Kwik Cricket festivals & fixtures 2014


Livingston (u10)
Watsonian (u8 & u9) 5.30 pm (Rained off)
Carlton (Girls)


Boroughmuir (u10)
Watsonians (u10) (Rained off)




Edinburgh South (u10)





Murrayfield DAFS (u10)


New to kwik cricket? Read Martin's Beginners' Guide to Kwik Cricket

Penicuik (Under 10) - September 7 2014

Keen to extend the season for an extra week we were delighted to accept the invitation from Penicuik for one final festival. Overnight rain had put paid to the prospect of the event being held on the square at Kirkhill but as we assembled in the early morning sunshine we found a very serviceable wicket conveniently located in front of the pavilion. This meant that the massed ranks of supporters did not have far to go for refreshments, including bacon rolls, kindly supplied by the hosts.

We had nine and Penicuik had eleven so we agreed two games of ten-a-side would see the season to a fitting conclusion. In the first game we borrowed Jamie and having lost the toss by a considerable margin, fielded first. Gabriel and Ally got us off to good start with a couple of wickets but Gavin and Finlay were unlucky to have to bowl against the two strongest Penicuik batters. Still they bowled a number of good balls and backed up by some excellent ground fielding kept the total in check. Borrowed Jamie and Toby regained the initiative with good overs and Aidan and Alistair followed them with miserly spells. Isaac had a double wicket maiden and Jack closed the innings well to leave us with a target of 232.

Toby and Gavin got us off to a good start with the bat hitting a couple of boundaries as well as Gavin putting his footballing skills to the test as he headered a high full toss. Gabriel and interloper Jamie had a great first over including a towering 6 from Gabriel but two good catches in their second over pulled things back for the home side. Aidan and Alistair also lost wickets but hit enough boundaries to more than compensate. Ally and Finlay ran well and benefited from a couple of overthrows to put on 19 in their two overs. That left Isaac and Jack to see us home and, despite being undone by a good ball first up, they accumulated well to bring the total to 254 and a comfortable win.

Refreshments were taken before battle commenced once more. This time we had the services of young Fraser from the home side. Having obviously taken lessons from Fantasy Bob Irvine we lost the toss again although the margin may well have been less than in the first game. Batting first this time Isaac and Ally saw off the Penicuik skipper in their first over and scored more freely in their second. Gavin and Aidan prospered against some weaker bowling, hitting the boundary at regular intervals. Alistair and Toby also produced some clean hitting to keep the scoreboard ticking over including another big 6 from Toby. Finlay and the homegrown Fraser also batted well although we lost our first wicket to a smart stumping from the home skipper behind the sticks. The final pair of Jack & Gabriel took full toll of their first over but struggled against the tall final bowler who picked up a couple of wickets. Our total was 258, an improvement on the first game.

With the ball, Aidan and Alistair opened up against two of the home side’s more experienced players. Conceding only two boundaries and picking up a wicket was an excellent return and Toby followed it up with a maiden. Ally took another wicket in his over as did Gabriel and Finlay. Gavin then produced a second maiden and Isaac another good over to keep the home side firmly behind the rate. Jack and the borrowed Fraser completed the innings, against another two of Penicuik’s more senior players. Tight bowling and a wicket off the final ball saw the home team post 222 in reply.

Overall an excellent morning’s cricket. Many thanks to Penicuik for their hospitality. Particularly pleasing was the way that we talked at the break about what we could improve upon – mainly not losing unnecessary wickets – and put it into practice in the second game. All that hard work on a Wednesday evening evidently paying off.

The team: Aidan, Ally, Alistair, Finlay P, Gabriel, Gavin, Isaac, Jack, Toby

Cricket Scotland cricket-a-thon (Under 10) - August 24 2014

The Kwik Cricket season continued with the Cricket Scotland cricket-a-thon festival on the Meadows. Once again a fantastically enthusiastic response from our Kwik Cricketers meant that we entered two teams, including yet another player making his debut for Carlton. And once again the sun shone kindly on a Kwik Cricket festival.

The Cats first game was against our old rivals, a chirpy Grange team (there's nothing like jumping straight in at the deep end). Grange had a strong team, who posted a challenging score of 237 runs despite good bowling from Alistair (our debutant), Jack and Gabriel. The Cats had their work cut out to beat the Grange score but were given a strong start by opening pair Charlie and Euan. Our less experienced middle order struggled a bit against a quick and accurate Grange attack but a final over from Grange consisting of wides and no balls left the Cats in happy position of winning the match by one run.

Meanwhile, the Cubs opened against a relatively inexperienced Penicuik team. The Cubs batted first: hitting the ball a long way was quite hard on the dewy early-morning pitch - in a remarkably even display with no standout performances, each pair scored between 10 and 14 runs. More importantly, we lost only 1 wicket (and that with only 2 balls to go), to post a reasonable total of 242-2. Penicuik's batsmen found our bowlers hard to play, and wickets fell at regular intervals. Rory bowled a wicket maiden, and later took an excellent tumbling catch at deep square leg; Toby bowled a double-wicket widen for a net -8; Thomas, Isaac & Alasdair all took 3-1; in fact our first 6 bowlers bowled so well that Penicuik were well below 200 when their last pair arrived at the wicket. A determined stand lifted them to 202-6, for a good Cubs win.

Cricket Scotland had laid on Cricket Factory's training equipment to entertain the players when they weren't playing. They had some great kit: targets, a deceptively simple mini-trampoline for bouncing catches off, bats, balls, and other challenges - enthusiastically staffed, as far as I could tell, but most of the Carlton first XI. Perhaps that was why the Carlton players seemed to gravitate there when they weren't actively involved in a match - adding a new challenge to the long-suffering umpire/coach: retrieving the next pair of batsmen at the end of each pair of overs! It might also explain why our catching was on such good form.

In the second round, the Cats moved on to play Boroughmuir. The Cats won the toss and batted first with good contributions from Josh and Fraser. The Cats scored a total of 233 which was always going to be a hard total to defend. However, all the bowlers bowled very steadily restricting Boroughmuir to 4 runs off the last 4 overs including a maiden from Euan in the last over to give a victory by 5 runs.

The Cubs came up against a well-supported Murrayfield-DAFS team, and once again batted first. Since both teams had extra players, we played this as a 10-a-side match. The extra fielders, allied to Murrayfield's quick and accurate bowlers, made scoring runs challenging. Our players battled hard, and all made contributions, but the lion's share of the runs were scored by our last pair, Shaun & Thomas, who added some respectability to our score with 23 (including 3 sixes), to reach 239-3. This looked hard to defend - and so it turned out. Our bowlers worked hard, with notable contributions from Alasdair (2-1) and Shaun (4-1), and kept the game close all the way though. However, Murrayfield had some strong batsmen, and ran out deserved winners with 252-4.

One of the joys of the morning was exposing our players to the full Meadows cricket experience: stray dogs trying to join in the fielding; parties of people walking unaware and unconcerned across the pitch, and the odd patch of burnt grass and hardened ground where, presumably, a barbecue had recently stood and where, demonstrably, the ball did not behave as it should. Actually, despite being late summer, the Meadows was in fine condition - this summer's combination of sun with a little rain seems to have suited it.

On to round 3 … in which the Cats were up against a Stewart’s Melville team with variable experience. Stewart’s Melville started strongly but again consistent bowling restricted their total to 224. The Cats were always ahead in this game despite losing an early wicket and all the team, notably Jonty and Aidan, contributed to a strong batting performance leading to a win by 31 runs.

Neatly bookending the morning, the Cubs finished off where the Cats had started, against the chattery Grange team. Without wishing to give the punchline away a paragraph early, the Cubs had saved the best for last and put in a commanding performance. Grange batted first - our bowling was tight, and our fielding was as sharp as a knife. Dougie, Rory and Thomas took terrific athletic catches (Rory had to turn away and take it as it came over his shoulder); an opposition coach was heard to explain "they're winning because they're taking all their catches". The worst bowling figures were 5-0 and 10-1. Himesh excelled with 2-2 (net -8), Toby & Isaac both returned 4-1. The all-round team pressure in the field meant that Grange scored only two boundaries, and their innings ended on 208-6. Our batsmen never looked like failing to overhaul that, and all made runs. Freddie and Thomas overhauled Grange's total with 10 in the opening two overs (although a lot can go wrong quickly in Kwik Cricket). Our third pair, Dougie & Isaac, made the game all-but safe with 16 - at which point Rory came in and celebrated by hitting the 6 he'd been striving for all morning. The Cubs finished on 249-2 for a fine win.

That's yet another strong outing by Carlton's Kwik Cricketers - played 6, won 5, and some excellent cricket throughout. Continuing another of this summer's themes, all but one of our players are under-9, leading to the possibility of almost the same teams playing again next year (although hard-ball cricket beckons for some of them). Thank you yet again to the parents, grandparents, siblings, passing Carlton players and dogs who supported us, brought us coffee & lunch and ran odd errands. And thank you to Cricket Scotland for putting on an entertaining morning's Kwik Cricket festival.

The teams:

Back: Alistair, Josh T, Jonty, Dougie, Thomas, Shaun, Toby, Freddie, Fraser

Front: Aidan, Jack, Alasdair, Isaac, Rory L, Charlie, Himesh, Gabriel

Not in picture: Euan

SMRH (Under 10) - August 10 2014

SMRH kindly invited us to enter two teams in their Under-10 Kwik Cricket festival.  So we did.


The first game for the Cats was against SMRH Reds. Charlie and Fraser opened with tight spells of bowing which kept the SMRH scoring pegged back.  Wickets were then taken by all the rest of the team - Saul, Jack, Euan, Ruari and Gabriel - to restrict SMRH to 198 runs.


A strong opening batting performance from Charlie and Euan saw the Cats off to a good start but two wickets in an over from SMRH and some consistent bowling held the score in check until the last couple of overs when the Cats managed to get on top and score a winning total of 217 runs with strong batting from Ruari, Jack and Gabriel.


Meanwhile, with rain threatening (and sometimes doing a bit more than that) the Carlton Cubs took on a very young SMRH Blacks side.  The Cubs bowled first and the home side struggled to lay bat on ball and also lost wickets at regular intervals.  Good fielding backed up the solid bowling performance and SMRH finished on 199.  A wicket maiden from Grace and two wickets for Isaac were the highlights.


With the bat Rory & Freddie F got us off to a rapid start adding 30 in the first 2 overs and we never looked back on our way to an impressive 294.  The fast astro outfield meant we got value for our shots but fair play to the young SMRH side who stuck to their task well.


Next up for the Cats were our friends and foes Edinburgh South and in this game the Cats went for their shots but also lost a number of wickets before posting a creditable final score of 224.


Edinburgh South batted more carefully and lost fewer wickets to leave them ahead by 1 run going into the final over.  Edinburgh South sensibly played out a maiden over and were delighted to gain a one run victory.


Meanwhile, the Cubs came up against MDAFs, who were a much more experienced outfit, on the grass.  Their opening pair ran particularly aggressively but disciplined bowling in the middle overs, including an excellent caught and bowled from Isaac, reined in the scoring.  2 wickets in the final over from Freddie F left us chasing 223.


We struggled to replicate the aggressive running of the MDAFs openers but Rory and Freddie F hit a few lusty blows to get the scoreboard moving.  Grace & Georgia recovered from a controversial run out decision to leave Gavin & Freddie M to get 5 runs from the last two overs for the win.  Solid defence interspersed with good running got us close before a beautiful cover drive for 4 from Gavin gave us the breathing space to see us to a fine 7 run victory.


With the weather closing in there was much debate as to whether or not to play the final games.  With thoughts of preparing for playing in the 4th XI in coming years it was decided that, as it was only heavy drizzle, conditions were suitable for play.


The Cats' last game was against a strong Grange team. Realising that their score in the previous game had not been quite enough the Cats, who batted first again, went for the runs and despite losing a number of wickets to a good bowling performance the Cats posted a final score of 232.  Grange were always behind the run rate but knew they had their strongest batters in last. 


Fraser and Saul held their nerve when bowling the last two overs despite Grange going for every scoring chance   Strong batting at the end brought the final run chase down to last two balls where Grange required 10 runs to draw.  Grange scored a 4 off the penultimate ball but could not score off the final ball to leave Grange on 226 - a well-earned victory to conclude an enjoyable if damp morning.


The Cubs' last game was against Livingston.  Batting first Keagan & Gavin got us off to a strong start.  Grace & Georgia combined well again with a mixture of aggressive running and big hitting including the only 6 of the day for Georgia.  Rory & Freddie F scored freely and Freddie M and Isaac also batted well to give us a total of 268 to defend.  All four pairs scored 15 or more in their two overs making it an excellent all round performance, despite the conditions.


Keagan gave us the best possible start with the ball with two wickets in two balls.  Having successfully avoided the need to buy a jug for a hat-trick he also picked up a third wicket with his fifth ball, a fine reaction catch from Georgia who seemed more surprised than anyone that she’d held on to it.   Keagan’s jug avoidance went down well with all involved – everyone agreeing that there was no need for any further liquid at this point in time.   We continued to bowl and field well with Freddies F & M picking up wickets and as the rain lashed down in the final couple of overs Livingston finished on 221.


Five wins from six with everyone contributing and lots of high quality batting, bowling and fielding on show.  Well worth getting a little damp for.


Thank you to SMRH for holding their festival in their trademark inclusive fashion - and for the second time this season carrying on regardless of the rain.  And thank you as usual to our players' parents and other supporters who, on top of the usual driving and supporting duties, had very wet clothes to contend with as well this time.


The teams:

Cats: Charlie, Euan, Fraser, Gabriel, Jack, Ruari, Saul

Cubs: Freddie F, Freddie M, Gavin, Georgia, Grace, Isaac, Keagan, Rory L

Watsonians (Under 9) - August 4 2014

In my memory, the summer of 2014 will be one long sequence of warm sunny days, particularly of warm sunny evenings, comprising endless cricket, and accompanied by a soundtrack of the crack of orange ball on plastic bats, and the excited cries of Kwik cricketers. That's a bit unfair on Watsonians, who have had both their Under-10 and Under-9 festivals cancelled by rain. However, at the third attempt they chanced on a warm sunny evening, and a Carlton team travelled to Myreside to play in Watsonians' rescheduled Under-9 Gathering. In a rare treat for Kwik Cricketers, we got to play on an actual strip! It was a revelation - no balls bounced square; none hit the ground only to stay there; both batting and bowling were even more of a joy than usual.

Carlton opened against an enthusiastic Watsonians Sharks side, who batted first. It was a good, even contest - our bowling was tight and accurate (my scoresheet records only 3 wides), but the Sharks' batting was obdurate. All our bowlers bowled good overs, the pick were Alasdair - making his Carlton debut - with 2-1 (net -3) and Leo with 3-1 (net -2). Other highlights were a near-maiden from Alex (1-0); an over which I'll christen a widen (no runs hit, but only extras scored) from Kyle (4-0); and Isaac bowling off his longer run-up. The bowling was backed up by some determined fielding, all of which restricted the Sharks to a manageable-looking 228-2.

And so it proved. Our innings was steady with no remarkable fireworks: Alasdair & Grace opened with 17; Isaac and Alex followed with 13; Leo & Kyle put the match beyond reasonable doubt with a careful 10; and Rory & Robert finished the innings off with 18, including a towering 6 from Rory - not to mention some trademark family "ambitious" running. Carlton ended on a convincing 258-1.

Our second game was against an exuberant Watsonians "Other Big Fish" team (no, I didn't make that up). The Fish had 10 players, so we borrowed a couple of our supporters: Jamie (actually under-9) and Georgia (nowhere near 9, but no-one seemed to mind). Once again, Watsonians batted first, and once again our bowlers bowled a challenging line and length on the excellent pitch. Jamie opened the bowling, and even off his shorter run-up proved too much for the inexperienced opening batsmen to hit, and bowled a maiden. Other notable bowling contributions were from Kyle (again), Alex (not to be outdone by his brother) and Georgia, who all bowled a widen for 4 runs each; and Alasdair, having a debut to savour, who bowled a remarkable 3-2 for net -7 runs. With 2 extra fielders, the fielding was even sharper than before, and we restricted the Fish to 239-2, which looked sub-par for a 10-player team on a true pitch.

Georgia and Grace opened our innings, with Georgia determined to show Rory how "ambitious" running should really be done. Nothing was left un-run; not an overthrow was wasted; even slow takes behind the wicket were taken advantage of. Despite at least one watcher describing the running as "suicidal", no wickets fell either - I'm beginning to suspect there is more science behind it than is immediately obvious. Their frenetic 21 runs were followed by a welcome change of pace from Leo and Alex with a more measured 6; then Alasdair and Kyle added a strong 18. Rory and Isaac hit an emphatic 28, including 2 6s; before Jamie & Robert finished the innings with some strong hitting - and a truly suicidal run-out. The end result of all this hitting-and-running was a comfortable 280-3.

That was an excellent evening's Kwik Cricket. A warm sunny evening, played 2, won 2: a strong performance by our Under-9s - including a triple-wicket-taking debutant, 4 P3s, 6 players who are actually Under-8, and (possibly) a new cricketing term.

Thank you to Watsonians for being welcoming hosts, and making the effort to rearrange the Under-9 evening when the originally-scheduled one was rained off. And my continued thanks to all the parents and siblings who provide enthusiastic support, guest appearances; and feed me occasional cake!

The team: Alasdair, Alex, Grace, Isaac, Kyle, Leo, Robert, Rory - plus guests Georgia & Jamie.

Carlton (Under 10) - July 20 2014

Cricket being a summer game, and possibly more than any other sport dependant on good weather, it is perhaps not surprising that so many reports of cricket matches open by describing the weather.  For the second time this season, we turned up at Grange Loan for a Kwik Cricket festival on the morning after persistent rain, to find a warm and sunny day, and the ground looking superb - 4 small pitches dotted about on the outfield, benches placed at intervals around them.  Kwik Cricket is, amongst many other things, colourful - blue wickets and bats, multi-coloured cones, orange balls, and many different shirts.  (I note that in this opening paragraph so far, I've managed to mention cricket and the weather - two of the stereotypical markers of the British.  I need only a stiff upper lip and Shouting at Foreigners and I'll have the set.)  Anyway … the Carlton Under-10 Kwik Cricket festival got going …

In pool A, the Carlton Cats opened against a strong-looking MDAFS team, who batted first.  Truth be told, our fielding looked a trifle rusty - holidays and the 4-week gap since our last Under-10 festival were perhaps taking their toll.  Catches which would normally have been routine went begging; throws at the stumps were unusually wide of the mark; and there was a general sense of feeling our way back into cricket again.  That said, the bowling was keen, and MDAFS found scoring runs far from easy, ending up on a mid-range 249-0.  Our reply moved along at a reasonable rate, but with an unusual pattern: the first over of each pair was free-scoring, but the second over was quiet.  We were still in a good position at the start of the last over, needing 9 runs to win - but MDAFS' final bowler was quick and accurate, and we didn't quite manage it, ending on 241-0.

In a Kwik Cricket festival, teams don't usually have time to dwell on a result before they're off and running in their next game, and so it was here.  Fuelled and cooled by juice brought out from the clubhouse, the Cats (demonstrating their collective stiff upper lips) moved straight on to face a combined Edinburgh South/Boroughmuir team, themselves fresh from a comfortable  win over SMRH.  This time, Carlton batted first and scored runs at a good rate, Dougie & Finlay managed 18 off one of their overs (the less said about the other the better), Gabriel & Freddie weighed in with a magnificent 30 off their two.  We finished on an excellent 298-2 (I'm still waiting for the first 300 of the season).  In reply, Edinmuir's batsmen scored plenty of runs, but also lost wickets at an untenable rate.  In Dougie's over, Fraser, Charlie and Dougie himself took 3 excellent catches - added to a spectacular catch on the boundary by Freddie off Fraser's bowling in the previous over.  Borough South finished on 234-6 for a good win by the Cats.

The Cats' last pool game was against SMRH.  Once again, we batted first, our innings started respectably enough, but came to life with our second pair, Charlie & Jack, who scored a splendid 31 runs, including a towering 6.  Fraser & Euan finished off the innings with a strong 22 to total 278-1.  In reply, SMRH hit the ball well and had a lot of scoring shots, but found it hard to get past our fielders and scored few boundaries.  Our last two bowlers, Finlay & Euan, bowled mean overs for 2 runs each, and SMRH ended on 245-0.  Two wins gave us second place behind MDAFS in the pool, with the additional bonus of scoring the most runs over the three games.  Edborough Southmuir were third, SMRH fourth.

Carlton likes to consider itself a family club - and our Kwik Cricket teams take that very seriously.  The Cats featured 2 sets of twins: Charlie & Fraser and Gabriel & Jack.  The Cubs, not to be outdone, featured two pairs of cousins: Ruari & Thomas and Shaun & Keagan, not to mention one proud grandfather spectating.

In pool B, the Carlton Cubs started their campaign against Livingston, and batted first.  Our innings didn't start very auspiciously, wickets tumbled like ninepins, such that after 4 overs our score was only just positive.  Keagan & Shaun (19) and Gavin & Josh (17) steadied the innings, and we ended on a respectable 242-6.  Livingston found our bowlers hard to play: Ross bowled that rarity in Kwik Cricket, a maiden over, only to be outdone a few overs later by Ruari, who bowled that rarity in any form of cricket, a triple-wicket maiden!  Livingston finished on 211-4.

The Cubs' second game was against a strong Grange team.  Grange batted first, but our bowlers and fielders were in magnificent form.  Ruari was the pick of the bowlers, with net -1, but Gavin (0), Josh (2), Shaun (2) and Keagan (3) all bowled very well too.  The highlight of the innings was an athletic one-handed diving stop on the boundary by Keagan, followed by a leap to his feet, throw and direct hit for a run-out.  Grange finished on 244-4.  Our reply started slowly, but Himesh & Gavin moved the score along with a nice 23, leaving our last pair, Shaun & Ruari, with 10 to get.  They didn't disappoint, and scored a determined 29 to finish on 264-4.

With 2 wins under their belt, and fortified by juice and kitkats delivered from the clubhouse, the Cubs came up against the equally-undefeated (and equally-fortified) Hawick in the pool B decider.  The Cubs batted first, and got off to a belter, cousins Shaun & Keagan scored 24 runs.  The rest of the team all chipped in, and we ended on a bit-over-par 253-3.  Hawick had scored well in their opening matches, so we were concerned that 253 might not be enough to defend, but our bowlers were in fine form now.  Aided by some unusual field placings by Ruari to protect the very short boundary behind the stumps, none of our bowlers gave away more than 7 runs, Josh excelled with 2 wickets for a net -1.  Hawick ended on 218-4, which meant that the Cubs topped the pool, with Hawick a close second.  Grange were third, Livingston fourth.

On to the play-off round, pausing only at the clubhouse for cakes and yet more juice, as the day had become seriously hot.  In the 2nd place playoff, Hawick had an immediate chance for revenge against Carlton, as they played the Cats.  The Cats batted first, but found scoring runs hard work.  Awkwardly, they found losing wickets less hard work, never a good combination.  None of our pairs really got going, and we finished on 239-5, which looked hard to defend.  And so it proved, despite tight overs from Dougie (-3), Charlie (-1) and Euan (2), Hawick's big hitters scored freely and ended worthy winners with 285-3.

Meanwhile, in the 1st place play-off, the unbeaten Cubs were up against the also-unbeaten MDAFS.  Someone had to lose their unbeaten record … MDAFS went in to bat, all our bowlers bowled well, particularly Ross (-5) and Gavin (-4).  Just as importantly, our fielding was razor-sharp, restricting MDAFs batsmen to a challenging but achievable 249-3.  Our reply was steady but not spectacular.  Ross & Gavin made 10, Himesh & Josh added 7, Keagan & Thomas performed the crucial middle-over-sluggers role with a commanding 22, which left the stage perfectly set for the team's senior players Ruari & Shaun to make 11 to win.  They batted sensibly and determinedly to add another 19 for a final score of 258-0 (a perfect example of the old adage that wickets win matches).  The Cubs had won!

What a great morning.  16 competitive Kwik Cricket matches, all played in a splendid spirit, not to mention splendid weather.  I'd like to record my very grateful thanks to all the people who umpired, scored, served teas, set up and cleared everything away.  This festival really cannot happen without a host of volunteers to keep it running.  I shouldn't do this, as I'll forget someone, but thank you very much to Alan, Alastair, Andy, Anne, Antonia, Bruce, Cameron, Dougal, Graeme, Lesley, Lindi, Liz, Lucy, Paul, Pradeep, Susan, Toby, Wendy.  And thank you to Alasdair and Russell for preparing the pitches.

Thanks too - and congratulations - to our visitors, Boroughmuir, Edinburgh South, Grange, Hawick, Livingston, MDAFS and SMRH, who all played excellent cricket without losing sight of the aim, which is to enjoy the game.

Finally, very well done to both Carlton teams, who played some of the best cricket I have seen from Carlton Kwik Cricket sides this season.  The Cubs won the festival, the Cats came within a whisker of topping their pool, whilst outscoring the other teams in it.

The Teams

Carlton Cats: Charlie, Fraser, Dougie, Euan, Finlay G, Gabriel, Jack, Freddie M

Carlton Cubs: Josh T, Gavin, Himesh, Keagan, Ross, Shaun, Ruari, Thomas


Pool A

MDAFS 249 bt Carlton Cubs 241

Ed South/B'Muir  271 bt SMRH 233

Carlton Cats 298 bt Ed South/B'Muir 234

MDAFS 273 bt SMRH 240

Carlton Cats 278 bt SMHR 245

MDAFS 291 bt Ed South/B'Muir 270

1st MDAFS; 2nd Carlton Cats; 3rd Ed South/B'Muir; 4th SMRH

Pool B

Carlton Cubs 242 bt Livingston 211

Hawick 269 bt Grange 235

Carlton Cubs 264 bt Grange 244

Hawick 283 bt Livingston 209

Carlton Cubs 253 bt Hawick 218

Grange 245 bt Livingston 201

1st Carlton Cubs; 2nd Hawick; 3rd Grange; 4th Livingston


1: Carlton Cubs 258 bt MDAFS 249

2: Hawick 285 bt Carlton Cats 239

3: Grange bt Ed South/B'Muir

4: Livingston bt SMRH

There.  Made it to the end without Shouting at a Foreigner (or anyone else for that matter).

SMRH (Under 10) - July 16 2014

Wednesday 16 July:

  • Barnton, 4pm, bright sunshine.  Pete Wilkinson of SMRH calls me, we agree that it's a lovely evening, the forecast of thunderstorms must be ridiculously pessimistic, and this evening's planned Kwik Cricket friendly between Carlton and SMRH will go ahead.
  • Queensferry , 4:30pm, thunder, lightning, torrential downpour, driven by a strong Westerly breeze.  I'm absolutely soaked through within moments of leaving shelter.
  • Queensferry, 5pm, drying.  I repair, with 3/8 of a Kwik Cricket team, to a Scottish-sounding restaurant for a burger tea and some gentle steaming.
  • Inverleith, 5:30pm, sunny.  We arrive at SMRH's ground.  The grass is unplayable, but the astro is only mildly damp.  Remarkable stuff, astro.

Two Carlton teams visited SMRH for a friendly midweek fixture (or two).  Astro is an interesting surface to play on, particularly for Kwik Cricketers who are more used to the bumpier ends of the outfield than the square itself.  Firstly, the ball bounces straight.  No more can a player claim extravagant spin as the ball hits a divot and ricochets off at right angles; and no more can a bowler assert, with absolute certainty, that the ball would have hit the wicket if it weren't for its final, fateful bounce.  Secondly, the ball doesn't get stuck in the long grass in the outfield.  Once it is struck, it tends to keep on moving until either a fielder stops it, or the fence, which is usually beyond the boundary of the pitch.  Astro pitches tend therefore to be a batsman's paradise to a 9-year-old cricketer.

And so it proved.  The Carlton Lions started off against the SMRH Reds and hit the ball.  Hard.  And when I say hit, I mean smote, bashed, clobbered, clubbed, drove, pulled, hooked and thwacked - and all sorts of other nasty things.  Poor ball.  Our batsmen filled their boots: Jack & Gabriel scored 27; Keagan & Neil scored 27; Rory & Toby scored 43; Caitlin & Jack scored 20.  SMRH bowled well, and fielded intelligently - they noticed that Jack's preferred shot is a pull to square leg and filled the leg side boundary with their stronger fielders.  Jack responded with a reverse sweep so deft that an adult would be proud of it, let alone a 9-year-old.  I don't remember us coaching that!  The Lions' final score was a flattering 321-3.

The SMRH Reds in reply worked hard and ran hard, but were not quite as adept at hitting the ball into gaps as Carlton's batsmen had been.  Gabriel bowled a maiden over; Keagan gave away just 2 runs; and Toby 3.  The Reds didn't quite catch Carlton's score.

Meanwhile, on the other half of the astro, the Carlton Monkeys were playing the SMRH Blacks.  This was an altogether different game - for some reason, the ball just couldn't avoid the wickets.  Try as it might to get to the boundary, it was pulled in towards the stumps as if tied to an invisible piece of elastic.  SMRH batted first, and lost wickets at an alarming rate - rising to 1 each in the last 4 overs.  No matter how hard they hit the ball, the regular rattle of timbers (er, rattle of plastics?) kept the score exceedingly low.  So low in fact that it was just as  well that they'd started with 200.

The Monkeys' reply followed a similar pattern, culminating in the 8th over with 2 wickets.  However, they managed to score runs at a slightly faster rate than wickets fell, ending with a positive - and therefore victorious score.

(Another feature of astro pitches that I like is that, being hockey pitches at heart, they feature dug-outs alongside.  These are intended for coaches and substitutes, but provide an admirable shelter against a sudden short sharp shower for spectators - the players, of course, just carried on playing.)

The Monkeys moved on to play the Reds.  SMRH batted first, and accumulated runs steadily - but alas also lost wickets steadily, and ended on 234-4.  Pick of Carlton's bowlers were Josh (1), Freddie (3) & Grace (3).  Carlton's reply started well: Ross & Gregor scored 18.  They were followed by Georgia & Grace, once again demonstrating some of their trademark ambitious running.  I can safely report that no runs were left out there, all were taken.  In fact, several runs that weren't there at all were taken.  Their innings featured two all-run 4s, and some splendid moments of confusion as fielders wondered what on earth was going on in the middle and which end to throw the ball to.  There must be method in the apparent madness though, they didn't lose a wicket.  The pairs following that, far from being an anti-climax, built on their efforts, and the Monkeys finished on a decent 278-1.

In the other match, the Lions batted first against the SMRH Blacks.  Their innings was efficient rather than spectacular, runs coming evenly across all pairs.  Just as importantly, wickets weren't lost at all.  The Lions reached a solid 270-0.  In reply, SMRH found it hard to score runs.  By now, our bowlers had found their astro-rhythm, and were bowling consistently well.  SMRH never really threatened the Lions' total.

We'd had a great evening's cricket - made even better by the discovery when we got home that the primary training session at Grange Loan had had to be cancelled that evening as the pitch was waterlogged.

Very many thanks to SMRH for hosting us and providing lively and sporting competition.  And well done to the Carlton players and parents who travelled through the thunderstorm to get to an improbable-looking cricket match!

The teams:

Carlton Lions: Caitlin, Gabriel, Jack, Keagan, Neil, Rory L, Toby

Carlton Monkeys: Dougie, Freddie M, Georgia,  Grace, Gregor, Jonty, Josh T, Ross

Edinburgh South (Under 10) - July 1 2014

Tuesday the 1st of July was one of those glorious sunny summer days which all cricketers dream about, and which in my head were a permanent feature of cricket seasons throughout my childhood - the main difference being that in this case, it really was a glorious sunny summer day.  And in a glorious scheduling coincidence, two Carlton Under-10 teams chose this particular glorious sunny summer day to visit Inch Park to play Kwik Cricket against Edinburgh South.  Sadly, the glorious sunny summer day had taken its toll on our opponents, some of whom had succumbed to the lure of the beach, leaving them short of numbers.  Some higher mathematics, and roping in some of our players' siblings who thought they'd just come to watch and bask in the sun, resulted in a hastily dreamed-up 6-a-side tournament, featuring three Carlton sides and an Ed South side.

The Carlton Iguanas started off the evening against Ed South, and batted first.  Our players seemed somewhat surprised by the even and straight bounce of the astro pitch, and even against only 6 fielders seemed to find it hard to score runs.  Crucially however, they also didn't lose many wickets, each pair somewhat implausibly scoring 12 runs, so that they finished on the not too bad (particularly when you remember they had only 6 players) 236-2.  Ed South's reply got off to a slow start, Euan & Dougie restricting the first pair to net 4 runs.  Their second and third pairs scored more freely, but also lost wickets freely, so that by the time we reached the last over, they needed 12 runs for a win.  The first ball was dispatched ominously for 4, but the over settled down and the next 4 balls yielded just 1 run, leaving Ed South needing an improbable 7 for the win.  Horror!  a wide plus 4 overthrows gifted them 6 runs and the second tied match of Carlton Kwik Cricket's summer.

Meanwhile, on a much more traditional "this patch of grass looks marginally less bumpy than the rest" Kwik Cricket pitch nearby, the Carlton Jaguars and Kangaroos played each other.  One of the more obvious features of intra-Carlton games is that Carlton must win the toss - which the Kangaroos duly did, and elected to bat.  The first two overs from Keagan and Charlie were very disciplined, yielding just one scoring shot, and a very smart catch at the wicket by Keagan, for a net 2 runs.  There followed one of the most entertaining spells of Kwik Cricket this season, as the Ledinghams, Georgia & Rory, tried hard to out-run (and incidentally to run-out) each other.  They ran everything - runs that were there, runs that weren't there, runs when they hit the ball, runs when they missed it.  Their innings featured an all-run 7, a 5, and a highly unusual 8.  The only surprise was that it didn't feature a single run out (although there was one wicket, a catch).  At the end of a somewhat breathless 2 overs, the score was a healthier 230.  Josh & Caitlin saw off the last two overs for a net 8 to set a competitive 238.  The Kangaroos' reply started steadily, Charlie & Fraser putting on 18 runs.  Another 9 were added in the 3rd over, when suddenly, then match turned on its head: Josh took 3 wickets in 4 balls (in years to come, we'll all remember that as a hat-trick), to leave the Kangaroos on 220.  Toby & Keagan pushed the score along in the last two overs, and needed just 2 runs to win off the last ball.  Alas, they perished attempting the second run, to leave the Jaguars victorious.

The Jaguars moved on to play Ed South on the astro pitch - Ed South batting first.  All our bowlers bowled well on the unusual surface, albeit without taking any wickets, the pick being Charlie (2 runs), Keagan (3 runs) & Gregor (2 runs), to hold Ed South to 235-0.  Our reply started emphatically, Charlie and Cameron putting on 31 runs to put us in a commanding position.  Our innings slowed down a little in the middle, but Gregor and Toby hit a strong 19 in the last 2 overs to reach 256-1 and a comfortable win.

Meanwhile, an increasingly light-hearted game was taking place between the Iguanas and Kangaroos, who faced off in a welter of banter, chit-chat, optimistic boasts about exactly what one player would do to another's bowling, and equally optimistic observations about exactly how improbable it was that the batsman would even see the ball, let alone hit it.  Little remains of the score other than an anecdote and the result.  The anecdote concerns a repeat of the running antics of Georgia & Rory, for which various adjectives have been offered, the most frequent being "suicidal" - although I prefer "highly entertaining".  The result, astonishingly, was another tie.

Many thanks to Edinburgh South for hosting us, and for laying on a glorious sunny summer evening.  Equally many thanks to all our supporters, especially Cameron, Estelle and Ewan who subbed for Carlton and Ed South at various points during the matches.

We were also very grateful to Ian Sandbrook from Cricket Scotland for putting on an "Introduction to Cricket" workshop for parents and coaches new (or returning) to the game at the same time, which some of our parents joined in.  If you ever get a chance to go to this workshop, take it - it's highly informative and great fun.

The teams:

Jaguars: Charlie, Fraser, Gregor, Keagan, Toby

Iguanas: Dougie, Elliot, Euan, Finlay, Freddie M, Jonny

Kangaroos: Caitlin, Freddie F, Georgia, Josh, Rory, Saul

Boroughmuir (Under 10) - June 24 2014

Gather round, my friends, and I shall tell you the tale of the intrepid band of Small Heroes who ventured West from their serene and comfortable stronghold at the Loan of Grange in the Town of Carl, to do battle in a Match of Kwik Cricket with the tribe of the Muir of Borough, in the Land of Megget. Their journey was long and arduous: great lines of iron beasts barred their way; the Hour of Rush was at its height; the Lights of Traffic turned to red on a whim to stop them; and the Works on the Road to the Town of Colin were a wonder to behold - and a trial to navigate. But our Small Heroes were well served by their guides, who were masters in the dark arts of transporting Small Heroes from place to place across the Southern reaches of the Borough of Edin at awkward times of day. Well they knew the back alleys and byways of the Side of Morning; expertly they traversed the interminable avenues of the Town of Merchie; without a sideways glance they avoided the myriad blind alleys of the Field of Brunt; and the tribe of the Sons of Wat living at the Side of Myre knew no terrors for them. And so it was that all the 16 (for such was the number of the band of Small Heroes) arrived at the appointed hour at the Land of Megget, to do battle with the Muir of Borough.

Alas, they had arrived too soon! The tribe of the Muir of Borough had not yet gathered upon the appointed field in the Land of Megget. But all was well, one of the Small Heroes had had the foresight to furnish himself with a Ball of Foot, and the Land of Megget was well appointed with Goals, so the Small Heroes were well occupied. In vain did their Wise Old Mentor advise cricket-styled warm ups in lieu of the kicking of the Ball of Foot into the Goal - alas, one of the Small Heroes (and indeed the Wise Old Mentor himself) had witnessed the 11 greatest Heroes of the Town of Carl preparing for their own battle with the Fors of the Shire of Far on the previous Day of Saturn by attempting to kick the Ball of Foot into the Goal. Faced with such a precedent, what was the Wise Old Mentor to do?

The tribe of the Muir of Borough arrived, and battle commenced. Both parties divided quickly into two, and two separate battles developed on different sides of the Sacred Square. The field was long in grass, and our Heroes were Small, and found it hard to find the Ball of Cricket (and indeed sometimes themselves), and therefore the Scoring of Runs was slow.

The band of the Hawks of the Town of Carl were severely inconvenienced by the tallness of the grass, and found the Ball most reluctant to travel great distances, or to continue to travel once it had encountered the Grass. And thus, the Scoring of the Runs was impeded. Even the Free Hits did not travel great distances, and the Score at the End of the Innings was a positive but very hard to defend 204-4. The band of the Muir of Borough were less small than our Small Heroes, and could see the Ball of Cricket more clearly above the grass, and found it easier to smite the Ball of Cricket over the Boundary of the Pitch. The men of the Muir of Borough were able to score more in their Innings - despite tight overs from Dougie (net 2) and Finlay (net 4) - and were declared the winners.

On the other side of the Sacred Square, the band of the Gannets of the Town of Carl found the Scoring of the Runs equally impeded, and found - just as their brethren in the band of the Hawks had done - the band of the Muir of Borough more adept at the Scoring of Runs. Although the score of the band of the Gannets was a healthier 219-3, the band of the Muir of Borough scored more still - despite fine overs from Keagan (net -1) and Jonny (net 4 in his first away match for Carlton) - and were declared the winners.

At this half way point in the battle, a truce was declared, and a great feast was laid on by the band of the Muir of Borough - Kats of Kit; and the Juice of the Blackcurrant Bush and the Orange Tree. All the Small Heroes - on both sides - partook of the feast and replenished their strength for the ensuing renewal of hostilities.

The band of the Hawks, whilst still inconvenienced by the tallness of the grass, were developing strategies to achieve the Scoring of Runs. The Small Heroes struck many Lusty Blows; and performed much heroic Running Between the Wickets; and the holy grail of the Bashing of the Ball over the Boundary of the Pitch was achieved. The band of the Hawks were much delighted to improve their score to 217-3, including 16 scored by Sam and Archie. And yet, the band of the Muir of Borough had many fine Men of the Bat, even some who had been initiated into the ways of the Hard Ball. The band of the Muir of Borough smote yet more lustily than the band of the Hawks, and scored a decisive 260-1, despite some exuberant fielding, notably by Max. The 1 wicket was Archie's first wicket for Carlton, a high, looping delivery that completely foxed the batsman in flight.

The band of the Gannets too were still inconvenienced by the tallness of the grass, and the straightness of the bowling. But they too were fast learners, and developed similar strategies to the band of the Hawks. The Bashing of the Ball over the Boundary of the Pitch was achieved by many Small Heroes, on many occasions. In fact, the Bashing of the Ball was so severe that it is a wonder that the Ball returned at all, knowing it would only face more grievous punishment. The efforts of the band of the Gannets were rewarded with a fine score of 225-1 (including 11 scored by Thomas and Freddie in the very last over). But the band of the Muir of Borough were made of stern stuff. They were undaunted by the fearsome blows of the band of the Gannets, and replied with some Lusty Blows of their own, achieving a fine score themselves of 258-0 - Freddie & Jonny bowling disciplined overs for net 3 each.

And so our Small Heroes retreated back down the Road of the Town of Colin; skirting the Town of Merchie and the Field of Brunt; across the Side of Morning; back to their serene and comfortable stronghold at the Loan of Grange in the Town of Carl. Their enthusiasm was undimmed; they may have lost this battle (although it is not clear that any of the Small Heroes are prepared to admit this); but their knowledge of how to wage a Match of Cricket is greatly enhanced; and all professed themselves ready and eager for battle training to resume on the morrow. They will return another day as slightly less small Small Heroes, their effectiveness in battle enhanced by their experiences of facing the men of the Muir of Borough in the Land of Megget. They have made us proud, and will do so again.

The men of the Muir of Borough are to be thanked - they proved a Mighty Foe, and furnished a Magnificent Feast, and they are to be congratulated not only on the Lustiness of their Blows, but also on the Chivalrous Nature of their Cricket. So too are the legions of drivers to be thanked. They delivered the Small Heroes to the scene of the battle, and then delivered them home unscathed at its conclusion. Small Heroes simply could not do battle without your support.

The teams:
Carlton Gannets: Freddie M, Harry, Himesh, Jonny, Josh H, Keagan, Robert, Thomas
Carlton Hawks: Archie N, Dougie, Finlay G, Gregor, Mark, Max d'U, Sam M, Sayeed

Hawick (Under 10) - June 22 2014

An intrepid band of Carlton under-10s travelled to Hawick for their Kwik Cricket festival on a lovely warm sunny Sunday morning.  Driving down through the rolling border hills, dales & towns with their names redolent of Scottish history - and rugby - not to mention the "sweeping valleys, emerald forests and heather-clad moorlands" (according to was a treat in itself; arriving to a warm welcome at Hawick & Wilton CC's ground was even better. 

Our first match was against a spirited Kelso team.  Learning from last week's errors, we let the opposition call the toss - and promptly lost, at which point Kelso invited us to bat.  Ah Well.  For the first time this season, we encountered a dry wicket and outfield, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the ball not simply getting stuck in the grass.  The Kelso bowling was true and straight, but all of our batsmen scored runs, the pick of the crop being Jack and Gabriel with 19 in their two overs.  We finished on an eminently defendable 263-3.

Kelso's reply took a while to get going: our opening bowlers Charlie & Fraser restricted their first pair to just 10 runs.  Their second pair scored more freely, but our bowlers were just getting going.  Cameron and Dougie took two wickets each; Saul added one - a very smart stumping by Jack - to create a deficit from which Kelso could not recover.  Pick of the fielding was in fact a chance that wasn't quite taken - Saul dived full length to his right, got enough of a touch on the ball to stop its momentum, jumped up, collected it before it crossed the boundary and threw it in to stop the batsmen after one run.  That's three runs saved.  Faced with such determined fielding, Kelso finished on 219 for 6.

We then had a bye while Kelso played Hawick girls, which gave us a chance to scout out our next opposition.  In years to come, that expression will mean something else to our boys, but at the moment it means "see where they hit the ball".  Dougie & Saul had met Hawick girls last year, and been handily beaten at Carlton girls' tournament.  Thankfully, no scars appeared to remain - nor in fact much of last year's Hawick girls' team.  Sticking to our policy, we invited the opposition to call the toss … and they duly called right and invited us to bat.  Charlie and Euan set off at a fair old lick, interrupted only by the loss of a wicket, and ended on a respectable net 25.  It turned out that was merely the hors d'oeuvre - Jack and Fraser came in and smote anything that moved for a boundary, notching up 21 runs in one over alone, and 31 in total.  Our other batsmen all chipped in, and we ended up with a fine 279-4.

Scouting the girls

Some accurate opening bowling from Charlie & Dougie restricted Hawick's first pair to 6 runs, a pattern which continued throughout their innings.  Disciplined fielding, with hardly an error, added to the pressure, and left their last pair with too much to do.  They hit hard, but also lost wickets, one to a splendid diving catch from Dougie, ending their innings on 233 for 3.

Two wins from two matches put us into a playoff with Hawick boys' team, who had convincingly won their pool (comprising Melrose & St Boswells).  Sticking to our policy, we invited Hawick to call … and finally - finally, they called wrong!  Captain Saul, with some relish, invited Hawick to bat.  The Hawick boys were tall and imposing - it later turned out they are the primary school team, mainly P7s with a few P6s.  Our bowlers bowled well, but these boys were adept at picking anything up, even good length balls on the stumps, and striking it over the boundary.  Charlie (2-0), Gabriel (4-0) and Jack (11-1) bowled tight overs, but Hawick's last pair were unstoppable.  Euan bowled the best over I've seen him bowl, but despite that Hawick racked up the runs to end on an imposing 304-1.

Hawick's bowling was, if anything, even stronger than their batting.  Our boys stood firm in the face of some run-ups longer than the pitch and some long final strides, but we found it hard to score runs.  Hawick had some fine close fielders who stopped our supply of singles, and they also took some good catches in the deep.  We scored runs at a reasonable rate, but also lost wickets regularly, and ended up well short of Hawick's total.  Nonetheless, we are extremely proud of our boys who battled determinedly despite playing against a team a good two years older than themselves.

All in all, a grand day out.  Won two, lost to our hosts, and more cricket experience added to the bank is a good return.  The boys have come a long way in a short while, they're playing more and more like a team, developing their roles and personalities within the group, and needing increasingly less coaching to get through a game.  I particularly liked the way they supported each other when batting, or after a four was scored from their bowling.  They'll go far.

Cricket being a stats-obsessed game, here are some:

- runs scored: 230

- wickets lost: 14

- runs conceded: 211

- wickets taken: 10

- average age of team (on 1 Sep 2013): 8y10m

- bottles of wine won on the tombola: 3

- bottles of undrinkable soft drinks won on the tombola: 3

- distance from Grange Loan: 111 miles (round trip, including getting lost in Selkirk on the way home, according to my odometer)

- average speed (my terrible driving): 38 mph

- speed cameras en route: innumerable

- number of Volvos pulling out unexpectedly at roundabouts: 1

- economy (my diesel-electric hybrid): 55 mpg.

Many thanks to Hawick, who welcomed us warmly, and put on a friendly but competitive festival.  And, once again, very grateful thanks to the legions of parents, grandparents, siblings and dogs who drove or accompanied us to Hawick.

The team: Archie, Cameron, Charlie, Dougie, Euan, Fraser, Gabriel, Jack, Saul.

More photos

West Lothian (Under 10) - June 22 2014

A good morning's cricket at Linlithgow.

We played 3 games and beat Stewart's Melville ‎and Grange, and lost to a mixed team from Murrayfield, West Lothian and Carlton's extra players! So we could claim that one too! 

The highlight was the bowling and fielding. We conceded very few "extras" with every bowler across the age spectrum generally putting the ball in the right place. Fielding was tidy and disciplined for their age(s) so they shone as a unit. 

In terms of our batting, the highlight for me was the win against Grange where Keagan "blocked" the last ball of the game to preserve our 2 run lead (232 played 230)!

And finally, the future is bright for Carlton's women's squad. I was very impressed by both Georgia and ‎Grace who have a sound understanding of the game. They both bowl straight around off stump, their ground fielding is solid and they were a great foil for each other with the bat, with Georgia's big hitting dove-tailing with Grace's very consistent run a ball ground strokes  both sides of the wicket.

The team: Finlay P, Freddie F, Gavin, Georgia, Grace, Isaac, Keagan, Rory L, Ross, Toby

Arbroath (Under 10) - June 15 2014

An enthusiastic squad of under 10 kwik cricketers travelled to the attractive Arbroath United CC Ground for their annual Moira Shaw Kwik Cricket Festival. Although the weather en route was very wet, the Ground itself was dry when the team arrived and the day remained dry.

Whilst anticipating an event with 10 teams, in fact three teams did not show and a new format was devised being a round robin event for all teams. Carlton started against Ferry Forfs (from Forfarshire !) and achieved a very satisfying first victory by scoring 294 to 217 with some great batting and fielding. The next game was against Forfarshire who comprised a number of players who were in the hardball squad and despite a good effort Carlton were beaten by a fair margin.

Then on to play host team, Arbroath (who went on to win their own Festival) fielding with a number of experienced hardball players and despite an excellent batting performance Carlton lost that game narrowly.

Next up were Dundee High School/Dalnacraig Rocks and again Carlton faced experience opponents and Carlton lost an enjoyable game by 12 runs.

We ended the tournament by playing an Arbroath Ladies team (the Arbroath Smokies) and this game went to the last few balls with Carlton winning with a well hit 6- 247 runs to 234.

Overall a great experience for the squad players who comprised Charlie, Euan, Fraser, Gabriel, Jack, Ross, Saul, Shaun and Tommy. All the players were given a certificate showing their participation in the event Thanks also to coaches Alastair, Bruce, Paul and Andy.

SMRH (Under 9) - June 15 2014

You can tell a lot about a people by the characteristics of their language. Eskimo languages, for example, are often reputed to have over 100 words for snow. Icelandic has over 50 words for wind (and almost as many for snow). And French has more words for types of food than a normal human being could possibly use in a lifetime. So it is with great pride in the variety and breadth of the lexicon of the Scottish cricketer that I can report that Carlton Under-9s' opening game at SMRH's Under-9 festival started in a persistent chilly mizzle.

We entered two teams. In group A, the Carlton Eagles started their campaign against a well-organised Watsonians team. Captain Thomas unerringly called the toss wrong (an achievement which, it will emerge, set the pattern for the Carlton Eagles for the morning - a career as 4th XI captain beckons), and Watsonians chose to bat. On a damp wicket, with a damp outfield (not to mention a damp umpire), they found it hard to score runs, and wickets fell at decent intervals. Aidan & Dougie bowled particularly parsimonious overs, 3 for 1 (net -2) and 6-1 (net 1) respectively. Watsonians stuck at the task though, and ended on a respectable 245-3.

Our reply started cautiously (not to mention damply), after four overs we were at exactly the same score as Watsonians at the same point in their innings. Enter Captain Thomas and First Mate Dougie, who struck a commanding 32-1 to put us in a strong position for the last pair, Boris & Mark, to see the innings - and the match - out to a convincing 273-1.

Meanwhile, in group B, the Carlton Falcons came up against one of the home sides - the SMRH Blacks. History does not record (or may mercifully have forgotten) the outcome of the toss, but SMRH went in to bat first. Their batsmen found it hard to score runs and good fielding also played its part in restricting SMRH to an eminently achievable 232-2. Our wicket takers were Leo (playing his first game for Carlton) and Max.

Our reply started well, then slowed down a little. After three pairs, we were roughly level with SMRH's run-rate, setting up a tense final over. Our final pair were perhaps a little too eager to finish the job off in style. They hit the ball well, scoring freely, but alas also lost wickets. By the final ball, we were one run behind. Cue great excitement: the chirping from the fielders doubled in intensity, spectators shouted encouragement, the bowler steamed in, the batsman's eyes lit up as he saw the ball, he swung, connected, and set off. The first run was completed, but the second was deemed too risky, and the match ended in that rarity in Kwik Cricket, a tie!

The Eagles moved on to their second match, against the other home side - the SMRH Reds. Captain Dougie unerringly called the toss wrong (he'll be on hand to captain the 4th XI if Thomas is unavailable), and SMRH decided to bat. The precipitation by now was, frankly, more along the lines of a gentle shower; the wicket had become - if possible - even stickier; and the outfield even slower. Our bowlers put in a good shift at restricting SMRH's batsmen to 251-2. Pick of the bowlers were again our seasoned pros Captain Dougie and Thomas (extraordinary that 8 and 9 year olds can be seasoned pros, but such is the life of young sportsmen these days), who restricted SMRH's 3rd pair to 7-2, net -2.

Our reply got off to a steady if unspectacular start: our first two pairs, Aidan & Boris and Alex & Mark, scored 12 runs each, giving us a solid platform to build on. Isaac (impressing on his first outing for Carlton) and Thomas built up the momentum with a spirited 18. Our lower order couldn't quite maintain the pace, and we ended on a solid but not-quite-match-winning 242.

I don't often mention opposition players in match reports, but I'm about to make an exception. SMRH's Daniel came on to bowl his over: we've met Daniel several times this season, he's an accurate and quick bowler. I realised he was bowling against genuine tail-enders, so I asked him if he could slow down a bit. To his great credit he did, with the result that our batsmen saw each ball, had a swing and hit a couple … and Daniel was nonetheless rewarded with a double-wicket maiden. I've therefore awarded him the inaugural Martin's Award for Sportsmanship by the Opposition.

In pool B, the Falcons had a bye.

On to round 3 … in which the Eagles were drawn against an articulate Grange team. On behalf of the Eagles, Captain Isaac unerringly called the toss wrong (you saw that coming, didn't you?), and Grange invited us to bat. They had some strong bowlers and, although the rain had eased now to a mere damp presence in the air, the outfield was if possible even slower than before. We found it hard to make headway - after 6 overs, we were stuck in the doldrums. A determined final pair of Captain Isaac and Thomas pushed the score to 234, which looked challenging to defend. (As an aside, I note that under-9 captains always turn in a captain's performance, I wonder if I should appoint them all captain at once. What could possibly go wrong?)

Thomas struck the timbers ("struck the plastics" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it) with the first ball of Grange's reply, and briefly all was well with the world. Grange recovered their poise though, and steadily overhauled our modest total. Our bowlers stuck to the task, no-one conceding more than 10 runs in an over, but our total wasn't quite enough and Grange ran out winners with 257 runs. Special mention to Charlotte, playing her first away fixture, who bowled a mean over for 8 runs.

Meanwhile, in pool B (do keep up), Carlton Falcons were playing MDAFS. Once again, the result of the toss is lost to posterity, and MDAFS went in to bat. Our opening bowlers, Keagan (also playing in his first match for Carlton) and Rory bowled a superbly tight spell, conceding only 2 runs for the loss of a wicket, for a net -3. Rory also later added a stunning diving catch to complete a great all-round performance in the field. The mizzle (which in the course of this single match strengthened to drizzle before dying away to a mere Scotch mist) has taken its toll on the scoresheet, so details of the remainder of the MDAFS innings are sketchy. Every couple of overs a decipherable figure emerges from the papier mache: Freddie 1WW; Kyle 1…..; Max …… - and then, at the foot of the page, preserved in glorious monochrome, is the evidence of a fine bowling and fielding performance: 215.

Carlton's players found it not much easier to score runs on the rain-heavy pitch than MDAFS had. We stayed just ahead of their run-rate for the first four overs, then fell behind in the fifth and sixth. Our final pair (smudge and blot - if anyone knows who they were, please let me know*) hit us out of trouble, and we finished a smidgeon ahead on 223.

The Falcons' final game was against a tall and experienced Edinburgh South team. The result of this toss too is a subject for detailed archaeological research, but we do recall that Carlton batted first. Yet again, we found it hard to get the ball away across the sticky-but-drying outfield. A steady innings ended on an all-too-familiar probably-not-quite-enough 231.

Our by now established opening bowling partnership of Keagan and Rory started well, bamboozling their opponents with a series of balls of varying width and length, and restricting them to 7 runs. Our other bowlers did their best to follow in that manner, but Ed South's batsmen were big strong lads, who had little difficulty biffing our occasional bad balls for boundaries. Despite some excellent efforts in the field, Ed South ended victorious with 261.

And that was it. Six games across the two teams: two wins, and a tie ….

Many thanks to SMRH for a well-run and enjoyable festival; thank you yet again to the legions of parents, grandparents, siblings, dogs and other fans who braved the various forms of rain to support our players; and congratulations to all the players - including 12 (I think) representing Carlton for the first time in an away fixture.

Carlton Eagles: Aidan, Alex, Boris, Charlotte, Dougie, Harry, Isaac, Mark, Sam N, Thomas

Carlton Falcons: Freddie M, Himesh, Jack H, Keagan, Kyle, Leo, Max B, Rory L

* Some smart detective work has identified smudge & blot as Keagan & Rory - playing major roles in this match

Grange (Under 10) - June 1 2014

In search of the lost Grange Trophies ...

Name's Club. Carlton C Club. Private Eye. Work's slow, I'm sitting in the office one morning flicking dead flies into the sink, when this dude walks in. About six foot tall, dark hair. He's packing a device I've never seen before - looks like a blue plastic gun. Plus he's carelessly lobbing a small orange bomb from hand to hand. Makes me nervous just to be in the same room. "Got a job for you Carl", he growls. I hate it when they call me that. I drift off, thinking of the scathing retort, and miss his next sentence. Something about missing trophies, and Grange. He wants me to find them. Heck, what does he think I am, a lost property bureau? But work's work, so I take the gig. And hey, I live in the Grange, can't be far to travel. Then the dude tells me it's not that Grange, and a sighting is expected on Sunday morning, 9am. I don't do Sundays. Or mornings.

Sunday 1 June, an intrepid Under-10 team gathered at Grange CC for their Under-10 Festival. It was a warm but overcast day - it was hard to tell what was the most threatening: the dark clouds coming in from the West; Grange's towering clubhouse; or the size of some of the other Under-10s. Unusually, we had a team including two sets of twins: Jack & Gabriel, and Charlie & Fraser. I wonder if that's a first for Carlton?

I rock up at Stockbridge, fuelled by a shot or two of espresso. The place is crawling with kids. All tooled up with the same blue gun and orange bomb. Time for another shot. There's a geezer by a desk, who's issuing orders. Trouble is, the espresso is making itself felt, I drift off, wondering where the john is, and miss his next sentence. Something about Watson. This job is bigger than I'd realised. If Watson's here, Holmes isn't far away. Boy, that dude is bringing out the big guns.

Our first match was against an inexperienced but enthusiastic Watsons team. Captain Euan called the toss right, and chose to bowl. Charlie and Thomas opened the bowling with a tight spell, giving away no more than singles, with plenty of dot balls thrown in. At the end of the first two overs, we were pretty pleased to have restricted Watsons to 206 runs. We were even more pleased when the subsequent 6 overs failed to improve on that score! The Watsons batters hit the ball well, and scored plenty of runs, but some tremendous bowling and catching by the Carlton fielders meant that they lost wickets at regular intervals - 2 for Jack (good effort in his first appearance for the Under-10s), 1 each for Gabriel, Euan, Saul, Cameron & Fraser.

206 wasn't a challenging total, and we never looked in danger of failing to overhaul it. All our batsmen scored well, and we finished on 266, for the loss of no wickets. In a good all round effort, all batsmen made runs, Thomas & Dougie top-scoring with 21.

No sign of Watson. Or Holmes. Or the trophies. This cat slides up and whispers "twins" in my ear. Twins? Twins! Not the Krays as well? I don't need my sixth sense here, the first five are telling me this is a bad rap. Time for another shot. I walk up to the desk again. The geezer's talking, issuing more instructions. Something about Ed, Ed South. I don't know this body. I've met his cousin, "The Beautiful" and his dad "Father". Time to make the acquaintance of this gent.

Our second game was against a tall Edinburgh South team. Captain Charlie lost the toss, and Ed South invited us to bat. Our innings went reasonably well - Ed South had some very good bowlers who we patiently saw off, and some more wayward ones who we tried to score off. Each Carlton pair scored well, but some careless wickets cost us. Intriguingly given that we were fielding two sets of twins, Ed South seemed to have a pair themselves, who were - unfortunately for us - very good bowlers. An awkward final over from one of Ed South's twins left us with a slightly uncomfortable 241.

Ed South's reply started slowly, we restricted their first three pairs to a modest total, and were starting to feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, their last pair were much too strong for us and scored 2/3 of their runs. Sadly, we dropped a couple of difficult catches at critical moments, and - disappointingly for Carlton - Ed South ran out winners in a tight game, by 5 runs.

I find Ed, watching some kids hitting bombs with the roscoes. Man, that cat is cool. I mooch up to him. "Where's the trophies, man?" I ask. He laughs, a short hollow laugh. "Ask the Panthers", he drawls. Panthers? This case is turning out weirder than a yeti in a desert. Time for another shot.

Our last pool match was against a strong, vocal and well-organised Grange Panthers team. We lost the "toss" (owing to an absence of coins, we failed to guess which hand the Panthers' coach was hiding his car keys in, I look forward to seeing that one at an upcoming Lords test match) and the Panthers batted first. They had some strong hitters, and our heads were a little down following the close loss to Ed South. The Panthers posted a challenging 272.

Our reply was game, but not quite close enough. We found it hard to score runs against some powerful bowling, and we finished on 231 runs.

The story so far. No trophies. Several false leads. A hurting head, and a developing case of sunstroke. Time for another shot. And a lead. Back to the geezer on the desk. Maybe the sun's getting to him too, he's making even less sense than before. S. M. R. H. A code? Not my specialty. I grab a gent who has that legend on his shirt. What does it mean? He fumbles. "Stew". "Mel". "I forget the rest." Now I've heard it all, cannibals in North Edinburgh?

Our play-off game was against SMRH. Neither my memory nor my notes tell me what happened at the toss, but Stew Mel batted first. No twins this time, although their first pair were both called James, which made the scorer's life a little simpler. Stew Mel batted well, despite some disciplined overs from Fraser & Cameron (3 runs each), and posted an awkward total of 255.

Our reply was steady, our first 6 batsmen scored at around 10 an over so that by the time the last pair came in we were marginally ahead. That's an awkward position in Kwik Cricket, players sometimes don't know whether to defend or attack. In this case, Jack and Gabriel came in and simply hit everything. In two overs, they added a remarkable 38 runs with only 2 dot balls, so that we ended with a comfortable total of 297 and a win to finish off.

I mosey over to the desk again. At one corner, two small objects appear. Could these be the mysterious "trophies"? I reach out to pick one up, but I am engulfed in a swarm of small boys, cheering and clutching medals. When I recover, the trophies are gone again. The geezer intones a mantra: "Stags win", "Panthers runners-up". The crowd act like they're expecting that.

Another good outing for our Under-10s. They won two games convincingly; lost one they could have won - and they'll learn from that; and lost one against much stronger opposition - which we'll learn from too. Once again, all but one of the team were in fact under-9, which is a testament to the strength of Carlton junior cricket. Thanks as ever to the loyal band of parents who come to watch and support the team; thanks to Grange CC for putting on the tournament; and thanks to our opponents for playing in the spirit of Kwik Cricket (not a Mankad in sight).

The team: Cameron, Charlie, Dougie, Euan, Fraser, Gabriel, Jack, Saul, Thomas, Toby

Another busted case. Time for another shot. I sidle away, heading back across town. This case was too tough for me. The trophies will have to wait another year.

RH Corstorphine (Under 10) - May 3 2014

It's May, the sun has been seen, cricket shirts have been unearthed from the bottom of the sports drawer, Grange Loan has been invaded by a swarm of primary kids on a Wednesday evening … time for the first Kwik Cricket Festival of the season.  Some frantic emailing and text-messaging yielded a team, and on Saturday our intrepid Under-10s travelled to Royal High Corstorphine for a four-team festival including RHC, Livingston and Stewart's Melville Royal High. 

Our first match was against SMRH.  On a typical early season sticky wicket, captain Ruari unerringly called the toss right, and elected to bowl.  SMRH found it hard to read our bowlers' clever back-of-a-length deliveries and deft use of the plentiful footmarks.  On a dewy morning, their batsmen also found the outfield slow, and had to work hard to penetrate our infield.  Our first four bowlers, Rory, Freddie, Thomas and Dougie, bowled tight overs, with the result that at the half way point, SMRH had scored just one net run.  Their middle and lower order picked up the pace somewhat, but our fielders continued to make life hard for them.  Max bowled a neat final over for net minus two runs, and SMRH ended their innings on a respectable 221-6 (recall that Kwik Cricketers start with 200 runs in the bank to save their umpire/scorers - who by definition must have spent more of their youth on the cricket pitch than in the classroom - from the awful possibility of negative arithmetic).

Carlton's reply started with a bang - Dougie lofted the first ball for 6 over square leg with a delightful casual flick of his wrists.  After that fast start, things slowed down a little, as the damp in the pitch and the outfield made their presence felt again.  We made decent progress towards SMRH's total, but the stage was set for a captain-and-his-cousin's innings from Ruari and Thomas coming in at 5 and 6.  They didn't disappoint, hitting 29 in their two overs (including another 6 - albeit by the less usual means of smiting a free hit following a wide for 4), and putting us in a strong position.  Our last 3 batsmen (Eh?  3?  I did mention that the umpire/scorer isn't very good at arithmetic, didn't I?) made the most of this platform, and we ended with a classy 260-3.

Our second game was against Livingston, themselves fresh from a close game against RHC.  This time, captain Ruari lost the toss, and Livingston chose to bat.  Gavin and Finlay, opening the bowling, started as we'd started the first game, with a tight two overs, at the end of which Livingston were net one run.  Their second pair proved more resilient, scoring freely all around the wicket, but Dougie and Himesh tightened our grip with parsimonious 5th and 6th overs - giving away just one net run.  They were helped by some magnificent fielding - direct hits from the deep, fielders backing up the throws, and a splendidly committed dive/slide  at the boundary by Gavin to save 4 overthrows.  Ruari added some astute field placings (although debatably a touch too astute for one of his fielders), and bowled a tidy last spell in tandem with Rory.  The boys' efforts held Livingston to 237-4: a good score on a damp wicket, but by no means beyond our reach.

Ruari and Thomas started Carlton's reply well.  Ruari in particular was seeing the ball clearly, and using his feet to deal with the variable length and bounce.  The pair put on 29 runs, including four sixes, all lofted imperiously over square leg.  Finlay (playing his first game of Kwik Cricket) and Dougie carried on the good work, adding another 22.  Rory and Gavin followed with another 29 (what is it about 29?  I'm developing a theory that 9-year-olds have a phobia of the number 30), which featured some very intelligent running between the wickets, and making alert use of overthrows and fielder error to add extra runs.  Freddie and Himesh wrapped up the innings calmly, and Carlton ended with an impressive 287-1.  A special mention also to Max who nobly volunteered to sub for Livingston as they were a player short.

That was all we had time for, as RHC's 1st XI had a match about to start, so we couldn't play our hosts.  Two comfortable victories is a great start to the Kwik Cricket season, but even more encouraging was the great commitment and obvious cricketing  brains of the boys - they did us proud.  Eight of the nine (yes, yes, I know) are in fact Under-9s, which bodes well for this season and next.

Thanks to our hosts for putting on the festival, and thanks to our splendid supporters for making the early morning trip to Barnton, enthusiastically supporting the team, "entertaining" the non-batsmen during our innings, and shopping for lunch for us.

The team: Ruari, Thomas, Himesh, Rory, Gavin, Dougie, Finlay, Max, Freddie

Carlton (Under 9) - May 11 2014

Sunday 11th May should, according to the Met Office, have been characterised by rain, followed by rain, with rainy intervals.  Furthermore, Saturday's forecast was even worse, so it was with some surprise that we showed up at Grange Loan early on the Sunday to find a beautifully warm and sunny May morning and a damp but definitely playable pitch.  This was a bonus, as we had 60 kids about to descend on GL for Carlton CC's first ever Under-9 Kwik Cricket Festival.  60?  Under-9s?  Yes, indeed.  And at the last moment, it dawned on me that 60 isn't divisible by 8.

The ground looked superb - three miniature pitches dotted around the outfield, neatly marked with cones, and benches placed strategically to discourage balls, players and spectators from straying onto the square.  By 9:30, three Carlton and three visiting teams had assembled, and something looking suspiciously like cricket broke out.  The standard was remarkable - many of our kids had been to just two practice sessions, and had certainly never played a match before, but they learned quickly.  In a rapid promotion, the stalwarts of last year's inaugural under-8 team suddenly found themselves promoted to "seasoned pro" and "team leader", roles which they took to with great enthusiasm.  Encouraged by their coaches, both home and visiting teams played very convincing cricket.  14 of the 36 Carlton players are P3s, which is tremendously encouraging for the next wave of Carlton Kwik Cricketers.

In a festival in which the emphasis was on fun, and rules were there to be hastily adjusted on the fly, it seems inappropriate to dwell on results.  Oh, alright then.  The matches were all close, with most of them tantalisingly undecided until the last over.  Nonetheless:

In round 1:

- SMRH beat Carlton Awks by a handful of runs

- A combined Boroughmuir/SMRH team beat Carlton Bats by one run

- Carlton Coots beat the South Edinburgh All-Stars (a combined Carlton/Edinburgh South team) by a few runs

In round 2:

- Boroughmuir/SMRH beat Carlton Awks on the last ball

- South Ed All-Stars beat Carlton Bats by one run

- Carlton Coots beat SMRH by a small margin

In round 3:

- South Ed All-Stars beat Carlton Awks in a close game

- SMRH beat Carlton Bats by one run

- Carlton Coots beat Boroughmuir/SMRH by the skin of their teeth

And the winners were, in no particular order:

- cricket

- 60 under 9 kids from 4 different clubs, who all had a thoroughly enjoyable morning's cricket

- the 4ths, who had a lie-in as they couldn't start their match until 2pm.

Many thanks to our visitors, Boroughmuir, Edinburgh South and SMRH for getting into the spirit of the morning so enthusiastically.

Many thanks also to lots of people who worked very hard to make this festival happen, and to happen successfully - umpires, coaches, scorers, cake bakers, cake sellers, supporters …  and did I mention 60 kids?

The teams:

Carlton Awks: Ahil, Angus, Caitlin, Florence, George, Jamie, Jay, Mark, Max B, Robert, William

Carlton Bats: Aidan, Carlo, Charlotte, Elliot, Euan, Grace, Himesh, Kyle, Rory, Sam

Carlton Coots: Adi, Alex, Boris, Chirag, Dougie, Innes, Isaac, Jonny, Max d'U, Thomas, Tomos

South Ed All-Stars (Carlton players): Ayush, Josh H, Josh T, Leo