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Rain fails to stump Oval final

More than 60 civil engineering cricketers descended on the Brit Oval in London this summer for the second Mace Celebrity Cricket Challenge in support of WaterAid.

The fiercely competitive nature of the construction industry was firmly in evidence at the Brit Oval in July, as 10 teams of engineers gathered to do battle in six-a-side, five-over cricket tournament.

No quarter was given as teams from Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions, DHL, Enterprise, Mace, New Civil Engineer, Thames Water, United Utilities and VMH padded up to play three games each on the world famous Oval wicket. A celebrity star from the Bunburys, the world’s leading celebrity cricket team, aided each team.

Quarter finals

After several hours’ frenetic action, four teams - Thames Water, NCE, Mace Pratt Street Boys and United Utilities - qualified for the semi-finals. But a sudden, heavy downpour robbed the NCE and Thames teams of their chance to make the final. Instead, the decider was played out between Mace Pratt Street Boys and United Utilities in the Oval’s indoor arena.

Even this did nothing to dampen the teams’ competitive spirit. United Utilities, with ex-Premiership footballer John Solako, batted first to score an impressive 67 runs from five overs. Strong bowling and tight fielding from the United Utilities team put pressure on the Pratt Street Boys batsmen who could not better the opposition’s total, losing by nine runs.

Despite the challenge of the day, the event was about more than simply the cricket. Everyone involved in the event, either participating, watching or ­supporting, helped raise both funds and awareness for WaterAid. In total £30,000 was collected, beating 2009’s total of £28,000.

A drinks reception followed with speeches from Girish Menon, director of international programmes for WaterAid, Bunburys founder David English and Bunburys resident master of ceremonies Roger Dakin.

Money raised

Mace utilities director Andy Sharples brought the event to a close, and was delighted with the day. “I am extremely proud of the amount of money we have raised for WaterAid and of the efforts of all the companies involved in making the Mace Celebrity Cricket Challenge such a success, which I hope we can continue next year and beyond,” he said.

WaterAid head of national fundraising Alan Machin echoed Sharples’ praise: “We’d like to thank everyone involved in the Mace Celebrity Cricket Challenge,” he said. “The money will help us transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people by bringing safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to their communities.”

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