Sat. May 18th, 2024

Falcons washed out

Carlton Falcons vs Grange Lightning
Carlton U14 Falcons v Grange Lightning – rained off
The Falcons’ charmed summer came to a soggy halt on Monday 24 June.  Following two days of really quite warm sunshine, Monday was wet.  Very wet.  So wet that even the wet complained about the rain battering down on it.  Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, the Falcons’ game against Grange Lightning bowed to the inevitable, and dissolved.  That was a shame – I’d been at the nets with two Falcons on Sunday, one of whom was batting particularly well, the other bowling near-unplayable late swing.  Hope was – as it so often is on a Sunday evening – high.
But what to do to fill the long damp hours which should have been filled by cricket?  I polished the match ball; practised tossing the coin (incidentally winning every call against myself); devised a new spreadsheet to track yet more match statistics; mended the floppy practice stump (don’t ask); exercised my scorer’s wave (got to keep the arm in shape!) … and it was still only about the fourth over.  So I repaired to the cricket archives.
Many years ago, I was an occasional member of the Mathematical Cricket Club, and I seem to have retained a selection of their old scorebooks.  The Mathematicals were quite a side: Pythagoras could bisect the distance between fielders with ease when batting; Foucault’s bowling could swing like a pendulum; Newton opened the batting with gravity; Fermat was a specialist number 11 batsman (the cry “Fermat’s last man in” would go up from the spectators); Fourier could transform a match in an instant; and the skipper, as skippers are wont to be, was as old as time, so ancient that no-one was entirely sure of his age, nor of his ancestry (was he Hindu, or Chinese, or Arabic maybe?), but he claimed to have discovered the number zero, the curse of batsmen everywhere.  On perusing the ancient tomes, I was reminded of the Mathematicals’ habit of (perhaps deliberately) scoring in surprising sequences.  In the Erudite Scientists’ Cricket Association league in which they played, batsmen had to retire when they reached 31 runs, which led to some interesting results.
I was pleased to be reminded of one particular match against Chemical Cricket Club, an occasionally toxic affair.  The opening bowler, Chlorine, suffocated the Mathematicals’ batters, whilst at the other end, Fluorine’s teeth shone so brightly that they dazzled the batters.  Nonetheless, all 11 Mathematical batters scored a prime number of runs!  Furthermore, they all scored a different number of runs, and no-one scored the dreaded zero, not even the skipper.  The Chemicals’ bowling and fielding must have been exceptional that day, as they didn’t concede any extras at all.  Sadly, the ravages of time have damaged the bottom corner of the scorebook, and I can no longer read the Mathematicals’ total.  I wonder if any reader (in the unlikely event of there being any reader still left reading) can help figure it out?
One Carlton cricket cap to the person who gets nearest to the answer (yes, I know you’ve already got one, but you’ll have lost it by the end of the season).  Tie-breaker to demonstrate that you are approximately 13, and not an adult: Doc, Jackal, Maverick, Necromancer – which is the odd one out?
Martin Firth