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STOP PRESS!: The combined cricketing side in this story, which includes players from our Diocese, has now reached the final of The Church Times Cup! The final will be played at the Walker Cricket Ground in London on September 5, 2019 beginning at 11am. More details here - spectators can watch free. No ticket is required - just turn up. If you want to join the Diocesan cricket side see the details at the end of the story below. 

A combined side of cricketing clergy from Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese); Cumbria (Carlisle Diocese) and Durham Diocese is reaching great heights by getting to the semi-finals of the Church Times Cup.

The Cup is a prestigious trophy fought for by sides from many of the Dioceses across the country and this year is the first time for many years that Lancashire has progressed to this stage of the tournament.

In a resounding victory in the quarter final match yesterday, the combined cricket team triumphed over Lincoln Diocese in a match played at Harrogate – a county standard ground sometimes frequented by Yorkshire CCC.

The Blackburn Diocese cricketing scene was resurrected earlier this year by Rev. Tom Woolford, Assistant Curate at Bispham All Hallows Church, who said: “This has been a great result for us. We are taking it one match at a time and hoping for further success in the semi-final in July.”

Four clergy from Lancashire – including Tom - were part of the combined side in the quarter-final. The other three were Rev. Gary Bullock, from Withnell and Heapey; Rev. Paul McNally from Accrington and Rev. Sam Cheesman, of Anchorsholme.

Meanwhile Blackburn Diocese is also looking to strengthen its cricket team this summer and, while only people who hold the ‘Bishop’s Licence’ can play in the Church Times Cup, the team is on the lookout for any clergy, lay readers and church members throughout the County of Lancashire who might be interested in boosting the numbers.

Tom said: “We are hoping to have additional friendly fixtures 'on our own' in the diocese over this summer and the next of those matches is against a team from the Lancashire Council of Mosques next Wednesday evening at Stonyhurst College, starting at 6.15pm.

“It’s great to be moving forward because, even with Carlisle and Durham, we couldn't quite field a full side last summer. And for the County that has produced Jimmy Anderson, Freddie Flintoff, Michael Atherton and David 'Bumble' Lloyd (among many others) this is a poor showing!

For anyone who wants to participate Tom (pictured) has reassurance, saying: “You don't need to have cricketing experience, and there will be a chance to have a practice nets session before any fixtures. 

“If you don't want to play, but would be interested in scoring, umpiring, or supporting the team, we'd love to hear from you too. 

“For the Church Times Cup, we are allowed to field not only clergy but lay readers too. And for any friendlies we arrange locally, any church member would be most welcome.”

Anyone interested in taking part should register their details at: or email



Ronnie Semley, June 2019