Vatican cricket team edge a St Mary’s University XI by three runs

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In the second match of their UK tour, on Monday 1 July, the Vatican cricket team took on a St Mary’s University XI at Arundel cricket ground in the shadow of the town’s beautiful 11th century castle.

A captivating T20 match saw an appropriately named St Peter’s Cricket Club XI bat first, setting St Mary’s University a challenging target of 137 after their allotted 20 overs, reaching 136 for five wickets.

St Mary’s responded strongly in their innings but fell agonisingly short by four runs posting 133-5 – the Vatican team’s disciplined bowling and sharp fielding enabling them to narrowly close out the match.

A number of distinguished guests watched on including the UK Ambassador to the Holy See, His Excellency Chris Trott, alongside the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Arundel, the Vice Chancellor of St Mary’s University, and Bishop Richard Moth, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

Bishop Moth said:

“The Vatican team was formed to bear witness to the Christian faith among sports women and men and promote dialogue and friendship between the Catholic Church and parts of the world where cricket is popular.

“Enthusiasm for the game and the wider endeavour was certainly much in evidence during Monday’s closely fought match, with an enjoyable and enriching afternoon experienced by all.”

A familiar name on the St Mary’s team sheet was that of talented all-rounder Jacob Oakes who plays for the England Men’s Deaf cricket team. (If that isn’t impressive enough, Oakes is also a Senior Policy and Research Analyst for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales).

“What a fantastic day in stunning surroundings,” he said. “It was a nail-biting finish for a lively crowd watching on, and even though we lost, I much preferred to be in the middle rather than watching from the side-lines!”

He added: “Both teams were evenly matched, and as expected, the game was played with great spirit and enthusiasm.”

The Vatican’s cricket team visited the UK for the tenth ‘Light of Faith’ tour. Each year, the team embarks on a journey to a different country, spreading the message of friendship, unity, and Gospel hope as inspired by Pope Francis for the Jubilee year.

This year, the tour started with two matches against England’s first and second Senior teams. They had just come back from Chennai, India, where they reached the finals of the Senior World Cup.

Despite losing out twice, both matches were competitive, particularly the second head-to-head that saw England narrowly triumph with just three balls to go – a real nail-biter.

The squad’s ‘Light of Faith’ tour concluded with a final-over defeat to a King’s XI at the royal residence of Windsor Castle on Wednesday, 3 July.

The Vatican team scored 98-8 in 20 overs, and the King’s XI 99-8 in 19.3 overs. Despite the loss, the match was exciting until the very end, with the priest-players’ performances earning high praise from the spectators. Brother Ebin Jose CST from India, delivered an outstanding all-round performance and was awarded the Man of the Match.


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