Saturday, 18 December 2010

Merry Christmas Carltons everywhere

There is a quiet thrill in many Edinburgh households today.  Tonight is the legendary Carlton Christmas party.

But before being overcome with excitement, Fantasy Bob would like to pause and send the season's greetings to the other Carlton clubs around the world. 

'How can there be more than one?', you say.  'Are the denizens of Grange Loan not unique?  Didn't they copyright the name for goodness sake?'  Sadly, or joyfully, they did not. 

Here is FB's brief guide to Carltons around the world.

Carlton Cricket Club, Wakefield Yorkshire play in the West Yorkshire League.  They take their name from the village of Carlton on the outskirts of Wakefield.  According to their website Carlton means town of the churls, churls being 'common agricultural people'.  FB doesn't think this applies to his Edinburgh Carlton club which he believes was named after the posh London gentleman's club - home to earls rather than churls.  Why the founders chose that name is a mystery.

FB was interested to learn that the village of Carlton is smack bang in the Rhubarb Triangle a 9-square-mile area famous for producing early forced rhubarb.  It once produced 90% of the world's winter forced rhubarb - so there.  FB would like to know whether the area supplied Geoffrey Boycott's mum with the sticks of rhubarb with which she would demonstrate her formidable batsmanship against inferior bowling all around the world?

The first recordings of cricketing activities amongst the rhubarb seem to be in the 1860s, but the club came come together in 1922 with the purchase and development of the current ground.  The club appears to be competitive in its divisions and have a thriving junior section which makes it a fine soul mate to FB's Carlton.

Carlton Cricket Club, Melbourne Australia were founded in 1864 and take their name from the Carlton area of the City.  Like Carlton the Aussie Rules Football team they are known as the Blues and are big fish in the highly competitive Australian club scene.  This area is also famous for its Little Italy and for the World Heritage site, the Royal Exhibition  Building, the site of the first Australian Parliament. 

Carlton CC play in the Victoria Premier Division and have an illustrious list of players who have learned their cricket there and gone on to greater things - running from Bill Woodfull to Keith Stackpole and Dean Jones.  They have also gone for quality on their hired guns who have included Abdul Qadir (a member of FB's St Andrew's XI by virtue of his time in Scotland) and Carl Hooper.  Again there is a lot of focus on junior cricket - a feature of Carltons the world over.

Carlton Cricket Club Barbados, founded 1940, is part of a larger sporting club and play at Black Rock in St Michael Barbados.  Amongst their illustrious alumni are Tony Cozier, veteran TMS star and Desmond Haynes.  The Black Rock ground is also host to the occasional first class or one day inter-island games.  Given the great galaxy of West Indian stars to have come from Barbados - from Sobers to Garner and back again - many of the greats have no doubt trod that turf. 

So these are the Carltons around the world and FB sends his Christmas greetings to them all.  He idly speculates how a four way tournament could be organised to find who is the strongest Carlton.  Ah well, maybe when he wins the lottery..........................

For those who are interested, Edinburgh's Carlton Cricket Club was founded in 1863, making it the senior Carlton club.  The story has it that four members of Edinburgh's Young Men's Christian Association were expelled for putting on a dramatic performance. Searching for summer activities, they went on to found the Carlton Cricket Club where dramatic performances (in all senses of the term) have continued ever since.

Full of the Christmas spirit, FB is sending a link of this posting to the other Carltons mentioned.  He is happy to be corrected on any inaccuracy.  Merry Christmas.

(FB is indebted to Carlton's John Boyd for the original research which he has shamelessly plagiarised.  John's excellent article featured in Carlton's match programme during the 2009 season.  John has also suggested that there might be a Carlton CC in Sri Lanka - taking an inference from a  report of a match played by St Anthony's College.  FB has been unable to confirm this - perhaps someone knows?)


  1. David Ponniah, aka Poon, (Carlton legend) will provide the answer. He is currently in Sri Lanka but will be back!!