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Rome rematch for C of E cricketers

15 July 2015

by Paul Handley and Hattie Williams


Big hit: last year's cricket match in Canterbury in full flow

Big hit: last year's cricket match in Canterbury in full flow

WHEN the 200 bishops and other delegates emerge at the end of the three-week Synod on the Family in Rome, they will be able to unwind with an unlikely form of entertainment.

The Vatican has issued an invitation for a return cricket match between a St Peter’s XI and the C of E team that won a narrow victory in Canterbury last autumn (News, 26 September 2014).

The match will take place in the afternoon of Sunday 25 October, after a final mass for the Synod delegates.

The captain of the C of E side, the Revd Steve Gray, Chaplain at Bradfield College, said this week: “It will be great to renew contact with our Roman Catholic friends in Rome. The cricket will be fun  and a strong symbolism of our ecumenical ties, though we will of course do our best to emerge victorious again.”


THE Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, marked 16 July as a Holy Day in London, in memory of the three Studd Brothers, whose family name is inscribed on the Ashes urn.

Bishop Chartres added the cricketers Charles Thomas Studd, George Brown Studd, and Sir John Edward Kynaston Studd to the London Kalendar, a list of Holy Days for use in the diocese of London.

In a statement released on Thursday, coinciding with the first day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, Bishop Chartres said: “The Studd brothers were great servants of two of this country’s most historic institutions: the Church, and the game of cricket. May their memory inspire England as they take on Australia this week at Lord’s.”

Born in the 1800s, the Studd Brothers were from a large cricketing and Evangelical family. All three captained Cambridge University and played for Middlesex, and one, Charles Thomas, competed for England in the test match that gave rise to the Ashes. He was in the losing side in the 1882 Oval match which prompted the Sporting Times mock obituary: “The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia.”

Charles and his brother George were also members of the touring side that recovered the Ashes of 1882-83, during which the England captain was presented with the famous urn. They both went on to become missionaries in China, England, the United States, and the Congo. John Edward became president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

The brothers were nominated for inclusion in the Kalendar by the Revd Michael Redman, Assistant Curate of St Paul’s, Marylebone. The Bishop of London said: “The proud tradition of the Church and cricket together continues to this day. I’m delighted that the diocese of London’s team continues to fly the flag and has reached the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: the London team meets Guildford in the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup competition in Southgate on 3 September. The Church Times competition, started in 1951, was the first-ever limited over competition.

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