The match that started it all: Chris Lee hits out, watched by Aamir Bhatti, during the teams’ 2014 clash. Photo Robert Berry
This coming Thursday, 15 September, sees the first-ever three-way T20 tournament between three faith cricket teams at Edgbaston. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI are hosting a visiting side from the Vatican, the St Peter’s XI, and The Mount, a Muslim team from Yorkshire.
The matches begin at 10.30 a.m. (St Peter’s XI vs ABC’s XI; followed by ABC’s XI vs Mount CC; and ending with the Mount CC vs St Peter’s XI); ending at approximately 7.45pm.
The Vatican team – made up largely of players from south-east Asia studying at seminaries in Rome – first visited the UK in 2014, a match won in the last over by the ABC XI. Last year the two sides met in Rome, a match won more comfortably by the Vatican side. The two sides meet again next Tuesday, at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, in Canterbury (match begins 2 p.m.), before travelling to Birmingham for the tournament. The Mount team, based in Batley, made a separate visit to Rome last year. This will be the first time they have played an Anglican side.
On Wednesday 14 Sept, a handful of players from each of the four sides will run an after-school session for pupils at Ark St Alban’s Academy in Birmingham, a Church of England foundation with a large Muslim intake.
Later, on Monday 19 Sept, the Mount will host a match with the Vatican side at Headingley.
The purpose of the ‘Unity Through Cricket’ matches is to enjoy the good relations that already exist between people of different faiths, and also to demonstrate how divisions within the Church and differences between faiths can be overcome most effectively by playing together.
The games have been made possible by the generosity of Kent, Warwickshire, and Yorkshire CCCs. Sponsors include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, and the Church Times, which has been organising clergy cricket since 1952.