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A northern inter-Diocesan cricket team -including representatives from Blackburn Diocese - has made it to the finals of a prestigious national competition for the first time.

The team - made up of players from the Dioceses of Carlisle, Blackburn and Durham – will now face the Diocese of London in the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup.

It follows victory over the Diocese of Exeter, this week, in a semi-final match at Brewood Cricket Club in South Staffordshire. Having been put into bat the ‘CBD’ team posted 188 for 2 after 35 overs, before restricting Exeter to 145 all out in the 34th over.

The Rev Stewart Fyfe, Rector of the North Westmorland Parish and Cricket Team Manager, said: “The match was played in an excellent spirit and, until the last over or so, it could have gone either way.

“Everyone in the team contributed to the victory. To the best of our knowledge we’ve never progressed so far in the competition so this is certainly one for our northern Dioceses to savour. We can’t wait for the final and, from what I’ve gathered, we can expect there to be quite a contingent of travelling support from the north!”

The team included clergy and Diocesan officers from across the three Dioceses:

Diocese of Carlisle

Rev Alan Bing – Ulverston Parish Church

Rev Steve Carter – Dalston with Cumdivock, Raughton Head and Wreay

Rev Stewart Fyfe – North Westmorland Parishes

Sarah Hulme – Outreach and Fresh Expressions Enabler

Dave Roberts – Communications Manager

Diocese of Blackburn

Rev Craig Abbott – St John’s Ellel

Rev Mark Bradford – St Cuthbert’s Fulwood

Rev Gary Bullock – Heapey St Barnabas and Withnell St Paul

Rev Paul McNally – Accrington St James with St Paul

Rev Tom Woolford - Bispham All Hallows

Diocese of Durham

Philip Wills – Registrar

It was opening batsman Philip Wills who steered the ‘CBD’ innings with 104 not out while Tom Woolford’s brisk unbeaten 50 pushed the scoreboard along towards the end.

In the field ‘CBD’ again stuck to the task, with fine bowling displays from Craig Abbot (4 for 38) and Tom Woolford (4 for 17) securing the win.

The Church Times Cricket Cup first began in 1951, with the final always held on the first Thursday of September at the Walker Cricket Ground in Southgate, north London.

First-round matches are held regionally with winners and runners-up making it to the quarter finals. The CBD team overcame the Diocese of Lincoln in their quarter final match which was played at Harrogate Cricket Club.