Royal Marines beaten by Afghans

A team of Royal Marines were emphatically beaten today by the Afghan National Army, in a match to celebrate New Year and Eid.

Members of 45 Commando Group, who are currently based in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, were bowled out for a paltry 56 in 14 overs. Their opponents knocked off the required runs in just 12 overs.

"The skill level of the Afhans was brilliant," Lt Rob Cooper told Life Style Extra. "We soon realised we were in trouble when they opened the bowling."

Afghanistan enjoyed a successful tour of England last summer - their first - in which they also beat the Officer Cadets of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Cricket is enjoying a boom in Afghanistan, ever since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001, thanks to the refugees bringing the sport home from the camps in Pakistan. The game continues to be well supported by the government and has spread to over 16 provinces, where it was once banned by the Taliban to just four.

"Obviously, we were disappointed to lose as badly as we did," added Cooper, "but we still managed to enjoy the encounter. It certainly provided a good break from the operational work being done on a daily basis out here."