THE Church of England in Lancashire took on the Lancashire Council of Mosques in a friendly cricket match.

Clergy and laity from across the county were joined by Imams in the game played at Ribblesdale Cricket Club which was subject to Covid-19 regulations

Diocesan team captain, Rev Dr Tom Woolford said the players were delighted to take part despite the circumstances.

He said: “After the success of the first Mosques v Churches fixture played at Stonyhurst College last summer, both teams were eager to reprise their sporting rivalry.

“Last year’s friendly was one of the highlights of the summer, and I’m so pleased that, despite everything that has gone on this year, we were able to play this fixture again.”

The Diocese finished on 105/5, giving the Imams a 66-run victory - a similar margin to last year.”

Bishop Philip, who chairs the Diocese’s Coronavirus Task Group, praised the initiative, saying: “With the pandemic throwing everything into disarray, even a short while ago it was impossible to imagine any kind of sport taking place.

“Cancelling would have been so disappointing for all concerned but they weren’t bowled out!”

And, speaking after the match, Hafiz Abdul Alim, general secretary, Lancashire Council Of Mosques, and team captain for the Mosques side, said: “Both teams were determined to ensure a fixture would take place this year and Ribblesdale Wanderers chairman, Mark Graham, obliged with our request.

“Sport transcends all boundaries and, whilst there is fierce rivalry on the field of play, the mutual respect for our faiths is what makes this fixture so special.”

Munawar Din, curate at Christ Church Blackburn, added: “It was a wonderful experience to play once again against the Imams’ team. This cricket match gave us a fantastic interfaith opportunity to know each other and grow in our friendship.”

Qari Asif Badat, Imam of Skelmersdale, said: “The friendships we have built will ensure our relationships prosper.”

Andrew Pratt, the Bishop of Blackburn’s inter-faith adviser said, “People from all kinds of backgrounds and faiths come together in the sporting arenas of the world and find common purpose. So it is, here in Lancashire, with this wonderful cricket fixture.

“Sport is great way to develop friendships and bring people of diverse backgrounds together, at the same time creating better understanding between faiths.”