Sunday, 5 February 2017

Let Us Now Praise Famous Doughty Groundsmen

To paraphrase the Wisdom of Sirach, 'Let us now praise famous doughty groundsmen,  and the wickets they begat us.............'

Fantasy Bob's dwindling handful of readers, distracted these days as they must be by continual reports of the world going to hell in a handcart and 200 becoming the par score in T20, may not have noticed a momentous announcement this week from the go ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton.

It marked the end of an era with the retirement of the club's World Famous Doughty Groundsman. The announcement rightly noted the long years of doughty service with the scarifier that the WFDG had put in which have ensured that the Grange Loan wicket is as fine a playing surface as can be found anywhere.

Fantasy Bob adds his praise - the WFDG's support for the lower teams in the club was exemplary.  He prepared the wickets for FB's own lower league tussles with as much attention to detail as for the club's higher teams.  Never one to suffer fools gladly, or silently, he suffered FB's foolishnesses with saintly equanimity.

He might inwardly have groaned as FB spurned yet another fine batting service to bowl first in his obsessive pursuit of league points; he might have wondered to himself what was the point; but he stayed silent...........almost.

Yes, the WFDG has been an inspirational figure at Grange Loan and beyond -

Inspiring Rabbie Burns to a celebration of his work

Inspiring Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood

Inspiring Doughy Groundsmen the world over to seek his advice 

Inspiring not quite Henry Raeburn but another celebrated Edinburgh portraitist

Inspiring a world famous charity appeal

FB offers his thanks to the WFDG for his inspirational role and all his work and is glad to note that he will not be a stranger at Grange Loan.


  1. The WFDG shares FB’s concern at the state of the world. As he put it to me “the loonies have taken over the asylum”!
    That, however, is not the reason for his replacement as Head Groundsman. That was necessary so that the Club did not miss the chance of engaging an experienced professional. He assures me that he has not retired and intends to carry on helping out at Grange Loan in a subsidiary capacity.
    He is grateful for FB’s kind words regarding his stewardship of the Ground although he is anxious that the contribution of his long term colleague Russell should not go unnoticed.
    As you might imagine, it is not without regret that he has had to relinquish his role, especially as the situation was not of his making. He tells me he has been volunteering in various capacities, but mainly on grounds, for the best part of sixty years. And, from what FB and others have said, he has had some success in pitch preparation. He is disappointed, though, that, outside of the two Clubs involved, his efforts have never had any recognition.
    As far as Grange Loan is concerned, he reports that the new man has been seen undertaking the same activity as the WFDG was in the photo in FB,s article. That photo must have been taken at this time of year a couple of years ago. The WFDG is confident the place is in good hands.

  2. Many thanks. FB is glad to hear that WFDG will still be helping out at Grange Loan and he fully agrees that WFDG's efforts over the years are worthy of wider recognition. However as Mr Beckham seems to be finding out the machinations of the honours system can be mysterious, and occasionally (though not in Mr Becham's case) perverse.