular hitting the ball well, as he has all season, to see the Hurricanes home off the eighth over with a pair of solid fours.  The Hurricanes had scored 58-4 off 7.5 overs to record a convincing win.

It seems a shame that U14 cricket takes a break just as the weather has warmed up, while the players have time on their hands, and they’re getting in to the season.  Maybe it’s just as well though, as the team decamps for its collective summer holidays.  Many thanks to Paul, Bruce & Kevin for overseeing proceedings, and well done to all the players.  We’ll be back in August!

Monday 30th July 6pm
League
Grange Tornadoes
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

RAINED OFF
 
Monday 6th August 6pm
League
W
Grange Lightning
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

Grange Lightning 124-4 (R Rowlands 1-5)

lost to

Carlton Hurricanes 126-5 (C Grier 37*, B Stronach 21*)

Monday 6th August 2018 was a very busy day in Edinburgh junior cricket.  The Eastern Knights were playing a Jolly Important Game somewhere; an Edinburgh U13 team was playing an equally Jolly Important Game somewhere else; and the Carlton U14 Hurricanes were playing Grange U14 Lightning at Portgower Place.  Not only that, but Monday 6th August is still firmly in the middle of the summer holidays; despite which football’s tentacles reach out and pluck away unwary cricketers; and the ever-present spectre of injury stalks the unwary Under-14 cricketer.  On the evening before this game, we had 6 Under-14s available, by lunchtime on match-day itself, we were down to 4.  Luckily for us, our Under-12 squad is made of stern stuff, and four plucky U12s joined their older brethren in taking on the might of Grange U14 Lightning.  Of course, Grange also being an Edinburgh team, they had similar availability challenges: their coach remarked that he had a very strong team … in Lanzarote.  And so it was that the eight Carlton Hurricanes took on the seven Grange Lightnings.

It is not entirely clear under what auspices the order of play was determined.  Previous match reports have supposed that a toss occurred out of sight of the scorer and match report writer.  On this occasion, the decision process is equally a mystery to Captain Dougie, so I suspect that the time-honoured “our players aren’t here yet, can we bat first in order to get this game going so we can all get home to dinner” algorithm was used.  Grange were duly deputed to bat.

Ben and Robbie G opened the bowling.  Ben’s opening over was fast and straight, and kept the batsman in check until the last ball, when a slightly shorter delivery was cut to a vacant wide third-man.  Robbie was even more accurate, yielding a single run of the bat and a couple of assorted extras.  Both bowlers’ second overs were more eventful, each giving up a couple of fours, at least some of which exploited the gap at wide third man.  And so the pattern for the innings was set: straight bowling, but the occasional wayward balls being dispatched to the gaps in the field.  Captain Dougie rotated the gap well, but it was always there, lurking somewhere in the outfield, waiting to be found by a canny batsman.  Our fielders worked hard, stopping almost everything that was hit near them, and returning it well to their wicket-keeper.  But that pesky gap was always there, ready to concede a boundary.  James & Kyle took over bowling duties, and the pattern continued.  Grange’s number one retired, having reached 15 of his 20 balls.  Finally, in the 10th over, a breakthrough: Cameron’s first ball bowled Grange’s number three.  In the very next over, Robbie M repeated the feat on Grange’s number 5, a player fully twice his height.

Wickets started falling a bit more regularly – Robert and Dougie each took one, Robert’s another clean-bowled, Dougie’s a fine catch by Kyle at square leg.   That brought back Grange’s retired numbers one and two, who upped the scoring rate a bit, and reached 124-4 after their 20 overs.  Given the short boundaries, and the fact that Grange would be dealing with one more gap in the field than the Hurricanes, 124 didn’t look out of reach, so long as we could preserve wickets.

Cameron and Kyle walked out to begin the Hurricanes’ reply.  Cameron has a delightfully simple strategy when batting: if he can see the ball, he hits it, hard; if he can’t see it, he nonetheless tries to hit it, hard.  And so he did: the first ball shot to the boundary for four; the second he sneakily left for a surprised wicket-keeper to miss entirely, and shot to the boundary for four; the fourth was dispatched to a fielder for a single; the first two balls of the next over were clubbed to the boundary.  Kyle joined in, hitting three fours of his own, before being adjudged LBW to Grange’s mystery spinner’s straight one.  Our first six overs had yielded 44 runs, well up with the scoring rate.  Cameron bludgeoned his way to 28 runs off 20 balls and retired.

A different pattern emerged: that of batsmen getting in but finding odd ways of getting out.  James looked in complete control, but missed a straight one to be bowled.  Dougie looked set for a captain’s innings, but was bamboozled by Grange’s spinner.  Robert suffered an unfortunate equipment malfunction, his a-bit-too-big helmet choosing the exact moment the bowler let loose an innocuous delivery to fall over his eyes.  Robbie set off for a run that lent new meaning to the phrase “optimistic single”.  In an echo of several previous match reports, our run rate was fine, but the rate at which we were losing wickets was anything but.

Through all the mayhem at the other end sailed Ben, batting purposefully but chancelessly, piercing gaps in the field, and propelling the score onward.  He reached 21 runs off his 20 balls, and gave way to the returning Cameron.  It is sometimes hard for scorers to distinguish junior players – they’re often similar heights, wear the same kit, and cover up their heads with pale blue helmets so we can’t see their faces.  In this instance however, it was unusually straightforward: Cameron looked like he’d stepped out of Gulliver’s Travels, towering over Robbie M.  Robbie however was undaunted, scoring off all but one ball, and pretty much keeping pace with Cameron.  Cameron carried on where he’d left off a few overs earlier, hitting the ball.  Hard.  He and Robbie knocked off the remaining 32 runs with no alarm, aided by some generous extras, including two wides to somewhat anti-climactically win the game in the 17th over.

That was a very good all-round team performance.  Granted Grange were weakened, but we fielded four under-12s, all of whom contributed greatly in different ways: Ben’s 21 runs came at a crucial moment; Robbie M and Robert bowled well and took timely wickets; Robert in particular did a lot of excellent work in the field; and James impressed behind the stumps for 10 overs with little cover behind him.  For the regular under-14s, Kyle opened the batting with a well-constructed 14, unlucky not to get more; Robbie bowled well for his wicket; and Captain Dougie rotated his fielders cannily, kept wicket tidily for the other 10 overs and bowled cheaply.  But the undoubted man of the match was Cameron, who blasted 37 runs, nearly 1/3 of the team’s total.  Oh, and he took a wicket too.

Many thanks to all who played, to Grange who worked equally hard to get a team out; and to John for coaching the team on the day.

Monday 13th August 6pm
League
Carlton Hurricanes
v
South Muir Sharks

H

Pef

 
Monday 20th August 6pm
League
Watsonians
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

 
Monday 27th August 6pm
League
Stewart's Melville
v
Carlton Hurricanes

A

 

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