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Interfaith cricket: diocese of Blackburn beat Lancashire Council of Mosques for the first time

18 June 2021

Clive Lawrence

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, umpires during the first innings of a match between the diocese of Blackburn and the Lancashire Council of Mosques, last week

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, umpires during the first innings of a match between the diocese of Blackburn and the Lancashire Counc...

A TEAM of clergy and laity from the diocese of Blackburn defeated by two runs a side representing the Lancashire Council of Mosques, in a nail-biting cricket match at New Longton Cricket Club, in Preston, this month.

The contest, which was held on 2 June, was the third between the two sides, and the first time that the diocesan side had won. The mosques’ side included the leader of Burnley Council, Cllr Afrasiab Anwar.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, who is president of the interfaith organisation Building Bridges in Burnley, umpired the first innings.

“The love, friendship, and mutual support embodied in the match tangibly shows us that, whatever our background and faith, we can work together to achieve great things . . . while enjoying each other’s company at the same time,” he said after the match. “That’s a message that is so important to get across just now; particularly after the very difficult year we have all experienced.”

The captain of the Blackburn side, the Vicar of All Saints’, New Longton, the Revd Dr Tom Woolford, writes in a match report that Bishop North gave the Blackburn batsman Jeremy Davies out for LBW; the decision was overturned, however, after the Mosques’ captain, Abdul Alim, pointed out, sportingly, that the ball had hit Davies’s bat. Davies went on to accrue another 65 runs.

Dr Woolford expressed thanks on behalf of both teams to New Longton CC for the free use of its ground and facilities, and to the Allchurches Trust for an annual grant to the Blackburn side for equipment and hire costs.

“Any clergy and laity in the diocese of Blackburn wanting to get involved in the cricket side should email blackburndiocesecricket@gmail.com, and we are particularly keen to add more women to our mailing list and team sheets,” he writes.

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