Victory in Rome has given the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI a 3-1 win-margin over the Pope’s cricket team. A specially selected team of cricket-playing English clergy travelled to Rome for the fourth in what has become an annual Anglican-Catholic match between the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI (ABC XI) and the Vatican’s St Peter’s Cricket Club. And on Saturday, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI beat St Peter’s by 39 runs.
The ABC XI batted first, finishing on 176/3, largely thanks to a century from Chris Kennedy, the curate of St Richard’s Church in Hanworth. Kennedy, the ABC XI’s vice-captain, finished on 103 not out. A batting partnership between Kennedy and team captain Chris Lion, curate at St James’s Church in Gerrards Cross, ran up the Anglican’s first 100 within an hour of the match starting.
The victory gives the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI a 3-1 victory over St Peter’s in the straight matches between them. The first match saw the ABC XI wrap up victory at Kent County Cricket Club’s Spitfire Ground in Canterbury, before St Peter’s draw the teams level with victory in Rome a year later. It was a return to Canterbury for last year’s match, which saw another victory for the Anglicans.
The Anglicans also beat St Peter’s in a triangular T-20 series last year at the Edgbaston ground in Birmingham – a series which also involved the Mount, a Muslim cricket team from Batley in West Yorkshire. Both St Peter’s and the ABC XI beat the Mount cricket club, giving the Anglicans victory in that series and a total win record of 4-1 against the Vatican side.
Saturday’s match between the ABC XI and St Peter’s was played at the Capanelle ground in Rome. On Thursday, in a warm-up match, the ABC XI beat Capanelle in a T-20 game. Capanelle won the toss and chose to bat, running up 143 in their 20 overs. In response, the ABC XI reached the total with two overs to spare.
In addition to cricket, the series gives the teams the opportunity to learn and study together. Ahead of this year’s match, the players from both teams attended a reception hosted by Britain’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy.
They also gathered at the Anglican Centre in Rome where they were briefed on the centre’s work and heard the incoming director, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, talk about his personal faith journey. Archbishop Ntahoturi will be commissioned as director of the Anglican Centre in Rome next week.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI was sponsored by Ecclesiastical, a leading UK insurer of churches and heritage buildings; and supported by the Church Times newspaper, which has organised an inter-diocesan clergy cricket competition in the UK for more than 65 years, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.