LAST year, the England women’s cricket team broke the record for the highest innings total in international T20: 250 for 3, just 13 runs behind the record set by the Pakistan men’s team in 2016. Cricket now pays the highest salaries of any women’s sport in Australia.
Several women have played in the Church Times Cricket Cup, most notably the Revd Leah Philbrick in the Southwark team that lifted the Cup in 2012; but the number of women taking part in the competition has been low.
Until now. This year, all the diocesan teams playing in the Church Times competition are being enjoined to set up special training sessions for women who would like to have a go at cricket, return to the sport, or improve their existing game.
All levels of experience and fitness are welcome — no previous knowledge of cricket is required. The emphasis in the Church Times competition is on enjoyment and friendship. Even when an element of competition creeps in, its function is to encourage players to raise their game.
The Church Times competition is open to all C of E clergy, serving or retired, clergy of other denominations, or full-time church workers. This year there is a big push to get more ordinands — female and male — to take part in their diocesan sides. The current Cricket Cup-holders, Bristol, relied heavily on ordinands from Trinity College. This year, we feel sure that there will be some women among them.
Then there’s the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI, which has been an all-male team so far, but, as such, hardly represents the diversity of the Church of England. It, too, is seeking to recruit women players.
The Church Times is currently compiling a list of this year’s Cricket Cup teams, and will shortly be able to publish contact details. We will also publicise any training sessions being set up for women.
In the mean time, anyone interested in being put in touch with his or her nearest team captain or secretary can email Hattie Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.