THE Church of England team to play the Vatican XI has been
selected. Our advertisements for likely players have been answered,
the odd gap has been filled, and the chosen few have been enjoined
to spend their summer in healthful pursuits, in preparation for the
big day on 19 September. The team consists of the
The Revd Jez Barnes, captain (batsman and slow bowler)*
Will Foulger (seam bowler and lower- order batsman)
The Revd Rob Glenny (opening bowler and lower-order batsman)
The Revd Steve Gray (top-order batsman, wicket-keeper)
Jonny Hughes (wicket-keeper and middle- order batsman)
Chris Kennedy (opening batsman and seam bowler)
The Revd Matt Lefroy (bowler)
Chris Lion (top-order batsman and leg-spin bowler)
Rob Oram (batsman)
Jim Robinson (middle-order batsman)
John Summers (middle-order batsman)
Andy Watkins (seam bowler and middle- order batsman)
The selection was made by the Revd Jez Barnes, a regular at the
Church Times Cricket Cup Final, in consultation with the
Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands. Incidentally, they
will face each other in the Church Times Cup Final on 4
September, when London diocese meets Lichfield.
We followed the precedent set by the Vatican side, who issued
the challenge last December. Their selectors have chosen a team
from among their seminarians, average age 28, under the captaincy
of a more experienced priest and cricketer, Fr Tony Currer.
Their team, with names as announced:
Fr Tony Currer, captain (batsman)
Antony Shehan, vice-captain (batsman)
Aamir Bhatti (wicket-keeper, batsman)
Shynish Bosco (batsman)
Jomcy Mathew (fast bowler)
Ajeesh George (medium-fast bowler)
Deepak Anto (batsman)
Ruwan Tharaka (left-handed batsman)
Davidson Jestus (fast bowler)
Benedict (fast bowler)
Our trawl of C of E ordinands yielded about a dozen players.
This was whittled down last month, on grounds of ability and
availability, to nine at a memorable nets session at Lord's. To
these we have added a couple of more experienced players alongside
Jez: the Revd Steve Gray and the Revd Matt Lefroy. A couple of the
ordinands don't start their theological training till September,
though; so we reckon the balance of experience is pretty fair.
The Vatican team, it must be admitted, has the edge. For one
thing, they have been able to draw on the international students
studying in Rome - hence the preponderance of players from the
Indian subcontinent. For another, they have been playing together
for some months, and their week-long visit to the UK in September
will include four practice matches.
In contrast, the whole Anglican side will come together for the
first time at a practice engagement two days before the big
No theological or ecclesiological deductions should be made from
these different approaches.
The C of E side has the home advantage, of course, but only if
the number of Anglicans in the crowd outnumbers the Roman Catholics
- although some sort of ecclesiastical Tebbit test might be
applicable. . .
The Revd Jez Barnes
Vicar of St Stephen's, East Twickenham, London
Trained at Wycliffe Hall
"My best cricketing moment was keeping wicket in a three-day
match against Yorkshire in The Parks in 1998, and catching Michael
Vaughan standing up to the stumps, as well as scoring some
lower-order runs against future England bowlers Matthew Hoggard and
Ryan Side-bottom (though during my innings, Craig White broke my
toe, so perhaps the honours were even). My worst cricketing moment
was losing a game of table tennis against Alastair Cook 22 points
to 20, nearly ten years ago. I probably should have got over it by
now. . ."
*Update, 12 September.
A back injury means that Jez is almost certain not to play
in the match. The captaincy has passed to Steve Gray (see below).
Jez's place in the team has gone to the Revd Chris Lee, aged 31,
assistant curate at Holy Trinity, Brompton, London. He served as a
missionary in Tanzania before studying for ordination at Ridley
First-year ordinand at Cranmer Hall
"I played cricket at school and then, while an undergraduate,
for St Andrews University.
"My worst cricketing experience was also probably one of my
earliest: colliding full speed with a fellow fielder whilst we were
both running to catch a high ball. Positively, though, I once
scored 75 in church-hall cricket, hitting the fire escape
The Revd Rob Glenny
Assistant Curate of St Nicholas's, Old Marston,
with St Thomas of Canterbury, Elsfield, Oxford diocese
Trained at Ripon College
"I dabbled a little at school; with some club cricket over the
summer, and, of course, captained the mighty Ripon College cricket
team. My best cricketing experience (other than the recent nets at
Lord's) was sitting down in pub with club team for well-earned pint
after hard-fought victory, and a non-churchgoing teammate asking:
"'Rob, if all Christians believe in God, why do you need so many
denominations?' My worst cricketing experience was not really
having a good answer."
The Revd Stephen Gray
Chaplain of Bradfield College
Trained at Ridley Hall
"I have played league cricket and representative cricket for
Sussex as a young cricketer, and for the MCC.
"My best cricketing experience was scoring a century for the MCC
batting with Chris Broad, former England opener, while his son,
Stuart, current England cricketer, was watching on the boundary in
Bristol. My worst cricketing experience was being hit full pelt in
the nose while fielding. I spent three days in hospital with an
operation to straighten it out."
Starting two-year training course with MA in
Christian Leadership at St Mellitus College in
"I played a lot of school and club cricket, growing up, as a
wicket-keeper batsman, including representative cricket for
Manchester Schools and trials for Lancashire.
"My best cricketing experience is a toss-up between winning a
cup final for Manchester Boys v. Bolton at Old Trafford (I like to
think my two not-out was central to the batting effort), and taking
a diving catch on a tour game at Scarborough CC.
"My worst cricketing experience was getting out first ball of
the innings, playing for my school side."
The Revd Matt Lefroy
Vicar of Lilleshall and Muxton, Lichfield
Trained at St John's College,
"In the past, I have played cricket regularly for club sides in
the Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and Nottinghamshire leagues; more
recently I have concentrated my efforts on the Church
"My best cricketing experience was being pictured in the same
article as another slightly more illustrious Matthew - Matthew
Hayden. ("Cricket is Worship on Grass", Features, 4 May 2012.) Bad
experiences have been numerous, and have usually involved seeing my
bowling sent over the boundary in all directions."
Third-year ordinand at St Mellitus
"I played for Hampshire Junior teams from U13-U17, and was
captain at U14 and U15 level; for Cambridge University 2nd team
(plus one appearance for a Blues side); and captained Downing
College team from 2004 to 2006. I also played for Guildford CC 1st
& 2nd XIs from 1999 to 2003.
"My best cricketing experiences include scoring 103 for
Hampshire U16s v. Middlesex U16s at the old county ground in
Southampton, and scoring 90 not out to lead Downing College to
victory in the final of Cuppers, the Cambridge inter-collegiate cup
competition. My worst cricketing experience was being out lbw for a
first-ball duck in my one and only appearance for Cambridge
University 1st XI."
Beginning training at Ridley Hall
"I am a five-years-retired ex-Essex league journeyman and
general under-achiever with Walthamstow Cricket Club in Essex.
"My best cricketing experiences include taking the best bowling
figures in all of schools' cricket in 1992, according to
Wisden: 9-40 for Forest School (which also produced other
cricketing luminaries such as Nasser Hussain and James Foster, as
well as legends from the stage and screen, such as Adam Woodyatt);
and taking a '5-for' against the MCC that same year.
"My worst cricketing experiences include being run out without
facing a ball, on the only occasion that I ever asked the scorer
"to count balls faced" before going into bat; and seeing
Walthamstow Cricket Club 1st XI relegated under my
Aged 28 years
Third-year ordinand at Westcott
"I grew up playing for my local cricket team in Sleaford, and my
school. I have represented Westcott as part of the winning team for
this year's "Ashes to Ashes" cricket tournament between Ridley
Hall, Westcott House, and Ripon College. Nowadays I mainly play for
two wandering cricket teams: the Lincolnshire Poachers and the
Lincolnshire Gentlemen. A highlight is having been appointed
chaplain to the Lincolnshire Poachers: I think the team decided it
could do with some divine assistance, although my responsibilities
rarely extend beyond saying grace at our annual dinner."
Second-year ordinand at Westcott
"I was an enthusiastic school cricketer, but the demands of old
age have meant that I wield the willow less frequently than I would
wish. My best cricket experience is hard to pick, but acquiring
Dickie Bird's autograph on my bat as a schoolboy was a key moment.
As for the worst, becoming eligible for membership of the Primary
Club springs to mind."
Third-year ordinand at St Mellitus
"My best and worst cricketing moment happened at the same time.
It was the Church Times final in 2012, playing for London
against Southwark. Jez Barnes was my batting partner, and was
already on about 50. The high point came just before lunch when I
scored my 50. It was also my low point, as I smashed the ball
straight back at the bowler who tried to catch it, hurting his hand
quite badly. Jez called me through for a single, for me to get my
50. I felt a bit bad for the bowler, but I got the run. I then
enjoyed lunch too much, and got out the first over afterwards."
This is the first of several encouragements to our
readers: please mark 19 September in your diary, and plan a trip to
Canterbury. The match begins at 4 p.m. and should end by 7
Attendance is free, although there will be a collection
for the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative,
the Global Freedom Network.
In case of rain on Friday, the teams have an option of
playing on the morning of Saturday 20 September.