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Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 16:07 UK
Lichfield Diocese lifts Church Times Cricket Cup
Batsman (pic: David Linney)
A firm batting performance put Lichfield on the way to victory (pic: David Linney)

Clergymen from the Lichfield diocese - which includes Staffordshire - are celebrating after winning the 60th Church Times Cricket Cup.

They beat the Diocese of Bath & Wells in the one-day final, which took place in north London. Local supporters journeyed to the match to cheer them on.

It was Lichfield's first time in the final of the competition.

Bishop Clive Gregory said it was a dream come true for him.

Tense match

In a tense encounter, the batsmen won it for Lichfield with an innings total of 195 for 8; with Man of the Match, Mark Rylands (Bishop of Shrewsbury), 74 not out.

The turning point came when Peter Hart (Vicar of Cannock, Huntingdon and Hatherton) bowled out Bath & Wells' leading scorer - and Bath & Wells were eventually all out on 155.

The feat was achieved even without the presence of captain Anthony Osborne (Team Rector of Hartshill, Penkhull and Trent Vale) who was replaced on the day by vice captain Jeff Reynolds (Methodist Superintendent Minister of Stafford and Chaplain to Stafford Prison).

Jeff Reynolds commented: "To lift the trophy - and especially for some of the lads who have been with the Diocese for years and have always got knocked out in the first round... this is just a great day."

Lichfield Diocese cricket team (pic: David Linney)
What could be better on a English summer's day? An enjoyable game of cricket, a cup, and a bottle of champagne. (pic: David Linney)

Priority

The team was composed of players from across the diocese - which includes Staffordshire, Shropshire and the Black Country.

When Clive Gregory was appointed Bishop of Wolverhampton in 2007, he joked that his first priority would be to lift the Church Times Cricket Cup for Lichfield.

He said after the match: "I remember that day very clearly because I was entirely focused on my primary objective in coming to Lichfield; and that was securing the Church Times Cup for Lichfield Diocese; and here we are, three-and-a-half years later - and we have fulfilled that - well, not a prophecy, but an aspiration!"

One of the longest serving members of the team, Arthur Hack (Warden of Dovedale House and Non Stipendiary Curate of Alstonfield, Butterton, Ilam, Warslow with Elkstone and Wetton), has played in the Diocesan team for 18 years; but could only play in the Church Times Cricket Cup for the past 12 after the competition rules were changed to allow a limited number of non-ordained potholders in each team.

He said victory was a huge relief: "In the past we were very much the underdogs and in the last few years we have gradually improved. Last year we were the semi-finalists and this year we have won it; so it is a relief to be honest."

Supporters (pic: David Linney)
Dozens of supporters make the 250 miles trip - and it was all worthwhile! (pic: David Linney)




SEE ALSO
Local clergy in cricket cup final
15 Jul 10 |  Religion & Ethics


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