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The Inter Services Twenty20 (T20) Cricket Tournament is a triangular competition between the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force senior sides and is fiercely contested. The RAF were also the victors in 2011.
Held by the Combined Services Cricket Association, proceeds from this year’s tournament are being donated to the Combat Stress charity.
First held in 2005 at the Army Cricket Ground in Aldershot, this is the third year that the tournament has been hosted at Lord’s.
The tournament sees each of the Armed Forces senior sides play two Twenty20 games during the single-day tournament. The three contests this year were played out in front of a lively crowd.
The first game of the tournament set the scene for an exciting day with the Royal Navy scoring 132 runs off their allotted 20 overs for the loss of four wickets.
In reply, the Army matched the Royal Navy’s score off the last ball, having also lost four wickets, producing a tied game that required the umpires and tournament officials to look back at the scorebook to see who had won.
After a few moments it was announced that the Royal Navy had won; the result being determined on which team had the better run-rate after 10 overs.
The second game saw the Army look to regroup against the RAF. Batting first, the Army lost early wickets and the RAF maintained the pressure throughout by attacking the batting with aggressive bowling and fielding. This resulted in a below par Army score of 44 all-out.
In reply, the RAF was made to struggle early on with aggressive Army bowling pinning the RAF batsmen back before they finally scored the runs required to win the game.
The final game saw the two unbeaten sides come together. Having won the toss, the Royal Navy batted first and the two openers made the most of the opportunity, with both scoring deserved half-centuries. The second half of the innings faltered slightly as wickets started to tumble, but a final score of 147 seemed certain to challenge the RAF.
In reply, the Royal Air Force batted steadily, maintaining the required run-rate before some explosive hitting from the middle order gained the advantage and ensured victory in the penultimate over.
The RAF’s team captain Flight Lieutenant Matt Compton held aloft the trophy on the pitch while Senior Aircraftman Graeme Cessford was named man of the tournament, for the second year running, for his dangerous fast-bowling and powerful batting.
Colonel Peter Sharland, Chairman of the Combined Services Cricket Association, said:
This has been a wonderful day of cricket with a keen competitive edge. We are very grateful to the Marylebone Cricket Club for their fantastic hospitality and unwavering support to the Armed Forces.
I am delighted for the players who have played at Lord’s today and will remember this event for the rest of their lives.
Combat Stress Chief Executive, Commodore Andrew Cameron, said:
We are delighted and very grateful to have been chosen to benefit from the Inter Services T20 Tournament.
“Combat Stress is currently treating and supporting almost 5,000 ex-servicemen and women suffering from trauma-related mental ill-health and we hope that your recognition through the 2012 Tournament will raise awareness of Combat Stress and encourage more people to seek our help, as well as raising much-needed funds for our vital work.”