(Very pleased to read about cricket being played at the Vatican. Perhaps CBC’s team should offer them a match. Matt)

“I came to Rome thinking I probably wouldn’t play much cricket anymore, but it looks like there’s going to be a very good standard.”

Father Tony Currer, club cricketer cum clergyman, expresses his delight at the thriving cricket scene in Vatican City (population 798), where he works in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Vatican’s team played their first match in 2011 against a nomadic side from the Netherlands known as Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places Cricket Club. The FFOPCC – who are described in that year’s Wisden as “an assortment of Dutch geriatrics, the youngest aged 50” – thought it would be fun to challenge the Pope to pick his best XI and take them on in a match at Rome’s Stadio dei Marni. When they arrived they were somewhat dismayed to find that The Vatican had recruited a squad of “athletic 20-something Indian priests”. FFOPCC were duly thrashed.

The match was such a success that regular Twenty20 games are now being played between two Vatican universities – the Maria Mater Ecclesiae International Pontifical College and the Pontifical Urbaniana University – on a pitch near Rome’s Ciampino airport and there are plans to start up to six more teams. Better yet, the man behind it all, Father Theodore Mascarenhas, of the Pontifical Council for Culture, intends to start St Peter’s Cricket Club and says he is going to challenge the Church of England to a match. The venue, of course, would be Lord’s.

(With thanks to The Spin from The Guardian)

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