Stonyhurst College was the venue this year for the fourth and latest cricket match recently between a side representing The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) and Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM).
Players on both sides came together from across Lancashire for the match – which from this year is now an bi-annual event.
The Diocesan team, sporting a brand new kit for this season, consisted of both clergy and lay members; whilst teachers, clerics and members of mosques made up the LCM side. The mosques team also featured the current Leader of Burnley Council, Councillor Afrasiab Anwar.
The Diocesan team emerged winners on the night … the second time they have come out on top. It’s now honours-even across the four encounters so far.
Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North, is a strong advocate for all kinds of projects aimed at enhancing community cohesion and is the current President of ‘Building Bridges in Burnley’.
He said: “This encounter between the team from the Diocese and the team from Lancashire Council of Mosques is now a regular fixture in the County’s cricketing calendar.
"The match embodies love and friendship between our communities; giving us chance to spend time together so we can learn more about each other and build mutual respect.
“And now we have emerged from the pandemic, it’s even more important to ensure we continue have events like this. I am delighted to hear it is now a bi-annual fixture and I’m sure the match will grow in popularity for many years to come.”
Captain of the LCM side Abdul Alim, from Blackburn, commented: “The fixture is one of the highlights of the summer.
The match is played in the right spirit, lots of fun, sharing food together and most importantly building lasting friendships.
“Whilst positive results are an element of these matches, continued fostering of friendships and respect are far more important.”
Meanwhile Diocesan Captain, Rev. Jordan McDermott, Curate at Accrington St Mary Magdalene, added: “It has been wonderful to participate in a now bi-annual match that is going from strength to strength.
“On the pitch, you never know what is going to happen – that’s cricket. Off the pitch, you can guarantee that bonds are being formed and nurtured which can only have a positive impact on the county of Lancashire.
“It is the highlight of our cricketing calendar: good cricket, good food and most importantly good friends. Long may it continue.”
Match Report by Rev Jordan McDermott,
Captain of The Church of England in Lancashire’s side.
Blackburn Diocese Cricket Team vs Lancashire Council of Mosques Cricket Team
Blackburn win; 83-4 off 18 overs against 78 all out.
In what was a close fought encounter on a low-scoring pitch, Blackburn Diocese beat the Lancashire Council of Mosques to take the win in a match where inter-faith relationships flourished.
In a bowler-heavy Blackburn side (sporting a new Diocesan kit) Bateman and McDermott led the side out to bat having won the toss and electing to bat first. Bateman departed caught out off a top edged pull early. In came T Abbott who formed a good, if steady, partnership in the middle with McDermott. The former looking increasingly dangerous.
On a pitch that was difficult to score on, 1s and 2s were vital. This proved to be Abbott’s downfall – run out for 25 attempting a quick two to some clinical fielding. Next to fall was McDermott who’s dogged innings came to an end off some quick bowling, out lbw for 20.
It was then a quick dash with the finish in sight. A rapid 36 not out for J Davies was a joy to watch with the highlight being a straight 6 back down the ground to the applause of both sides.
A quick start for the mosques team, up to 26 off just 4 overs for no loss of wicket, suggested that the runs would be chalked off as a formality; however that was not the case after Yaseen got out the wickets tumbled at a steady pace.
Some pinpoint bowling from a Clergy side looking to contain did the trick, with the final 3 wickets falling for just 6 runs. With both Irfan and Alim (c), dangerous batsmen going cheaply, the momentum shifted away from the Mosques side just as they looked to be heading over the line. In the end it was a close fought 5 run victory for the Blackburn Diocese team.
On what was a perfect evening for cricket and laughter, friendships were once again formed and strengthened on and off the pitch. There was tea at the close; the Mosques team provided vegetable rice and samosas, the Diocesan team provided cakes and scones and drinks.