Carlton 4th XI 2018 Fixtures and Results
Sunday 29th April 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Musselburgh 2

Musselburgh 2s 205 for 6 (Zaki Yusaf 3 for 27)


Carlton 4s 188 for 6 (Zaki Yusaf 68, Charles Stronach 33*)




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

A note from the editor

Carlton Cricket Club welcomes readers to the 2018 series of match reports of the Carlton Positively 4th XI as they continue their struggle against at times impossible odds in the super elite levels of Division 5 of ESCA. 

Readers may already be familiar with the fact that ESCA have designed a set of experimental rules to apply in this Division this season, the objective being to speed up the game.  The most significant of these rules sees 10 overs being bowled in sequence from one end, then 10 from the other end and so on.  There are no drinks breaks mid-innings, and tea is restricted to 20 minutes.  If the overs are not completed by 6.40pm, the game is terminated and the result determined by reference to the rain calculator.

The editorial staff have received many inquiries from readers of these pages wondering whether these rules also apply to 4th XI match reports.  They have observed that the length of these reports is driving people from the game – a person starts reading and on finishing discovers that their children have grown up and left home or, worse, that many opportunities to take advantages of sale prices at SofaWorld have gone begging or simply that those hours spent doing nothing very much with only speculation about Gustav Mahler’s bowling action carries increasingly little reward.  A survey suggested that they might come back to match reports if they were shorter;  if they could be finished in the same day that they were started; if there were not unnecessary adjustments to the subject matter between deliveries.  However many have said that the drinks breaks should not be done away with – for at certain stages in a match report that is exactly what is needed – a good stiff drink.

The editorial staff have raised these issues with their correspondent.  His response was commendably short but sadly unprintable in a family publication.

Readers therefore have been warned.  They venture beyond this point at their own peril.

Your correspondent starts the 2018 season with troubled mind.  He has had a number of mystifying exchanges with the editorial staff at Carlton Cricket Club.  Apparently, there have been concerns expressed in the higher reaches of the game at the length of things.  Your correspondent fully understands readers’ concerns.  He accepts that his reports may on occasion verge on the disappointingly short.  Readers may feel cheated.  After all, the longest piece in the symphonic repertoire is Gustav Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, a performance of which can last anything between 90 and 100 minutes depending on whether the conductor has a train to catch or a hot date (and still leave the audience none the wiser as to the composer’s bowling action) [Oh for Goodness sake.  Ed]).  The longest commonly performed opera is Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner, the uncut version of which entails some 5 hr 15 min of music.  The longest single volume novel is Zettels Traum (Bottom’s Dream) which published in 1970 by West German author Arno Schmidt with 1536 pages and over 1.1 million words.  By comparison, your correspondent’s works are mere bagatelles.  Ephemera.  Nano moments in the aeons of time [That’s quite enough of that we’re beginning to think there might be something in these new rules.  Ed]

This bagatelle reports on the Positively 4th XI’s season opener in the Super Elite Division 5 against Musselburgh 2 in which ESCA’s experimental rules were on view for the first time.  The sun shone brightly – itself something of an experiment in this long cold winter turning grudgingly to spring.  Out of the sun there lingered the bitingly cold breath of Siberia – completely unexperimental.

The selectors had assiduously assembled the cream of Carlton’s youngsters – average age just over 13 – and mixed it with the cream of Carlton’s seniors.  Fantasy Bob was also on the team sheet.  It was not clear to your correspondent whether his inclusion reflected an experimental mind set on the part of the selectors or a complete lack of common sense.  They may have been persuaded by his claimed knowledge of experiments.  He is the only member of the Carlton playing staff old enough to have witnessed one of the great experiments of history, when Galileo dropped 2 cricket balls from the Tower of Pisa for some reason (so FB claims) related to leg spin bowling.

[Are you ever going to get to the cricket match?  You’re giving Arno Schmidt a run for his money already.  Ed]

For experimental reasons, FB won the toss – and by a gratifyingly large margin.   His winter practice for once paying off.  Then experiment was callously abandoned as he opted to bowl on as fine a surface as the Positivelys will encounter all year.  Fraggle Watts, a former player who never gained selection for the Positivelys, tweeted warmly in support of this decision.

Charles steamed in down the hill with Euan Keatinge leg-spinning in contrast.  10 overs from the top end went by in a flash but sadly without reward for good work by the two.  Neither had any luck, couple of loose shots evaded grasping hands of the fielders and the openers looked solid. The skipper tried to move fielders now and then to avoid them taking root from extended periods in the same position.  10 overs then were bowled up the hill, with RuMac and Jamie Beattie proving equally unlucky.  At the non-existent drinks break – the time saved for which was occupied by a discussion as to why there was no drinks break – Musselburgh had advanced to 97 without loss and things looked ominous for the Positivelys.  Refreshed by the non-existent drinks break Charles finally got a breakthrough, trapping Howe LBW for an excellent 80.  Al Murray then got another immediately – an excellent catch behind by Gavin standing up (as Al said a lot of pocket money was riding on that). 

It looked like the Positivelys had opened the door, but Musselburgh’s number 4 had other ideas.  Ramasubramanian looked the real deal and finished on 43* playing the ball elegantly into the spaces.  Your correspondent understands that ESCA’s plenipotentiaries are now concerned about the length of names and are considering new rules to shorten player’s names before scorers leave the game due to writer’s cramp.  Zaki had a bowl and took 3-27 including a superb catch by Ewan Hutchinson, reaching casually overhead to catch the speeding ball.  There was some amusement for the crowd as what they presumed must be an experimental theatre performance saw the skipper come on, hobble up the hill and take a wicket with his first ball.  [That might be it for the season.  Ed]  An excellent catch by Charlie.  Musselburgh finished on approximately 205, since the scorers had found the lack of changeovers between overs hard to deal with and a range of totals was on offer.  Carlton stuck in to their task in the field but the lack of a drinks break seemed to cause the energy level to sag a bit in the second half.

The new rules meant that Carlton finished their overs before they begun.  Only Stephen Hawking can explain this phenomenon but he is sadly no longer available.

The experimental tea was limited to 20 minutes.  The skipper had fought a long and hard battle with the authorities to preserve tea which the experimenters had proposed should be banned.  He spent over 20 minutes telling everyone about it.

The skipper had thoughtfully brought extra-small empire biscuits (reflecting the dwindling empire no doubt) baked by Maw Broon’s bakery specially to compensate for the restricted time to linger over a full sized empire biscuit.  There was an abundance of salad – presumably some wag thought that if the team were being used as guinea pigs for the new rules then they might as well eat like guinea pigs.

So, 19 minutes 56 seconds later, Murray pere et fils opened and faced some good bowling particularly from the man with the name that ESCA had not yet devised experimental rules to shorten.  He did for Gavin who played on trying to sweep – a brave but unsuccessful experiment.  Al then banged a shorter one next over to point and Carlton’s start looked more experimental than was desired.  Zaki and Charlie steadied the ship.  Charlie dealt well with deliveries short of a length, punching a series of well-timed shots down to the wall.  But he was suckered out playing too early at the slower change bowler to be well caught at cover for a handsome 16.  Zaki was getting into his stride and was now joined by Joe Griffin making his debut for Carlton and rediscovering skills long left lingering in the attic.  He sensibly played second fiddle in a completely non-experimental manner as Zaki went past 50.  From a slow beginning, the score began to accelerate and there were worried conferences among the fielders – increasingly regular and prolonged as minute adjustments were made to the field, putting the time back in the game that the new rules were taking out.  But then Joe went for 14 trying to push things along. Ewan played a good support role to Zaki and a decent partnership was developing before Zaki was deceived by the flight and dismissed for fine 68.  Charles came in and in a determinedly non-experimental manner set about things with gusto.  He may have connected with only 1 in 3 swings but this was good enough to bring Carlton within reach but a couple of tight overs pushed the target just beyond reach.  Ewan tried to go over the top but was caught for a well-played 17 and Carlton fell 17 short of the total finishing on 188 for 6 with  Charles undefeated on 33.

The experiment ended well within the regulated time allowed so no recourse was necessary to the result calculator.  

Carlton can take a lot from the match – not 20 points of course, but lots of other positives.  There were good contributions all round particularly from the junior players.   There are also some points to ponder from the experimental rules.

Well played to Musselburgh – a very enjoyable game was played in excellent spirit.  Good luck until the return fixture.

Saturday 5th May 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Dunnikier 2
Carlton 4

Dunnikier 2s 134 for 8 (Cameron Keatinge 3 for 26)

lost to

Carlton 4s 137 for 4 (Eric Edwards 95*)


Link for Gavin :-)

On the day that Karl Marx would have notched up his 200th birthday, had he not succumbed to pleurisy in 1883, your correspondent travelled to Dunnikier to see the Carlton Positively 4th XI meet their latest challenge in the unrelentingly competitive environment of the ESCA super-elite Division 5.

 ‘History’,  Marx wrote, ‘repeats itself [Unlike you then, Ed] first as tragedy , second as farce.’  After the tragedy of last week’s narrow defeat, the Positivelys were hoping for better things; they were also hoping that things would not get too farcical.  [You’re not on about the new experimental rules again are you – we had enough of that last week.  Ed] With Fantasy Bob still mysteriously holding the skipper’s reins this could by no means be assured.

'Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways.  The point, however is to change it.’ Karl Marx’s view suggests that no match report ever won a cricket match.  Your correspondent begs to differ.  He is sure that the prospect of being mentioned in a match report has spurred many a cricketer to greater heights of endeavour [Or to decline the invitation to play  Ed].  For Marx also said that ‘Nothing can have value without being an object of utility.’  He cannot have meant to imply that match reports have no value; therefore they must have utility. [Dream on Ed]

'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’ [We know not to expect much from you then Ed] Karl Marx seems to have summed up the Carlton selection policy.  Overlooking the baffling continued presence of the skipper, a team richly endowed with talent experience and youthful potential had been assembled.  The Positivelys welcomed Chris McAllister making his debut.  Chris hails from Manchester, a small semi-rural settlement in the North West of England.  Manchester was of course significant to Karl Marx’s cricketing philosophy – it was where his co-author of the Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels, owned a large textile factory.  Your correspondent does not know whether Engels produced cricket clothing of any worth.

‘Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.’ Karl Marx had evidently met such as the Positivelys’ skipper.  Unable to understand the occurrence of another toss won, with all the fervour of a religious zealot he chose again to bowl.    The season is young – but the Positivelys’ skipper has already won as many tosses as he managed all last season.  An object lesson in the internal contradictions of capitalism.

Dunnikier’s new artificial strip lay gleam in the unfamiliar sunshine – a strong wind blew from mid-off to fine leg (and stayed that way for 10 overs under the new rules).  The temperature approached bearable.  It was time for some historical materialism.

Duncan and Keatinge Major got the dialectic [I think you mean the bowling attack  Ed] underway and were at once accurate and threatening but never managed to convert some good bowling into wickets.  The first 10 overs passed without too much excitement to disturb the tranquillity of the occasional dog walkers on the boundary.  The field changed round by staying in the same place as the proletariat’s assault on the means of production was carried on from the other end by Stephen and RuMac.  It was RuMac who got the breakthrough with a confident shout for LBW upheld by the umpire. ‘The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion,’ wrote Marx.  He might also have added that a successful LBW appeal in lower league cricket runs it pretty damn close.

By this time debutant Chris was showing his quality in the outfield adding to a strong fielding performance that complemented the bowling making scoring difficult.  At the non-drinks interval Dunnikier were 63-1.  Wickets in hand, but they needed to get moving.

‘Revolutions are the engines of history.’  Karl Marx seems to have had definite views of spin bowling and it was Doug Tidy’s revs on the ball which got the next breakthrough thanks to a smart catch low down at square leg from Ru Mac.  ‘Men’s ideas are the most direct emanation of their material state.’  If Karl Marx is correct, then we must pity the Positivelys’ skipper – he must be in a real state.  For his next idea was to bring himself on to bowl.  Through some inexplicable circumstance completely unrelated to the quality of any ball he delivered, he struck in his first over, Duncan taking the catch at mid-off.

The theatre of action turned 180 degrees again to the final block of overs.  The skipper bagged another as Chris McAllister took an excellent running catch.  Keatinge Major then got his mojo going [Is that another quote from Marx? Ed] – bowling the dangerous Ali with a well disguised slower one and benefiting from an acrobatic and limb shattering leap by Eric to take one down the leg side.  Cameron ended with 3-26, Doug 2-25 and the skipper 2-15.  At the close of the overs Dunnikier finished on 134-8.  The overs were bowled well within the prescribed time.

Jerry’s homemade parathas spiced up the tea interval nicely, and within the regulation 20 minutes the Positivelys were ready to set about the chase.  Karl Marx evidently had some understanding of the concerns behind ESCA’s plenipotentiaries’ obsessive focus on the clock in the design of the new rules, for he wrote, ‘Time is everything, man is nothing, he is at the most time’s carcass.’ And so it was the carcasses of Eric and Keatinge Minor who took guard.  Opening bowling was accurate, the batsmen were watchful.  Arman did for Keatinge Minor taking the top of middle as Euan misjudged the length.  Chris came in to join Eric and together they developed an excellent partnership.  Eric got the measure of things and began to dominate – anything short was dispatched with venom.  Chris did the sensible thing – took the runs where they were offered and let Eric attack.  The score rattled along.  The partnership had reached 90 when Chris mistimed a pull and was well caught on the mid-wicket boundary for 27.

Martin came in – slimline, lithe to the point of invisibility, he had lost 3 stones through a diet of Goji berries and distilled geyser water.  He had been a gazelle in the field.  His bat gleamed in the sun – he had sent it for reconditioning over the winter.  Sadly the factory had not only removed marks and scratches but had sucked the middle from it and he popped one up to mid-off.  Ewan and Eric then played the end-game until with 2 needed to win Ewan was suckered when wicket keeper Khalid came on to bowl still wearing his pads.  Ewan tried to give a half tracker the treatment but was caught.  He trudged off at 1 mile an hour.  ‘The worker of the world has nothing to lose but their chains;’ maybe, added Ewan, but did Marx not also realise that losing your wicket in that fashion was pretty disappointing.  Ewan gained no consolation from the thought that it was to give just this type of learning experience to young cricketers that the Positivelys were designed.  Stronger next week. Douglas came in to biff the winning runs, leaving Eric undefeated on 92, including 5 6s.  The Positivelys won by 6 wickets.Many thanks to Dunnikier who were excellent hosts and made for a most enjoyable afternoon. 

The Positivelys had celebrated Marx’s 200th birthday in fine style. ‘History does nothing;’ he wrote, ‘it does not score runs, it does not take wickets.  It is the Positivelys, real, living (even the skipper) who do all this.’  [Are you sure that is the exact quote?  Ed] The revolution continues next week at GL against Kirkbrae – tickets are selling fast.

Sunday 13th May 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Kirk Brae 2
� GL

Kirk Brae 2s 136 for 9 (Douglas Tidy 3 for 25)

lost to

Carlton 4s 137 for 2 (Alex Fedenczuk 69*, Douglas Tidy 49)


Your correspondent’s night’s rest had been disturbed by the thudding of heavy rain on the roof.  The morning came grey and damp.  A message on Twitter reported that Grange Loan was under water and that the morning’s planned Kwik Cricket Festival had been cancelled.

With heavy heart, your correspondent therefore began to wonder what he would do with his afternoon.  His plan to join the Carlton Positively 4th XI in their keenly anticipated tussle with near neighbours Kirk Brae 2 in the super elite ESCA Division 5 seemed forlorn.  It would be disappointing if on the Feast Day of John the Silent, your correspondent were himself rendered silent.  [Some of us would think that a blessing – is this John available for future match reports?  Ed

Over his meagre breakfast fare your correspondent gathered thoughts for one of his legendary reports of unplayed matches. [Legendary?  Dream on.  Exactly what had you sprinkled on your muesli?  Ed] He glanced at the weather report – the previous picture of unrelenting cloud and rain seemed to be changing.  Perhaps all was not lost.  There was prospect of sun and clear skies in the afternoon.  John the Silent must have sorted things. 

And so your correspondent found himself entering the hallowed gates of Grange Loan at the appointed hour to find the ground basking in all its glory under a blue sky, the expectant hum from the large crowd accompanying the players as they went through their strenuous pre-match rituals of standing around waiting for the skipper to get his act together.  Matches between these two rivals have in recent seasons been high scoring and keenly contested with occasional interesting interpretations of the laws being politely debated.  Even John the Silent would have had much to say on the matters at issue.  A good afternoon’s entertainment therefore seemed assured.

The skipper went to the middle for the toss.  Who knows what was on his mind?  [Nothing probably.  Ed] The outfield was damp but the pitch was dry with a few green tinges.  Could it be a bowl first day? [Oh come on – every day is a bowl first day for this character.  Ed]  The skipper returned to report that the Positivelys would field [Surprise – not! Ed]  He had won his third toss in a row.  There seemed no explanation for this run of extreme skill [Eh do you mean luck  Ed].  Maybe John the Silent has something to do with this miracle but he was Silent on the point.  [Is that the best you can do? Ed]

Play got under way with Matt Edwards and Saif Khan sharing the first of the 4 60 ball overs that are ordained by the experimental rules under which the Positivelys are playing this season.  [Are you going to give credit to Magnus Barelegs for that joke?  Ed]  Saif painfully rapped opener Thomson a couple of times on the shin, persuading him to think about playing from nearer square leg and middle stump then cartwheeled out of the ground.  The Positivelys were on their way.  An excellent spell by Saif – fast and accurate.  Matt disposed of the number 3 – taking his leg stump out of the ground.  The ball accelerated off the stump at head height causing Eric to take spectacular acrobatic evasive action to avert the first case of patricide seen for many years at Grange Loan.  [Eh? When was the last one – even your flesh and blood never went that far – tempting though it must have been.  Ed]  Eric’s acrobatics have earned him a call up to the Scottish Gymnastics Squad training for the next Commonwealth Games.  [Really?  Are you making this up?  Ed] Skipper Rasool joined Colvin and they progressed well to repair the damage – riding their luck a bit as the Positivelys failed to grasp any of a number of hard chances which denied Steven the reward he deserved. 

Kirk Brae negotiated the second 60 ball over without further loss (© Magnus Barelegs) and were 77-2 at the non-existent drinks break.  Well placed to accelerate in the second half – a big total looked probable.   The 3rd 60 ball over (©Magnus Barelegs) got underway with Shaun Smith charging downhill giving little away.  But it was Douglas who broke the back of the innings when he had Rasool LBW for an attacking 43, before bowling the opener Colvin for a careful 31 shortly after.  Wickets continued to fall regularly after that as Kirk Brae’s hopes of a challenging total withered in the sun.  Eric snaffled one down the leg side to give Douglas his third wicket and he finished the 3rd 60 ball over (© Magnus Barelegs) with 3-25.  Shaun could not force the wicket he deserved for some excellent deliveries, but he contributed a fine catch in the deep to give Keatinge Minor the second of his 2 wickets – the first a well taken catch by Steven low down at backward square leg.  A fine spell by Keatinge Minor, tossing the ball up courageously and causing Keatinge Senior on the boundary proudly to lift his eyes from attentive study of his newspaper – Keatinge Minor 2-17.  There would be dancing in the Keatinge household that evening.

The crowd now purred in anticipation – surely the skipper would be giving them his comedy turn from the bottom end soon.  What else had they paid their entry money for?  But as the overs went by there was no sign of that fabled arm being turned over.  [Dear me. Still on the happy dust? Ed] They grew restive.  To appease them the skipper in a single lightning movement swooped on the ball at backward point and threw the wicket down to gain a match winning run-out [Are you sure?  Eye witness accounts describe a laboured bending of the knees, a grasping for the ball, followed by a short rest, before a bobbling push of the ball which accidentally collided with the stumps as the batsman, having noted who was fielding, justifiably took things easy.  Ed] Matt got another to finish 2-21, and Kirk Brae’s innings closed on 136-9.  Even John the Silent was moved to comment that it did not seem enough.

After the regulation experimental 20 minute tea interval the Positivelys got the chase underway.  With the outfield now dry and any demons in the pitch having dried off in the sun, they were confident that they could reach the total.  However Budha had other ideas.  (Your correspondent should point out that this is not the Budha whose writings inspire more than 300 million followers. [Not quite as many as your own then – ha ha!  Ed] and who might give John the Silent a run for his money in inscrutability.  [Just get on with it  Ed]  Zen mystification blanketed the ground when Budha inscrutably castled Eric for a disappointing 2.  But that was the only interruption to the Positivelys’ progress as Feds and Douglas pounded the boundaries on either side of the wicket.  Douglas fell one short of a pugnacious half century mistiming a pull and giving a simple catch.  Feds continued to cruise and together with Rob, making a welcome return to the Positivelys ranks, reached the required total at the end of the 2nd 60 ball over (© Magnus Barelegs)   Feds finished on 69* in a consummate exhibition of strokeplay [How much did he pay you to write that?  Ed] and the Positivelys won by 8 wickets.

A good afternoon in the sun for the Positivelys with several good contributions.  Your correspondent sought a view from John the Silent but he wasn’t saying anything.  Kirk Brae were perhaps under strength but the work still had to be done.  No doubt they’ll be stronger for the return fixture in July when honeymooners and others return.

Saturday 19th May 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Livingston 2
Carlton 4

Livingston 2s 168 for 9

lost to

Carlton 4s 170 for 3 (Chris McAllister 56*, Eric Edwards 43, Alex Fedenczuk 35)


Your correspondent had found it a very difficult decision.  Several weeks ago a crown encrusted envelope had tumbled through his letter box informing him that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was pleased to invite him to the wedding of Major Harry Windsor and Ms Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel Windsor on Saturday 19 May.  If he wished, he could consult the wedding present list in Argos.

Your correspondent was humbled, but consulting his diary he felt a twinge of anxiety as he discovered that that was the very day that the Carlton Positively 4th XI were to make the arduous journey to Livingston to take on the might of Livingston 2s in the super elite Division 5 of ESCA.  An impossible dilemma.  Either the soon-to-be Mr and Mrs Windsor (now known to their friends as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Count and Countess of Dumbarton and Baron and Baroness Kilkeel) or the hand-picked squad of untitled commoners and highly trained athletes faced crushing disappointment.  [Yes, whoever you turn up to will be disappointed.  Ed] Your correspondent’s loyalties were stretched to the limit.  After many long nights worrying, he finally decided.  Noblesse oblige – he would bow his knee. He swore his fealty to the royal blood of the house of the Positivelys and their most noble skipper,  the Duke of Up the Hill Against the Wind.  Your correspondent dashed off his response to HRH expressing his sincere regrets but hoping the newly-weds would find useful the toaster that was in the post.  He had made his choice – Livingston it was.  

So, having negotiated the many roundabouts that festively decorate Livingston your correspondent arrived at the historic venue of Dresselrigg where in 1348 Edward III founded the most noble Order of the Garter [Are you sure? Ed] , presumably a reminder to the knights of the day to pull their socks up [Dear me, if that is that the best you can do we are in for a long haul  Ed].  He was just in time;  out in the middle the solemn sacrament was beginning.  The Positivelys’ skipper’s outfit had stunned the crowd.  Head to toe in white, his trousers specially designed by Newberry, subtly finished at the knees with traces of last week’s grass stains.  In his hand he carried a bouquet symbolic of the team sheet [You mean the team sheet don’t you  Ed.]  Fanfares echoed round the hammer beams of the ancient Gothic ceiling as the moment of truth came.  [You’re making that up  Ed] The Positively’s skipper was on a roll with three wins out of three this season.  How long could this towering performance go on was the question on the celebrity audience’s lips [No it wasn’t – the question is how long can you go on without mentioning any cricket  Ed]

The skippers looked in each other’s eyes [Careful  Ed] - the ceremony blended the modern and the ancient.  Dry eyes were hard to find [Yes this weather is playing havoc with everyone’s hay fever.  Ed] The vibrant energy of Gospel music blended with the pageantry [Oh for goodness sake – who won the toss?  Ed]  The Rt Rev Madras Curry, the Chicago born preacher, movingly addressed congregation saying  ‘We gotta get y’all playin’ cricket’ [Never a truer word.  Ed]  The uplifting strains of Etta James’ ‘This Little Light of Mine’ rang round the ground as the skipper returned.  ‘Amen, amen, amen,’ he incanted.  ‘Toss lost by inches. We bowl.  Hallelujah.’  His team mates were astonished – a loss – but on this special day it felt like a win because the Positivelys were in the field nonetheless. Vainly did the skipper try to convince the team that he had had it in mind to bat…….

A light breeze rippling across the ground stirred the happy bunting [Do you mean the boundary flags  Ed].  The outfield was flat and firm: the wicket looked full of runs: credit to the efforts of Livi’s groundstaff.  Duncan and Keatinge Major got proceedings going under a clear blue sky.  Opening overs were uneventful – Duncan’s well disguised slower ball went past the bat regularly but once again he had no luck.  It was Keatinge Major who got the first wicket as the big opener lost patience and gave a catch low down to Eric at mid-wicket.  Livi then made steady progress as proceedings turned 180 degrees for the second 60 ball over [Yes, we know copyright M Barelegs.  Ed]  Rob and Al were the happy couple from the Pavilion End.  Keatinge Major was in the action again, snaffling a catch at mid-on off Rob.  Al Murray then got the third to leave Livi 74-3 at the half way point.  An illicit drinks break combined welcome hydration with the thrill of a criminal enterprise as the skippers had agreed to flout the prohibition of the experimental rules.  The match was evenly balanced but now Marhija looked belligerent and in partnership with his skipper Gul he began to pepper the boundaries.  A run out seemed the most likely way for the Positivelys to make progress.  Several times the solemn question ‘Do you take this short single, to have and to hold, ….’failed to get the answer ‘I do.’  But the Positivelys’ couldn’t take advantage.  Livi had advanced to 133-3 and looked good for 200 or more.   

Desperate times breed desperate measures.  The skipper sniffed the breeze – a cross wind.  He  began to stretch.  Time for the world famous in swinger [Oh come on Ed]   He struck in his second over as Marhija found Rob’s safe hands in the deep.  The scoring rate slowed, the stumps had a charmed life as the skipper consistently found his way through the batsmen’s defence.  The final 60 ball over [Yes we know Ed] began with Al coming back and bowling Jindal round his legs – ‘Anything Shane Warne can do’ he modestly said, ‘ ….anyone got Liz Hurley’s phone number?’  Feds then woke up from the effects of his revels of the previous evening. [Any suggestion you make that he had been at Harry’s stag night will be strictly censored.  Ed]   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [Told you Ed] He safely pouched a catch off the skipper then delivered 2 run outs, wisely sprinting to take the stumps himself rather than flip the ball to the skipper at the bowler’s end.  Rob finally worked out that aiming at the stumps was a sound strategy and knocked back the off peg.  Livi finished 168-9 - A good come back from the Positivelys.  Duke of Up the Hill Against the Wind 2-20, Al 2-23. 

The wedding breakfast was taken en plein air [I thought you were in Livingston Ed].  (Dear Ed, if that is the best you can do……….YC) A sumptuous buffet containing delicacies from all four corners of ASDA was washed down with non-vintage orange juice.  The regulation 20 minutes passed pleasantly, maybe lingered to an illegal 25 before, until threatened by a performance from Sir Elton John, the celebrating cricketers got back down to it.

Eric opened with Feds and after a quiet beginning they soon had the score rattling along.  The first 60 ball over [The editorial staff trust that readers know to whom this observation can be credited and it will take it as read from now on thus shortening proceedings in line with the experimental rules  Ed] (Dear Ed, Can I get on with it?  YC) had yielded 52 runs without loss before change bowler Collins got through Feds to take his middle stump for a good 36.  (If anyone is interested Feds would be happy to explain to them his present batting average for the Positivelys) [I am sure there will many just itching for that opportunity.  Ed]    Chris joined Eric and together they prospered.  The scoring accelerated.  Eric went big down-wind to clear the boundary by several yards, but after the change round,  having got the team safely past Nelson he tried to do the same against the wind to be caught on the boundary for 43.  But his job had been done.  112-2.  Charlie came in after a long wait, opened his account with a perfect drive through extra but was unlucky to edge to short third man trying to force it.  Kentish Snr took over and together with Chris saw the Positivelys home without further alarms.  Chris made his way to an excellent half century finishing on 55* (1x 6, 5x 4).  Paul 21*.  The Positivelys won by 7 wickets in the 32nd over.

And so the team processed through the streets of Livingston in an open landau waving happily to the hordes of joyful flag-waving well-wishers who lined the pavements.  People had travelled from all parts to be a part of this special day – there was a man and his dog from Pumpherston.  Church bells throughout the land tolled in honour of the Positivelys.  The fairy tale day ended and they lived happily ever after – or at least until next week’s encounter against OCCC at the Inch.

In a short but effective speech the groom paid thanks to Livingston for making the occasion so joyous – game played in good spirit in bright sunshine, the ground in excellent preparation and a splendid tea.  So did the bride.

Saturday 26th May 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4



OCCC  173 for 7

lost to

Carlton 4s 174 for 6 (Paul Kentish 62, Ollie Raine 32)



What good is sitting alone in your room?

Come watch the juniors play

Life is an ESCA League 5 match

It’s just like a Cabaret.

It may have been the effects of long day in the open air.  Your correspondent had spent an afternoon at the Inch watching the Carlton Positively 4th XI take on the Old Contemptibles in ESCA’s super elite division. He may have quaffed a small beverage before sitting down to watch his favourite musical of all time on the excellent and recently available Freeview Channel Talking Pictures. He may have dozed off. He is a bit hazy. But the following is the best recollection he has of the events of yesterday. [Oh no. What are we in for now? Ed]
There is music. There are lights. The red neon glow of Sainsbury’s sign oscillates through the linden trees all round the ground. It is 1930s Berlin [Eh? Not a good start – the fixture card says it’s the Inch in 2018. An understandable error but please watch yourself from now on. Ed]

A grotesque figure can be seen. He leers. It is MC - the Master of Ceremonies [No it’s not, again an understandable error but this can only be the 4th XI skipper. Ed] Quietly he sings: [Not something you’d wish on anyone Ed].

Wilkommen Bienvenue Welcome
Fremde Etranger Stranger

He welcomes Mo Nouman and Ollie Raine who make their first appearances for the Positivelys this season:

Meine Damen und Heren
Mesdames et Messieurs
Ladies und Gentlemen
Ich bin eure skipper

He turns to the opposition who are going through a seductive dance routine involving changing into cricket trousers behind their cars:

Gluchlick zu sehen
Je suis enchante
Happy to see you
Let’s do the toss and play

He welcomes the Contemptibles skipper and the duo makes its way theatrically to the middle. While the orchestra plays wildly, there is frenetic business involving chairs, bowler hats and suspenders. [You mean the toss don’t you. Ed] The skipper returns to his players:

Leave your troubles outside.
So – Brexit is disappointing.
Forget it.
In here life is beautiful.
I lost the toss and we are bowling.
The wicket is beautiful (but prone to variable bounce)
The outfield is beautiful (not really it’s hard and bumpy)

The scene shifts to the middle. There is a big drum roll followed by a loud cymbal crash.

Meine Damen und Herren - Fraulein Sally Bowls

[For pity’s sake, – that is truly dreadful. For those readers not familiar with the film – and why should you be – its heroine is Sally Bowles, she is a night club singer not a right arm medium fast opening bowler. In the film she is played by Lisa Minelli in a career defining role. With apologies for the correspondent’s pathetic punning, readers may prefer to know that the scoresheet suggests that it was Ru McIntyre and Mo Nouman who opened the bowling and they each took an early wicket – Mo with his first ball and Ru in the 5th over to give the Positivelys an excellent start. Ed]

Mo carried his spell through the second 10 overs. The ball raps the pad. Mo turns to the umpire – in a light tenor he plaintively incants:

If you could see it through my eyes
You wouldn’t give not out at all

The finger goes up:

Fiddly diddly dee two wickets
Fiddly diddly dee two wickets
Fiddly diddly dee and that’s the flipper

Mo 2-29. 

A run out follows shortly and the Contemptibles are 80-4 at half way.

Al, Ru and Charlie share the next 60 ball over (Copyright [Yes we know. Ed]). There is success for Al when Mo reaches above his head to bag a catch which the whole audience thought he had misjudged. Misjudged, never he says:

If you could see it through my eyes
You know that I’d catch that ball

Charlie triumphantly cartwheels the middle stump and triumphantly incants:

The morning will come when the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me

119-6 and we are into the last 60 ball over, Ollie bowls out without luck. Keatinge Minor bowls some teasing deliveries but finds the opposition skipper punishingly hard on anything short.

There is a drum roll

Meine Damen und Herren [Oh no – I can guess what’s coming. Ed]

The MC [As I feared it’s the skipper. Ed] returns to finish his overs after a luckless first spell. A follow spot picks him out; bass and clarinet silkily sound:

Maybe this time
I’ll be lucky
Maybe this time
I’ll bag one or two

He is indeed lucky - supremely lucky to only go for one 6 back over his head as the Contemptibles’ skipper accelerates the scoring. But the MC has the last laugh [It must be the only laugh in this sorry affair. Ed] as Keatinge Minor takes good catch to give the skipper a wicket off the last ball of the innings. Contemptibles 173-7 – their skipper a combative 73. A challenging total.

Tea is taken with much conversation about the merits of the experimental rules which the Contemptibles suggest are contemptible [Groan, how long did it take you to think that one up. Ed]

The score book is now safe in the hands of Gavin whose unluckily injured hand will prevent him batting except in extremis.

To another crash of cymbals, Eric and Hutch take the stage:

Meine Damen und Heren
Mesdames et Messieurs
Ladies und Gentlemen
Watch for the unexpected low bounce from the Sainsbury’s end

They soon discover the strength of MC’s warning as both are undone by balls that fail to rise. Hutch had looked good until the shooter arrived. He is inconsolable but is reminded that tomorrow belongs to him [Very true. Ed]. When Charlie falls the same way, the Positivelys are 13-3 and in some trouble. Contemptible tails are well and truly up. Ollie and Paul buckle down. Watchfully they repair the damage. Eschewing the big shots, they take the singles

A mark a yen a buck or a pound
A flick a dab a push up the ground
Singles make the strike go round
They make the score go round

The Positivelys have reached 79 when, on 32, Ollie flicks at one down the leg side and walks as the keeper snaffles it. [Well done Ollie. An excellent example for the juniors – impossible for the umpire to tell if he hit it. Ed] The stage is set for Mo. But this is Mo in Test Match mode. No huge wind ups, he is content to look for the ones and with Paul they put the Positivelys in a good position. Paul accelerates and brings his 50 up to rapturous applause. He has reached 62 (eight 4s, one 6) but is another victim to the low bounce and when Mo, 22, plays on shortly after to leave them 140-6 the Positivelys still have work to be done.

Al and Ru look back from the middle to see that the skipper has his pads on. They get the message and sensibly wait for the loose balls to guide the team safely home to win by 4 wickets.

Handshakes all round for a well contested match with good contributions on both sides. Thanks to the Contemptibles for visiting the dying days of the Weimar republic.

The curtain falls, the lights dim, the music fades:

Put down the knitting, and get on your pads
There isn’t a better way
Life is an ESCA League 5 match
Come to the Cabaret

Your correspondent wakes uncertainly. His head is fuzzy. His memory fogged. Could this have happened as he has described it? [No comment. But if we understand this correctly, always a big if with these reports, we should congratulate the Positivelys maintaining their bright start to the season. Ed]

Saturday 2nd June 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Morton 2
Carlton 4

Morton 2s 117 for 5

lost to

Carlton 4s 118 for 5 (Mo Nouman 30)

Your correspondent’s deep affection for Edinburgh’s celebrated Home of Cricket, aka the Meadows, is well known.  This tranquil oasis where bongo drummers, Zumba dancers and barbecuers encircle pristine batting wickets set amid close cut billiard table smooth outfields offers a theatre unequalled in world cricket.  Your correspondent was therefore excited when his perusal of the fixture card told him that the Carlton Positively 4th XI would be visiting the Home of Cricket as the guests of old rivals Morton 2s to face their latest challenge in the ESCA super-elite Division 5. 

‘June is bustin’ out all over…’  As your correspondent arrives at the Home of Cricket your correspondent is reminded of the fairground setting of the great musical Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein which introduced that fine song.  [You’re not going to do that thing with the song titles again are you?  We all had enough of that last week. And don’t you dare suggest that You’ll Never Walk Alone is a song dedicated to batsmen who nick off to the keeper. Ed]

June did seem to be bustin out, for the local community must have got wind of the Positivelys’ appearance for they thronged the sylvan demi-paradise in more than their usual numbers. Fitting to the Positivelys’ brand of dashing cricket this season, there was a festival atmosphere in the air. [Oh dear you had to work hard for that one – it was the annual Meadows Festival.  Ed]

 ‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEEEEAM!!’  Not a response to seeing the Positivelys’ skipper shamble towards the pitch.  But this was the cry of the barker on a particularly vertiginous fairground ride set hard by the boundary. The fairground had been positioned without due regard for the ICC playing conditions which require 5 yards of space between the boundary rope and the surrounds to avoid players injuring themselves as they hurtle, dive and slide in their zeal to save runs.  The polite invitation to the fairground operators to reposition themselves with due regard to the ICC requirements and the demands of player safety was met with a less than polite response.  The boundary markers were moved infield.

‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEAM!!  Hasn’t the skipper only won the toss again!

The pitch is grassy but dry despite the overnight rain.  It is humid with the prospect of rain.  All in all the decision to bowl seems to be justifiable.  [Oh come on – this skipper would bowl on a perfect batting track at the Oval under a blazing sun.  Ed] 

The Positivelys take the field to the throbbing thudding ostinato of the fairground generators.  The gentle strains of Rodgers and Hammerstein seemed a distant memory for a more strident and less musical accompaniment as play gets under way.  Duncan gets first blood in the 3rd over with the perfect inswinger – the bail spirals fully 50 yards towards the boundary [Your letter to the Guinness Book of Records has been posted. Ed]. A helicopter search is mounted and eventually the far travelling bail is recovered  at third man. 

A promising beginning for the Positivelys but things then go quiet – not quiet obviously because of the continual cacophony of the fairground, but quiet in the cricketing sense.  The theme of the afternoon has been set.  Regular pitch invasions by excited fans, apparently eager to get the skipper’s autograph, had to be repeatedly repelled.  You’ll never walk alone………..Mothers with small babies, small babies with smaller babies, smaller babies pushing wheelchairs, wheelchairs pushing the visually challenged, young people, old people, people with purple and green hair, vapers, gapers and weekend shapers - all seem madly intent to put themselves in harm’s way [Do you mean in the proximity of the skipper?  Ed]

‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEAM!!  Yes – we’re screaming at you to stay outside the white line. 

Following the early wicket Morton take no risks and the score meanders forward. Duncan has no further joy and finishes with 1 for a miserly 9 off his 8 overs. Ru labours in vain. Al and Mo begin the second 60 ball over, but bowl as if they have just descended from a particularly giddiness-inducing fairground ride.  So it is Ewan Hutchinson who got the next breakthrough as his perfect leg spinner takes the off stump of Rajapatruni who until then has serenely looked like he is going to bat all afternoon.   At half way Morton are 69-2 – the game evenly balanced.   Ewan bowled through the next 60 ball over – his excellent spell deserved better; there was a hard chance at slip and a leading edge fell enticingly short of the skipper [Eh, witnesses (and there were many) suggest that he was characteristically flat footed and slow moving to a chance that anyone else would have gobbled up.  Ed] and he finished 1-22.

‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEAM!!  Morton skipper Farrel came in and looked for quick singles to push the scoring along.  Good idea, but the fairground racket drowned out even his stentorian calls and he was left stranded by his partner to be run out.  Calum (2-14) bowled short and fast, getting 2 wickets but there was no reward for Meadows Andrews, who might be thinking of trading in his nickname.  Still he kept it tight and Morton finished on 117 for 5 – a solid performance in the field by the Positivelys – but suggesting that runs were not that easy to find on this pitch.

Mid-afternoon and the fairground is going like a fair.  [Oh dear.  Ed] The dog show reaches its apogee - the ‘Handsomest Boy’ competition is followed by the ‘Most Like Owner’ and then ‘Best OAP’ – all competitions that the Positivelys think they might enter their skipper in.   In the kids’ tent the messy play area with its slime pit reminds them of fielding in the Home of Cricket in less summery conditions.  On the sound stages, the aptly named Edinburgh Noise Committee gives way to the Heavy Pelvis [Surely a tribute act to the skipper? Ed] The skipper’s request that they play something by Mahler is met with disdain – ‘We dinnae dae reggae man, we’re strictly grunge.’  Your correspondent wonders whether it is a reflection on declining educational standards that youngsters cannot distinguish between Bob Marley and Gustav Mahler? [Or is it just another pathetic attempt at a joke?  Ed] The croquet tournament was reaching its pulsating climax.  A fitting moment therefore for a spot of tea as still allowed under the experimental rules.

‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEAM!!  The huge pendulum ride rocked and the Waltzer waltzed, as the Positivelys started the chase.  A hint of rain now in the air.  Eric smashed his first ball for 4 but was yorked shortly after.  Hutch dug in like a good one.  More invading fans had to be repelled. Play slowed down despite the experimental rules which make no allowances for the delays caused by repeated pitch invasion or for a bowler fielding at distant fine leg and having to trudge the length of the ground every 6 balls.

Anish made a stylish debut for the Positivelys before he feathered one to the keeper and departed for 27.  At half way the umbrellas began to go up, the invading incursions become more frequent as fair goers fear a downpour and wend homewards.  The Positivelys were 65-2 –  all still to play for. 

Anish’s departure had brought Mo in.  He patted six balls back before depositing the next in the Quartermile development.  Ewan began to find the gaps after a long period of resolute defence.  Mo went big again, just missing a couple amorously oblivious to the possibility of an aerial interruption to their canoodles.  But he was caught shortly after on 30.  87-3.  Game still on.  Ewan and Callum pushed on until they both were out close together to leave it at 100-5 after 30 overs [That’s old money. Don’t you mean after 3 60 ball overs (copyright you know who)?  Ed].  This was an excellent effort by Ewan (17) – capping a fine all round display.  Staying in for 27 overs on the Meadows’ pristine batting surface in the gathering gloom and continual distraction is no mean feat.  The target was now in sight and the experienced heads of Martin and Al brought the bacon home with no further misadventures as the rain started in earnest.  A final pitch invasion was successfully repelled. The Positivelys won by 5 wickets in the 33rd over. 

The Positivelys’ victory consolidates their position second top of the super elite division and sets up a fascinating top of the table encounter next week with Drummond Trinity 2.   Not to be missed.

This was an entertaining and competitive afternoon’s cricket at the Home of Cricket.  Many thanks to Morton for a good game played in decent spirit and for providing such a rich tapestry of background diversion.  The return fixture is at Grange Loan – fairground rides are already being ordered to surround the boundary - ‘SOMEBODY SCREEEEEEEEEAM!! 


Saturday 9th June 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Drummond Trinity 2



Drummond Trinity 2s 297 for 8


Carlton 4s 241 for 9 (Eric Edwards 95, Alan Murray 34)


Your correspondent understands that during the week there had been concern in the management team surrounding the Rolling Stones.  To their horror, it dawned on them that their much publicised gig in Edinburgh clashed with the somewhat less publicised top-of-the-super-elite ESCA Div 5 showdown between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and Drummond Trinity 2.  The Stones’ talisman Sir Mick Jagger is a great cricket fan.  The match at the Inch would give him a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of his great cricketing heroes Fantasy Bob in action.  How could they explain his absence to the fans?  The Stones without Mick would be like……..well the Positivelys without FB.  [Oh come on.  Ed]

A crisis meeting was convened.

‘Maybe…... maybe we could get FB not to play.’

‘Fat chance.  The Carlton selection committee have been trying that for years.’

‘Well then – let’s get all the other players not to play – Fantasy Bob can hardly play with himself.’ [Er - you might want to rephrase that.  Ed]

Your correspondent can think of no other explanation for the mass outbreak of non-availability that hit the Carlton ranks over the week.  Armies of players declared they had other priorities. However, the devious scheme of the Rolling Stones’ management team did not reckon with the solidarity of the Carlton community – piece by piece teams were assembled as a crack squad [You mean Gilly and FB don’t you.  Ed] worked through the night to avert disaster.  Favours were called in.  Arms were twisted.  Threats to make public photos of playing across the line were made.  Empire biscuits were offered.  Nothing was beyond them.

As morning broke and Sir Mick stirred in his satin sheets, his management team admitted failure.  They would have to keep a careful watch on Sir Mick. The Positivelys would take the field after all.  It was a much changed team as several regular members had been demoted to higher teams to cover those who had succumbed to the temptations. But it was a team.


If you start me up

If you start me up I’ll never stop

[That’s what we’re all worried about – is there any chance you could get on with describing the action?]

Your correspondent arrived with the Positivelys at the sun blazed Inch.  He had heard the rumours. Could that lone figure wearing sun glasses on the distant boundary be Sir Mick?  Your correspondent was about to circle the field to find out when he was distracted by the skippers making their way to the middle.  The excitement of the toss was about to happen.

Baby, I can’t stay, you got to roll me

And call me the tumblin’dice


The dice tumbled and the skipper modestly reported a win of significant margin and that he had put the opposition in.  You make a grown man cry…..

After a few quiet overs, DT’s openers got aggressively into their stride.  It soon became clear to Sir Mick on the boundary that the bowlers would have to work hard.  Steven managed the significant achievement of bowling a maiden over – Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - and Ewan kept the batsmen watchful but they found the artificial track unresponsive.  You make a grown man cry…..DT were able to accelerate – the outfield was fast and boundaries seemed very close.   There was no reward for either opening bowler – who could hang a name on you.  Murray pere et fils took up the next 60 ball over.  ‘I can’t get no satisfaction….’- Al had a loud LBW shout turned down.  But he got the breakthrough shortly after – with a prodigious display of juggling as he held on to a return catch to dismiss Riaz for a good looking 60.  While the runs kept coming, Gavin got two wickets as he got his off cutter working.  It’s only rock and roll but it was a fine spell from an occasional bowler.  This left DT 127-3 at the half way point – a big total seemed on the cards.

The moment Sir Mick, patiently strutting the boundary, had been waiting for had come.  The skipper came on.  It’s a gas gas gas……  Immediately things happened [You mean boundaries don’t you?  Ed].  The Positivelys recalibrated – an even bigger total was now on the cards as Ashraf repeatedly deposited the skipper in the distant undergrowth. Here it comes, here it comes, your nineteenth run off the over… [Don’t you mean 19th nervous breakdown?  Ed] a dog – was it Sir Mick Walkin the Dog? - tried to bring Emotional Rescue to the skipper by running off with the ball.  Hey, hey, You, you…..get off off my …er ball…. On the boundary, Sir Mick turned away in disappointment. Had he got the wrong impression of FB? [Obviously.  Ed] An icon is shattered. I sit and watch as tears go by….


Joe eventually got Ashraf out for a bludgeoning 74 (7x6s), but Modi (42) carried on where he left off.  Gimmie Shelter – the sixes continued to pour over the boundary as the runs continued to flow.  Let It Bleed.  The occasional wicket didn’t really stop the momentum.  A fine catch in the deep from Sticky Fingers Martin Robertson exemplified a solid performance in the field by the Positivelys. No catches went to hand –there was much leather chasing to be done and those spirited Street Fighting Men John Beattie and Keatinge Minor did much of it. 

DT were distraught at the innings close - disappointed and crushed – lamentably failing to get the 300 which had looked on the cards when Ashraf began his assault.  You can’t always get what you want…. They finished on a mere 297-8. 

As the Positivelys gorged on the profusion of empire biscuits on the tea table for this was not a Beggar’s Banquet [And no Goat’s Head Soup ha ha…oh for Goodness sake, you’ve got me at it now.  Ed] their skipper reminded his team that with 4 bowling points they were only one point behind. I’ve told you one and I’ve told you twice……...the game was evenly balanced. 

Ewan and Eric opened. Unfortunately Ewan could not repeat his heroics of the previous week as the league’s leading bowler Amir got through his defences. Gimme gimme gimme the honky tonk blues…Eric and Martin got things moving until in the 13th over with the score at 80 Martin was c&b for a sprightly 29 by man mountain Waqas.  Joe played a fine pick up over square leg and looked good but fell to a juggled catch at slip and when Keatinge Minor was unluckily run out by one of an uncanny series of direct hits from the DT fielders, the Positivelys were 107-4 at the break.  Paint it black?  Not at all - Eric and Al then put on 50 together in even time - Al taking the lion’s share before being bowled for 34.  Eric accelerated as Brian Kas gave him good company until run out by another direct hit. 


Have you seen your mother baby – Sir Mick had changed his disguise to a picnicking family.  DT began to get agitated – maybe their total was not as impregnable as they had assumed. Gavin was caught trying to rotate the strike.  Then as his ton come into view, Eric topped edged the ball high into the air.  Unfortunately for the Positivelys there was a fielder under it.  Even more unfortunately, he held on to the catch. It’s all over now – Eric out for 95.  The final overs played themselves out – Steven played all round a straight one to bring the skipper to the crease for the first time this season.  Sadly Sir Mick had long left the boundary and so he missed the skipper’s a delightful cameo of an innings [Oh come on…Sympathy for the Devil is all very well but that is too much.  Ed].  John Beattie and he (undefeated on a resolute 3 and 10 respectively) simply running out of overs with the total firmly in sight if 50 odd runs away. It’s so very lonely, you’re 2000 light years from home….   The Positivelys finished on 241 (or something in that region since the scorebook is not definitive). Sir Mick may have left before the end - An excellent effort all round and by some margin the highest losing total in the history of the Positivelys.

Well played DT who showed why they are the run-away league leaders.  The Positivelys look forward to a big crowd attending the return fixture in August – Get Yer Ya Yas Out!  Sir Mick may well think about attending. [Of course he will.  Are you quite done?  Ed]

Saturday 16th June 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Tranent & Preston Village 2
Carlton 4

For the keen supporter of the Carlton Positively 4th XI there is only one thing better than a match report celebrating the team’s triumphant progress in the super-elite Division 5 of ESCA. [Are you sure? Ed]  And that is the match report of a match that has not taken place. [Not what I would put in first place.  Ed]

Your correspondent had spent the week in keen anticipation of a trip to the prestigious Polwarth Oval in downtown Prestonpans, to which location the fixture card directed the Positivelys this Saturday.  Last year’s venture to this location had not been a happy experience as the Positivelys were inexplicably skittled for an all-time record low total.  [And to make matters worse you contributed an incomprehensible report purporting to be in the form of a film script.  The memory of that effort still makes most readers shudder.  Ed] Your correspondent was sure that revenge for the Positivelys was on the cards.

Your correspondent had noted that this fixture would occur on Bloomsday – the day on which the events depicted in James Joyce’s great novel Ulysses took place.  As such the day is feted in Dublin, and many other cities, (though not, your correspondent thinks, Prestonpans) with a series of events to mark Joyce’s achievements and to recreate the events of the book.

Your correspondent was thinking a match report in the style of Ulysses  might be welcome [You are joking …………. aren’t you?  Ed]  After all, Joyce was a keen cricket fan and while there is little of cricketing interest in Ulysses, his other great work, Finnegan’s Wake, is peppered with punning references to and innuendos on WG Grace and LBW:  ‘wot a lout about it if it was only a pippappoff pigeon shoot that gracesold getrunner, the man of centuries, was bowled out by judge, jury and umpire at batman’s biff like a witchbefooled legate. Dupe’   [Eh?  Ed] Yes, that’s the stuff, your correspondent thought, Finnegan’s Wake would be a more suitable model.  Saturday couldn’t come soon enough.

Finnegan’s Wake is also reckoned to be the most incomprehensible book in the English language. [You don’t need to imitate Joyce – you already produce the most incomprehensible match reports in the English language.  Ed]

However a morning of strengthening rain led to the inevitable cancellation of the match.  The Positively would have to wait for another day to exact their desired revenge.  And readers will similarly have to look to another day to enjoy a Joycean match report.  [You really are joking now…….aren’t you.  Ed]

The editor writes:

Readers may have worked out from the above that the Fourth XI match v Tranent and Preston village 2 was cancelled due to rain.  That was unfortunate. They may also have worked out that they had a narrow escape from a match report that might have tried even their patience. From that point of view the cancellation was extremely fortunate.


The editorial staff understand that the correspondent is on holiday next week and can assure readers that this James Joyce nonsense won’t be repeated.

Sunday 24th June Noon
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Largo 2

Carlton 4s 253 for 3 (Eric Edwards 154*, Gavin Murray 63)


Largo 2s 174 for 7


With the regular skipper away in the Italian Lakes Al Murray took the reins for the visit of Largo 2s to a sun-drenched Grange Loan.  Having watched the 2s play the day before, with barely 300 runs scored in 100 overs, he might well have thought there was merit in the default position of Bob “bowl first” Irvine.   Any such thoughts were swept away when the visiting skipper called incorrectly and the opportunity to bat first at Grange Loan was seized.  This match report will similarly break with tradition and not speculate on the bowling action of long dead composers or be littered with the song titles of popular beat combos from the 1960s.

Eric and Gavin headed out to the middle and made a steady start, reaching 54 at the end of the first 10 overs, the fast outfield ensuring batsmen got full value for their shots.  Eric brought up his 50 in the 14th over and the 100 partnership came in the 19th.  Gavin then completed his first senior half century in the 25th over with Eric also upping the pace nicely.  In the 28th over Eric reached 3 figures and the opening partnership was broken as Gavin went, caught in the covers, for a well made 63. 

Charlie joined Eric at the crease, putting on 51 for the second wicket before the youngster nicked off for 23.  Ewan came out with 4.1 overs remaining and rotated the strike well before selflessly running himself out in the final over to get Eric back on strike.  Martin joined Eric for the final few balls as the home side finished on 253 for 3 with Eric carrying his bat for a superb unbeaten 154.

Eric got to take his pads off briefly at tea but was soon back in action behind the stumps as Carlton got the second half going with the youthful combination of Murray & Cameron coming down the hill.  Largo’s young opener edged a Keatinge (Major) delivery to Charles at slip in the second over bringing the Largo skipper to the crease.  There was now a surfeit of Murrays in the middle, with batter, bowler and the occasional fielder receiving encouragement from one side or the other (and sometimes both).  The first ten overs were completed without further incident with Largo 35 for 1, somewhat behind the required rate. 

Charles and Rua came into the attack from the Lover’s Loan end and Charles bowled his customary tight line and length.  Rua struggled initially bowling uphill and into the wind but soon settled into a good rhythm, beating the bat on a number of occasions.  Charles picked up the Largo skipper with a yorker that rather unfortunately cannoned off his boot onto the stumps. There was less misfortune about the next wicket as opener Mowat played all round a full ball from Rua to leave the visitors 59 for 3 in the 19th over. 

Murray came back on from the pavilion end and Euan’s leg spin was introduced but Crosby & Bentley for the visitors put on the only meaningful partnership of the innings, pouncing on anything loose.  Keatinge (Major) rejoined the action with no further success until Keatinge (Minor) picked up a deserved wicket in the 29th over, castling the left handed Crosby.  The skipper then brought himself into the attack and got the Largo no 6 to chip a chance to Charles at midoff which he almost misjudged.  Two overs later the skipper picked up a second, rapping Gillin’s pads plumb in front.  Rua had also come back on and bowled the number 8 with another fine yorker. 

This brought young Michie to the crease and he and Bentley saw Largo to maximum batting points with some good running and the odd solid hit.  In the end Largo finished on 174 for 7, well short of the Carlton total.

A very satisfactory day’s cricket from the Positively’s perspective.  A tougher day for the visitors but they should take heart from the performance of their juniors – particularly the batting of young Michie at the end.

Saturday 30th June 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Musselburgh 2
Carlton 4

Carlton 4s 120 all out


Musselburgh 2s 102 all out (Duncan Sutherland 3 for 22, Callum Sibley 3 for 35)


Your correspondent enjoyed the report of last week’s excellent victory by the Carlton Positively 4th XI from a distance.  However he suspects readers will have shared his disappointment that the writer could shed no further light on the perplexing issue of Gustav Mahler’s bowling action.  [Dream on. We all thought that his report was a model that you would do well to follow. Ed] He acknowledges that his own researches on this important subject have not made much recent progress but at times he feels he carries this burden alone.  So it was that he travelled to Italy last week to find assistance.  But he is sad to report his journey provided scant new insight on the matter.  His research contact, in his temporary position of waiter at the hotel bar, could only suggest (if your correspondent’s understanding of the local Italian dialect is correct) that Mahler was a chucker.  His evidence for this assertion was shaky – but so was his hand as he poured the prosecco.  Your correspondent will be making TripAdvisor aware of the shortcomings of this establishment. [Not we hope at the same length that you go on about things here - for goodness sake will you get on with the cricket.  Ed]

Be that as it may, your correspondent has returned refreshed and looking forward to the second half of the Positivelys’ triumphant season in the super elite Division 5.  By some strange coincidence, his return coincided with that of the Positivelys’ inspirational [Eh?  Ed] skipper who looked no less reinvigorated.  [Appearances can be deceptive.  Ed] The day’s fixture with Musselburgh who were close on the heels of the Positivelys at the top of the table looked a juicy prospect.

As the team undertook the rigours of the journey to the Honest Toun and assembled in bright sunshine at Lewisvale there was only one question on the lips of the Positivelys. [Please say it was something relevant to cricket and nothing to do with Mahler.  Ed]  Last week had seen them bat first for the first time this season.  Not only that, they had won the toss and chosen to bat first.  For the younger members of the side this was an experience heady in its novelty.  The older players struggled to recall the fading memories of the last time this had happened. ‘Does it only happen when the skipper is on holiday?’ asked a junior player.  There was a polite silence, a shuffling of feet and a couple of quiet sighs as the cynicism of the seniors was once again undone by the innocent charm of youth.

The skipper returned from the middle to inform his team that his opposite number had enthusiastically commended to him the excellence of the surface for batting.  The Musselburgh skipper had then enthusiastically won the toss (by, it had to be admitted, a convincing margin) and with even greater enthusiasm………………………………….. asked the Positivelys to bat.

The team received the news of the skipper’s defeat with stoicism.

‘Does that mean we are batting first again?’ ‘Twice in a season?’  ‘Twice in 2 weeks.’

Perhaps the team was traumatised by the shock of the lost toss.  [I don’t think so. Ed] Perhaps the display of empire biscuits already laid out seductively on the tea table was too much for them. [A devious tactic.  Ed] Perhaps the Musselburgh skipper’s description of the pitch was a misleading deception.  [Surely not – Musselburgh is the honest toun.  Ed] Whatever the reason, the batting display that followed was less than your correspondent has come to expect of the Positivelys this season.  Last week’s opening partnership of Edwards and Murray Jnr amassed 164 before a wicket fell.  This week they could only muster 21 before Gavin played too early and gave a simple catch to point.  Your correspondent says only 21, but that proved to be the one of the higher partnerships of the innings as the Positivelys soon found themselves in deep trouble at 44-7, demon bowler A Muhammed finding considerable help in the pitch and helping himself to a hattrick on the way. The bowlers didn’t really need any help, but Martin had chosen to bat in stylish sunglasses and found that in correcting his astigmatism they also radically altered his perception of distance.  He was run out by some yards. Your correspondent began to wonder whether an early finish would give him time to investigate the suggestion that Mahler chucked [No, that’s enough.  Get on with it.  Ed]

Not for the first time this season it was Ewan Hutchinson who dug in and showed that survival was possible – a commendable lesson to his seniors now languishing uselessly on the boundary.  He and Keatinge Major began the rescue operation.  Keating Maj attacked; Ewan defended.  Use the overs became the priority.  They put on 37 before Cameron – top scoring with 23 - was castled by Dingre, bowling at a pace beyond what might have been expected from a 4th change bowler.  He also got through Ewan’s defence shortly after.   Still 8 overs left.  The stage was now set for the tail to wag and Duncan and Callum made sure it did, milking singles and smacking the occasional  boundary.  Duncan was run out off the last ball for 22 leaving  Callum 13*.  The tail-wag contributed 36 invaluable runs.  An excellent contribution by them both.

Your correspondent notes that this is the first time this season that the Positivelys have been bowled out. 

121 did not seem a lot, but it was more than seemed likely at one stage – indeed most stages – of the innings and gave something to bowl at.

Tea was meticulously timed in accordance with the experimental rules and 20 minutes later, well fuelled by the generous provision of empire biscuits, the Positivelys took the field knowing that the wicket was not the batting paradise predicted.  But still a tight bowling performance and excellence in the field were necessary.  Early wickets were the objective.

The skipper asked Duncan and Al to open.  The skipper surmised Al (Murray Snr) might do early damage – he has taken a wicket in his first or second over every match.  Deep into Al’s second over, the skipper probably felt that he had fallen for the fallacy of induction – as David Hume explained over 300 years ago  ‘The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible; because it can never imply a contradiction, and is conceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable to reality. That the sun will not rise tomorrow is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction than the affirmation, that it will rise. ...” [Eh what are you on about – you’ve already told us that the sun was shining.  Ed]  To paraphrase for the benefit of readers not inclined to 18th Century philosophical discourse: the fact that Murray Snr will take a wicket seemed somewhat less of an intelligible proposition when he was dumped back over his head a few times in this first over.  The skipper wondered. The Positivelys wondered.  The man and his dog on the boundary wondered (mainly whether opener Boyd’s next big shot might imperil them).   But Al’s post-rational confidence in his ability to refute Hume was strong.  His svelte run up to the wicket, his athletic delivery stride, his muscular arm came over [Oh come on, what is this  Ed] The ball thuds into the pads.  ‘How’s that?’ A big cry.  A bark from the dog on the boundary.  The finger is up.  Cox departs with good grace tinged with only a small hint of Antipodean disappointment.  In his silent grave David Hume turns, wondering whether he had taken due account of Al’s golden arm in his thinking.  Was all that Enlightenment stuff a mistake?  [No – you’re just making this up – although looking at Trump and all the rest of it you can be forgiven for wondering.  Ed]

Then Duncan rolled into action.  The ball kept low, slammed into Boyd’s pad and the finger was up again.  Next ball was deflected into Keatinge Major’s safe hands at gully and from a solid start, Muss were 25 for 3.  The Positivelys were in this.  Big time.  One hand was on the throat.  Time to squeeze.  [Oh please – have you been watching those Tarantino movies again. ? Ed] Duncan got another in his next over.  But then things settled down a bit, Patil looked secure and had been strong though the off side.  Callum came on, generated good pace but seemed deserted by Lady Luck as a couple of edges sped to the boundary.  Then the mandatory change of ends and a spectacular catch by Eric diving far and low to his right.  Due reward for Callum as he followed up 4 balls later by removing the middle stump.  62-6.

Duncan was now bowled out – 3-22 a great contribution.  Keatinge Major came into the attack and struck in his first over as Patil, who had serenely watched his colleagues’ fall one by one from the other end paddled a low full toss into Martin’s mitts.  Callum got another and Muss were 72-8. 

Surely no way back from there – but their skipper was still in and with demon bowler A Muhammed striking well they still had a chance.  If one tail could wag, there was no reason that another couldn’t.  [Is that Hume again?  Ed] The score began to mount.  Callum was now bowled out – 3-35.  The skipper turned to Anish to take the pace off the ball. Muhammed, having top edged one to the boundary, flailed again and was plumb LBW.  Ru McIntyre had waited patiently for his turn and classily finished things off by bowling the skipper. 

Musselburgh all out for 102.  The Positivelys win by 19 runs and consolidate their second place in the super-elite division.

Your correspondent notes that this is the first time this season that the Positivelys have bowled the opposition out.  A crumb of comfort for David Hume – as he put it, ‘That the Positivelys will not bowl the oppo out is no less intelligible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction than the affirmation, that they will get 10 wickets by bowling well on a difficult deck.’ [Of course he did.  Ed]

It was a great all round team performance – showing once again the importance of batting the overs.  And of taking catches.  A joint MOM award will be necessary - the contributions of Callum and Duncan with both bat and ball made the victory possible.

Many thanks to Musselburgh for an excellent afternoon – played with great spirit, good humour and nobility in eventual defeat.

On the triumphal procession back to Grange Loan a junior asked the skipper – ‘What would you have done if you had won the toss?’  The skipper looked inscrutably at his young charge, he had of course had no intention of winning the toss, but at length he answered, ‘Whatever was needed to win the game.’

Saturday 7th July 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Dunnikier 2



Dunnikier 2s 144 for 9 (Gavin Murray 4 for 15)

lost to

Carlton 4s 145 for 5 (Gavin Murray 53, Kevin Whitaker 30*)


[A note from the editor:


Readers should note from the scores above that the Carlton 4th XI won this match against Dunnikier 2 by 5 wickets and thus maintain their strong second place in the Division 5 league table.  There was a good all round team performance with particular excellence from Gavin Murray (dubbed below as the Little Master) and Jamie Beattie. Any of this may not be readily apparent from what follows.  The editor wishes readers the best of luck in going beyond this point.]

Your correspondent prepared for the enticing super-elite division 5 tussle between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and the mercurial Dunnikier 2 by attending a performance of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate.  He is a great admirer of Cole Porter whose witty and urbane songs embody the Great American Songbook at its highest point of sophistication.  He likes to think that he carries this spirit of Porter into his match reports. [Words fail me. Ed]  And as he enjoyed yesterday’s sporting spectacle, the words and tunes of Porter’s greatest show continued to run round his head [Oh no, what’s coming now.  Ed]

Now, Cole Porter was not a cricketer [Excellent, so we’ll have no pointless speculation about his bowling action.  Maybe you can just get on with describing the match which you say you were watching.  Fat chance.  Ed].  Even so only a slight adjustment to one of Kiss Me Kate’s show stopping numbers will give it a cricketing sense which matched your correspondent’s feelings on arriving at the Inch.  Put simply, it was too darn hot, particularly for Scottish people organically reared in the mist and rain.

It’s too darn hot

It’s too darn hot


I’d like to bat with my baby tonight

Rat a tat with my baby tonight

But I‘d go flat on my baby tonight

Cos it’s too darn hot.


I’d like to bowl with my baby tonight

Lose control with my baby tonight

But I’d miss the goal with my baby tonight

Cos it’s too darn hot[Very good – but time for some cricket now.  Ed]

As the sun mercilessly beat down, your correspondent sought the cool  of the shade under a spreading chestnut tree.  He should note the great generosity of Edinburgh South CC in making their carefully prepared grass pitch available to the Positivelys.  [Yes many thanks to them.  Ed]

Your correspondent had passed a worried morning -  he had noticed Twitter traffic late on the previous evening which suggested that the Positivelys might be understaffed.  He was relieved therefore to find them at the requisite number – could those Twitter reports of a lack of Carlton personnel be nothing more than fake news?   Then he saw the hallowed figure of Kevin Whitaker – for Kevin to turn out there must have been a real emergency.  Confirmation came as your correspondent noticed the skipper’s even more catatonic than usual demeanour – he showed clear signs of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his efforts to recruit sufficient resources for the full set of Carlton teams.  A mere whispered mention of 55 caused him to fall to his knees with an anguished cry.

Any Tom Dick or Harry

Any Harry Tom or Dick


With a great effort the skipper brought his trembling limbs under control and went about the business of the toss.  On return from the middle, he reports to the team that he has won by a satisfactory margin and they should prepare to take the field.   His team respond with a groan of feigned surprise at his decision and duly take their places on stage for the big opening number.

Another op’nin’ another show

And Steven Andrews is first to bowl

With Billy Bertram they take control

Another op’nin of another show


For four overs the batsmen proceed without alarm, but then Steven gets one to lift to the shoulder of the Armaan’s bat and Brian snaffles it at slip.  The next over Billy takes the edge and Kevin does the needful.  Ali and Ali are now batting and they move the score on. The skipper and Jamie Beattie are bowling.   The wicket is playing slow and runs don’t seem easy to come by against accurate bowling.  But the scoreboard has advanced to 68 in the 20th over when S Ali tries an expansive shot against the skipper and is triggered.  As Ali returns to the hutch the Positivelys hear an agonised call from Dunnikier’s skipper. 

Why Can’t you Behave

Oh why can’t you play straight

After all the throw downs I gave you

And the practice shots that you made

Oh why can’t you play straight

So it is 68-3 at the half way point.  Another umpire might have shone a kindly light on Jaimie’s justified appeals, but he has gone unrewarded. Murray Snr comes on and after his customary opening range-finding wide he extracts a positive LBW decision.

Wunderbar wunderbar

When the bowler gives a shout

And the umpire’s says it’s out

Then your life is wunderbar.

At 72-4 things could go either way.  But when Murray Jnr replaces Murray Snr it is clear which way that is going to be.  In a telling 5 over spell the young romantic lead [Eh?  Ed] bowls wicket to wicket and soon has 4 victims – taking the middle stump 3 times and giving Kevin a routine stumping. Ikra has woven her spells in between and got on the scoreboard thanks to a fine catch at square leg by Murray Snr.  Dunnikier bat out their overs for a total of 144-9.  Gavin 4-15 is the pick of a top bowling and all round fielding effort, John, Steven and Malcolm saving many runs between them. 

As tea is taken, the Positivelys recall last week’s encounter and wonder if that total might be more challenging than it seems given the slowness of the pitch.  Care would be needed at the crease.

As the second innings starts, it’s still too darn hot [But let’s have no more of that please.  Ed]

Brian notifies the skipper that he is guest of honour at a party that started 2 hours ago – so he gets to open and given licence to attack.  Murray Jnr joins him.

We open in Venice

We next play……..…well shots all round the wicket actually.  Nothing like it has been seen in Verona or Cremona, let alone Mantua or Padua. [What are you on about?  Ed]

The score rattles along.  Gavin is hugely effective behind square on the off side opening the face of the bat like the little master – at one stage there are three gullies and a third man.  The Little Master still gets past them.  They reach 50 in the 7th over but Brian’s party beckons and he plays all round a straight one.  Al unluckily attracts a jaffa – Were Thine That Special Ball - and nicks off failing to disturb the scorer.  Dunnikier now feel they have an opening, [Another opening, another………oh no you’ve got me at it now.  Ed]  but it is firmly shut by Jamie.  He and the Little Master make good progress toward the target with Jamie moving well into the ball and crunching it down the ground.  The Little Master is still teasing the gully cordon.  But a change in bowling to extra slow frustrates Jamie, he swings too early and is bowled – only 10 in the scorebook but an immense contribution. Gavin now brings up an excellent 50 (by virtue of some generous overthrows) but is run out shortly after as fatigue sets in.  A top drawer 53 – well played Little Master.  Ikra is unlucky to fall to a sharp return catch as she tries to break out from the slow bowling and it is 97-5 at the half way. 

Dunnikier still have a chance but their hopes are fading.  Unlike the sun - did your correspondent mention that it was Too Darn Hot.  [Yes.  We know.  Get on with it.  Ed]

The Positively’s mystery guest, revealed as Duncan Sutherland’s younger brother Malcolm, and Kevin see things out.  Malcolm resists the temptation to swing at Ali’s moon balls and stays put.  But Kevin takes a more direct approach and bludgeons anything in hitting range into the burn, the road and beyond; it was as if he’d never been away

Where Is The Life That Late I Lead

Where has it gone - totally dead ………. Not surprising after wicket keeping for 40 overs [Ha ha……….  Ed]

They reach the target in the 28th over.  John Beattie, who had chased as diligently in the field as ever, was all padded up ready to take the side home to victory but is left with nowhere to go.  He graciously accepts the shameful apologies of the skipper for leaving him hanging, Always True to You Skipper in My Fashion. The Positivelys win by 5 wickets.  Malcolm 19* and Kevin 30*. 


So, a good team performance by a much changed Positively’s line up ensures that they maintain their challenge at the top of super elite Division 5.  A special day with bat and ball for Gavin Murray Jnr, the Little Master. Many thanks to Dunnikier for an enjoyable afternoon.

As the curtain falls on the match, the songs of Cole Porter are still in your correspondent’s mind. [Oh no Ed]  One of the showstoppers in Kiss Me Kate is Brush Up Your Shakespeare, a patter song in which 2 gangster characters go through the plays of Shakespeare in a series of increasingly outrageously rhyming innuendos (eg If she says  your behaviour is heinous, kick her right in the Coriolanus.)  What if Cole Porter had watched the Positivelys?

The girls today came to Cameron Toll

Looking for men who can bat and bowl

To win their hearts you must venture views

On decisions about L B Ws

For men in whites they’re a bit of a sucker

Maybe they think Gustav Mahler’s a chucker [For goodness sake how did you get that one in? Ed]

They flock to the Inch but to tell you the truth

They’re hoping for more than Edinbra Sooth


Now the team that’s got them wowed

And thinking they’re in heaven

Are the proud stars of Carlton’s

Positively Fourth Eleven [Doesn’t quite scan but we’ll let you off with it  Ed]


Brush Up your Carlton

Start clapping them now

Brush up your Carlton

And the cricket fans you’ll wow


When a girl says she’s not in a hurry

Show her a bit of out-swing like Al Murray

If she don’t think that that is worth havin’

Tell her she’d be better at bat with young Gavin

If she don’t seem to hear that entreaty

It’s maybe because you’re John Beattie

Brush up your Carlton

And you’ll be not out.


If your girl says your in-swing is silly

It can’t be because you are Billy

But if her wild swing ain’t from the text book

Then spin it just like Ikra Farooq

But if then you’re still feeling sick at her

It must be a job for Kev Whitaker

Brush up your Carlton

And you’ll be not out.


If she says she has trouble believin’

Then clearly she’s never met Steven

If she says that your fire has no flamie

Then give her a look at young Jaimie

If she’s lookin’ for something more slinky

Then you’d call for Brian Kazcynski

Brush up your Carlton

And you’ll be not out.


If she insists you can only be jesting

Then tell her that Malcolm was guesting

She will ask if the skipper’s a hero

Say no – ‘cos he mostly makes zero

And if you want to really engross her

Tell her he’s just a hopeless old tosser

Brush up your Carlton

And you’ll all kow tow.

How’s That?!? [Do you really want to know?  Are you done?  That was self-indulgent even for you.  Maybe you should be thinking of going on holiday again.  Ed]


Saturday 14th July 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Kirk Brae 2
Carlton 4

Kirk Brae 2s 147 all out

lost to

Carlton 4s 150 for 1 (Eric Edwards 69*, Anish Amin 67*)


Your correspondent looked forward to escaping the suffocating heat of the city to spend the afternoon in the cool beauty of the luxurious hill station of Double Hedges, home of the legendary Kirkbrae CC whose fighting second XI were the next opponents for the Carlton Positively 4th XI in their triumphant progress through the ESCA super-elite Division 5.  Like the heat stressed administrators of the Raj, he would relax as the punkah-wallah gently fanned him and he sipped a cooling cocktail.

 For Double Hedges, with its expansive views of the foothills of the Himalayas [Er….. don’t you mean Arthurs Seat?  Ed], is at most times of year blessed with a gently cooling breeze.  A gently cooling breeze which usually chills to the bone.  But not this summer.  It was perfect cricketing weather. 

As the Positivelys arrived at the hill station they were perplexed by the obvious absence of punkah-wallahs.  Instead they saw teams of women in cocktail dresses battling things out on the adjacent rugby pitch. Closer inspection revealed that what appeared to be women were men dressed up as women.  On yet closer inspection, there were women dressed up as men dressed up as women.  And men dressed up as women dressed up as men dressed up as….  [OK OK we get the idea.  Get on with the cricket.  Ed]  Some local midsummer ritual perhaps.  Or should the SRU be commended on a worthy and  long overdue initiative to bring the cross-dressing community into rugby?  

Putting this distraction aside, the Positivelys focussed firmly on their rigorous preparation for the cricketing challenge ahead by standing around in a generally random fashion.  Your correspondent has studied many coaching manuals, but he has yet to find the pages which reveal the techniques to be deployed in such standing about.  He may have spotted a gap in the market.  He has made a proposal to the MCC for an addition to the coaching literature ‘Purposeful Standing About – Warm Up with your hands in Your Pockets – Win at Cricket Without Pointless Games of Football Beforehand.’  He suspects that further research in this area will reveal some insights into the approach taken by Gustav Mahler……  [Oh no you don’t… GET ON WITH THE CRICKET.  ED

Such has been the skipper’s form at the toss this season that his side were shocked to learn the news of a humiliating defeat.  Kirkbrae had chosen to take first use of the pitch.  ‘So it’s just like you won then,’ said a junior, wise beyond his years. 

The Positivelys welcomed Damian to their ranks for the first time this season, he had travelled all the way from Melbourne in the hope of turning out for the Positivelys.  [Are you sure?  Ed] Finally he had secured release from his pressing schedule of celebrity appearances behind the bar of the Guildford Arms.  Malcolm Sutherland had also responded nobly to another late call and made another welcome appearance. 

Billy and Keatinge Minor opened proceedings down wind.  Keatinge Minor got an early reward as Cassal played too early and popped up a simple catch to Al Murray, for once a solitary Murray in the team.  Billy’s spell was worthy of greater reward as he went past the bat on several occasions but Lady Luck did not shine on him.  Skipper Sangster had joined the ever competitive Raja in the middle and an effective partnership began to blossom.  Keatinge Major and Damian took the next 10 over block against the wind.  A succession of dropped catches – the first appearance this season of that all too familiar gremlin – allowed Sangster to make good progress.  With the half way score at 81-1 and Sangster passed 50, it looked like those buttery fingers could be expensive and a big total was in prospect. 

Matt and Euan Burgess (making a welcome return to Carlton colours) took the next down-wind duty.  Nothing seemed to be happening until on 109, Matt got one to jag back to knock Sangster’s off stump back and Kirkbrae’s skipper departed for a belligerent 62.  Kirkbrae had pushed the score along to 118 when three wickets fell in rapid succession and ripped the guts out of the innings.  Malcolm’s stunning catch in the covers exorcised those earlier catching woes and then Raja, on 42, feathered one behind to Eric to give Euan just reward for a lively spell of 2-19.  The final block now, against the wind and Damian got his name on the scoresheet as a loose delivery was swatted to fine leg where Keatinge Major made no mistake.  Nothing lucky about Damian’s next wicket as he spun it past Rashid’s groping stroke for Eric to execute a smart stumping.  118-5 looked more comfortable for the Positivelys and they efficiently mopped up the tail with Al taking 2 in amongst a flurry of wides [They said you weren’t going to mention these.  Ed] and Keatinge Major also getting 2.  Damian 2-22 (he also had 2 good catches in the outfield), Al 2-21, Keatinge Major 2-25.

 An excellent second half for the Positivelys (effectively 66-9) – whatever was in the juice provided at the illegal drinks break did the trick.  Kirkbrae finished on 147, which may equal the highest break in snooker, but it did not seem likely to be enough seriously to trouble the Positivelys. 

And so it proved.  Although Euan played too soon to give Regan a return catch early on, that was as much damage as Kirkbrae could do as Eric and Anish worked the ball to all parts of the ground in an impressive display of stroke making while Malcolm waited patiently to take his turn.  He was still waiting when in the 25th over Anish crunched the winning runs through the mid-wicket boundary to give the Positivelys victory by 9 wickets.  Anish 69* Eric 67*. 

Anish had started his innings with a brutal return drive which nearly took Cassar’s hand off.  As he winced in pain, Anish approached him with a professional glint in his eye.  Raja wondered what was up.  The skipper who was umpiring at the bowler’s end explained ‘He’s an orthopaedic surgeon – he’ll have a look at the damage.’  Raja replied ‘Well I’m a gynaecologist and I can tell from here he’s not pregnant.’ 

Another excellent victory for the Positivelys who maintain their promotion challenge.  Many thanks to Kirkbrae who were unable to build on the strong foundation they had built in the first 20 overs.  They were noble in defeat and enjoyable opponents. 

As the Positivelys made their way back to Grange Loan a junior inquired, ‘The skipper……..he didn’t bowl…..he didn’t bat…..he lost the toss……………um……what’s the point of him?’ No answer was forthcoming.

Saturday 21st July 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Livingston 2



Livingston 2s 87 all out (Alan Murray 3 for 3, Mohammad Nouman 3 for 7)

lost to

Carlton 4s 88 for 1 (Eric Edwards 50*)


Your correspondent acknowledges that his understanding of quantum theory is at a level nearer that of the kindergarten than the graduate college.  He has therefore rarely, if ever, pondered the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat.  Schrodinger devised the paradox as a thought experiment to show the problems of applying the rules of quantum mechanics to everyday objects and the apparent contradiction between what quantum theory tells us is true at microscopic level and what we see with the naked eye.  While Schrodinger’s cat is in its box it is simultaneously alive and dead.  – a condition that your correspondent has often thought applies to the skipper of the Positivelys.  The cat’s  true state can only be known when an observer opens the box. The Positivelys’ skipper’s true state is probably beyond the powers even of quantum theory to determine but that is another matter – or is it anti-matter.  [Ha ha – get on with it. Ed]

This paradox has given rise not only to earnest debate among Nobel Laureates but also to many popular jokes – eg Schrodinger’s Cat - Wanted Dead and Alive - and T-shirts.  Its significance to cricket has rarely, if ever, been investigated.  [Oh no don’t tell us you are going to correct that oversight.  Ed] Your correspondent has occasionally pondered why this should be – after all it seems directly relevant to his quest to determine Gustav Mahler’s bowling action – which simultaneously exists and does not exist.  As far as your correspondent can tell.  Or not.  There are alternative views that Mahler simultaneously was and was not a chucker.  [Has this got anything to do with the cricket match that you were watching? Ed]

The paradox came to mind at an important juncture in the sporting context between the Positively 4th XI and Livingston 2 in ESCA super elite Division 5.  It had seemed a routine afternoon to your correspondent as he made his way to Peffermill to take in what promised to be an enjoyable tussle as the Positivelys sought to maintain their promotion challenge.  It is over 2 years since the Positivelys last played at Peffermill, which may have existed or not during those years.  The senior players in the squad, veterans of those visits to the south Edinburgh tundra, have fond memories of the frost bite that the exposed landscape invariably produced.  Such is the progress of global warming, however, that, although it was cloudy overhead and a breeze wafted over the ground, they found a balmy and pleasantly warm afternoon.

With many players returning from vacation, the Positivelys fielded a strong side with the usual enticing blend of old and young.  Livingston had more selection problems however since their skipper broke his toe last week, joining the vice-skipper who had broken his wrist the previous week.  It was however encouraging to see a number of juniors in their ranks.

The wicket showed the effects of Friday’s rain.  It didn’t stir the Positivelys skipper’s batting gene.  [What would?  Ed]  It was therefore a surprise to the skipper that on losing the toss [Again – early season form has not been sustained has it?  Ed] Livingston’s stand in skipper opted to bat.  [But there is no surprise that he was surprised.  Oh no! Did I just do a Schrodinger joke – see what you do to people?  Ed

Sadly, Livingston’s innings never really got going as the bowlers got considerable help from the pitch and wickets fell regularly.  Eric was also finding life challenging behind the stumps as balls came through at varying heights and speeds.

The drinks break in accordance with the experimental rules was not a drinks break – thus illustrating again the difficulty of applying the principles of quantum mechanics to the 40 over format  [Ha ha, you never let up on this do you?  Ed] But whatever its status Livingston were at an uncomfortable 58-7.  There was a smidgeon of hope in that Balasubramian on 22 was looking like he was on top of the conditions.  Then Schrodinger got in on the action. Duncan bowled the first ball of the next block to Bala.  The ball swung in and cut, losing pace; it got through Balasubramian’s defence.  Schrodinger’s wicket.  He was out and not out.  It was only when he looked round that he noticed Schrodinger’s bails were out of the grooves and lying on the deck.  The skipper standing at slip reported that the ball had gently kissed the top of the off stump.  Balasubramian brought to mind his extensive training in quantum mechanics, thought this might be the skipper’s thought experiment and looked for alternative explanations.  The wind.  A localised gravitational force-field.  A mysterious alien invader in another time dimension.  All seemed to him as likely as the skipper’s explanation, but rigorous scientific examination found that none could prevail and, bowing to the conventions of quantum theory, he departed to ponder the paradox of his dismissal further. He later reported that he will work with CERN to try to replicate the conditions and establish a conclusive account of the wicket.  He will also find out whether any cats in the area are alive or dead or both.

With that, Livingston’s resistance crumbled and when the skipper performed the minor miracle of taking a catch at slip the innings closed on 87.   This was a very strong bowling performance by the Positivelys. Al – 3-3 and Mo 3-7 were the most successful, but all the bowlers made life difficult for the batters.  The fielding was excellent with catching again secure after last week’s blips.

Schrodinger’s tea was definitely alive and the table groaned under the provender.  There were concerns as Rob Grisenthwaite opened his Tupperware box as to whether his felafel salad would prove to be alive or dead.  It was certainly from another time dimension but was enjoyed by all who boldly went where none had been before.

The Positivelys had a strong batting line up and were confident that they could reach the total but they had seen the challenges in the wicket and care would be needed. The Little Master had limped in the field and opted to rest his injured foot behind the scorer’s table rather than open the batting with Eric, an honour that was given to Ollie.  It took both batters a bit to get the pace of the wicket but after a few plays and misses, and as the sun came out, they were soon both going along nicely.  At 55 Ollie, on 26, got one that kept low.  There was nothing of the Schrodingers about it and he was sent off LBW.  That was all the damage that Livingston could do.  Eric and Rob saw the Positivelys home in the 17th over, Eric also bringing up his 50 with the winning boundary.

Many thanks to Livingston who stuck to their task with their weakened resources with commendable spirit.

The Positivelys celebrated their victory and their continued second place in the super-elite division.  Once again your correspondent was struck by the excellence of the Carlton junior cricketers who had all contributed well to the victory.

As he left the ground your correspondent overheard one of them remark to his younger colleague:

 ‘You know that thing about the cat in the box.’

‘What that it’s alive and dead at the same time.’ 

‘Yes.  And this quantum mechanics stuff which says that all things are equally possible.’

‘But that’s rubbish isn’t it.’


‘Here’s a thought experiment to prove it - the skipper successfully negotiating a leg spin delivery.  Simultaneously possible and not possible?  I don’t think so.’

Saturday 28th July 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4

Compared with the legendary ferocious rivalry between Hollywood goddesses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, the on-field rivalry between the Carlton Positively 4th XI and Old Contemptibles CC in the super elite Division 5 of ESCA is gentle and friendly amounting to the occasional banter between overs. Certainly that rivalry has given rise to nothing like the litany of poor behaviours that the powers that be in ESCA chided clubs for in the course of this week.  Sadly, too many clubs seem to have what might be described as Joan Crawford moments – for the star was a law unto herself and regularly challenged umpiring decisions.

Confident that there would be no such bad behaviour on display, your correspondent keenly anticipated this weekend’s scheduled tussle between the rival teams.  As the season reaches its climax the Positivelys need to maintain their momentum and the winning habit.  For period of her career Joan Crawford was regarded as box office poison – no such epithet can be applied to the Positivelys for fans have been flocking through the gates to see the sparkling brand of cricket they have been playing this season.  For those fans it is an added bonus that the skipper rarely bats or bowls and now confines his contribution to losing the toss.

In preparation for the weekend your correspondent reviewed Joan Crawford’s extensive filmography.  His personal favourites are Mildred Pierce and Johnny Guitar – neither of which he noticed has any cricketing content.  In fact your correspondent had to conclude that there was no reference to cricketing issues at all throughout the long career of Ms Crawford.  He was beginning to form the view that he might after all have to pursue further his researches into the vexed issue of whether the recent suggestions that Gustav Mahler was a chucker has any substance.  He was confident that that would be suitably diverting for readers [Don’t fool yourself.  Ed].

However just as he was preparing his thoughts on that issue, the heavens opened and he received the news that the ground was unplayable and the match had been cancelled.  Your correspondent should have known.  He had tempted fate (Not as much as Keith Murray’s party planning. Ed).  His conclusions about the absence of cricketing reference in her work has been misleading.  For in 1932 Joan Crawford starred in what was one of her less successful movies.  Could its subtext be about cricket in Scotland?  Its title - Rain.

Sunday 5th August 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Morton 2

Carlton 4s 164 all out (Eric Edwards 32)

lost to

Morton 2s 167 for 6


There are, in your correspondent’s experience, few things more pleasant than a sunny Sunday afternoon at Grange Loan when the Carlton Positively 4th XI are scheduled for an encounter in their continuing campaign in the super-elite division 5 of ESCA.  This Sunday’s fixture against near neighbours Morton 2, denizens of Edinburgh’s legendary Home of Cricket, the Meadows, offered the promise of an exciting tussle. The two sides are locked in second and third place in the super-elite division as they chase the prize of promotion to the even-more-super-elite division 4, where they would be allowed to change ends after each over and linger over tea for more than 20 minutes.  Matches between the 2 sides are always keenly contested and there was therefore all to play for. 

Your correspondent’s week had been spent in intense preparation for this sporting event, he had studied the teams and their form.  The absence of u13 players on cup and representative duty swelled the average age of the Positivelys by a significant factor but the side brimmed with bowling and batting talent. 

But even that extensive preparation left him wholly unprepared for the scenes he witnessed as he arrived at the ground and entered the gates.  Spectators were visibly shaken.  Some had fainted and frantic efforts were being made to revive them.  Ambulances were said to be on their way.  There was speculation that the army might have to be deployed to cope with the situation. 

Your correspondent quickly apprehended the scale of the disaster as a breathless and wild eyed dog-walker explained to him.  ‘It’s the skipper…...,’  he paused for breath and attempted to calm his equally breathless and wild eyed canine companion, ‘…..he’s won the toss……,’ the dog howled pathetically. ’…..and he’s opted to bat…..’  The dog was now beyond consolation, slumped beside its untouched Bonio.  Its owner was urgently phoning the emergency veterinary service.

Your correspondent absorbed the news.  He understood the reasons for the panic.  The skipper’s commitment to bowling first in all situations was legendary.  Asked on his wedding night what he would like to do he is reputed to have said, ‘We’ll have a bowl.’  For many experienced watchers of the Positivelys finding out that he had opted to bat was beyond explanation – it was a sign that the end of the world might be nigh. Panic was therefore an appropriate response. The skipper’s attempts to explain his radical change of tactic by reference to the firm wicket, the fast outfield, the blue sky and a side packed with batting talent failed to convince watchers.  ‘He’s lost it,’ one said.  ‘No, he won it….that’s the problem.’  [Ha ha. Very good – are you going to get on with describing the match at any time soon?  Ed]

His team seemed bemused. Bat first?  They struggled to recall what they should do on receiving this instruction, but bit by bit, batters and umpires appeared and the contest got underway.  The crowd recovered its composure.  The dog’s panic was reduced to a quiet whimper by the vet’s suggestion that the prospect of it ever having puppies might have to be sacrificed if it did not pull itself together or as he sternly put it brandishing a pair of surgical shears, ‘Dog up, Rover.’  The hound took the hint and began to take renewed interest in its Bonio.

Was it the radical change of tactic which explained the lacklustre performance of the Positivelys?  Their innings was unconvincing.  Wickets fell regularly which undermined any momentum – the highest partnership was 35 and no batter got on top of the bowling.  It needed a last wicket partnership between Keatinge Major (tellingly the only junior in the ranks) and Steven Andrews to drag the innings to full batting points and beyond.  164 all out in the 39th over did not seem to do justice to the conditions, even respecting the quality of Morton’s bowling attack in which Ramsey stood out with 3-27.  Eric top scored for the Positivelys with a hard fought 32, but was out the first ball after the illegal drinks break when he might have expected to gain momentum and provide the foundation for a big score.  Brian Kaczynski scrapped his way to 25 before an injured ankle prevented him getting his front foot out and he was bowled. And the rest, to quote Dave Clark, was bits and pieces.

Although the tea table groaned with provender, there was a sorry absence of empire biscuits.  Your correspondent cannot recall the Positivelys ever having played at Grange Loan under such inhumane conditions. He worried to himself that this might compound the impact of the skipper’s decision and have an unhelpful effect on the performance in the field.  He has reason to think himself right.

While the total was less than might have been hoped for, it was still runs on the board.  An effective bowling performance could recover the situation.  Early wickets were essential.  At the second illegitimate drinks break Morton were 62-3.  The game was evenly balanced, but the bowling had not looked threatening.  As play resumed, Morton were keeping up with the run rate and looked in little difficulty, but Rajapatruni wanted to accelerate and started calling for quick singles.  Too quick for his team mates, as brilliant fielding in the covers by Steven Andrews produced 2 run outs and at 124-5 after 30 overs the Positivelys sensed they had a chance.  However press as they might they could not drive home that small advantage.  Ollie finally got Rajapatruni with an acrobatic c&b for a well-played 49 but it was too little too late, and when, in the second last over, Morton stalwart Hogg snicked 4 through the vacant slip area (or, as he described it to his drinking companions later, played the latest of late cuts) he secured his team a well-deserved victory.

Many congratulations to Morton who outplayed the Positivelys in all departments.  As usual, a keenly contested match played in excellent spirits with batsmen walking and honest decisions.  Their victory narrows the gap between the sides in the league table and sets up an exciting run in to the end of the season.

As the Positivelys slunk away to lick their wounds, the Morton players caroused in the balmy evening air.  The skipper was left to do the mountain of washing-up (nobly assisted by Angus Beattie who was manning the bar).  As he dried off the last of the dishes he took out his phone, summoned the number of Fraggle Watts and texted, ‘See what happens …...’


Saturday 11th August 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Drummond Trinity 2
Carlton 4

Carlton 4s 146 all out


Drummond Trinity 2s 117 all out (Gavin Murray 4 for 23)


Your correspondent arrived expectantly at Inverleith Park for the Carlton Positively 4th XI’s match with league leaders Drummond Trinity 2 in the super elite Division 5 of ESCA.  Last week’s reverse, brought about by the trauma of the skipper’s uncharacteristic decision to bat first, may have done disastrous damage to the Positively’s promotion challenge.  A swift recovery was necessary to regain momentum.

As he entered the Park, your correspondent noted a much changed side going about their distinctive warm up routines.  Among the changes was the notable absence of the skipper.  Had he been dropped after his lamentable display of toss winning last week?  That would have been justifiable.  Had he taken to a Buddhist retreat in the Borders to meditate on his mid-life crisis?  That would have been understandable.  What seemed incomprehensible was that he had made himself unavailable because he had secured a ticket to a Festival concert with an early start time.  He was reluctant to present himself at the Usher Hall, breathless, sweating and in grass stained whites. He thought unworthy of response that this might be considered an improvement on his usual disheveled state.  His team mates accepted his absence with unsurprising equanimity.  As one junior pointed out, ‘Skipper ain’t batted or bowled in lots of matches this year - we won them all.  You do the math.’

On further inquiry, your correspondent’s disappointment at the skipper’s desertion of his duties developed into a fuller understanding of the dilemma the legendary bowl-firster faced.  The skipper shares your correspondent’s desire to see the mystery of the bowling action of Gustav Mahler finally resolved. [Then he’s the only one who does.  Ed] After all, it may have been his worry over the recent suggestion that Mahler was a chucker which unsettled him so last week, leading to the mental aberration of his disastrous bat first decision.  On the Usher Hall programme was a performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony conducted by no less a maestro than Sir Simon Rattle.  Although Rattle is not known for his cricketing prowess, his interpretations of Mahler are peerless and he would surely clear up this mystery once and for all.

Mahler’s 9th Symphony was his last completed work.  He did not live to hear it performed.  Critics have therefore attributed all kinds of morbid associations to it – in particular that the halting theme of the first movement represents the composer’s irregular heart beat – a condition which had been diagnosed only shortly before he began work and would lead to his imminent death.  Critics have not been so quick to consider whether the irregular theme instead expressed a bent arm at the point of delivery - which would be strong proof that the composer was in fact a chucker.  The skipper looked forward to expounding this theory to his fellow audience members.

Your correspondent could find no interest among the Positivelys in this subject [And no interest in anyone reading this either – get on with the cricket.  Ed]  Instead, as the evangelists of the Edinburgh Tabernacle set up their Summer Party in an adjacent part of the Park providing a musical accompaniment which had more of the Beyonce than the Mahler about it, the players were focused on replacement skipper Al Murray’s explanation of how near he came to winning the toss.  ‘Not very, if the truth be told,’ he confessed as he reported that the Positivelys had been invited to bat.  Evidently, Drummond Trinity had studied last week’s results, reached their own conclusions and had gone for the jugular.  “You can bat – let’s see you make a mess of it again……’

The Positivelys’ innings had much of the character of Mahler’s 9th symphony about it. [Oh for goodness sake – what are you on about? Ed] Whether or not the opening movement is about his heart beat or his possibly bent arm, its tempo marking is andante commodo (at comfortable walking pace). And that seemed appropriate as things proceeded serenely through the first 10 over movement [Very clever Ed] with Eric and the Young Master walking comfortably. A slow outfield was not giving value for shots and the score had been assisted by regular wides as bowlers struggled to maintain their line on the sloping surface giving Hassan behind the stumps a torrid time. But there seemed no undue cause for alarm and after the first movement the Positivelys seemed well placed at 43-0.

The second movement of 10 overs began – Mahler gives his second movement the tempo marking Im tempo eines gemächlichen Ländlers. Etwas täppisch und sehr derb (at the pace of a leisurely country dance – somewhat dull and very rough). The emphasis seemed to be on the rough – and 43-0 became 48-3 after 12 - in the blink of an eye Eric mistimed a pull, Gavin was run out and Hutch was castled. Things calmed down and became somewhat dull and this movement ended with the Positivelys 76-4 after 20, things evenly balanced. In the third movement - Rondo-Burleske: Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig – (Rondo burlesque – Very happy, very defiant) batting continued to look difficult, if not burlesque, and although, sehr trotzig, most batters got some kind of start, life at the crease seemed precarious. In all 5 Positivelys were out failing to deal with short pitched deliveries, particularly from man-mountain Waqas – who, allegro assai, ended with 4-25.

The fourth movement of Mahler 9 is a monumental elegy – Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend (Slow, very slow and almost reservedly). The final 10 overs of the innings saw the Positivelys make sehr langsam progress from 113-8 - an excellent partnership of 30 for the 9th wicket between Steven (13) and Shaun (13*} dragged them to 146 as the movement faded to its hushed close. Leonard Bernstein said that the entire movement is symbolically prophesying three kinds of death: Mahler's own impending death, the death of tonality, and the death of "Faustian" culture in all the arts.

Bernstein failed to observe on what implications the relatively low total might have for the Positivelys’ promotion challenge. But only one kind of death – caught – accounted for 8 of wickets in the innings suggesting the variable pace on the artificial surface. Wickets had fallen regularly – no batter got to 20 Eric’s modest 17 was the top score as scoreboard respectability was maintained by the excellent performance of wides and byes. There were 56 extras in the total.

But was 146 a defendable total? Drummond Trinity had proved a formidable batting unit for most of the season. Things were interesting. As the teams took tea, the Tabernacle were organizing sack races between single and married ladies. The Positivelys’ travelling support, Shaun’s Mum, declined the invitation to enter.

As they devoured the star attraction of the tea in the form of strawberry tarts (always a welcome substitute for an empire biscuit), the Positivelys speculated which Mahler symphony the D-T innings would resemble [No they didn’t. Ed]. Eric who knows a thing or two about these matters (but is strangely quiet on the issue of whether the composer was a chucker) reckoned a strong opening movement on the martial lines of the 6th - Heftig, aber markig – (violent but vigorous) - would be desirable. And this is what Steven delivered as he got the Positivelys off to a markig, if not heftig, start with a wicket in his first over. He then consolidated 2 overs later with a markig catch off his own bowling to dismiss the dangerous Riaz – 13-2. Shaun bowled markig but without reward. Bowlers continued to find the slope a difficult challenge and wides kept up their sparkling performance of the first innings. Humza dug in and seemed to have a charmed life as 2 difficult catches were spilled. But he rashly chanced his arm by giving the dart to Ru Mac and was comprehensively bowled heftig. With his return to the Pavilion, Drummond’s challenge faded. A smart piece of fielding by Hutch led to a run out. Waqas (25) tried to regain the initiative with a flurry of boundaries but was another failing to deal with the short ball and was well caught by Hutch. Jamie bowled with exemplary accuracy – only giving up 11 runs from his 5 overs. It was left to the Little Master to rattle – no reference intended to the master conductor [Ha ha – was that worth the effort? Ed] – through the tail, finishing with 4-23. The Positivelys catching was now on fire – David and Eric with 2 each, Shaun with a fine running take, Ru and Hutch all making it look easy. Al Murray showed that skippers can make a contribution as he got 2-11 in return for a fistful of wides and Drummond Trinity were all out for 127 in the 21st over. The Positivelys won by 29 runs. Waqas outscored wides – 22 of which were bowled in this 22 over innings.

The single ladies and married ladies were still being invited to various races by the Tabernacle as the teams shook hands on what was a sparkling victory for the Positivelys which ensures they go into the final matches of the season in a comfortable second place. After last week it was, to borrow the tempo marking from the second movement of Mahler 6 – Wuchtig (massive).

Many thanks to Drummond Trinity for an enjoyable game, not at their best today but the dominant team in the league this year and worthy opponents.

As the Positivelys packed up, a junior spoke softly to his colleague ‘We’re all finished well in time for the skipper to get to his Bob Marley concert.’ ‘Yeah – what was his not playing all about?’ ‘So what - most times he don’t bat, we win. He don’t bowl, we win. So – now he don’t play, we win.’ There is a pause. Then they quietly intone together. ‘Some skipper.’

Saturday 18th August 1pm
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Carlton 4
Tranent & Preston Village 2



Tranent & Preston Village 2s 141 all out (Duncan Sutherland 4 for 23)

lost to

Carlton 4s 142 for 2 (Anish Amin 90*)


What you want

Baby I got it

As your correspondent arrived at the Inch for the team’s encounter with Tranent Preston Village 2 in the super-elite Division 5 of ESCA, the skipper of the Carlton Positively 4th XI was strenuously addressing his team.  The team feigned interest as he continued,

What you need

Do you know I got it

The junior members of the side, who at this time of the season are about to reengage their scholastic studies of the English language, bit their tongues at the grammatical failings of his utterance.

All I’m askin’

Is for a little respect

There was an embarrassed silence, broken only by a mumbled aside from among the seniors. ‘Got to be earned…..’  Whether this remark came to his ears or not, the skipper went on.

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

A junior bravely interrupted the flow.  ‘We don’t do spelling any more.  The teachers say it cramps our creativity.’

The skipper ignored the remark.

Find out what it means to me…. Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul,….’

‘Did she have something to do with Leith Franklin?’ [Sock it to me, sock it to me, Groan.  Ed]

‘…….she died this week.  We dedicate this match to her memory.  TCB’  [For those readers wondering, as if anyone has read this far, the phrase TCB, sung by Aretha Franklin in her version of Respect, means taking care of business.  It was taken up as a slogan by the Civil Rights Movement. It is not a truncated reference to the former Test and County Cricket Board.  Ed]

Saying this, the skipper strode out to the middle to perform the rituals of the toss.  TCB.  He reported that he had won by a considerable margin and that the Positivelys would bowl.  [No surprise there - once bitten… Ed] The side had only one response.

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

The clouds were heavy, the grass damp from the morning rain and there was a smirr of drizzle in the air.  Those sweaters which had been abandoned to the bottom of the bag in May were in demand again as a chilly wind crossed the ground.  Duncan and Euan anxiously tip toed onto the artificial track keen to avoid a groin ripping slip on the delivery slide, but they gave nothing away.  Euan – 2-19 - did the first damage with 2 wickets and TPV reached the end of the first super over on 25-2.  TCB.  There was a symmetry to the innings, as the next 10 overs produced 24 runs for another 2 wickets – both to Al who unusually had to wait until his 5th over for his rewards – all I’m askin’ in return, honey, is to give me my propers.  So saying [Eh?  Ed]  Al got 2 wickets to good catches by Martin, plucking it from his ankles at square leg, and the skipper, high up at mid-off.   TCB.  [Are you going to keep on doing this?  We get the point.  Ed

The sun was now breaking through the clouds. Steven was off a short run; he limped away following at the end of an over.  ‘You OK?’ asked the skipper.  ‘I think I might have a shin fracture.’ Steven replied.  Anish, ever in the market for orthopaedic interest, pricked up his ears.  ‘Keep him on,’ he said – he can bowl with a broken leg - that’ll look good in the match report.’  [For goodness sake – what was he thinking of.  Surely he knows by now nothing looks good in these match reports.  Ed]  On this medical advice, Steven continued through the next change of ends and #Mandismissedbybowlerwithbrokenleg   usefully bowled the skipper Russell just as he looked set for a long stay.  TCB.  

The violence of Steven’s delivery had removed the off stump from its moorings – it lay on the ground beside its spring loaded brothers.  A team of qualified engineers – Duncan and Steven - investigated the reconstruction project.  A full tender was submitted and following extensive repair work play continued.  Almost immediately a sharp off cutter from Steven got the batsman in a sensitive spot.  As he limped out of his crease Gavin shot from behind the stumps, picked the ball up and threw down the wicket.  ‘Out,’ the square leg umpire raised finger not noticing the bail had remained firmly in place.  The off stump would now resist damage through earthquake and asteroid impact.   A prudent standard in many situations but slightly over-engineered for super-elite Division 5 standards.  A sigh of relief came from the batter and was shared by the scorers who were hotly disputing whether the dismissal should be recorded as stumped or run out.  (Stumped was the expert verdict arrived at subsequently).

Half the side was now out with only 54 on the board.  There was resistance as Dance and young G Brunton put together a stand, but following the final change of ends a good catch by Steven on Al’s return ended Dance (30) just short of the 50 partnership.  TCB.  Tom battered a few of the skipper’s pies over the long on boundary.  [No respect there then.  Ha.  Ha.  Ed]  Jamie bowled well but without luck and it was Duncan’s return which swept up the tail efficiently.  Tranent PV were all out in the final over for 141, a decent recovery and probably more than the Positivelys’ skipper bargained for at the toss.  Nevertheless it was a good bowling and fielding effort by the Positivelys with Duncan ending with 4-23, Al 3-26.

John Beattie’s home baked empire biscuits…..

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

…..were the unquestioned highlight of a tea table groaning with provender.  A measure of what is necessary to get a top 4 batting slot in the Positivelys.  John could only look aghast as the skipper ordered the batting he got the wrong Beattie, ‘Jamie number 4.’ he said.  John  looked ruefully round – perhaps if he’d put jelly tots rather than cherries on top.

Play restarted with the sun moving behind the clouds again and the drizzle returning. Openers Martin and the Young Master looked in no difficulty but both were bowled to leave the Positivelys on 20-2 after 8.  142 suddenly seemed a long way off.  There was a bit of business to be taken care of.  What you need, baby we got it – harmonised Anish and Jamie as they calmly put together a match winning partnership.  Anish made the most of being let off when in single figures and played a mixture of elegant and brutal shots all around the wicket.  A huge six went into the undergrowth behind the bowler.   Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me.  Miraculously the ball was found and played as it lied [Are you sure you have the right game in mind there?  Ed] Jamie played an excellent foil pushing and prodding singles to keep Anish on the strike.  What you need…….The young Brunton twins produced some good deliveries and both worked hard for their side.  On another day perhaps they might have had more reward, but could make no further inroads today.  The end came in the 27th over as Anish, with one of his least elegant strokes, clubbed it through mid-off.  Anish finished with 90*, Jamie 20* in an unbeaten partnership of 122.

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

It is with some pride that your correspondent notes that the 2 highest partnerships by the Positivelys this year have both featured an under 13 batsman.


Even more

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

That is what it means to me.

R – E – S – P – E – C – T also to Tranent Preston Village – your correspondent has remarked before of the great commitment shown by this club to retain cricket in that part of East Lothian.  They put up a stout well humoured fight that was worth more than the handful of points they came away with.  Thanks to them and good luck next week.

It is not for your correspondent to judge whether this match was a fitting tribute to Aretha Franklin – there may be few other cricket matches dedicated to her memory, so we do not know the standard that has been set. The result does however keep the Positivelys well in the hunt for the promotion slot to the league where they will be allowed more than 20 minutes for tea.  They travel to Largo for the final match of the season next week.  A huge travelling support is expected to see them TCB.

Supporters preparing for that encounter would do well to remind themselves of Aretha Franklin’s highest charting UK hit – ‘I say a little prayer’

Saturday 25th August Noon
Baillie Gifford ESCA Division Five
Largo 2
Carlton 4

Largo 2s 234 for 5

lost to

Carlton 4s 235 for 6 (Paul Kentish 140)


As the Positivelys set off to the delightful setting of East Drive in sunny Fife on the final Saturday of the 2018 league season, few made any connection between American composer & conductor Leonard Bernstein and a Spanish international defender.  The Carlton section illuminati had assembled the youngest 4th XI of the season with 5 U13s; 2 older juniors and 4 car drivers.   A later start time in Fife had deprived the 4th XI of regular skipper Bob Irvine who had a pressing appointment with the music of Bernstein that evening forcing him to endure the joys of the Inch Arti for the 3s.  In his place came Paul Kentish, included to ease the logistical challenges of the Kentish household with both junior Kentish’s also on duty for the 4s.

Stand in skipper Al Murray called correctly and inserted Largo on a damp looking wicket knowing a win or a full set of losing bonus points would see the 4s finish 2nd in the league and beckon the dizzy heights of Division 4 next season.  

Rua and Euan opened the bowling down the hill and kept things tight first up.  A quick, low full toss from Rua clattered into opener Dakin’s leg stump bringing G Robinson to the crease.  The new batsman was quick to pounce on anything short and the score moved on to 37-1 at the end of the first so-called “super over” [in the view of this correspondent these 60 ball blocks may well be an over but they are definitely not super].  Jamie and Paul came on up the hill and Paul was unlucky not to pick up a wicket as the number 3 top-edged a ball to square leg but the chance wasn’t held.  Jamie did pick up the wicket of the other opener Gillin plumb in front shortly after.  New man Galloway showed his intent, playing his one shot to great effect with a series of lusty blows.  

Al and Anish came on to see if pace-off could make the breakthrough but despite the odd good ball troubling the batsman anything loose was put away ruthlessly.  Rua came back and tied things down well but could not make the breakthrough.  In the final 10 overs up the hill Jamie and Euan bowled fine spells with Jamie having Robinson smartly caught at cow by Doug.  In the final two overs Al induced Galloway to sky one which was well caught by Gav once he was told it would shortly land on his head.  Paul also picked up a wicket with a good catch from Jamie and the Largo innings closed on 234 for 5.

After a fine tea in the church hall Paul and Gav set about the chase.  The first few overs went steadily enough but then Gav twinged his back slipping going for a run and then again making his ground and had to retire hurt.  Charlie joined his dad at the crease and kept the scoreboard ticking over well until he drove a little early on one and the catch was taken at mid off.  Anish joined Paul and this coincided with Largo taking pace off the ball.  Skipper Galloway brought himself on to bowl his off spin and induced Anish to pick out the only fielder deep on the leg side.  Doug joined Paul and the pair pushed the score on, both looking very comfortable at the crease.  However a sharp catch at gully saw Doug depart for a neat 28, bringing Martin out to the middle.  He looked in decent touch until he chased a wide one which he toe-ended to extra cover.

Amongst all the wickets falling at the other end Paul was looking in control despite struggling with a back injury.  While it may have hindered his running between the wickets it didn’t seem to affect his ability to crash the ball to the boundary.  The juniors were so impressed with his fortitude, determination, application and his initials that they dubbed him “Pique” and were delighted when he raised his bat on reaching three figures in the 30th over.

The Barcelona centre back continued to pepper the boundary, with one lusty blow nearly cleaning out the watching Mrs Kentish.  Eventually he went for one big hit too many and was well caught at long off, departing for an excellent 140.  With 12 needed off 4 overs Al joined Euan at the crease and knocked the ball around well until an ill-judged single saw Al run himself out bringing Rua to the middle.  6 runs off 12 balls was the equation and the two youngsters made short work of it leading the 4s to victory with 9 balls to spare.

While “Pique’s” 140 will deservedly get the plaudits, the last ten overs with the ball which ensured we were chasing less than 250 were just as important.  Great team performance, with a special mention for Fraser for some fine fielding throughout and a long and controversy-free umpiring stint.  All in all, a fitting way to win promotion to even more super elite ESCA Div 4.


Season postscript from the skipper:


And so with one bound they are free – your correspondent was disappointed to have to miss their final match of the season when they overcame the might of Largo 2 in a high-scoring life or death tussle in the East Neuk.  [Readers will welcome the fact that this absence means that there is an intelligible match report of this gripping encounter from the stand in skipper above.  Ed]  As a result of this victory, the Positivelys finish a comfortable second in the super-elite division behind leaders Drummond Trinity 2. 

Of 16 matches played this season, they won 13.

Showing their respect for the laws of probability they won 8 tosses and lost 8 – a performance that at times seemed a miraculous improvement on last year’s achievement of winning only 2.  The Positivelys batted first on 4 occasions, twice by choice.  On one such occasion they got away with it thanks to a partnership of 164 between Eric Edwards and Gavin Murray.  The other was less happy as they tumbled to a sorry defeat.  It is not clear whether the skipper has yet recovered from the experience.

2415 runs were scored for 82 wickets; 2360 runs were conceded and 129 wickets taken.

The leading batsman was once again Eric Edwards who in 12 innings scored 578 at an average of 72.5.  His top score was 154*, and he also scored 95 and 90*.

Other major run scorers were Anish Amin, making a welcome return to cricket, with 216 in 6 innings, top score 90* and Paul Kentish whose 3 innings amassed 223 runs with a top score of 140.  2 others scored more than 100 runs this season - the early season appearances of Alex Fedenzcuk delivering 125 – top score 69* -  and  Gavin Murray 133 who had 2 half centuries – 63 and 52 surely a harbinger of things to come.  Other players who got half centuries were Zaki Yusaf and Chris McAllister.

Al Murray – fondly referred to by some team members as Wobbles  - outswung his way to 20 wickets to be leading wicket taker.  Sadly, defective navigational aids meant that he bowled a proportion of wides which inflated his average despite a best return of 3-3.  Duncan Sutherland therefore headed the bowling averages with 10 wickets at 9.40, best of 4-23, closely followed by Gavin Murray also with 10 wickets at 9.90.  His best was 4-15.  No bowler got a 5-fer.

Top catcher was Eric with 10: top outfield catcher was Mo Nouman whose capacious paws grabbed 4.

There were many challengers for highlight of the season  – the partnership of 164 between Eric and Gavin; the unbeaten partnership of 122 between Anish and Jamie; Paul’s promotion winning 140; Al Wobbles bowling a bemused batter round his legs; the skipper’s beyond miraculous pouching of a catch at slip; John Beattie’s home baked empire biscuits.

Teas, despite being confined to 20 minutes (which is actually more than enough time) were well up to, and on some occasions, beyond Carlton standards. 

A full set of match reports was again submitted.  There is no evidence that any was actually read by anyone.

Once again a number of guest players were spotted by the match reporter to the bemusement of everyone else.  They included:  Aretha Franklin, Leonard Bernstein, Beyonce, Simon Rattle, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Erwin Schrodinger, Cole Porter, David Hume, WG Grace, Ulysses, James Joyce, Rogers and Hammerstein, Bob Marley, Mick Jagger, Arno Schmidt, Richard Wagner, Galileo, Fraser Watts  [Who?  Ed], Stephen Hawking, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, John the Silent, Magnus Barelegs, Buddha, Prince of Wales, Mr and Mrs Harry Windsor (aka Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Count and Countess of Dumbarton and Baron and Baroness Kilkeel),  Edward III, Etta James, Shane Warne, Elton John, MC, Sally Bowles, Liza Minelli and last but not least Gustav Mahler whose bowling action remains a mystery.

The skipper thanks all 38 players who turned out.  Each made a significant contribution to the success of the season.  Best wishes for the close season.  See you all in the ultra-super-elite Division 4.