Naval 'Ashes' return

Published on POML-SC Gary Cooper (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Pakistan Naval Academy

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Arunta (F151), Drug Interdiction, Counter-piracy, Cricket, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

HMAS Arunta's cricket team gather on the flight deck with their newly-won trophy, the 'Naval Ashes', following a friendly match against crew members from HMS Daring at the Pakistan Naval Academy in Karachi, Pakistan. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
HMAS Arunta's cricket team gather on the flight deck with their newly-won trophy, the 'Naval Ashes', following a friendly match against crew members from HMS Daring at the Pakistan Naval Academy in Karachi, Pakistan.

The ship's company of HMAS Arunta has restored national sporting pride with a commanding victory over England in an epic battle in Karachi to reclaim the 'Ashes'.

Arunta took on Royal Navy crew, HMS Daring in Karachi, Pakistan while the ship took part in Exercise AMAN 17 as part of their nine-month deployment to Operation MANITOU.

The ship’s company organised the cricket match with the aim of securing ‘bragging rights’ for the coveted 'Naval Ashes'.

Arunta's team captain Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Bradley Munnings said his team relished the challenge of fielding first after losing the toss.

“We were sent in to bowl on a pretty luscious concrete oval – which made for a pretty consistent pitch and outfield,” he said.

“We bowled tightly and made runs pretty hard to come by for the Daring crew in conditions that were actually fairly pleasant – it’s probably the first Australian side to play a test in Pakistan in some time.”

English wickets fell rapidly with the Arunta bowling attack showing no mercy and ripping through their top order. 

The wickets were spread out evenly through the bowlers with Lieutenant William Ross, Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Sean Graham, Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Scott See and Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Andre Dennis all snaring two wickets.

The fielding effort was instrumental in restricting Daring to 9/70, with Lieutenant Commander Andrew Thorpe’s solitary effort proving a highlight of the innings with a catch worthy of Channel 9’s Classic Catches.

With a moderate target of 70 runs, Arunta began the run chase strongly with the opening partnership getting the side off to a flyer. In particular skipper Leading Seaman Munnings showed great composure out in the middle.

A few quick wickets fell which gave the English a sniff of victory, however with the arrival of the game top scorer Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Trevor Walters, this was quickly removed. 

In the end Petty Officer Walters and Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Paul Somerville-Ryan steered the team to victory and with it regained the 'Naval Ashes'.

Bradman would be proud.