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Vatican side to play Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI at The Spitfire Ground

Thursday 14th April 2016

A visiting Roman Catholic side from the Vatican will return to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence to play the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI in September.

In September 2014, the St Peter’s XI were narrowly defeated by their Anglican hosts and the sides met again in Rome last year, when the Vatican team ran out winners.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 13 September, the teams meet for the third time before travelling to Birmingham for a triangular T20 tournament on Thursday 15 September with a team of Muslim players from West Yorkshire, to be played at Edgbaston, the international ground and home of Warwickshire CCC.

The following day, the Vatican side will visit Yorkshire with a match against Mount Cricket Club at Headingley on Monday 19 September, before returning to Rome.

The touring Vatican side is made up of an international team of Catholic priests and seminarians who are studying and working in Rome.

They belong to St Peter’s Cricket Club, established in 2013, an initiative of the former Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy.

As before, the Anglican team is being recruited via the Church Times, one of the sponsors of the matches. Trials are to take place at the end of this month.

The Revd Steve Gray, captain of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI in 2014-15, said: “The Anglican players share with their patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a belief that faith in God unites people rather than divides them.

"This is why it is such a privilege to the team from the Vatican. We’re thrilled that they have accepted the invitation – and the challenge.”

The Church Times has organised clergy cricket in the UK since 1951. The Archbishop of Canterbury is patron of the team.

None of these games would be possible without the huge generosity of the three first-class counties Kent, Warwickshire, and Yorkshire, and the full support of the England & Wales Cricket Board.

Entry to the matches will be free with voluntary charity donations accepted on the day.