Vatican cricket side poised for Kirklees tour

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The Vatican’s very own cricket team will be visiting Kirklees later this week as part of a special inter-faith tour of the area.

Members of St Peter’s XI will visit Batley’s Mount Pleasant Islamic Trust and St John Fisher Catholic Academy in Dewsbury.

The tour also includes a Twenty20 match between St Peter’s and a multi-faith community XI from Batley at the town’s PKWA centre on Sunday, September 18.

On Monday, September 19, the visit concludes with a special game at Leeds’ Headingley stadium between St Peter’s and Mid-Yorkshire Sunday League club, Mount CC.

With interfaith issues firmly on their agenda, both teams are hoping to illustrate to the area’s young people that they can be true to their own faiths, yet at the same time cherish diversity.

The tour was arranged to show that a love of cricket can unite and empower people regardless of nationality or faith.

The touring Vatican XI is made up of an international team of Catholic priests and seminarians.

Two are English, eight are from India and one is from Pakistan.

They are all studying for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome.

One of the team members is West Yorkshire-born Reverend Elliott Wright, who played for Yorkshire Schools’ teams before training for priesthood.

Off-spin bowler Elliott knew he wanted to be a priest from the age of 14 and is being ordained in Leeds Cathedral in July 2017.

Elliott, 25, grew up in Wakefield and attended Thomas a Becket Catholic School.

The match at Headingley on Monday will sees the two sides will battle it out for the Sir John Major Friendship Cup, having previously met in Rome last year with the home team securing a last-ball victory.

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, part of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: “I believe that sport has the ability to break down boundaries and bring communities together.

“Cricket, particularly with its rich and diverse history, is a great example of this.

“As a lifelong cricket fan and a member of the ECB, I am pleased that cricket has been the catalyst to bring these communities together.”