On Sunday, 21st October, ENO’s Orchestra cricket team will be hosting the inaugural Orchestra Indoor Cricket Super 8s competition at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The event has been set up to raise funds for the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and our patron for the day is Somerset and England cricket legend, Sir Ian Botham.
In June 2011, following yet another heavy defeat for the ENO orchestra cricket team, Mick Doran (ENO’s principal percussionist) and I had a conversation about other orchestras who had their own cricket teams. We had recently played in an indoor cricket competition, and quickly released there were enough orchestras with cricket teams for us to be able to host our own competition.
Plans were quickly made for the 2011 competition, although it was obvious every time we had a planning meeting that Mick wasn’t well. He was complaining of constantly feeling tired and slightly under the weather, but that was put down to it being the end of a long and busy season. In July 2011, Mick was taken to hospital and diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Myeloid Leukaemia. He’d had some routine blood tests taken at his local surgery, and when the results were returned he had been told by his doctor to go to straight to his nearest hospital. After he was diagnosed, we had a brief chat about the logistics of the ENO percussion section and postponing the cricket competition. At the end of the conversation he said, “I’m going to give this my best shot”. He most certainly did.
Amazingly, after some of the most aggressive and unpleasant treatment, Mick started back at work in January of this year. Mick’s strength of character has been incredible throughout, but not a surprise to anyone who knows him. He’d only been back at work a few weeks when he mentioned re-starting the cricket competition. It’s fitting that the two charities who will benefit are the Musician’s Benevolent Fund and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research – both have helped and supported Mick, and understandably the MBF is an incredibly important charity to the musicians taking part. On 21st October, taking part alongside ENO’s orchestra team will be the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Freelance Players, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Session Musicians. We’re also hugely grateful to our team mentors, who have been called upon for advice – David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, Andy Flower, Stephen Fry and Michael Vaughan.