James Cartwright, co-founder of the Lawyers Cricket World Cup, invites barristers to join the team heading to Colombo.
As a schoolboy, I spent hours compiling my World Cricket XI. Hammond and Hobbs, Trescothick and Strauss to open? Now I face a real problem – who to open for the Bar in the next forthcoming Lawyers Cricket World Cup?
For many years we have organised the Cup, under the radar so to speak, which is held every two years in the country that has agreed to host it. Covid and various associated problems have delayed the next Cup and we are now looking for members of the Bar who might like to join us in Sri Lanka, our destination just after Christmas, from 28 December 2023 to 7 January 2024.
The Cup is held over ten days. There are usually twelve teams from cricketing countries, effectively Commonwealth countries, who play in pools: each team playing all the others in the pool, then playing off for the finals and ‘placings’. This ensures that each team will play at least six games in the Cup unless it qualifies for the finals... not an achievement that the Bar team has yet enjoyed.
Cricket at the Bar of England and Wales
Cricket is a fairly hit and miss operation at the Bar. Circuits have teams, mixed teams of lawyers and judges and solicitors appear, some chambers have occasional teams, the Refreshers have existed for a long time, but this is the only cricket that is played as described above. The Rules are available but can be summarised: no player who has played cricket to a First Class standard may play unless he has reached 42 years of age. Only qualified lawyers may play. For the English and Welsh Bar that means being called by an Inn. Each team in each game must have at least six of the team over the age of 32.
The standard is high and the competitive spirit can be mean. There are, apparently, close to a million lawyers in India to choose from, for example, and other countries display a determination wonderful to behold. Our team, the Bar Council of England and Wales Cricket Club (BEWCC), plays, however, in the Romantic spirit of the hush in the close; at least I like to think so.
Cricket for friendship
A little history: The Cup was first held in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, in 2007. We took a team (recruited largely through an advertisement in Counsel magazine) of barristers, quite ignorant that we were creating a wonderful precedent. Six teams arrived: India, BEWCC, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and West Indies (mostly Barbadians) to play in empty Test Stadiums. Encouraged, we then played in Cambridge with 12 teams (South Africa and NZ persuaded to attend), then Barbados, Delhi, Brisbane, Colombo and Hamilton.
The Cup is played under the motto: “Cricket for friendship”. This turns out to be largely accurate. We have all made friends and helped keep those lawyers from countries that observe the Rule of Law together. The Inns have supported us in the past. There is no downside to playing in the Cup. Families etc. are welcomed.
BEWCC exists simply to play in the Cup. BEWCC is not a fixture heavy club although we do play a couple of weekends a year for the pleasure of playing together and to keep ourselves in being, a weekend in Sussex, including a hard match against the solicitors, and, often, a moving weekend against the Ireland and NI Bar. An Australian team is coming over in July. We do nets at Lord’s. The team is ‘London-heavy’, although the news has reached Plymouth and Liverpool, so we would welcome new faces from further afield.
We invite barristers to join BEWCC in Colombo for the eighth World Cup. If interested, email [email protected].