|Duffus Park Cupar|
Fantasy Bob is more than sorry to read in the newspapers of the demise of one of Scotland's most historic cricket clubs. Cupar Cricket Club has failed to field a team for the first time in its 175-year history and has reluctantly decided to withdraw from its fixtures this season. A Cupar Cricket Club has played at Duffus Park since 1836, although the present club formed officially in 1884 when local rival clubs came together. The club's website records that Carlton played there first in 1865.
A dwindling of the player pool and problems with the maintenance of the pavilion have proved too much for the remaining membership to carry. What a tragedy - and the risk of another historic playing area being lost to the game in Scotland with no local facility or club to inspire the next generation of Cupar kids to take up the game.
In days gone by, FB had many happy visits to Duffus Park when Cupar were a force in the old East of Scotland League. Some visits were happier than others of course for victories were balanced by defeats. FB remembers that there was always a fine tea, taken in a separate building from the changing room, if memory serves. Home baking featured prominently. In those days the ground was well maintained and picturesque with a formal garden adjacent to it a mass of colour and perfume.
Although FB played there many times, his only clear memory of playing there was when his side scored the lowest total he has ever known. In those days FB played for Royal High - now also sadly no more, having amalgamated with Stewarts-Melville in teh mid 90's. Teh playing resources of teh club at that time were slight - the player pool had dwindled to a puddle of shallow stagnant water. Getting his second XI out every Saturday was an abiding challenge to FB. But on this particular Saturday having comfortably gone to bed on Friday with 10 players in the bag and someone phoning a mate (these were days before texts and mobiles - goodness knows how people managed), FB found himself travelling with only 7 others. The First XI, in the manner of First XIs the world over (other than Carlton) had 3 call offs overnight for reasons that would fail to convince any detailed scrutiny. 8 was the sum total of personnel that FB could muster.
The Cupar skipper at first sportingly offered to wait until the third car turned up with the remaining players. He took some convincing that this was as many as FB thought necessary to meet their challenge. This was not a good start - but it got worse when the toss was lost and RH were inserted on a juicily green wicket. There being no natural opening batters, or indeed batters accustomed to the upper reaches of the order to call on, an improvised batting order was devised through the drawing of lots. 10 overs later it was all over. 15 all out. FB bowled for 1, second top score.
Tea was deferred to allow Cupar to knock off the total - which they did losing 1 wicket in the process. The whole game lasted less than 1 hour. A triumph for Royal High coming away with 1 batting point. But the tea was worth the trip.
FB hopes that Cupar CC can flourish again in some way. Good luck and thanks for the memories.