Carlton 4th XI 2015 Fixtures and Results

All matches start at 1pm unless indicated.

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Sunday 26th April

ESCA Division 7
L West Lothian
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v
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Carlton 4
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153 for 5

Harry Simpson 2 for 29

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141 for 6

Tom Kujawa 31

Ben D'Ulisse reports ...

On the opening day of the 2015 Carlton 4th XI league season the team made the trip down to a sunny and bright Boghall to face West Lothian. The overall atmosphere was positive in the dressing room before the game. Bob went out to do the first toss of the season, eagerly anticipated by the other players on the boundary. It was a tense few minutes waiting for the answer.

Bob called us in and told the team that we were to field. The team then laced up their spikes and headed out for the first innings of the season. Tom Kujawa opened the bowling with the shiny red new ball and the batsmen did well to block out Tom’s first few overs.

Katie was next and she did well to get the ball swinging on the track and had a great spell. Tom was back and a great ball was bowler which flicked off the bat and was routinely taken by Myself behind the stumps and that was the Fours’ first wicket of the season!!

The next few spells were bowled by Tristram and Bob. A great spell by them, then Harry was on bowling and he started bright and tested the West Lothian batsmen. Harry then bowled a nice ball and pitched near the batsman’s toes then hit the top of off stump. The chat after the wicket was all about the points that players had gained to their fantasy team.

The mood was good in the field and Harry was back with a great ball, which the batsmen hit high in the air and Ian took a great running catch at long on. And then some great bowling spells by Mohammed and Tristan.

Bob came on for another spell and was swinging the ball making the West Lothian batters dance around in the crease. Bob bowled a fantastic ball which was hit high to Tom and taken confidently deep in the field. After that the opening bowlers came on, with a good spell by the West Lothian batsmen to get them to 153 and on the last ball of the West Lothian innings the ball was hit to Tom again at Fine Leg and a great throw to me at the stumps and I took the batsman's wicket ending him on 49 after the 40 overs.

The teas were a great selection from West Lothian. Tom Kujawa eagerly waited at the front of the queue wanting the first grabs at the selection of food. During tea the chat was all about fantasy team and Bob quickly put an end to the talk of all fantasy teams; “It was time to get out there”, Tom said.

Carlton batted after tea with Tom and Ian opening and starting strongly with Tom hitting good shots from an early stage of the game but he was cut short when he hit one up to long on, leaving him with a respectable total of 31. Ian and Eric calmed it down and started ticking the run rate over again then Ian was bowled by a good ball by the West Lothian pace bowler.

Martin came in and started to up the run rate and hit some great shots then Eric was bowled by a good ball. Then it was up to Katie; she had a great spell batting and did well to up the run rate before she was unfortunately bowled by another good ball. Carlton were then 4 down and needed 30 off 3 overs. Bob came in and hit some positive shots and Martin and Bob were looking good out in the middle. It was getting colder by the minute. Martin then hit one high up in the air and was taken well to the delight of the West Lothian watching crowd. Mo was in for the second last over and was bowled middle stump by a confident ball by the West Lothian pace bowler. David Simpson then walked out with Carlton needing 10 in the last. Bob was on strike and hit a one to cover then David sneaked a single. The crowd at the side were nervous and then Bob on the last ball hit a single down to long on. Carlton had lost by 8 runs.

Well done to everyone who played and thank you to West Lothian for a great game and we look forward to the return fixture.

Scorecard

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Saturday 2nd May

ESCA Division 7
L Carlton 4
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v
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Dunnikier 2
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181 for 8

Eric Edwards 38, Bob Irvine 31, Harry Simpson 29

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182 for 9

Editor’s note – long standing readers of these pages may have extracted comfort from last week’s report presented by Mr Ben D’Ulisse, which was commendable in its succinct summary of the proceedings of the match on which it reported. There was no distraction in the form of references to obscure Roman or Greek characters, anthropological mysteries or historical parallels. The description of the toss preceding the match was kept to the essential details. Most particularly readers will have extracted considerable relief from the absence of any reference to Gustav Mahler. Unfortunately Mr D’Ulisse is unavailable for match reporting duties this week, having inexplicably taken himself on a tour of First World War Battlefields. Rumours are that there is little to report from there since all matches ended some time ago.

Having last week therefore lulled readers into a false sense of security, the editor apologises for what comes next ...


The International Gustav Mahler Society [Groan. Ed] celebrates its 60th anniversary this year from its founding in Vienna in 1955. Amongst other things, the Society maintains a comprehensive archive of, and sponsors research into, Mahler’s life and works. Your correspondent has applied several times for support into his continuing project to identify with certainty Mahler’s bowling action. However for some inexplicable reason his applications have consistently been rejected. Your correspondent must therefore advise his faithful readers that speculation about the composer’s innovative development of the doosra while composing his monumental 8th symphony remains just that – speculation. He recognises that they will share his disappointment at not being able to bring certainty to this issue. He hopes this will not cloud their enjoyment either of that symphony or the vital work of Carlton 4’s on the cricket field Your correspondent is seeking alternative sources of support for this vital research – contributions anonymous or otherwise will be gratefully received. [Readers may spot the opportunity here to get rid of the correspondent for some time and may therefore find their generosity will know no bounds. Ed]

There is no evidence that Gustav Mahler ever visited Edinburgh’s Cavalry Park, to which the All Star Carlton 4th XI were consigned to fulfil their fixture against Dunnikier 2 yesterday. Had he done so, he might not have been overly impressed by the cloying long grass in the outfield and the remarkably short boundaries; for critics agree that it is clear from his Des Knaben Wunderhorn that his preferred outfield would be tightly mown and smooth. This was much on the minds of the All Stars who were still smarting from their skill at pulling a defeat out of victory in last week’s match. Could they make amends with a much changed side this week?

Your correspondent has reported many times on the cold at early, mid, high and late season matches around the grounds of the East League. A match 2 years ago at Peffermill was played in absolute zero – a temperature beyond which according to physicists it is not possible to go. However the laws of physics were rewritten yesterday as a biting east wind battered the ground from start to finish, with a smirr of drizzle adding a coup de grace to conditions as the match ended. The summer had truly started. A great leap forward for cryogenic science as it was proved that it is possible to play the leg glance while frozen stiff.

As is conventional, the All Stars skipper lost the toss by a margin significant enough to lead the junior members to doubt his earnest reports of close season practice. ‘Listening to Kindertotenleider is no kind of practice for lower league tossing,’ said Finley.

The All Stars were inserted and found it slow going for the first half on a 2 paced artificial track. They were not helped by the early run out of Shaun, another victim of the challenge of a spritely youth at one end not realising that a senior player does not accelerate from 0-60 in less than half an hour, if indeed he accelerates at all. Nevertheless it needed a fine piece of fielding and a direct hit to send Shaun back to the hutch. This was the first of 3 run outs in the All Stars innings as Martin Robertson and Pete Gill also fell victim. Eric was building momentum and was looking set on 38 when he was caught behind off a rising delivery from Sohail Ali, who then spent much of the rest of the afternoon upbraiding his colleagues at increasing length, rising volume and with increasing animation for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Harry Simpson showed great skill and style in progressing to 29 before also being caught behind – Harry’s correct shots suffered most from the long grass – on a proper outfield he would have had 50 easily in sight. The second half of the innings gained some acceleration as FB skilfully top edged his way to 32 and there were good contributions from Keith Murray (17), David Simpson (19*) and a couple of splendid boundaries from Finley. All Stars finished on 181-8 and sprinted to the warmth of a splendid tea. Many thanks to Pete and Finley’s Mums for additional scones and hot drinks. If Robert Falcon Scott’s team’s mums had been so attentive things might not have ended so sadly on their ill fated journey to the South Pole.

The tea that could have saved Robert Scott ...


Carlton had something to bowl at and the balance of advantage swung this way and that throughout the innings. Hari Thaivalappil bowled his first spell for Carlton and was unlucky to take only 2 wickets. Welcome to the club Hari. Proceedings were interrupted as a streaker from the adjacent rugby club made his cold and lonely way across the ground with nothing to admire but his bravery. (As Harry Simpson remarked this was an event similar to that reflected in Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer).

FB took a smart catch to dismiss danger man Ali off Harry Simpson – Harry would return the favour later by taking a fine diving catch at square leg off FB. Archie’s bouncers terrified a batter into standing on his wicket. By some miracle FB then held on to a towering, steepling, swirling, swinging, cloud touching [OK OK we get the picture. Ed] catch. ‘Wow,’said Pete,’How did you do that?’ ‘Easy’, said FB,’I just closed my eyes and stuck my hands out.’ Although wickets were falling the scoreboard was ticking on, with extras doing his bit. With the last man in the result could go any way, but Dunnikier held firm and veteran Jerry Ahmed managed to club the winning runs in the final over.

So a great disappointment to the All Stars again – unable as last week to force a win from a good position. Carlton obviously not a cold weather team – once they get the sun on their backs things will be different. And it had better come soon.

Scorecard

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Sunday 10th May

ESCA Division 7
  Carlton 4 v
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Murrayfield DAFS 4
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GL
 

RAINED OFF

In 350 BC [Groan, Ed] Aristotle wrote his treatise on Metereology. While much of Aristotle's work can safely be ignored by Doughty Groundsmen, for it is remarkably thin on the origins and treatment of thatch on sporting surfaces, this treatise is still of considerable use to them. For it contains one of the first accurate descriptions of the water cycle. It reaches a view that percolation and rainfall are necessary for the formation of rivers – based on the observation that the ground can be wet even though it is not raining. Precipitation and percolation complement each other.

Doughty Groundsmen have therefore been able to look from a clear blue sky out of which no rain is falling, to a sodden turf on which a river is in the process of forming and offer the view to a hopeful skipper that percolation was the issue and they would be as well returning home and spending the afternoon with Aristotle’s Ethics as they would hanging around the cricket ground in the expectation of play. It was a matter of no consequence to this Aristotlean logic that they had already spent most of the morning making their sandwiches.

So your correspondent arrived at Grange Loan in the expectation of the scheduled exciting tussle between Carlton’s All Star 4th XI and MDAFS 4. He had high hopes that the All Stars’ disappointing start to the season would be put behind them and they would demonstrate the seductive brand of exciting cricket that has made them a household name throughout cricket loving communities far and wide, at least as far as Morningside Road. His pulse quickened as he entered the splendid gates, seeing for the first time the magnificent towering structures of the fencing newly erected to prevent Fantasy Bob’s swashbuckling shots from disturbing the progress of traffic outside.

[Er, readers should be advised that there is a touch of poetic licence in the correspondent's work here, for having gained sight of the Carlton council minutes through the Freedom of Information legislation it is clear that the true purpose of the fence is to stop Fantasy Bob’s enticing mixture of long hops and half volleys being smashed into the street. Ed].

But instead of the keenly anticipated sight of the rigorous warm up routine of the All Stars, your correspondent was visited by the sight of the All Stars’ skipper on his knees, a desperately beseeching look on his face as he pleaded with the stern faced Doughty Groundsman who was holding the complete works of Aristotle in one hand and a Squeegee in the other. The actors were at a distance which made it difficult for your correspondent to make out their conversation, but he heard references to several familiar Aristotlean concepts, such as buckets fell overnight, more on the way, square is a mud heap already. As the skipper, prostrated himself and suggested that the newly emerged sun glinting from the grey firmament must be doing something, the Doughty Groundsman shook his head with a finality. ‘Too little, too late.’

The skipper was familiar with Bertrand Russell’s critiques of Aristotle. He was left with no choice. Slipping from his pocket a Magnum 357, the most powerful ice-cream in the world [Er, don’t you mean hand-gun. Ed] he blasted the Doughty Groundsman to smithereens, pitched the stumps, won the toss, scored 100* in quick time and took 5 wickets in a relatively simple win for the All Stars.....................................[Of course he did. Ed]

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Saturday 16th May

ESCA Division 7
W
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Broomhall 2
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v
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Carlton 4 shim
 

147 for 6

Harry Simpson 3 for 29, Mikey Brown 2 for 18

away

148 for 4

Zaki Yusaf 66*

Scorecard

Little is known about the late great BB King’s cricketing career.  However your correspondent has it on good authority [Which means you’re just making it up. Ed] that the doyen of blues guitarists was a committed Carlton fan, indeed some of his greatest blues numbers have been inspired by the travails of the club’s Fourth XI over the years.

Your correspondent therefore thinks it a fitting tribute to submit this match report  of the Carlton All Star 4th XI’s visit to Broomhall in the style of BB King. [Surely you mean' so called' match report. Ed]

Your correspondent woke up this mornin’ those All Star blues was in his head

Yes he woke up this morning those All Star blues was in his head

Two defeats from two and [For goodness sake you’re not going to keep this up are you? Ed.]

He drove down that long lonely road that only leads to Broomhall CC

Yeh, Yeh [Oh no, you are. Ed] , he went down that long lonely road to Broomhall CC

Yes, with Zaki Yusaf back and Maxwell Farrer also on the team

Sun was shining on the Delta [Don’t you mean the Firth of Forth? Ed] as they all arrived

Yes, the sun was shining on the Firth of Forth as the All Stars did arrive

They needed twenty points just to keep their season alive

The skipper went to the middle - came back with those lost toss blues all round his soul

Well, he don’t know how it happened  [No but everyone else does.  Ed] - lost toss blues all round his soul

The All Stars had seen these devil blues too much, but they were asked to bowl

Gill and McGill bowled tight lines and Broomhall found runs hard to make

Yes Pete and Katie did their job real well and runs were hard to make

But those bad ol’ no wicket blues was what they both had to take

After twenty overs the score was only 60 but a wicket still had to fall

Yes, the All Stars needed a breakthrough – but that bad ol’ wicket still had to fall

Not much chance of that happening since the skipper had the ball

Just when opening stand blues was settin’ in

Mikey Brown took middle stump

Then Zaki took a running catch off Harry

and the dive began to jump..................

At this point your correspondent finds it difficult to render the exquisite guitar break which follows with its distinctive vibrato [Don’t you mean that there was a break for a rain shower? Ed] which eventually rendered Broomall 147 for 6 at the end of their 40 overs.  Harry finished with 3-29 in another exemplary bowling display; Mikey (who had made earlier use of a spike-key; crikey, how likely was that........[Groan.  Bring back BB King.  Ed] 2-18 off a lively spell.  An excellent overhead catch by Katie at long off rounded off a top drawer fielding display – Max saving lots of runs in a fine effort.  For once there were no dropped catch blues. 

All Stars fans will be aware that The Thrill is Gone may well be BB King’s most enduring hit [And opinions are divided on whether it was inspired by sight of yet another of Fantasy Bob’s bowling spells up the hill against the wind.  Ed] However it provides an appropriate base to improvise around in the next number in this tribute.

The tea is gone
The tea is gone away
The tea is gone baby
The tea is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you'll have to bat today

Harry is gone

Yes Harry is stumped real quick

Yes Harry is gone baby

The wicket keeper’s slick

An Eric’s gone LB

Though he thinks he got a nick

The Barnacle’s gone

He’s top edged and been caught

At 36 for 3 baby

The All Stars are lookin’ fraught

But Al and Zak are steady baby

And begin to play their shots

Al is gone

Yes Al is caught behind

Al is gone baby

With twenty runs still to find

So the skipper has to bat baby

Gives everyone a worried mind

But Zaki’s not gone

Brings his fifty up

Yes Zaki’s not gone baby..........................

[At this point in the tape there is more extended guitar work interspersed with some nonsense about how the skipper battled the blues to deliver a hard fought win. Lots of exhortations of Yeh, yeh, and oh baby........ The editorial team is sceptical since contemporary verbal testimony suggest that the skipper faced no more than 4 balls and Zaki seeing the danger signs decided to get things over as quickly as possible by taking 4,4,6 off the first 3 balls of the 29th over .  Ed]

Your correspondent is therefore pleased to report that the BB King inspired XI recorded a solid win and have finally got their season underway.  Good contributions all round, with Zaki’s innings a highlight to complement Harry’s bowling. 

Thanks to Broomhall for a match played in fine spirits and we look forward to welcoming you later in the season.  Yeh baby............................

BB King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)

RIP

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Saturday 23rd May

ESCA Division 7
L Carlton 4
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v
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Glenrothes 3
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135 for 5

Alan Murray 40*

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Mead

138 for 5

Scorecard

Your correspondent must confess that his knowledge of the disciplines of physical chemistry is of a lower league standard.  He would not know which end of a spectroscope to blow into.  Protons and photons and neutrons are to him indistinguishable from croutons, crampons and soupcons.  He was therefore unprepared for the demonstration of scientific principle which formed the latter stages of yesterday’s All Stars tussle with Glenrothes 3.

As he arrived at Edinburgh’s Home of Cricket, known disrespectfully by non-cricketers as the Meadows, for yesterday’s mouth-watering encounter, even he could observe that there were a lot of photons about.  There seemed no credible scientific explanation for the bright sunshine and the uncharacteristically warm breeze.  A summer’s day in Edinburgh?  In May?  Some thought such unnatural events meant that the Apocalypse must also be near.   Although your correspondent eschews such mysticism, he looked forward to the possibility of further unnatural events that afternoon such as an attacking shot from that assemblage of protons known as Barnacle Barrett.

And yet it was not fear of the Apocalypse, or of Barnacle’s lost cover drive, that explained your correspondent’s trepidation as he arrived at the ground – nor was it fear for the prospects of the All Stars, buoyant after last week’s victory, and able to field a neutron rich team of all the talents [Surely you mean ages.  Ed].  But there was something niggling at the back of his mind.  A bowler short?  The lack of an attacking bat?  No left handers?  No, it was none of these.  It was the sad fact that the Home Of Cricket festooned by all manner of humanity in all states of undress and hydration on such a photon rich day made available only one small toilet. A batsman may face danger in being caught by the unevenness of a Meadows’ wicket but the danger of being caught in the queue at the toilet is even greater. 

Mindful of this, the All Stars made their way to the pitch and having cleared assorted picnickers, footballers, sun-bathers, spectroscopic analysts and philosophers from the outfield, pitched the wickets and stood back ready for the skipper to lose the toss. 

Which he duly did.  By miles. A margin not thought possible according to conventional science. Had a spectroscope had been available to examine this toss, the margin of its loss would have been off the scale. 

It is Epictetus [I suppose you’re going to tell us that the founder of Stoic philosophy who lived between 55 and 135AD was a handy seam bowler and middle order bat or some such nonsense.  Frankly you need not bother, for we all know that you would just be making that up.  Ed] who teaches that all external events are determined by fate and that accordingly we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately.  This is the fundamental of Stoic philosophy.  Your correspondent thinks this is all very well for Epictetus, who most scholars agree never found himself part of a cricket team who had lost 3 successive tosses [Yes yes yes, see what I mean. Ed], far less marooned in the middle of a vast expanse of grass with only one distant toilet available to him [Far more likely – but please just get on with telling readers about the match, they have had about as much of this as they can take. Ed].  These are circumstances which would have tested his Stoic principles - spectroscopic analysis or not.

So it was that the All Stars found themselves invited to bat. [Hooray, some cricket at last.  Ed]  Glenrothes’ opening attack was accurate and runs were hard to come by. It was not long before Carlton were in a bit of trouble at 28 for 3 – with all 3 wickets going to A Ali whose snaking off cutters found their way through the defences of Simpson, Barrett and Edwards and onto their middle stump.  When Zaki was smartly caught in the deep, things looked in dire need of a good dose of Stoicism – 49 for 4 after 17 overs.

Nor was much needed by way of spectroscopic analysis to know that the situation were pretty dire – neutrons, protons and photons seemed in short supply quite apart from runs on the board.  Al Murray and Max Farrer then dug in, playing straight and with considerable caution.  But runs remained hard to come by and the score mounted slowly as the overs ticked away.  Max eventually succumbed in the 35th over for a commendable 19 with score on 105.  It was left to the skipper and Al to push the score on in the final 5 overs – Al finishing on a brave 40*, the skipper 14*.  135 for 5.

An admirably Stoic total, for Epictetus himself died in 135 AD.  He might have observed in his calm and dispassionate manner that while there was something to bowl at, another 20-30 runs would have been more than handy.

Following spectroscopic analysis your correspondent understands that tea was of the highest standard and enjoyed by all.

It was at that point that the All Stars’ stoicism was further tested as a DJ started up a cacophony in front of the Home of Cricket’s historic pavilion.  Not only did this block the route to the toilet but the rest of the match had inappropriate disco hits for accompaniment.  Even Epictetus would concede that no bowler could be inspired to a fivefer with the dirge like strains and jejune lyrics of Imagine droning in the background.

Despite this wholly unnecessary aural pollution, Carlton made early inroads and had Glenrothes 49 for 4 after 16.  3 good catches – 2 for Max and one for Eric gave wickets to Callum, Mikey and Harry and the skipper’s celebrated straight ball cartwheeled the middle stump.  [Are you sure?  Other testimony suggests that the ball barely had enough energy to reach the stumps.  Ed]

Physicists and chemists linger late into the night celebrating with much mirth and banter the Raman effect (discovered in 1923 by C. V. Raman and K. S. Krishnan)  – by which term they refer to the inelastic scattering of a photon and the Raman Spectroscope which uses that scattering to identify molecules.  Your correspondent witnessed the equivalent, and homophonic, [The editorial staff would like to reassure readers that this is a posh word meaning sounding alike, the correspondent is not making any unfortunate allusion to sexual or other preferences.  He appears in fact to be attempting a joke.  We apologise to readers who may be disturbed by what comes next.  Ed] Rehman effect by which term physicists describe the all too elastic scattering of cricket balls to distant parts of the field.  The Rehman Spectroscope has also been used to identify fielders scattered to similarly distant parts of the field, though it observes that their impacts on observable events other than retrieving the ball (itself now thought to be a concentrated collection of protons and neutrons in a stitched red cover) is negligible.  This is frequently compared in scientific journals to the impact of the Carlton 4s skipper at the toss. 

Carlton looked well on top when F Rehman came to the wicket. Glenrothes needed 95. Rehman scored 77 of them, hitting the ball cleanly from the off.  His 5 sixes each cleared the boundary by several yards, bringing up Glenrothes’ victory in the 33rd over. 

Carlton had made a severe tactical mistake in getting the early batsmen out.  They brought the Apocalypse on themselves.  For as Epictetus taught, cricketers ‘should not to forget the transitory character of all external advantages, even in the midst of their enjoyment of them; but should always to bear in mind that they are not their own, and that therefore they do not properly belong to them.’  So it proved.  And he further advised that cricketers will not be troubled at any loss, but will say to themselves on such an occasion: "I have lost nothing that belongs to me; it was not something of mine that was torn from me, but something that was not in my power has left me." 

Was the infernal DJ a true follower of Epictetus?  For as the disconsolate All Stars trudged wearily from the field he cranked his system up with Gloria Gaynor – I will survive.............

Your correspondent looks for a quick return to winning form.  The skipper is unavailable which at least means that the prospects of the toss being won have increased exponentially.

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Saturday 30th May

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4 v
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180 for 8

Shaun Barrett 52, Alex Fedenczuk 26*, Ben d'Ulisse 21

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Pef

34 all out

Hari Thaivalappil 5 for 4

Chris reports ...

With Feds taking on the captaincy for the day, the 4th team sauntered across to Peffermill to play host to Stewarts Melville. Feds walked out to toss up, with the team fully expecting a comprehensive defeat. However, the smile on Feds' face as he returned, suggested otherwise. He won, mind you, I'm putting this down to the opposition losing and not Feds’ tossing skills!

Chris and Keith opened up on what looked like a good wicket, which played so well a couple of weeks ago. Wanting a solid start, Chris fell cheaply offering a caught and bowled opportunity, not the best way to sign off! This brought Ben D’Ulisse to the crease and he and Keith played sensibly on what was proving to be a slow pitch. With Ben working the singles and Keith punishing the lose deliveries, our score was rising nicely. However, both Keith and Ben fell in close succession for well composed 15 and 21 respectively.

Not to worry, Zaki was next in. A quick mention of the shortness of the leg side boundary was seen to many, as a perfectly reasonable observation, which would be exploited if the ball was there to be hit. Zaki thought otherwise. A technically superb leave first ball suggested he was focussed and ready to get a big score. The big sweep second ball off middle stump suggested otherwise. Sorry Zaki, it was just too funny to leave out!

A slowness of the wicket caused trouble to the middle order, resulting in more caught and bowled dismissals. This brought the mighty pairing of Pete Gill and Shaun Barrett to the crease. This pair refocused our innings, providing the stability to post a high score. Both players played wisely, with Pete, playing with a beautifully straight bat, supporting the more aggressive Shaun.

An overall thought that if we bat the overs, a competitive score would be achieved, which is why Shaun and Pete deserve great credit in holding our innings together. Pete unfortunately fell for 10, which brought captain for the day Feds in. He continued in Pete’s fashion stroking the ball nicely whilst at the other end Shaun reached a thoroughly well-deserved half century. Shaun unfortunately fell for 52 leaving Max Farrer the task of being the non-striker with one ball left. Just what all players want to do who have been fully padded up for a good hour! One ball remaining, Feds is on strike. Would it be a dot which we have all come to expect, maybe even a one, surely nothing more. What happened next was close to a miracle. Two steps up the wicket and with the biggest swing he could possibly do, the ball trickled for four. With that a score of 180 was posted, something which we were very confident of defending.

Now for the best part of the day, the tea. Samosas after Samosa were provided along with a selection of cakes and desserts. We all felt we had excelled with our spread. However, Pete Gill suddenly brought across a tin of possibly the best scones anybody could wish for and trumped us all. If only Gav could have seen this!

We took to the field, a solid two stone heavier than we finished, so worth it, and opened with Sibley and Gill. An incentive to Pete was raised, as for every wicket he gets, we get a scone. What an incentive that proved to be. A great line and length were bowled by both, creating havoc in the Stew Mel top order. Both lads finished with figures of 2 for 10, a great start. Tom Kujawa and H. Thaivalappil replaced both and Hari’s start couldn’t have been better with a wicket with the first ball. Hari was obviously in a hurry as he ripped through the rest of the Stew Mel’s batsmen, finishing with 5 wickets for 4 runs off only 3.4 overs. Tom Kujawa was extremely unlucky not to pick up a wicket as he bowled just as well as everyone else, next time you’ll clean up! The brilliant bowling was supplemented with a great fielding effort with catches being taken that would only be described as half chances.

An excellent performance all round with special mention to Hari and his alliterative tongue twister bowling figures of five for four. Unfortunately for him and Shaun, the performance of the day goes to Pete Gill and his family whose fruit scones were in a league of their own. Roll on next week.

 

Scorecard

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Sunday 7th June

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4 v
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Dalgety Bay
  97 for 2 home
GL

96 all out

Max Farrer 3 for 24

Barnacle reports ...

Carlton 4s welcomed Dalgety Bay to a sun drenched Grange Loan.  Carlton's hopes of getting something from the game were boosted by the fact that only 9 were able to travel across the bridge, more specifically the absence of Murray Forbes who on his last two visits to Grange Loan left with a century on each occasion.  The Kingdom of Fife border patrol policies are under review.

Skipper Fedenczuk narrowly lost the toss and Dalgety Bay chose first use of a pitch that had delivered 547 runs for the loss of only 7 wickets 24 hours earlier.

Dalgety Bay found it tough going against opening pair Duncan Sutherland and Broy Blood.   In Duncan's third over opener Kirkman got the faintest nick onto pad, thigh guard and trouser pocket and was caught behind, sportingly walking to absolve the umpire from trying to unravel the mysteries of how the "magic ball" managed to find its way into Fedenczuk's gloves.  Soon after, the same bowler thudded into the pads of number 3 Newson who, after bending down to retrieve the ball, looked up and was surprised to find he had been triggered .... A sheepish umpire explained "I thought you were walking."  The visitors never recovered from the early loss of their top batsmen and, apart from a hugely entertaining, quick fire 33 from Singh Kahlen, struggled against a very solid bowling performance.  All bowlers left with credit as Dalgety were left stranded on 96-8 after 30 overs:  Sutherland (8-2-19-2); Blood (5-1-17-0); Farrer (8-1-24-3); Andrews (4-0-10-1); Colhoun (4-1-15-1); Yusaf (2.3-1-6-1).  All catches were held on the day including two steepling ones at deep square leg by Sutherland and Blood respectively.

After a brief, empire biscuit free, tea (beautifully laid out by tri-athlete Martin Robertson) Carlton began the run chase.   In a time where everyone else is talking about "a new brand of cricket" Carlton refused to succumb to any of that nonsense and sent out "Barnacle" Barrett and "the Shoveler" Keith Murray .... 100 in 40 overs is what these boys were born for.  At this level of cricket Dalgety Bay's attack is head and shoulders above most and Carlton's top two treated them with the respect they deserved.  At the break the All Stars were 48 without loss.  The glacial progress, on this perfect batting pitch, was ideal for those spectators intent on snoozing in the sun but cricket lovers were heard sobbing against the loud cries of "NO" and "WAIT" coming from the middle.   Barrett departed (22, 53-1), Murray (21, 81-2) soon after leaving Yusaf (28 no) and Farrer (8no) with the easiest of jobs to bring home the victory.

Thanks to Dalgety Bay, top bunch of guys, and apologies to all cricket lovers who watched the chase.

Scorecard

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Saturday 13th June

ESCA Division 7
W
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Morton 2
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v
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Carlton 4 shim
 

92 all out

Duncan Sutherland 4 for 26

away

100 all out

Ruairidh Main 37

Scorecard

Barnacle reports ...

With skipper Fantasy Bob at the Junior World Cup in Italy andstand-in skipper Alex Fedenczuk in Poland having more consonants added to his surname,  Barnacle Barrett was the stand-in for the stand-in skipper for the day.  Understandable?  The Carlton selection illuminati did a fine job providing him with 9 front line bowlers and Martin Robertson to take on the might of Morton at the Meadows...the "Home of Cricket".

The recent heat wave had finally broken, the fiery orb in the sky had disappeared, perhaps never to return, and under freezing, dank conditions Carlton lost the toss and were invited to bat.  The change in weather did at least mean there was a minimum number of barbecues, marching bands and kite flying conventions to be moved off the square before the game could begin

Even by Meadows standards it was an interesting pitch, amplified swing, exaggerated seam movement, "puddinous" tennis ball bounce, explosive lift off from a length and "shooters" barely rising from the pitch mark - usually all in the same over.  Ruairidh Main (37) and Martin Robertson (15) led the top 5 to deliver 66 runs, Barrett (22) and the tail added 33 runs to get Carlton to 99, bowled out in 36.5 overs.

Morton's pursuit began confidently against a few loose deliveries and they raced to 20 after 4 overs but eventually Carlton's bowlers found their line and length.  Callum Sibley and Duncan Sutherland pulled the score back. Pete Gill (5-1-15-1), Sam Marchbank (5-2-8-0) and Harry Simpson (5-0-13-1) continued to apply pressure in the middle overs without any luck

Under Antarctic conditions play was held up briefly as a colony of penguins waddled slowly behind the bowler's arm along the Meadows Walk ... we later discovered it was a group of Nuns from St Catherine's Convent of Mercy on Lauriston Gardens out for their daily constitutional walk.

At the drinks break Morton were 58-4 with Farrell and Nanda going well. Callum came back on after drinks and immediately broke the key partnership by knocking back Farrell's (14, 59-5) off stump with an unplayable one that jagged back.  Harry removed Nanda (20, 73-6) .... Game on.  Morton inched their way towards their target but even with the score on 85, 15 needed 4 wickets left, Carlton continued to bowl with intent and intelligence.  Steven Andrews (4-0-10-2) made first inroads with 2 in 2, both huge off cutters (85-8), before Duncan Sutherland (7-0-26-4) wrapped up the last two, ended the game by trapping Ashby plumb in front.  Morton were bowled out for 92 in 34 overs leaving Carlton narrow winners by 7 runs.

The bowling was supported by excellent fielding with special mention to Archie Robertson and Max Farrer at point and square leg, they were in the game all day.  Max took an astonishing sprawling catch to get rid of big hitting, man mountain Highfield.  But on a day where the ball dominated, Ruairidh was the only one on either side to look like a proper batsman.  Congratulations to him and all the bowlers who conjured up this unlikely but important win.

Thanks also to Morton, top bunch, a bonkers wicket keeper, great fun, very competitive but play in the right spirit, the quality of their umpiring gave them great credit especially in such a tight game.  Wish them well for the rest of the season and look forward to a rematch on the Meadows at the end of the season.

One last note, we learnt today that FINALLY the Meadows will be formally recognised as the true "Home of Cricket".  Cricket Scotland and the ECB have come together and commissioned a mixed media piece to be installed on the top of the Pavilion Cafe on Jawbone Walk to celebrate its status and legendary standing.  Through our secret contact inside Cricket Scotland (codename deep cover) we received an early disclosure of this fine artwork........not convinced they've got Bob's nose quiet right?

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Saturday 20th June

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4 v
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Musselburgh 2
 

271 for 4

Zaki Yusaf 152*, Max Farrer 53

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GL

157 for 6

Max Farrer 3 for 19

Scorecard

Photos

Barnacle reports ...

Last week's stand-in skipper, Barnacle Barrett, once again stood-in for the stand out stand-in Alex Fedenczuk and the stay away, but outstanding, Fantasy Bob. Still understandable? 

The Carlton selection illuminati responded to last week's criticism of providing 9 front line bowlers in the starting XI that defeated Morton and this week went with only 8 to take on Musselburgh 2 at Grange Loan.  Given the strengthened batting line up, on winning the toss Carlton elected to bat.

The Saturday crowd whooped with delight to learn the "glacial twins" Keith Murray and Barrett had been separated at the top of the order as Oli Rae opened with Keith.   Against tidy but largely unthreatening bowling the opening pair made steady progress until Oli (18, 36-1) played a little early to Miller and chipped one back to the bowler.  Ben D'Ulisse came in at three and slapped Miller's next ball, a wide, going wider, straight into the hands of cover point (36-2).  Zaki Yusaf and Keith carefully doubled the score until, four balls before the drinks, imperfection crept into Keith's normally perfect forward lunge and he was undone by one that turned, bowled through the gate (71-3, Murray 23).

What followed thereafter was exhilarating for anyone without a Musselburgh postcode.  Zaki and Max Farrer put together the defining partnership of the day, probably of the season and probably in All Star 4th XI history.......160 runs in 17 overs.  Zaki reached his first career hundred and soon afterwards Max (below) reached his first senior 50.   

The partnership was eventually broken when Max (53, 231-4) tried to launch a ball over cow corner - his first false shot of the day.  There was still time for Gregor McIntyre (11 no) to showcase his batting skills with a few fluent cover drives and off the fourth ball of the final over Zaki, with a monster 6 over mid wicket, acrobatically finger tipped over the ropes by on-loan fielder Alan Murray, brought up his 150.  The fifth ball of the final over he dropped into Barnacle mode, batting for his average, dropped a single, walked to the non strikers end and leant on his bat to watch out the final ball of the innings.  Carlton finished on 271-4, Zaki 152 no, with 24x4 and 1x6, 200 runs in the final 20 overs.  Magnificent.

As if the day couldn't get any better Tea was provided by the "Grange Loan on a Saturday Experience" team. There were proper triangular sandwiches (including egg AND cress), cup cakes,  pork pies, a balanced abundance of assorted chocolate things and fresh fruit.  Keith, Ferg Whatley and I discussed the pros and cons of the "5:2(TM) intermittent fasting diet" and unanimously agreed today would be an "all you can eat day".  Many thanks from both teams to Lynne, Karen and Brian.

At the start of the second half, Zaki retired to second slip, Sam Marchbank and Steven Andrews opened the bowling,  Steven captured an early breakthrough bowling Gilbert and thereafter Turnbull and MacKenzie set up camp against disciplined bowling. 

First change bowlers Gregor and Oli maintained the pressure.  Gregor was unlucky with a couple of close lbw calls from the scoreboard end and 3rd umpire Hugo D' Ulisse from the comfort of his shed roof, directly behind the bowler's arm, had no hesitation triggering a plumb one but the decision was unexpectedly overturned by the umpire at the crease.

Eventually Gregor (7-3-14-1) took developing tension between Hugo and the on field umpire out of the equation by sending MacKenzie's (26) leg stump spiralling backwards.  At the break Musselburgh were 65-2.  Oli (8-1-30-1) bowled through and her excellent spell was rewarded with the key wicket of Musselburgh skipper Turnbull (28). 

Against accurate bowling the visitors found it hard to realise anything resembling a threatening run chase, however, they continued to play shots.  Singh (23), Ahmed (42) and Martin (23) clubbed attractive runs before falling to the mysteries of Max (5-0-19-3).   Sam (8-0-37-0) and Steven (7-1-17-1) bowled out.  As part of Ben's ongoing development as a wicket keeper we made him keep against Ferg's mixture of filth and rippers (5-0-37-0) and also put Ferg at first slip - more filth, more rippers.  Musselburgh ended on 157-6 in their 40 overs.


Top batting, bowling and fielding performance.  Special congratulations to Zaki and Max on their milestones,  it was a day we will talk about in years to come and ask the question "Where were you when Zaki made 152 not out?" -  in the case of Hugo "sat on top of my shed drinking a beer".   

Thanks to our pals from Musselburgh,  great bunch including a sporting rarebit of a Welsh cricketer in their midst, best of luck for the rest of the season.

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Saturday 27th June

ESCA Division 7
W
Carlton 4 v
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West Lothian 3
   

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Peff

 

MATCH CONCEDED BY WEST LOTHIAN

Your correspondent’s return to Edinburgh from his trip to Italy has coincided fortuitously with the simultaneous return of Fantasy Bob to these islands.  [A very strange coincidence but I suppose we should welcome you both back.  Ed] 

Your correspondent’s real time personalised executive news feed [Don’t you mean Twitter? Ed] had told him of the overwhelming success of the Carlton All Star 4th XI in the absence of their so called inspirational skipper [I think you mean perspirational.  Ed]- four wins from four, four match reports presented with not a whiff of an irrelevant reference to Gustav Mahler and from which the outcome and key events of the match reported on were easily discerned [Is there a learning point for you there?  Ed], and to crown it all a disproportionate number of tosses won – and won by convincing margins.  

There seemed only one conclusion that could be drawn from this, so your correspondent was surprised to find FB named on the team sheet for this weekend’s scheduled fixture against West Lothian 3.   Evidently FB’s trip abroad was a ruse for an extended consultation with Mr Sepp Blatter about how to ensure that due process does not get in the way of a desired outcome.  Your correspondent understands that brown envelopes seen during the selection committee were used solely for the purpose of scribbling possible batting orders on and any suggestion as to other uses made of them will be strongly contested in the courts.  Nevertheless your correspondent thinks that the sudden availability of empire biscuits to the members may be an issue for further investigation by the FBI. 

While it is an open question at Grange Loan whether the joint return of FB and your correspondent is a cause for celebration, there was no doubt as to the response in the club rooms of West Lothian CC when they heard the news.  A source close to the future president of Cricket Scotland passed your correspondent a verbatim transcript of the key part of their meeting: 

Now, the 3s have the glamour fixture against Carlton 4. 

Should be easy. I heard that Fantasy Bob’s back. 

So what, we’ll win the toss 

That’s for sure. 

And we’ll get a few overs of half-trackers 

Yes, but......

But what?

 The correspondent’s back too. 

Oh no, what fool in the Home Office let that happen? That means there’ll be one of those match reports 

[Loud groans from all present] 

Well, I’m not going to be compared to Gustav Mahler. I don’t bloody care what his bowling action is. I can’t take the shame of it. I’m not available.

And I can’t face being mentioned in the match report – I’m just out of psychotherapy from the last report – I can’t play

Sorry, skip just remembered I’ve to go on holiday on Saturday...........

Me too

And me

Sadly as emergency phone calls were made to travel agents,  numbers dwindled and West Lothian were forced to concede the match. A conceded match is always a disappointment for both sides. 

Carlton wish West Lothian every success for the rest of the season when the holiday season is over and the threat of being mentioned in incomprehensible match reports has declined.

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Saturday 4th July

ESCA Division 7
W
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Dunnikier 2
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v
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Carlton 4 shim
 

124 for 9

Ruth Willis 3 for 23

away

125 for 3

Eric Edwards 70*

Scorecard

Your correspondent had just finished a good morning’s work putting the finishing touches to his match report for the Carlton All Star 4th XI’s clash with Dunnikier. With Grange Loan and all other cricket grounds in Scotland submerged by the overnight monsoon, it seemed unlikely that there would be any cricket today so he put pen to paper to compose another of those ever popular reports of matches that are not played. As he proudly rounded the piece off, he got the surprise notice that Dunnikier had said their pitch was playable so the match was on. He therefore put his match report aside with a sigh, to be used another day when his readers will enjoy getting nearer resolving the riddle of Gustav Mahler’s bowling action. [You don’t really think they care do you? Ed]

The players assembled at Grange Loan for the trip abroad [Don’t you mean to Fife? Ed] bedraggedly clad in a variety of sou’westers, galloshes, wellingtons and mackintoshes, the incredulity writ deep in their youthful faces. They looked at the puddles and at the grey looming sky all around and wondered if someone had taken leave of their senses. They looked at their skipper [All the confirmation they would need you would think. Ed]

And yet they needed no reminding of the significance of the day. As their skipper told them, 160 years ago to the day the American poet Walt Whitman first published his great work Leaves of Grass – a misleading title for it contains no guidance which will help a doughty groundsman prepare a perfect batting surface. [Ha, Ha – is that the best you can do? Ed] Instead it contains a series of elegiac speculations on the bond between man and nature and the emerging cultural identity of the USA. There is little cricketing matter. [Is this relevant to anything? Ed]

(Dear Readers, You will understand that your correspondent wearies at these continual interruptions by this Ed character. He looks on it as a cross all great artists have to bear. He is reminded that Gustav Mahler for example was continually [No! That’s enough - for goodness’ sake just get on with it. Ed]

Young Pete Gill listened carefully to words of his skipper, nodded and replied, ‘That’s all very interesting FB, but isn’t it more important that if we win today we go into a promotion slot. I know you’re going to rabbit on about Whitman’s great poem, O Captain! My Captain! ............but perhaps we should focus on getting the points in the bag first.........’

Your correspondent has observed before that some youngsters in the All Stars are mature beyond their years. [And mature beyond the older players in the team. Ed]

The clouds seemed to lower as the party crossed the Forth and made their way to the ground. Would play be subject to as many interruptions as this match report? Your correspondent feared the possibility.

They found Dunnikier Park damp but certainly playable with the sun bravely attempting to peep from behind the clouds. Pete Gill again button holed the skipper, ‘Well, FB, what does Walt Whitman say about tosses?’ For the moment had come.

The Dunnikier skipper strode to the middle with FB behind him, his steps faltering like the condemned man going to the gallows.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;


‘You don’t mean that you won the toss?’ Players had to be revived and resuscitated. Many shed tears. Some had waited all their careers for such a moment.

FB retired exhausted from this triumph – he delegated on field captaincy to Fergus Beardsley [I think you mean Whatley. Ed] and spent the afternoon at mid off where his only contribution to the rest of proceedings was to shell a catch.

Carlton took the field with the sun now firmly in the sky and an inviting sticky dog to bowl on. Sibley and Sutherland opened and were as luckless as FB on a good day. The opening Ahmeds batted with care and offered nothing – scoring was not brisk but they stayed in. Andrews and Willis took over and it was Ruth (3-23), golden haired and golden armed, who struck with 3 quick wickets. 50-0 became 58-3 and Carlton had momentum.

Fergus rotated the bowling and each chipped in. Gill and Simpson bowled immaculately slowed the scoring to a snail’s pace taking 1 wicket apiece. The Dunnikier skipper knew that something was called for – and presented your correspondent with a new sight on a cricket field by marching out to take his turn at the crease wielding a black bat. It availed him nought (although he scored 2). Your correspondent secured a snap of the black bat (left) for posterity.


Dunnikier tried to put pressure on the field and accelerate the scoring to no avail for fine outfielding by Duncan and Calum ensured 2 run-outs.Wickets also went to Fergus and Hari to leave Dunnikier 124-9 at the end of the 40 overs. A flawless performance in the field [I thought you said the skipper shelled one. Ed]. Your correspondent stands corrected - a near flawless performance in the field, but the job was only half done – runs would be hard to come by on a tricky surface.

The sun was now shining for all it was worth. Sou’westers had been stowed in favour of sun hats and sun cream. A perfect afternoon for cricket – and what were the Carlton Firsts and Seconds doing?



Edwards and Simpson opened. They had pushed the score to 30 when Harry was unluckily bowled off his legs. One stopped on Duncan who was caught at mid wicket and when Zaki was lbw for 9, Carlton were 49-3 off 12. Work still had to be done. But were things so desperate that the skipper had to don his pads? This sent the message to Hari and Eric who comfortably took Carlton to the winning post. Increasingly confident in despatching anything loose, Eric brought up his 50 with a merciless 4 through extra cover and went on to finish on 70* – the highlight was a huge 6 which stopped just short of the rhododendrons. An excellent innings. Hari supported him well to finish on 23*. Carlton won by 7 wickets and surge into a promotion slot. An excellent all round effort - it just shows what can be done when the skipper wins the toss.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;


Many thanks to the Dunnikier boys – cheerful not tearful in defeat in a game played in the most excellent spirits. (A special mention to Jerry for umpiring Carlton’s innings so positively.)

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Saturday 11th July

ESCA Division 7
W
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Murrayfield DAFS
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v
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Carlton 4 shim
 

130 all out

Matt Spencer 6 for 16

away

131 for 3

Shaun Barrett 40*, Gregor McIntyre 36

Scorecard

Cricketers have long marked the 11th of July as a special day.  For it was on this day in 1930 that Donald Bradman scored 309* against England at Leeds - still the highest single day score in Test cricket. It was on this day too in 1968 that Colin Cowdrey became the first player to play in 100 Tests. 

But to these remarkable events must now be added an achievement so exceptional and so rare that your correspondent 's pulse is still racing with the thrill of having been there to witness it.  It was a demonstration of skill and artistry, of application and courage, of flair and enterprise of a sort which he may never see again on a cricket field.  It was, quite simply, stunning.

The skipper of the Carlton All Star 4th XI won the toss for a second week in a row.  Spectators spontaneously leapt to their feet as he returned to the pavilion after his correct call. They had rarely seen such a masterful performance. He dominated the toss from start to finish in a manner reminiscent of.... [Yes, yes we get the point just get on with it will you.  Ed]. The skipper modestly accepted the tumultuous ovation and calmly informed his team that they would take the field.  He had invited MDAFS4 to bat. [This is no surprise to readers - there is no chance that he will ever opt to bat. That would be a truly remarkable event.  Ed]

Carlton welcomed Finn Thornton into the side -  at 10 years 11 months not quite the youngest ever to get an All Stars cap, but not far off it.  Finn 's appearance maintained the All Stars proud record of having the widest distribution of age of any cricket team anywhere in the known universe.  It has long been the selectors ' policy to be guided by the Gaussian distribution [Is this really necessary?  Some younger readers get enough of this kind of thing at school.   Ed] although success has eluded them in previous seasons, the never ending supply of youngsters skewed the distribution and meant that the standard deviation ... [That 's quite enough of that.  Ed]

The new artificial track at Roseburn shone a lurid green in the weak sunlight. There was a strong cross wind as there always is at Roseburn and McGill and Andrews started proceedings. Bowling was tight but unluckily without reward.  After 10 overs the score was a mere 24; although no wicket had fallen, MDAFS opener Govindraju had retired hurt.  Suggestions that he was still traumatised by the events of the toss proved unfounded when his ankle clicked mechanically as he hobbled off.  Katie got reward for her fine spell by trapping the replacement batsman LBW.  This brought MDAFs skipper Verma in who immediately imposed himself McCullum like by spanking his first ball over the long off boundary for 6.  He repeated the feat an over later and successfully put the ball in the river. Tonight it sleeps with the fishes...........[I suppose you 'll be bowling an over he can 't refuse next.  Ha ha.  Ed]  A search through the detritus at the bottom of the skipper 's bag retrieved something resembling a ball and once the crumbs of long forgotten empire biscuits were brushed off, it was deemed a suitable replacement.  Play continued.

With Katie bowled out, FB and Thaivalappil offered up cannon fodder for a few overs. The score had moved on to 63-1 at drinks with Verma looking menacing and pounding the boundary.  Carlton did not help themselves by grassing everything that came in the air to them hard chances perhaps but these need to stick to win matches.  The skipper turned to leg spin and the returning Matt Spencer was immediately on the spot causing Barnacle behind the stumps to leap from left to right and back again as he attempted to track the ball. Such animation in one at one end of the Gaussian distribution but  suggestions that he had secretly been attending Steve Gilmour 's Pilates classes seemed unworthy.  It was a display of raw untutored talent.

There were a couple of overs of resistance but it was futile the wickets began to tumble.  Skipper Verma had made a fine quick fire 56 before he became the first of Matt 's victims. Matt himself took a fantastic c&b, leaping far to his left to pluck a rasping drive out of the air; and Al, secure as ever, calmly held one at long off.  Matt took 6-16, including 2 stumpings by the perpetuum mobile that was the Barnacle.  83-1 rapidly became 121 for 9 as Pete Gill weighed in with another LBW and young Finn got in the action with a direct hit run out.  Govindraju returned with a runner to everyone 's confusion and entertainment.  An appeal for a run out took several minutes to determine - detectives interrogated all witnesses and participants to establish who should be where, whether they moved, what their possible motive could have been and whether they stashed the murder weapon.  Forensic samples were taken.[What on earth are you on about? Can 't you just say it was not out.  Ed]

Finn was not done yet;  he came on to bowl, put himself under the skier that greeted his first ball but unfortunately put it down.  A look of determination came over his young features, and when another skier came off his third ball, he successfully pouched it.

MDAFS ended 131 all out.    A fine all round bowling performance, with Matt taking the plaudits.  Ground fielding was solid but Carlton had to hope that the missed catches would not matter at the end of the day.  However disciplined batting should see them home.

Tea was embellished with an excellent selection of strawberry and fruit tarts, always an adequate substitute for an empire biscuit.

Barnacle opened with Gregor McIntyre.  ˜Don 't expect any quick singles after all that jumping about behind the stumps, ' he said to his young partner as they walked to the middle.  Barnacle proved true to his word, leaving the scoring of runs to his colleague.  Gregor rode his luck as with consummate good judgement he picked the fielder with the butteriest fingers to smack it at.  But in between was an array of well struck shots all round the wicket.  Your correspondent remarked that it is good to see a youngster willing to assert himself on the bowling in this way. It was disappointing when he was bowled for 34 he looked well placed for a half century.  56-1. Hari ran himself out, not realising that when Barnacle said "No quick singles', he meant, "No singles that cannot be accomplished by a leisurely stroll from one end to the other, preferably with a pause to admire the scenery on the way'.  Pete Gill then played sensibly as he and Barnacle accumulated.  There was a frisson of excitement round the ground as Barnacle pulled one high and handsome surely it wasn 't going for 6?  This day was already in the record book after the toss would the record book have to be opened again?  But the ball fell inches short of the boundary. With the target in sight, Pete played too early and lobbed up a catch leaving Al to finish things off as Carlton scored the winning runs in the 37th over to win by 7 wickets.  Barnacle 40*

A good solid win by the All Stars good bowling, solid fielding, fine batting the catches in the end didn 't matter, but that is something to work on.  The win sees them consolidate their place in the promotion race.  Many thanks to MDAFS for an enjoyable match and for the fruit tarts.

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Saturday 18th July

ESCA Division 7
W
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Carlton 4 v
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Broomhall 2
 

136 all out

Eric Edwards 44

home
Mead

54 all out

Steven Andrews 5 for 6

Scorecard

There is disagreement among scholars as to whether Gustav Mahler [Groan.  Ed] ever played on the Meadows, Edinburgh’s joyous Home of Cricket.  Your correspondent has long held the belief that the tumultuous Symphony of a Thousand could only be modelled on the clamorous cacophony that greets the cricketer as he or she approaches this hallowed ground.  Your correspondent's researches have suggested that Mahler himself wrote to his wife that the Meadows  “is all an allegory to convey something that, no matter what form it is given, can never be adequately expressed”. [Nice try but we think that you will find that the quote actually refers to the composer’s symphony not the Home of Cricket.  Ed]   Your correspondent appears to be in a minority on this pressing issue [As in so many others. Just on with it.  Ed]

Your correspondent hoped to adduce further evidence for his forthcoming essay on this important subject as he followed the All Star Carlton 4th XI to the Home of Cricket for their important tussle with Broomhall CC.  Victory would consolidate their place in the promotion race.

But the afternoon did not start propitiously,”Mahler?” replied the veteran custodian of the prestigious suite of changing rooms, “naw, son, I dinnae mind him.  Wis he maybe wi’ the bongo drummers?” 

Your correspondent was hindered from further research [Thank goodness.  Now will you focus on this important cricket match?  Ed].  The teams assembled on the boundary to watch the skippers undertake the ritual of the toss.  It was prominent in the minds of the All Stars that their skipper has recently shown some form in this area of the game and a win today would take him to the top of the world rankings with a staggering three from three.  [An outcome which presumably would be subject to the outcome of a doping inquiry.  Ed] They did not set their expectations too high.   A pessimism that was lost on young Finn Thornton making another welcome appearance.  With youthful exuberance, he told his teammates,  ‘I've never seen the skipper lose a toss. Is such a thing possible?’  Weary eyes searched the heavens, and the subdued guffaws in response barely had time to hang on the breeze as the news came through that the skipper had lost the toss by an embarrassing margin.  The natural order of things had been restored. Carlton would bat.

Despite Mahler's views, Meadows 3 covets its legendary status as part of the Home of Cricket, but questions are being asked in the higher reaches of the game’s administration.  For it was on this track that Carlton 3s bowled the opposition out last week for 27.  ECB directives that doughty groundsmen should prepare 5 day wickets do not seem to have reached the City’s Parks Department, for this was a mottled grassy surface which might make batting difficult.  The lush outfield also suggested low value for any shots actually played.  Your correspondent finds it hard to describe such a playing surface [So don't try – just get to the action before paragraph 14 for once.  Ed]

Nevertheless old Meadows hand Eric Edwards and new Meadows hand Tom Kujawa got Carlton off to a bright start. [This uncharacteristically early reference to the cricket might well have caught readers by surprise.  Several may have gone to make a coffee thinking they had several more paragraphs of digressions to contend with before anything interesting happened.  You may wish to repeat for them.  Ed]

Nevertheless old Meadows hand Eric Edwards and new Meadows hand Tom Kujawa got Carlton off to a bright start.  [Thank you.  Ed] A strong gusting wind and the slow variable bounce did not prevent them moving briskly at 4 an over until Tom mistimed to spoon a catch to mid on.  Keith quickly reached a Mahlerian view on the playing surface and rather than battle it, decided not to disturb the scorers and departed for an afternoon of quiet contemplation.  Al and Eric then pushed things along until Eric was undone by the allegorical nature of the bounce to be bowled for an excellent 44 just before drinks at which point Carlton were 84 for 4.  This strong position rapidly eroded as wickets then fell quickly with Dunc (0), Al (20)  FB(0), and Barnacle (5) all going in quick succession.  Veteran campaigners Warren and Ward were bowling well to the conditions and slowed the scoring and being allegorically difficult.  Carlton were in a bit of trouble at 96 for 7. But Ruth and Hari played carefully to rebuild momentum and both scored commendable 17s taking scoring chances well.  Hari became Warren’s fourth victim to set the stage for Finn’s first innings in senior cricket – he never looked troubled and scored his first run with an elegant flick off his legs that would have had any coach purring.  When Steven was stumped in the final over, Finn was 2* ‘I was just getting started,’ he told the skipper.  Indeed he is. 

Carlton were all out for 136.  In the conditions and on such an allegorical surface, not a bad effort.

Tea was taken al fresco; as the wind freshened, strenuous efforts were necessary to stop the sandwiches becoming airborne and disrupting traffic at Edinburgh airport.  As they munched their empire biscuits, Carlton’s players learned that on the adjacent pitch, main promotion rivals Dalgety Bay had been bowled out for 69 by Morton. 

Andrews and the skipper opened the bowling.  Steven instantly established an intimate relationship with the middle stump as he knocked it over twice in his first 2 overs.  FB pitched in and Broomhall were in disarray at 3-3 after 4 overs.  It was not until the 7th over that a run was scored off the bat, by which time 2 further wickets had fallen – Steven consolidating things with the middle stump and Duncan smartly throwing the wicket down for a run out.  Suggestions that the skipper should get fantasy assist points for managing to get out of the way of the throw may have to be considered by senior officials, but had he not elegantly [What?  Ed] moved his shin aside the whole team would have been appealing for LBW.  Such damage having been done, the bowling got a bit loose as bowlers struggled to maintain their line in the gusting wind.  Wides were top scorer by some distance.  In all the mayhem, young Achyut showed great skill and patience in managing to stay there for 20 overs, eventually departing second last out.  Stringer, despite what Mahler might consider inappropriately allegorical dress in the trouser department, showed some resistance, punishing shorter deliveries and getting to 18 before being dismissed by Eric’s heroic diving catch off Duncan’s bowling.  Eric did not share the ecstatic elation of his teammates.  He lay prone.  Face in the allegorical grass.  As he landed he had felt the full impact of his box, a situation which always causes commentators, including your correspondent, to search for a convenient euphemism.  Winded was always how Benaud described it – so winded Eric was.  

Steven came back, proposed marriage to the middle stump, completed his fivefer and it was  all over.  Broomhall all out for 54. Duncan 2-2, Steven 5-6 – all bowled middle stump.  Steven and the stump are looking forward to a long and happy partnership and are departing to go mountain biking in the Alps next week.

As the teams made their way from the middle, the news came that Dalgety Bay had succumbed to Morton.  So the All Stars end the day firmly in the promotion slot with a match against the league leaders Glenrothes to look forward to next week. Preparation will be intense, advance planning is underway for several sessions of Mahler listening [Don’t you mean net practice.  Ed]. 

Many thanks to Broomhall for braving the allegorical surface with such stoicism.  Just not a surface for playing cricket.  Good luck for the rest of the season.

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Saturday 25th July

ESCA Division 7
W
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Glenrothes 3 v
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Carlton 4
 

94 all out

Duncan Sutherland 3 for 16

away

95 for 3

Eric Edwards 51

Scorecard

As your correspondent made his way to Grange Loan he was contemplating the cultural significance of great events that happened 50 years ago to the day [Oh no, what on earth are you going on about now?  Ed]

On 25 July 1965, with Like A Rolling Stone riding high in the charts, Bob Dylan played the Newport Folk Festival and was booed off the stage for an illegal bowling action.  [Are you sure? Most accounts suggest this was because he played electric guitar which offended the folk music purists in the audience. Ed]  Undeterred, a few days later Dylan went into the studio and recorded one of the greatest of his cricketing songs – Positively Fourth Eleven. [Don’t you mean Positively Fourth Street?  Ed]  The song was released as a single and not long after reached number 8 in the UK charts.

The Carlton Positively Fourth XI (previously known as the All Stars] had a lot to be positive about.  A stunning run of convincing victories had put them in second place in the league.  An almost unquantifiable number of tosses had been won.  Victory today against table toppers Glenrothes would see them Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door [Don’t you mean topping the league and please don’t tell us that you’re going to keep this up are you? Ed

Confidence was therefore high as they assembled and listened to the inspirational words of the skipper.  Emotions ran high. There were tears in their eyes.  Someone would have to travel with Keith and sit in the child seat. 

In good heart, they moved off in the direction of Highway 61 [I think you mean the A92.  Ed]

As they arrived at Gilvenbank Park the outfield was still damp from a morning shower.  Dark clouds were building.  [I suppose you are going to make some pathetic quip about a Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall.  Ed]  Dear Reader, your correspondent finds the Ed’s comment offensive.  As if your correspondent would make a trite comparison between a lyric about the anxieties of an apocalyptic nuclear catastrophe and the anxieties of the team about the prospects of play being interrupted.  Everyone knows that the prospects of play being interrupted are a far more serious matter.

The team was in good spirits as they got ready for action. Get dressed, get blessed ,Try to be a success.

Keith proudly showed off his new cricket footwear.  The sunglasses were passed around as each member examined the shoes and marvelled at the bright dayglow orange stripes that decorated them. 

‘Boots of Spanish Leather?’  said Ben DUlisee showing a familiarity with Dylan’s oeuvre which belied his tender years.  ‘No ,’ said Keith, ‘Vietnamese ADIPRENE cushioning and a lightweight TPU outsole.’  He then drew attention to the ‘bevelled heel specially designed to ensure smooth transitions between jumping and landing’, but no one was listening for the team’s anxiety was now focused on the toss [Oh no.  Here we go.  Time to put the kettle on.  Ed]  What would happen?  So many times the Positively Fourth XI had thought they were at the Gates of Eden only to end up on Desolation Row.

It Takes a Lot to Laugh it Takes a Train to Cry; the responsibility on the skipper’s shoulders was immense as he greeted his opposite number and made his way to the middle.  Dylan’s lyrics of Positively Fourth XI seemed prescient and to fit the anxious mood of his team.  They ran through his mind:

You've got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend
When I was down you just stood there grinnin'
You've got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on the side that's winnin'

The coin spun in the watery sunshine. ‘They just want to be on the side that’s winnin’’, he reminded himself.

He stealed his nerve.  Don’t Think Twice…………Just Call Heads.

And when he opened his eyes again, with one arm waving free, he found he was on the he side that’s winnin’.

Fourth Time Around, Bob Dylan’s song celebrates a skipper who has just won his third toss out of four [No it doesn’t, it is a bitter response to rejection by a lover.  Ed]   Dear Reader, Once again your correspondent finds it disappointing that persons such as this Ed character cannot see beyond the surface of Dylan’s lyrics to find the eternal truths beneath, in particular his understanding of the emotional and cultural complexities of the toss at cricket matches is possibly second to none [Is the kettle boiling yet?  Ed]  As Dylan matured from protest singer to……. [Dear Readers, in the interests of your collective sanity the editorial staff has been instructed to remove the next twenty pages of the correspondent’s report.  You can be assured that some description of the cricket match will start shortly.  Ed]

The toss had been won by a Million Miles and the Positively Fourth XI would take the field.  Matt Edwards and Pete Gill opened [This is more like it. Keep this up.  Ed] and there was soon metaphorical Blood on the Track [Is that the best you can do? Ed Glens were in early trouble at 19-3 off 11 as the batters found the slippery artificial pitch a difficult surface to drive on. 

The sky was lowering and still.  You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows……… Where was the Idiot Wind to break the clouds up? The rain began to fall heavily.  Shelter from the Storm was necessary and the players ran for the luxurious shelter of the shipping container (left).  An early tea was taken as the rain eased and after a break of 90 minutes play resumed.  Duncan and the skipper were now bowling, Matt being bowled out after an excellent spell of 2-18 and Pete rested after a miserly 1-4 off his 5 accurate overs.

Duncan was soon following the Paths to Victory as young batsman Salt deflected a full toss to Keith at backward point.  Honey Won’t You Give Me One More Chance, pled the batsman to the umpires.  They looked at each other – was it a no ball -  One of Us Must Know.  But there was a sucking of teeth and a sad shake of the head.  Salt had to go for a brave 16. Look out kid It's somethin' you did God knows when But you're doin' it again

This inspired Duncan who knocked over two more in quick succession to give him an excellent return of 3-16. Twenty years of schoolin' And they put you on the day shift.

Meanwhile at the other end there was a private battle between the skipper and a long term adversary the statuesque Craig Gould.  The skipper charitably offered some pies. Look out kid You're gonna get hit

This allowed Gould to hold the innings together for a while. It took the introduction of Michael Scott to remove him as he checked his follow through turned and ran behind the umpire to take an excellent return catch.  Michael is a catching machine.  Last season on his debut for the All Stars he took three high quality efforts.  This c&b was his second of the afternoon and he got his third off Gregor’s bowling to finish the Glens innings.  Gregor was 2-5 and Mike 2 for 20 when Glens’ innings finished on 94.

A good bowling performance, although it was clear that scoring runs in the conditions was not an easy matter.  But the Positively Fourth XI was confident that they had the fire power to get the job done. Don’t wear sandals Try to avoid the scandals

Eric and Gregor opened. Gregor fell foul of the Simple Twist of Fate and was unluckily bowled by a good one.  Shaun Forever Young hit one six high into the deep rough but was undone by a capricious bounce to depart leaving the Positively Fourth XI on 30 for 2 after 10.  Still work to be done.  But the partnership between Al and Eric blossomed and they moved smoothly towards the target.  Al was content to push for ones and twos, apart from one sumptuous cover drive to the boundary.  Eric began to hit out clearing the boundary twice and making the most of a Glens missing the one hard chance he offered.  He reached a well crafted fifty with the target in sight.  However a full toss dipped on him and he was unluckily bowled – surely this was a no-ball.  But the umpires were firmly members of the bowlers’ union and Eric had to leave, muttering to himself I Threw It All Away. 

No further excitements followed and pretty soon It’s All Over Now Baby Blue as the Positively Fourth XI won by 7 wickets with Al unbeaten on 20 and the impact of Keith’s new boots on his batting untested.Look out kid They keep it all hid

The Positively Fourth XI celebrated their victory modestly and with appropriate decorum. The skipper spoke:

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.

The team replied:

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to

They thanked Glenrothes for an enjoyable game played in good spirits and wished them well for the remaining games of the season.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

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Saturday 1st August

ESCA Division 7
W
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SMRH4
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v
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Carlton 4 shim
 

104 for 7 (25 overs)

Bob Irvine 3 for 15

away

212 for 2 (25 overs)

Eric Edwards 75*, Ferg Whatley 65

Scorecard

As your correspondent joined Carlton’s Positively 4th XI assembling at Grange Loan for the cross town trip to Inverleith, talk was of Richard Strauss.  Your correspondent glanced quickly at the team sheet but did not see his name on the list.  Nevertheless he wondered whether he should be widening his world famous research into Gustav Mahler’s bowling action [Oh no you’re not going to go on about that again are you?  Ed] to investigate the seldom acknowledged contribution of the German maestro to the development of lower league cricket in Bavaria.  The fact that there is no lower league cricket in Bavaria should not detract from his efforts.  Frankly the challenge of complementing some of the great symphonic works of the post romantic period, not to mention a series of spell binding operas, meant he found little time to identify neutral umpires.  As result matches became increasingly acrimonious and players found other ways of occupying their Saturdays.  [This feels like you are making this up again. Ed]

Putting Strauss’ ambiguous political career behind them, the squad excitedly noted that his great tone poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) would be at the centre of the imminent opening concert of the Edinburgh International Festival.  Ben Dulisse’s view that the work can be taken as a depiction of the career and achievements of Fantasy Bob has not generally been upheld by critics, largely because Fantasy Bob has no achievements to speak of.

‘But,’ said Ben in a quicksilver response to his detractors, ‘if the Fours get promoted this year that will be an achievement.’ 

Your correspondent has to agree.  The positively 4th XI sit top of their league as the season approaches its climactic end.  Their struggle against all manner of adversaries and setbacks is the stuff of legendary tales and well worth a tone poem or two.  Would the dream continue today?

FB himself was only a late call to the ranks after the usual Friday night musical chairs led to some changes in personnel at all levels of the club. [Just before the correspondent gets going on this one, readers should note that the headline 'FB responds to Scotland call' is misleading – Carlton’s international players were retained at Ayr to finish their rain interrupted match making them unavailable today.  Ed]

FB had discounted himself from selection earlier in the week because of a sore leg. Not that this excuse went down well with his team mates – ‘You’ve got two legs, use the other one,’ said hard as nails Pete Gill pulling another plug from his chewing tobacco as he whistled the opening theme from Ein Heldenleben, the hero motif.

But FB responded to the Sco…[Oh no you don’t  Ed]

Nevertheless, FB had not undergone the extensive training schedule he needs to prepare himself for a Saturday match.  His specially tailored programme should have been intensified to aid his recovery from the stresses of three successful tosses out of the last four.  Training at altitude should have featured, but his sore leg made it difficult for him to get upstairs. So with the second movement of Strauss’s work in his mind, which depicts the hero’s adversaries, SMRH 4 in particular, [Really? Ed ] he suggested that skippering duties for the day should be undertaken by Fergus. 

Fergus knelt on one knee and accepted the accolade as his teammates cheered. [Very poetic and heroic but what a load of tosh –are you going to say anything about the cricket match?  Ed]

It was Fergus then who strode out with the opposition skipper to take the toss.  He returned several hours later to explain that following intensive investigation of local weather patterns and Atlantic pressure systems, having made several calls to the Met Office and consultation with the Committee on Climate Change, the view was that it was going to rain hard at 4.00pm.  ‘My rheumatic knee could have told you that without all that hoo hah,’ said Shaun.  Rather than rain interrupted misery, the skippers had therefore opted to play a 25 over match and, when the rain arrived as the match finished as it would, take tea after.

‘And by the way’, said Fergus, ‘I won the toss and we’re batting.’

There was too much information for some of the team here.  They had to sit down to take it all in.  Toss won.  Batting. 25 overs.  Was all this consistent with the Geneva Convention?

Fergus assured them it was and asked Eric and Shaun to get things underway.  The excitement of the shortened form seemed to get to Shaun.  Uncharacteristically he hooked his 6th ball for 4.  The same shot the next ball was spilled by the deep fine leg.  His third attempt 2 balls alter found square leg, who seemed the most surprised player on the field to find he had held on to the ball.  Big Ferg strode hero like to the wicket.  He swished randomly at his first ball but that was his only false shot as he and Eric took the fight to the bowlers.  Both were in prime form, hitting anything loose (which if the truth were told was quite a lot) and the runs racked up – there was steam coming out of the scoreboard.  SMRH skipper chopped and changed the bowling but to no effect, the ball kept being despatched to the boundary with rhythmic regularity.  The 100 came up in the 14th over. 

Then drama: Eric had proceeded past his 50 and was motoring on 75 having just hooked a massive 6 when he played too early at another short one and was hit on the side of the head.  Down he went.  A nasty one. Eric was helped from the field a little dazed and sore.  He declined a trip to Casualty.

Michael Scott replaced him and began his innings in a commendably restrained fashion, by blasting 4 straight down the ground.  The runs continued to rack up.  Fergus reached an accomplished 50 and Michael put the ball into Ferry Road where it joined the queue at the car wash across the road.   The addition of a turtle wax finish rendered it unfit for further use. Fergus heroically eschewed the attractions of red ink getting himself yorked in the final over for an excellent 65 and Michael finished unbeaten on a quickfire 30.

So the innings ended with the Positively 4th XI with 212 on the board.  Something to bowl at at least.

Eric declined the suggestion that he visit casualty and was made warm and comfortable on the boundary as the expected rain began.  Bowling and fielding became difficult as the rain got steadily heavier.  Were it not for Fergus’ prenuptial agreement [Eh?  Ed] to play through fainter hearts might have thought of stopping play, but our heroes continued with gleeful smiles on their faces.  Pete Gill mastered the conditions best and returned 2-12 off his 5 overs – 2 good catches - one by FB [Is that a misprint – could you please check?  Ed]  ONE CATCH BY FB, [Still don’t believe it, but thankyou.  Ed] – rock like he stood under the steepling ball, firm and clear was his call, never in dou..[Oh for goodness sake.  Ed] and one by Duncan [No misprint there.  Ed

SMRH were never in the hunt but the gamely battled on.  As the rain eased and something reminding many elder players of the sunshine they remembered in the summers of their youth trying to shine, Fergus felt secure enough in the outcome to ask FB to bowl.  He ambled to the crease and put it on the spot getting 3 quick wickets [And him with a sore leg – he should hurt it more often.  Are you going to mention the 2 return catches he failed to gather?  Edincluding a smart stumping by Ben.  This reminded all of the 4th movement of Ein Heldenleben which depicts our hero on the battlefield, a series of clamorous trumpet fanfares depict his athletic run up [Yes, yes, that’s enough Strauss. Ed]

Ben then took a sharp throw from the covers by Michael Scott to run SMRH’s Steve Kerr for his team’s top score of 20 out.  And all too soon the innings was over – SMRH finished 104 for 7.  FB 3-15, Gill 2-12.

The Positively 4th XI basked in the glory of victory which secured them at the top of the division. Predictably as sure as rain was predicted the sun came out.  What a lovely evening for cricket.

Many thanks to SMRH for playing on through the rain and for an enjoyable afternoon’s sport. 

The fifth movement of Ein Heldenleben [Oh no not back to this are you?  Ed]  depicts the hero reminiscing on his work - Strauss quotes from his earlier pieces.  Unfortunately FB thought to imitate this by describing at considerable length all the wickets he had taken in his career [Well that wouldn’t take long.  Ed]  The team’s eyes rolled.  They were heartened by the thought that the final movement of the work is titled ‘The Hero’s Retirement from the World.’  They could only hope. [Sadly it doesn’t mention anything about match reporting.  Ed]

[Our medical correspondent writes that Eric is fine – other than an Olympic class black eye he has no other ill effects from the knock on the head.  He is looking forward to the performance of Ein Heldenleben next Saturday and is regrettably not available for the Positively 4th XI’s next crunch match.]

 

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Saturday 8th August

ESCA Division 7
L Dalgety Bay
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v
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Carlton 4
 

173 for 9

Fergus Whatley 5 for 14

away

150 for 8

Bob Irvine 37*, Keith Murray 34

Scorecard

To the casual observer there is little in common between the Brisbane Cricket Ground, known to all as the Gabba, and the Dalgety Bay Sports Centre, known to all as the Dalgety Bay Sports Centre.

Your correspondent however knows better. [You always do, don’t you? Ed] Careful inspection of the records shows that not only did Gustav Mahler [Groan. Ed] never visit either venue, but each has a reputation for being a difficult place for visiting teams. For example, India have never won at either venue. Nor has the table topping Carlton Positively 4th XI. Their poor record at the Gabba might be explained, if not excused, by the fact that they have yet to play there, but their record of failure at Dalgety is harder to understand. Perhaps their recent stunning run of victories would provide a springboard to create history and secure a first victory. The world watched and waited.

With the top of the league table tightly packed, such an historic outcome would do the team’s cause a lot of good. The stakes were therefore high as your correspondent joined the players assembling at Grange Loan for the arduous trip across the Forth.

The news came through that Michael Clarke had resigned following Australia’s humiliating defeat at Trent Bridge. The junior members of the squad looked at their skipper and wondered whether defeat today would bring a similar outcome. There has been speculation that for too many years the skipper has been living off the glory of tosses won long ago, when his feet moved easily into the shout of heads and his youthful flexibility allowed him to avoid the short pitched call of tails. Those days are long gone and for too long he has been scratchy and insecure at the toss. He has not kept up with modern thinking on this part of the game. There was therefore much for the squad to meditate on as they boarded their luxury transportation.

Traffic was dense and very slow moving across the Bridge – evidently a huge crowd was making its way to the match, drawn by the prospect of seeing the Positively 4th XI put the bogey of Dalgety Bay Sports Centre behind them.

The traffic had however thinned out by the time the towering stands of the ground appeared over the horizon. Incomprehensibly, the burgeoning crowd seemed to have been seduced by alternative attractions at the Inverkeithing Highland Games, another venue never visited by Gustav Mahler (who overall had a very ambivalent attitude to Highland Games).

The vast terraces around the cricket field were therefore disappointingly empty - a man was walking his dog, apparently unaware of the historic events that were about to unfold. Men walking dogs are always in this state of canine absorption – a Belgian throwing sticks for his spaniel on fields at Waterloo 200 years ago merely said to his femme on his return ‘It seemed a bit noisy out there today.’

The Dalgety Bay technical squad was carefully assembling a gazebo as the Positively 4th XI made their way to the pitch. Your correspondent recognizes that following the advice of sports scientists, warm up rituals are becoming more peculiar by the hour, standing around with your hands in your pockets may have served previous generations well, but modern thinking demands more. But he struggled to see what competitive advantage the team might derive from this exercise as they struggled to tie the guy ropes down in the strengthening breeze.

As readers of these pages are all too aware, cricket matches do not start spontaneously. A toss is necessary [Yes, but several paragraphs of prose wittering on about it are not. Ed]

So the skippers made their way to the middle. The man walking his dog paid them no attention. Nor did the dog. The coin spun. The call was made. The dog looked up. He seemed to understand that there was something special here – another successful toss by the Positively 4th XI skipper. It is almost predictable. But not as predictable as the decision to put Dalgety Bay in.

Dalgety Bay Sports Centre offers a plastic track of springy, but sometimes variable, bounce. It has a hard and fast outfield and shortish boundaries. It is usually a high scoring ground. Something that DB’s opener Alan Pearson took to heart. He spent 21 overs at the crease – longer than the average modern Australian Test Innings. And when he was finally out, caught by Keith off Nick, he had still to get off the mark.

But at the other end things moved along quite well for DB. Opening bowlers Sibley and Andrews could make no inroads, despite putting the ball in good areas. It was first change Nick who got opener Kirkman (a thorn in Carlton’s flesh in previous encounters) LBW shuffling across his stumps. This only brought J Pryce to the crease who set about things as if he was in the hammer throw at the Inverkeithing Highland Games. He got to 40 in rapid time, mostly off the skipper, before Ruairidh Main bowled him with a jaffa. The innings was then taken up by Picksley and Newsom who doubled the score before Hari bowled Picksley for 32. The stage was then handed to Fergus Whatley who turned it squarer than square and ran through the remainder of the line up. There were 3 stumpings for Ben, who also pouched a skied top edge to dismiss Newsom for 55. Fergus finished with an astounding 5-14 off his 5 overs. [Er, and exactly why wasn’t he on earlier? Ed]

DB finished on 173-9 (after a recount). 25-30 more than the Positively 4th XI would have liked. A series of dropped catches had not served them well – the first time this season that the catching gremlins had caught up with them. But it was still a total that was gettable if they batted well.

Shaun (the example of Pearson still fresh in his memory) and Ruairidh opened. It was not Ruairidh’s day. He hooked Pryce’s bouncer, got a bottom edge which gentled the bail off the stumps. Ruairidh slumped off. Nick and Shaun set about repairing the damage and were proceeding serenely until skipper Picksley brought himself on in the 12 over. His second ball did for Nick, taking his leg stump. The same ball then had Shaun a couple of overs later and Carlton were on 54 for 3 at the halfway stage – well behind the over rate.

Max was batting well but with a defensive field runs were increasingly hard to come by. But Keith found things sticky causing some concern that he may have taken Pearson’s example unduly to heart. A short shower passed over and the light faded under the grey skies. The gazebo succumbed to the strengthening breeze putting emergency services on stand by to avert the risk of mass fatalities.

Max went for an elegant 14, followed quickly by Fergus and Hari; 92 for 6 after 30. The skipper came in. [Do we need to read any further? You might as well wave the white flag. Ed] The shower had slowed the outfield, the field was spread even more defensively (How many men do you have in the circle? jested FB, as yet another man was placed on the boundary......and the man walking his dog began to feel a bit crowded.) But aggressive running allowed Keith and FB to regain some momentum. While the total looked out of reach, there were important batting points to be gained. Keith eventually succumbed in the 38th over for 34 with the score on 138. Calum and FB huffed and puffed to get to 150 and the final batting point. FB 37*

Well played Dalgety Bay – better on the day.

So, a disappointing end to the Positively 4th XI’s run of victories – out batted, out bowled and out played on the day. The bogey of the Gabba is still with them.

[Our mathematical correspondent reports that despite this reverse the Positively 4th XI remain top of their league. West Lothian 3s now have scratched 6 fixtures which means that their results are wiped. WL’s cloud is Carlton’s silver lining. Ed]

 

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Saturday 15th August

ESCA Division 7
W
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Carlton 4 v
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Morton 2
  30 for 1 home
Mead

29 all out

Gregor McIntyre 3 for 4, Steven Andrews 3 for 6, Nick Thomson 3 for 9

Scorecard

For many years the decorous presence of the Lady Boys of Bangkok has been a compelling accompaniment to the end of season efforts of the City’s cricketers at the Home of Cricket. However the cricket world has been rocked by the news that this year the Lady Boys have finally lost patience with the unpredictable bounce, the long outfield, the scorch marks of barbecues and stud marks of footballers, not to mention the single unisex toilet (not that the unisex designation itself was an issue for them). The Lady Boys have deserted the Meadows for an alternative venue.

City officials have tried to compensate for this absence by requiring cricketers to wear glitter make-up and sequin studded pads, but this initiative has not so far proved successful, a supply of sequin studded pads proving as difficult to procure as additional toilet facilities at the venerable venue.

The Festival atmosphere at the Home of Cricket was therefore much reduced as Carlton’s Positively 4th XI arrived for their fixture with old friends and rivals Morton 2. By prior agreement between the two skippers, no make up would be worn. For, as your correspondent must point out, no sequins or other glittering accessories are necessary to add to the sparkling allure of this glamorous tussle. Through the years the rivalry has provided a series of shimmering and glinting matches that rival anything the Lady Boys could offer.

The Positively 4th XI laid out its kit. Your correspondent noted the large number of empire biscuits. They covered every available surface of the capacious changing room. They bulged and blinked from cricket bags and pockets. They were omnipresent.

‘Why so man?’ he carefully inquired.

The players looked askance at him. Gazes were averted and feet shuffled. What kind of idiot would ask such a question? Gregor politely responded, ‘Listen muppet – there were no empire biscuits at Dalgety Bay last week. The boys lost. You do the math.’

‘Yeah, bird brain,’ chorused Tom Kujawa, as he sat inadvertently on a packet of empire biscuits, ‘this week the skipper’s taking no chances.’

Your correspondent commended the professionalism of this approach. No small detail would be left unattended as the team sought to confirm their place in the promotion race. A strong performance today would guarantee Premier Division Football next season [Eh? Ed]

The team stepped into the sunshine from the cool reaches of the dressing room. They found the Home of Cricket lying at its verdant ease after 24 hours of heavy rain had freshened the carefully manicured surface and made it a batsman’s dream. [Er, are you sure? Ed]

As usual the toss would be important. [But not so important as to need the 3 pages of drivel that you are now going to produce. Ed] Surely the side bowling first, or second, would command an advantage or disadvantage. [Thank you for making this clear – that was very helpful. Ed]

The skipper knew the solemn moment had come. He walked with his opposite number to the middle and threw the specially selected coin high in the air. It glistened in the sun, a fleeting reminder of the lost glitter of the Lady Boys. There were concerns that the coin had gone so high that it would sink deep into the specially softened wicket on landing and never be recovered. ‘What would we do then?’ asked Pete Gill. A wave of unease spread across the players – would they have to offer the skipper a replacement coin out of their own pockets? But the crisis was averted as the coin landed and rolled teasingly on its edge before settling showing its head.

All around was silence. The skipper had done it again. Toss won.

‘Why don’t you think like a batsman for once,’ suggested a senior player to the skipper.

‘I am – we’re bowling.’

Morton’s openers prepared excitedly, barely believing their good fortune at first dibs on such a track.

9 balls later the score was 1 for 3 - 2 wickets to Steven and one to Pete -– and the batsmen were still in a state of disbelief. The ball was seaming like the Lady Boys’ stockings, going every way at once. Steven missed out on his hattrick but took a third in 4 balls at the start of his 2nd over, caught by Pete at leg slip. Even on such a prime batting surface it is difficult to recover from 4 for 4 and in truth Morton never looked like doing so.

But Vishnu and Saha settled things down a bit concentrating hard on survival which they managed for 8 overs and a mammoth stand of 11 runs, until Gregor came on and took a wicket with his second ball bowling Saha off the inside edge. A bowling change at the other end worked a similar trick as Nick bowled Vishnu with his 3rd ball. Nick and Gregor both had 2 more each as the innings moved to a rapid close on 29 after 18.1 overs. 3 catches and a stumping to Eric, 3 wickets each to Steven, Gregor and Nick.

Historians of the game, able to judge with the perspective that history brings, may determine that 29 was slightly less than a par score on such a pristine batting surface. In doing so they should not disregard the excellence of the Positively 4th XI’s bowling and fielding – not that there was much fielding done, other than by Eric.

As they walked off applauding the bowlers, senior batsmen in the Positively 4th XI suggested to the skipper, ‘Such a great batting surface ........it would be good to give the juniors a knock............’

The second innings started without a break. ‘No empire biscuits till we get the job done,’ said the skipper, taking literally top coaching advice on the need to keep his team hungry.

Hari opened with Tom and immediately showed how the prime surface was deteriorating fast in the sweltering sun – he blasted his second ball for a one bounce 4 over long on scoring 13.3333333333% of the required runs. At the end of the over he had 23.3333333333%. However historians have failed to record a contemporary oral account that he only narrowly survived a close call for LBW off his first ball. Had there been sequins on his pad it might have been another story.

Hari was out for 12 trying to repeat the shot with the score on 19. Max and Tom then brought up the required total without further incident. The Positively 4th XI won by 9 wickets in the 9th over.

There was huge disappointment from the remaining members of the team that they had thereby been denied the opportunity to bat on such a fine surface.

As tea was taken and the empire biscuits were at last made available, your correspondent was put in mind of the words of Sir Van Morrison in his 1995 song Days Like This:

When it's not always raining there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this

Sir Van Morrison may have had empire biscuits in mind, he may have the fact that all catches went to hand and all inside edges deflected onto the stumps. Or he may not. But he most definitely had in mind that there are days when the toss is good to win.

Many thanks to the Morton side for taking the defeat in such good spirits.

So the Positively 4th XI win promotion – sadly they will not play Morton next year which leaves a huge hole in the City’s roster of elite sporting attractions. The Home of Cricket may struggle to retain its place in the pantheon of major event locations – the Lady Boys of Bangkok may have to return.

There’ll be Days like this indeed – for later in the evening, as the supply of empire biscuits diminished and the sun slowly set in the approximate direction of the Lady Boys new venue, the news came through that top of the table rivals Glenrothes had been defeated leaving the Positively 4th XI in an unassailable position at the top of the League. Well done and thanks to all who have made a contribution to the success this year.

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Saturday 22nd August

ESCA Division 7
L Musselburgh 2
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Carlton 4
 

114 for 8

Harry Simpson 3 for 13

away 84 all out

Scorecard

Your correspondent joined Carlton’s Positively 4th XI as they prepared for the arduous journey to Musselburgh for the final league fixture of their triumphant season.

Confounding early season media skepticism, the skipper was a man redeemed, restored to his rightful place as hero of the nation. [Eh? Ed] For his team had won the Ashes with one match to go, [Er, are you sure that this is the Carlton 4th XI you’re talking about? Ed] T hey looked forward to another victory today to give them a record 4-1 lead in the series. [Oh come on. Ed]

The skipper reminded his youthful charges of the historic context of the match. ‘1547’, he said, ‘we all know what happened then, don’t we?’

‘1547,’ replied Tom Kujawa, as a look of studious earnestness crossed his otherwise vacant features, ‘that’s about quarter to four – so it must have been tea ...............’

The skipper sighed and proceeded to remind his team that the Lewisvale ground that they would be playing on today was within a stone’s throw [Not the skipper’s throw obviously, which barely reaches the length of his shadow, but one of the juniors whose Herculean returns from the boundary have been such a feature of the Positively 4th XI’s efforts in the field this season. Ed] from the site of The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. This late season fixture happened on 10 September 1547 and was the last pitched battle between Scottish and English armies. It was part of the Test series known as the Rough Wooing, when Henry VIII tried to force a marriage between his son Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. It was a catastrophic defeat for Scotland, who lost by an innings and a lot, and it is referred to frequently as Black Saturday.

The skipper’s point about ensuring that the Positively 4th XI avoid a similar result was rather lost as the team seemed to find objects of interest to examine in the middle distance. After a silence a junior voice from the corner piped up, ‘Were you at that battle Bob?’

The skipper sighed more deeply and brought the point closer to home - Australia had enforced the follow on at the Oval. England’s triumphant series was ending with a less than sweet taste in the mouth.

Lewisvale lay still and humid under a grey sky. It seemed for most of the afternoon that the rain was about to start, but it never did and the match proceeded uninterrupted.

The skipper had made no special preparations for the final toss of the season. A run of wins by increasingly comprehensive margins may have led him to a false sense of his own abilities [Any sense of his abilities would be false Ed] It may be that his mind had been unduly clouded by suggestions that he should opt to bat in the event of his inevitable victory. But whatever cause the subsequent inquiry discover for his failure, the outcome was stark. A catastrophic defeat and an uncomfortable reminder of the outcome of the famous nearby battle.

The Musselburgh skipper was modestly triumphant and decided to bat.

The innings went its meandering way. There seemed no spite in the wicket. But only opener Naveed showed any real attacking intent, muscling his way to 29 before being well caught in the deep by Velcro fingered Keith Murray off Harry Simpson. But if Musselburgh couldn’t up the scoring rate, then the Positively 4th XI couldn’t make the wickets fall. 3 for 13 was a good return for Harry Simpson making a welcome return to the side, but other bowlers seemed all to share the luck of Fantasy Bob. ‘ If I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all............., as blues/rock legends Cream put it in their well known song Fantasy Bob Blues, [Er I think you refer to Born Under a Bad Sign, which was written by Albert King in 1967]

Musselburgh finished their 40 overs with what looked a modest total of 114-8.

Musselburgh then exercised some rough wooing. For the first time this season, the Positively 4th XI found empire biscuits provided by the opposition. They gorged and feasted not knowing what was to come. Subsequent investigation may lead to the conclusion that the empire biscuits disturbed their emotional state clouding any sense of judgement as to what was an appropriate shot.

Modest totals can sometimes become severely demanding, empire biscuits or not. At 7-3 in the 3rd over the Positively 4th XI thought the modesty was wearing off and 2 overs later at 15-4 it had disappeared. It was shameless, provocative pouting and taunting. The Positives were certainly in trouble, the flower of Scottish manhood lay dying on the battlefield and the crows gathered on the surrounding trees. [Eh? Ed ]

A resolute stand between Keith and Pete Gill (13) held Musselburgh for a bit up but when Pete’s dismissal was followed in rapid succession by 3 more the game was up. Carlton’s batsmen had unaccountably got themselves out to a series of poor shots. Harry (11*) defended well and Keith was the 9th wicket to fall for a determined 20. A late flourish from Ruth (9), whose imperious cover drive was the stroke of the day, sadly only gave a glimmer of false hope and the innings ended on 84. Black Saturday indeed.

Well done to Musselburgh who were extremely enjoyable opponents and generous hosts.

And so the Positives’ 2015 season ends in disappointment. Your correspondent has not previously considered the influence of TS Eliot on lower league cricket. [Thank goodness for small mercies. Ed] Many scholars have failed to find much by way of reference to his thoughts about cricket in his work. However your correspondent thinks that his 1925 poem the Hollow Men reflects his disturbing vision of the world – he evidently had a prophetic vision of the collapse of the Positively 4th XI at Musselburgh 90 years hence when he wrote:

This is the way the season ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Many thanks to all who played and supported the Positively 4th XI this season. Winning the league and securing promotion have been great achievements and the result of outstanding performances and contributions from many players old and not so old. An unlucky and seemingly unpromising start to the season was corrected and built on while the skipper was absent [Does that tell us something? Ed] 39 players graced the field of play and there was regular competition for places. Eric Edwards was the top run scorer; he and 4 other players scored 50s, with the top score of the season being Zaki Yusaf’s 152*. Steven Andrews and Harry Simpson were the leading wicket takers with 14 each, 4 bowlers had 5fers or better.

10 tosses were won, 5 lost.

Your correspondent has greatly enjoyed this year’s cricket. He looks forward to next year in the heady heights of Division 6. His only regret is that he has been unable to share with readers the emerging conclusions of his continuing researches into the bowling action of Gustav Mahler. However he can now reveal [We regret that the demands of space require us to cut this article at this point Ed]

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