On Tuesday 6th July 2013 on a glorious summer evening a representative side from the Birmingham Law Society (BLS) visited the WMP sports at Tally Ho! The venue is opposite Warwickshire CCC’s Edgbaston Cricket Ground. BLS was to take on the Chief Constable and a representative side from West Midlands Police.
The BLS captain – appointed on the night on the strength of his cricket shirt – Andy Ford (Hamer Childs) duly won the toss and decided to bat. The distinguished umpire was BLS President, Martin Allsopp (Allsopp & Co) and Tony Rollason (Landmark Information Group).
David Brammer (SGH Martineau) and Nick Kates (Pinsent Masons) opened the batting and got the lawyers off to a strong start, with David retiring on 32 not out. There were plenty of other robust contributions with the bat, playing to local rules with retirement compulsory at 30 (we all wish!) including that of Andy Ford who reached his ‘compulsory retirement’ with five huge sixes as BLS posted an imposing total of 177 in their allotted 20 overs.
A swift turnaround was called for in order that BLS would be able to bowl a full 20 overs and WMP came out to open their innings.
It was apparent from the start that not all of the police team was what you might call “regular coppers” and, bearing in mind the fact that BLS had never lost this fixture in the seven years it has been held, there was even some suggestion that the Chief Constable, Chris Sims, may have sought support from outside consultants?
WMP batted strongly through the order with several of the boys in blue (or white) retiring on 30 and playing impressive shots as the sun set over Edgbaston.
James Parkes (No 5 Chambers) opened the bowling and put the ball on the spot. Captain Andy Ford bowled tightly and there were good performances in the field, with the wicket keeper James Allsopp, the President’s son, performing admirably behind the stumps, even if he did not agree with all of Martin’s umpiring decisions. (Martin has very generous interpretation of what is going down the leg-side, when it comes to lbw decisions).
In the 17th over a ball hit straight at the umpire at the bowlers end, Tony Rollason, smashed into the stumps. Tony remained unflappable but in truth never saw the ball that, had it been slightly higher, would have meant a visit to A&E.
Another of the highlights of the evening was Pete Lowen, former Chief Exec (Birmingham Law Centre), bowling his loopy leg spin.
In the 19th over, the wicket that all BLS bowlers wanted, that of the Chief Constable, was loudly appealed for as lbw. However, umpire Tony Rollason’s decision was not out but the BLS bowlers were not deterred and kept the pressure on.
At the end of the evening the target of 177 proved three runs too many for the police and the players and umpires retired to the sports and social club to take advantage of the offered hospitality.
The Chief Constable made a gracious speech in defeat which was responded to by President Martin Allsopp on behalf of BLS. This is a great event bringing together lawyers from all sectors in a common sporting purpose and friendly atmosphere, long may it continue in the sunshine.
The shield remains in the possession of BLS for yet another 12 months. Well done BLS and better luck next time WMP.