lndoor Kwik Cricket at Loretto

Carlton girls started off this year of special anniversaries with successive weekends of kwik-cricket against Loretto.  Thankfully this was in their indoor sports hall, as on both Sundays it was snowing.  Trying to be philosophical about the current abysmal weather.  After all last year March was setting records for warmth and sunshine, and look where that got us. 


It is less than 3 years since our first ever all girls fixtures, so we have a long way to go to our own 150th.  Sadly, I feel that Carlton's special year will not quite get the worldwide attention it deserves, due to the unfortunate clash with another important cultural event.  I am not referring to the 50th anniversary of Dr Who but the bi-centenary of the birth of Richard Wagner, or Richard Who? as queried on the way back from Loretto.  Sadly, they had even forgotten my in-car lesson last year on the great symphonist Gustav Mahler.  A couple of girls did actually claim to know a bit about Wagner, but it quickly became clear that I was talking about one of the greatest artists in history and they were talking about some Brazilian weirdo of dubious talent who had once found transient fame on X-factor. 


So I suppose the important question is how much Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell know about Wagner's Ring?  Many are aware that the Lord of the Rings is based on a similar plot.  Less well known is that the first Star Wars trilogy is also heavily modelled on Wagner’s Ring.  John Williams’ music even copies one of the key features of the Ring where each major character/faction has its own musical theme.  But sadly Star Wars also took on the worst features of the Ring – going on for ever with hours and hours of poorly acted, pointless dialogue.       


Judging by the length of his operas, Richard Wagner was clearly a big fan of test cricket.  In his day of course, test matches were often played with no time limit.  The cricketing authorities decided enough was enough after the timeless test in 1939 which was abandoned after 9 days so England could catch the boat home from South Africa.  While the Ring doesn’t quite last 9 days, it must be agreed there is a lot of pfaffing about.  The Ring cycle takes over 18 hours to sit through spread over 4 operas, much of it heavy going.  Similar to watching Shaun Pollock bowling ball after ball miles outside off stump to Jonathan Trott.  Then every so often some of the most remarkable and brilliant music ever written breaks out - more like watching Kevin Pietersen taking on Brett Lee in the deciding 2005 Oval test.  For anyone tempted to listen to the Ring’s musical highlights (condensed into around an hour) and see what the fuss is all about, I can do more than recommend the forthcoming Scottish National Orchestra performance on Friday 10th May - tickets are only £10 and free for under 16s.   Please don’t be put off because Wagner was an unpleasant, racist, arrogant megalomaniac, always running into debt and sleeping with his colleagues’ wives.  Much the same can be said of many top premiership footballers and look at the adulation they get.


Turning to the matches, Sunday 10th saw our younger age group take on Loretto.  In the first match, tidy batting by Carlton saw them reach 40 with all 4 pairs adding useful runs.  Bowling, Cara O took a wicket with our first ball, and we never looked back leaving Loretto 8 short on 32.  In the next match Loretto batted first, and this time were more aggressive.  Ella was our most accurate bowler and was responsible for 4 wickets in the 2 matches, just missing out on a Michelle.  Chasing 41, Carlton were also more attacking with the bat.  Jennifer woke up the crowd in the viewing gallery, narrowly missing their coffees with a couple more massive sixes to add to her six in the first innings.  Sterling support from Grace saw this pair add a match high of 23 from their two overs.  However, our old achilles heel of running between the wickets came back to haunt us, with the loss of 20 runs for 4 run outs meaning we only managed to reach 33.  Nevertheless, some neat symmetry with the fixture tied when adding up the totals from both matches.


The 17th saw our older girls, plus our star of the future Nina take on a Loretto side containing Catherine and Mairi who have also represented Carlton.  These 2, along with Lisa, Lucy and Iona have been doing winter training with the new East Region girls squad, and it really showed with all 5 looking confident at the crease and bowling accurate overs.  In the first match, Loretto batted first.  Lucy’s opening over was almost unplayable and she took our first wicket, and Nina also bowled a great over so that a strong Loretto opening pair had not added to the score.  The next 3 pairs each added 14, giving Carlton 42 to chase.  Steady batting by our first 3 pairs saw them all add at least10 leaving Carlton on 32 and 10 behind.  However, indoor cricket is all about the study of trigonometry.  Lucy smashed her first ball - outdoors it would have been a 6 through mid-wicket but indoors it rebounded off the wall straight to the bowler for an easy run-out.  Nevertheless, some excellent batting and our first 4 of the match from Jennifer saw us needing only 2 from the last ball.  However Catherine, who was perhaps again on some money making arrangement with her Gran, bowled an excellent final delivery for a dot ball to leave us agonizingly short.


In the second match, Loretto again batted first.  Excellent overs from Nina, Fliss, Miriam and Charlotte restricted the first 2 Loretto pairs to 17, but Loretto's big hitters Rachel and Catherine each hit a couple of sixes to leave us chasing a difficult 52.  Helped by a couple of great catches, Loretto took 4 early wickets but a six and a four from Iona still saw us at 13 after our first 2 pairs.  Lucy and Jennifer did well against good bowling to nearly double our score to 25, but this still left 28 to get with our final pair.  However, the penultimate over yielded a magnificent 18 runs, with Lisa and Miriam each hitting a 4 and Lisa also adding a 6.  So only 10 needed from the final over, but this was going to be tricky against Loretto's fastest bowler.   Six were added off the first 5 deliveries, so Lisa needed a 4 to win from the final delivery.  She connected brilliantly, with the ball going like a rocket at head height towards the back wall.  Unluckily it was also heading straight at a Loretto fielder who, while it was too hot to catch, did well to stop it reaching the back wall for the winning runs.  So, 2 thrilling, high quality matches both going down to the last ball, with Carlton being unlucky to not come away with at least a share of the spoils. 


Thanks as always to Loretto for their kind hospitality and we look forward to seeing them in the summer for outdoor matches when hopefully it will have stopped snowing.   Thanks also to our match sponsor, Heart of Midlothian FC.  There was of course no money on offer but the owner did turn up to offer a free taxi ride to anyone who needed.

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