Army cricketers lose out to Afghans
Afghan cricketers knocked the British Army for six when they met for a two-day clash in the heart of Helmand Province.
A British team, selected from across all three branches of the armed forces serving on Operation Herrick 15, took on a team from the Afghan National Army (ANA) and a team of Afghan interpreters in a two-day series of 20/20 cricket matches in Camp Bastion in front of more than 1,500 ANA spectators.
The British Forces team trained for days to prepare for the game against the avid Afghan cricketers, and the three sides sized each other up beforehand in the cricket nets at the ANA's Camp Shorabak, next to Camp Bastion.
But when the matches started, the impressive Afghan teams took British Forces Afghanistan to the cleaners, with victories going to both the ANA and interpreter sides.
The British team were all out for 75 versus the ANA team's score of 165, much to the delight of the audience of Afghan soldiers who flooded on to the pitch to congratulate their colleagues.
The British team fared no better against the team of Afghan interpreters, scoring 169 for seven while the interpreters managed 183 all out.
On the second day, the two Afghan sides met in a play-off, with the ANA coming out victorious in the final.
The ANA team played in blue-and-red uniforms presented at the beginning of the match on behalf of the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team, which helps with development projects in the region. The British team played in "whites" from the Army Cricket Association.
The event was organised by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Law, of 26 Regiment Royal Artillery, who is serving in Afghanistan in the Task Force Helmand headquarters.
Col Law, 42, from Devon, is the vice-chairman of the Army Cricket Association. He said: "We came to build on the very good relations we have with the ANA, and have a good game. We always knew they would be very good, but it turned out that they are absolutely fantastic and taught us a thing or two. As sport is a great leveller I hope this game could be the start of a long association with Afghan Army cricket."