Diocese of Lichfield reach the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup

Peter Hart plays a shot. Pic: David Linney/Lichfield Diocese

Peter Hart plays a shot. Pic: David Linney/Lichfield Diocese

The Diocese of Lichfield has progressed to the final of the Church Times Cricket Cup for the first time in the competition’s 59 years after a narrow victory over Chichester.

Lichfield Diocese batted first and made 276 after 50 overs; in reply Chichester were all out for 267 in the 49th over in the match, played at the Magdalen College Sports Ground in Oxford.

The Vicar of Holy Trinity Oswestry, Paul Darlington, was Lichfield’s top scorer making 112; and Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury second highest with 68 runs.

Cannock Vicar Peter Hart, who was captain of Walsall Football Club during their memorable 1984 cup run which saw the Saddlers beat Arsenal 2-1 before holding Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield in the Semi-Final of the League Cup, contributed 27 runs to help Lichfield to the final.

The Lichfield Diocese team, which includes clergy and bishops from Staffordshire, Shropshire and the Black Country, progressed to the knock-out stage of the Church Times Cricket Cup after beating Worcester, Coventry and Birmingham in the regional group stage.  Gloucester forfeited a match being unable to raise a squad.

In their quarter final match, played at Macclesfield Cricket Club, Lichfield easily beat a combined Carlisle/Blackburn Dioceses team earning 308 for four after 50 overs.  In reply the opposition were all out for 51 after less than an hour.

Their latest match was a much closer affair, with Lichfield leaving it to the 49th over to get Chichester all out.

Lichfield will play Bath and Wells Diocese in the final, which will be played on September 2 at the Walker Cricket Ground in Southgate, north London; the alternate home of Middlesex County Cricket Club.

Organised by the Church Times, one of two independent newspapers covering the Church of England, the competition is now in its 59th Season.

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