THE cricket season does not start with the first match, but weeks, maybe months before, when club captains and secretaries start assembling their squads and putting fixtures into the diary.
This is the stage that the 2019 Church Times Cricket Cup competition has reached. Contact has been made with virtually every diocese or group of dioceses fielding a team, the rules of the competition have been brushed down, and the teams are currently agreeing dates and venues.
There are two changes to note this year. The first is that there is now no limit to the number of ordinands that a team can field. This might benefit dioceses that happen to contain a theological college within their borders; but much training is now focused in the parish, and we expect many ordinands to be loyal to their sending diocese.
The other change is not in the rules, but is important, none the less. After an earlier call, several dioceses report that they have women players appearing in their teams this year. All captains have been enjoined to arrange — and publicise widely — training sessions for players who might have developed transferable skills in other sports, but have lacked the opportunity to try out in cricket. This would particularly benefit women whose schools or colleges sadly lost interest in a sport once popular with both sexes, as evidenced by girls’ school stories in the earlier part of the 20th century.
Below is a list of contacts for each of the diocesan teams in the competition. The point of publishing it is so that everyone — female or male, clerical or full-time church workers, Anglican or of another denomination — can be in touch to enquire about training sessions with a view to joining the squad.
We can say with confidence that everyone will be welcomed. Few captains are complacent about the numbers in their squad, and unexpected parish duties can decimate a side at the last minute. Most sides have a few handy members, but players of lesser ability will fit right in. The key element, professed by all, is that Cricket Cup games are immensely enjoyable, friendly, and fulfilling.
Readers who are eligible to play but do not see their diocese in the list may apply to join the nearest one. More importantly, it would be excellent if they could start making connections with other potential players in their diocese, with a view to building a side to enter the competition next year. Many of the teams featured here are built on the enthusiasm of one individual, who finds that his or her commitment quickly infects others.
Group 1 North
Chester/Liverpool/St Asaph’s: David Page email@example.com
Manchester: Dave Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlisle/Blackburn/Durham: Stewart Fyfe email@example.com
Leeds: Graham Buttanshaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Lichfield: Phil Searle email@example.com
Group 2 Midlands-ish
Norwich/Ely: Mark Capron firstname.lastname@example.org
Leicester: John Orridge John.Orridge@CovLec.org
Coventry: Steve Burch email@example.com
(Peterborough and Lincoln do not appear to be fielding a side this year)
Group 3 South-East
London: Tim Rose firstname.lastname@example.org
St Albans/Guildford: Adam Prior email@example.com
Southwark: Robert Stanier firstname.lastname@example.org
Chelmsford: David Beales email@example.com
Canterbury/Rochester: Neville Emslie NEmslie@diocant.org
Group 4 South-West-ish
Oxford: William Hamilton-Box firstname.lastname@example.org
Salisbury: Mark Windsor email@example.com
Exeter: Simon Franklin firstname.lastname@example.org
Winchester/Chichester: Jane Inglis email@example.com
Bristol: Rob Smith firstname.lastname@example.org