Carlton 81/5 beat Merchiston 50 all out by 31 runs
On a sunny, blustery Thursday afternoon in May, the Carlton Primary Team headed to Colinton to play Merchiston Castle at their idyllic grounds. The scene was set, captain Max tossed up, lost, and graciously was asked to bat first. The relief felt was not the prospect of the fresh, green wicket we had been asked to bat first on, but more that Primary team at that point had only nine players – one arriving late, one no-show.
Undeterred, confidence was high as Freddy and Max swaggered to the crease, eager to start and facing a few of their Carlton teammates amongst the Merchiston boys. Unfortunately, the innings began in the worst way possible. In the first over Max defended a ball into the covers and called a quick single. Sadly he had picked out one of Carlton’s own, Hamish Foley, who smartly gathered and released to the waiting keeper and Freddy was out of his ground by inches, run out without facing a ball.
John Gill who joined Max in building an important partnership against the opening bowlers. The two ran well together, while Max hit three lovely fours to keep the runs flowing. John was then unluckily out in the end of the fourth over, caught at gully with another excellent piece of fielding. The pitch was proving lively and so many of the balls John faced came to him at chest level, including his dismissal. This is likely to be less of an issue in a few years time, assuming he takes after Gill the Elder.
With the score on 19-2 after 4 overs and new man Liam T in, Max continued his aggressive strokes and hard running. They formed another solid partnership that moved the score to 27 after 6 overs, which was ended by another run out. This time Liam was the unlucky one, falling prey to the third man who had crept closer and closer since the start of the innings. Outgoing Liam (T) was replaced by incoming Liam (BB), who had barely started his stay at the crease when Max fell for an excellent 25, caught low at cover going for another boundary.
Coming in at five was Jack, and with the score now 39-4 after 8 overs there was a danger of the team being unable to bat all 20 overs. This was not the case. Jack and Liam combined to produce a quite brilliant partnership, lasting until the final ball of the innings. They were very solid in defence, while still scoring a couple of boundaries each to the leg-side boundary. What was most impressive though was their running. After every ball a loud call was heard, especially audibly from Liam, whose cries of “Yes/No!” echoed loudly above the bagpipes being played at the nearby army barracks. Together the two batted very maturely, putting on 42 together to end the Primary Team’s innings on 81-5, a very solid score to defend.
There was a quick turnaround between innings, delayed only by the pilfering of teas and biscuits meant for parents by both teams (Reports that coach Angus was encouraging a team of 10-12 year olds to consume black coffee and down whole sugar packets in order to “get them amped up” can neither be confirmed or denied). Fuelled by the performance with the bat and other stimulants, the Primary team took the field with great energy, knowing a good start was needed against Merchiston’s strong top order.
To call the opening passage of play ‘A good start’ was an understatement. The deadly duo of Jack and Liam BB opened the bowling fresh from their batting partnership and wasted no time in continuing to play well together. The first wicket fell on the second ball of the innings, the batter chipping the delivery from Jack into the air, where John took an excellent catch at mid-wicket. The second fell just an over later, again the batter hitting the ball upwards, where Liam nonchalantly snaffled the catch off his own bowling. Liam had another wicket in his next over, this time bowling the batter with a ball angling in.
After the opening pair had bowled two overs each, the score was 14-3 and the pressure right on Merchiston. Things only got worse for them however, as Conal came on to bowl and got a wicket first ball, another catch being taken this time by Jack. John and Jamie T were up next for the Primary team, and both bowling tightly without reward. Max then brought himself on and took three wickets, one in his first over and two in his second and all three bowled, a testament to the accuracy of Max’s off spin. This left the score on 43-7 halfway through the innings, but with only three wickets left the Primary team were well on top. A quick keeper change followed, with John taking over from Liam T who had done superbly in his first game behind the stumps.
Innes was the next bowler on, and he took the eighth wicket, another catch for Jack. He bowled accurately along with Freddy: who came on to bowl despite hurting his finger diving to stop a ball, great bravery! The final two wickets were both run-outs, one to each of the Liams, meaning the Primary Team had won with Merchiston finishing on 50 all out, 31 runs adrift.
Overall it was a great game and a superb result for the Primary Team. Both teams fielded exceptionally well, illustrated by the number of catches and run-outs taken. On this front, special mention to Gregory, who on debut was so relentlessly encouraging in the field he had to be reminded not to continue his praise as the ball was being bowled. Great stuff.
Thanks to Merchiston for the game, for lending us a sub fielder for when we were in the field, and for their overall good sportsmanship. It was really pleasing to see so many of the Primary Team to perform so well, and to see them playing as a team, leading to a well-deserved win.