Operational tasking was put on hold for some of Combined Task Force 150 on Boxing Day, and the gloves were on for a showdown of epic proportions.
The Australians and Canadians team up against the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command for a cricket match whilst deployed as part of the Combined Maritime Forces in Manama, Bahrain.
The game was a limited over format, with a chance for everyone involved to have a bat and bowl on the slightly unconventional pitch - a softball field dressed up with wickets. It provided a great opportunity to showcase a Boxing Day favourite for the Royal Australian Navy team's Canadian colleagues.
“One of the main traditions of Boxing Day in Australia is playing backyard cricket with the test match on the TV and the smell of sausages cooking on the barbeque,” said Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Steven Schonrock, one of two Australian Battlewatch Assistants.
“Being able to teach our Canadian counterparts one of the great Australian sports whilst playing against one of our greatest cricketing rivals on Boxing Day, followed by a barbeque, was a really unique experience. While we didn’t quite get the result we wanted, everyone had a lot of fun and I think a few of the Canadians might even try and keep up their practice for a rematch!”
Seven Royal Australian Navy members are embedded in the Combined Task Force in a fully integrated headquarter in Manama, Bahrain working under the Combined Maritime Forces naval partnership.
The team works to deter and deny terrorist organisations from using the maritime domain to fund their activities, through maritime security operations, regional engagements and capacity building with the regional naval and security forces.
“The cricket match represented the multi-national nature of the operational tasking, with not only Canadians, Australian and British, but also the Senior National Representative from Pakistan, who definitely showed us a thing or two about bowling," said Canadian Lieutenant-Commander Mike Stefanson, Plans Officer.
“The notion of ‘bowling’ as opposed to ‘pitching’ as we do in baseball was a bit of a novelty and quite entertaining to watch,” he said.
The Combined Maritime Force aims to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. Comprising of 30 voluntary member nations, multi-national collaboration seeks to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, encourage regional cooperation, and promote a safe maritime environment.