Another perfect summer’s day saw the Fifteen-Elevens make the arduous journey to the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Linlithgow, to take on the might of Linlithgow CC. Linlithgow is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Historians are agreed that Mary’s unhappy life would have been less unhappy had she had the opportunity to discover cricket. But, alas, the cricketing needs of young girls were sadly ignored in the 16th Century. That the cricketing needs of boys were similarly ignored at that time, may be pleaded in mitigation but, fundamentally, is no excuse for this oversight. Had Mary discovered the delights of the well-timed cover drive of the flighted off-break, she might well have kept her head. Things are better these days, and the development league widens the opportunities for young and old to reduce the risk of beheading. There was therefore much to relish as the teams assembled at Boghall.
With 3 women in the team the Fifteen-Elevens were showing what Mary Queen of Scots had missed out on. There are of course many references to groups of three women in history and culture. There are the Three Graces of Greek Mythology, Chekov’s Three Sisters, Wagner’s Rhinemaidens, Macbeth’s Weird Sisters, and above and beyond all these, the best girl group of all, the Supremes.
‘Yes, we’re the Supremes,’ Helen said. ‘ And I’m Diana Ross.’
Inspired amongst other things by the weather, Helen was about to lead them in a rendition of their great hit Automatically Sunshine only to be advised by the know-all skipper that by the time that fine song was recorded Diana Ross had left the group. Sadly she packed her gold lame dress for another day. The Happening didn’t happen.
The Fifteen-Elevens’ ranks had been bolstered by the overnight recruitment of Jeremy Blood following the unfortunate injury enforced withdrawal of Keiran Glass. Mr and Mrs Blood therefore join the Aitken-Drummonds as the second husband and wife combo to turn out in Carlton colours. One for the record books. Some Day We’ll Be Together Di was noticeably quiet on what blandishments or enticements she had used to persuade Jeremy to relinquish a cold drink and a seat in front of the final round of the Open for an afternoon chasing leather – it may have been that the honour itself was enough for Jeremy.
Nevertheless, ranks were somewhat thin at the start. The skipper’s phone pinged with messages promising imminent arrivals from all parts – You Keep Me Hangin’ On. Richard and Aadi Khadse had to hot foot it over ancient drovers’ tracks from morning commitments in Peebles. Nick Bell chose the green option to let the train take the strain only to arrive at the station to find all trains cancelled, yet again. A winding bus journey through the metropolis of Winchburgh proved an inferior substitute.
The skipper having convincingly lost the toss, Carlton were invited to bowl. Kyle and Lawrence hurled themselves into action; with the wicket true and the outfield slick, they did well to keep the batsmen relatively quiet for the opening overs. It took a run out and a good bit of fielding by Lawrence to break the partnership for the Fifteen-Elevens. Jeremy entered the action and successfully castled the other opener and Aadi made an immediate impact by taking a wicket in his first over, Manu moving smartly to grab a top edge. This left Linlithgow on 54-3 which looked a fair return for the first 12 overs. Things then began to slip away from the Fifteen-Elevens as Linlithgow skipper Alex Whitmarsh set about things with some purpose. He was well supported by Kilshore until Nick sprawled to take an excellent return catch. But Thomson also supported his skipper well and the score raced along. Di came on, the batsman swung, a catch – I Hear A Symphony Her first wicket! But no! The bottle of champagne Di travels with in expectation had to stay on ice for another week; she was denied as the ball was deemed a no-ball and celebrations had to be cut short. Whitmarsh’s retirement on a well made 50 provided only slight relief and the score continued to move along with Vorster Senior hitting cleanly on both sides of the wicket. Rahul came on to close the innings and bagged 3 wickets to leave him the most successful of the Carlton bowlers. Linlithgow posted an impressive 181-9 off their 30 overs.
For Carlton to make inroads into the Linlithgow total, the skipper said to his team that a good start was needed. He reminded them of the philosopher Diana Ross’s words, You Can’t Hurry Love. The team nodded in agreement. But in a shameful lack of leadership, he failed to make clear that his conception of a good start extended beyond the first over. Clearly the team thought that after the caution of that successful first over, a more adventurous approach was required. They decided to test the merits of Linlithgow’s fielders. Unfortunately for the Fifteen-Elevens, these were not found wanting and two run outs holed the ship below the waterline in the third over. Kyle and Sarah steaded the listing vessel a bit until they both played round straight deliveries in rapid succession. Lawrence succumbed in similar fashion after a handsome smack to the distant boundary. Nick was a victim to a top quality bit of fielding to be the team’s third run out. It was left to Jeremy to shore things up. Di resisted for several overs before being bowled. Diana Helen Ross was another victim to the straight delivery. Nothing But Heartaches Manu lofted over the field once but trying to repeat it could only loft it into midwicket’s hands. The less said about the skipper’s visit to the crease the better. His dwindling fan club will understand when told he faced a diminutive junior left arm spinner. Some Things You Never Get Used To
The skipper’s demise left Jeremy undefeated on 32, and the Fifteen-Elevens a mere 114 behind Linlithgow’s total. A narrow victory for the home side.
Linlithgow then sportingly bowled the remaining overs to give the less experienced Carlton batters another knock….and they creamed past 181 with a range of dazzling strokes to all parts of the ground……..
Another fine fun day of learning experiences for the young and not so young all played in the best spirit. Absolutely Sunshine.