The Lawyers Cricket World Cup

Paul Stewart recounts the thrills and spills of the 3rd Lawyers Cricket World Cup and issues a call to arms for the forthcoming 4th tournament

Tuesday 14 August 1984 and, being both a young and diligent practitioner at the Bar, I attended the Oval to watch the final day of the celebrated West Indian “blackwash” series when Clive Lloyd’s team completed the humiliation of David Gower’s team. The West Indian attack, spearheaded by Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding, had bowled England out for 202 to win by 172 runs. Desmond Hayes had provided the platform for victory scoring a century in the WI second innings, having opened with Gordon Greenidge as he was to do in 148 test innings.


Fast forward to Barbados,16 August 2011. I have just failed to do my stuff for the Bar of England and Wales Cricket Club against India. I sit fuming. My pads have been thrown with feeling across the changing room for the crime of being on my legs when I called my skipper for a non-existent second run.

“Let me see the cover of your pads,” a voice commands. I glance up. The speaker is Desmond Haynes. He wants to see how my normally white pads have been transformed to navy blue by a cover of stretch material so as to blend in with our one-day team kit. I cease fuming. I retrieve a rejected pad and show how the cover comes off. And I’m thinking: “Wow, here is me demonstrating to Desmond Haynes how to use a piece of cricket equipment.” I know: true irony would have me demonstrate a bat.

Legends
Desmond Haynes is one of the “Legends of Barbadian Cricket” who were assigned to teams participating in the 3rd Lawyers Cricket World Cup. Other Legends were assigned to the other teams. Sir Everton Weekes at the age of 86 was assigned to the eventual tournament winners, India, while the Reverend Wesley Hall was assigned to Australia, a coupling that doubtless stemmed from his great popularity with the Australian public rather than because, in his missionary zeal, he had demanded real sinners to work with. We got Desmond.

In truth, the assigned Legend’s job is not very onerous: merely turn up to see your assigned team play and the team starts purring. And, on occasion, unexpected Legends arrive to the delight of the players.

In our game against the West Indies A team, Andrew de Mestre came off the field at the Empire Club having shared an opening stand of 128 with Jon Brinsmead-Stockham to find that Sir Gary Sobers was in the pavilion watching. As he tweeted afterwards: “To score a 50 in Barbados in front of Gary Sobers: it just doesn’t get any better than this!”

The Legends congregated collectively with their squads at the opening and closing ceremonies, both held at the 3Ws Oval at the University of the West Indies at Bridgetown. At the opening, some of the Legends followed the present Minister of Tourism in inspecting the squads. Wes Hall, himself a past Minister of Tourism, followed along with his famous opening bowling partner, Charlie Griffith.

India triumphed over the Sri Lanka A team by some 20 runs in the final. This match, like others in the competition, was a 30 over a side contest. We had played India twice and Sri Lanka A once in the tournament and had lost all three of those games quite heavily. While we had been able to achieve our one tournament triumph over Sri Lanka B, it is still painful to recall the punishment inflicted on our bowlers by Sri Lanka A in accumulating 321 for seven in 30 overs.

Although we were placed 7th in the overall rankings at the end of the tournament, two teams we had not played were placed ahead of us, Australia in 5th place and West Indies B in 6th place. With only eight teams, a round robin tournament might have been possible. But its absence detracted very little from the enjoyment of participating.

In October this year, the 4th Lawyers Cricket World Cup will be held in Delhi. James Cartwright [10 KBW] is putting together a squad of players to represent the Bar of England and Wales Cricket Club and is looking for talented players. If you are interested in playing, contact him on bewcc@yahoo.co.uk.

The first World Lawyers Games will take place in Croatia, from 7-16 June this year, under the auspices of the Croatian Bar Association. The international multi-sport event for lawyers and legal apprentices is open to men and women of all ages. The main sports tournament will include football, tennis, golf, beach football, beach volleyball, basketball, badminton, table tennis as well as poker, darts and chess. There will also be opening and closing ceremonies, a charity tournament, gala dinner, cocktail shows, parties and excursions. The Games will be held in the Croatian town of Umag, a small port on the north-west coast of Istria where the host of the ATP tournament, the Istrian sports centre, is based. For full details and tournament entry fees, see www.worldlawyersgames.com or email marina@worldlawyersgames.com. Reduced airfares for participants have been arranged with Star Alliance.

Paul Stewart, Lamb Chambers, with grateful thanks to his colleagues in Lamb Chambers for their sponsorship of the team kit

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