The diocesan cricket team concluded its successful year with a game versus St Mary Bredin (SMB) on Thursday 25 July at the Victoria Rec. Initially the game was to be held at Junior King’s School but a double booking resulted in a change of venue and format to the less lyrical sounding 15/15 match. Canterbury diocese opened the batting and were soon in trouble against their quick bowlers with Tillotson suffering a crushed and fractured finger to a rising delivery and Emslie falling cheaply to a fast yorker. However Nelson, Michael Ratcliff (son of Paul), Jennings and Ridley steadied the ship then set about dismantling the youthful SMB side. There is no substitute for experience, nor for that matter shrewdness and bludgeon. Ratcliff, Jennings and Ridley turned over the strike expertly, whilst Nelson laid waste to the callow lads hoisting sixes off the back foot such that their best efforts were that of retrieval far beyond the boundary. Needing 16 off the last over to bring up his maiden century Nelson got there with a ball to spare making a formidable team total of 133. SMB batters came to the crease talking up their chances but wily captaincy, brave fielding, straight bowling, dynamic wicketkeeping, expert catching and a bit of leg in the field strangled the parish. Jennings and Emslie opened the bowling and were more parsimonious than the Chancellor, Ridley and Nelson held the choker hold, then Ratcliff and Hillier applied the coup de grâce. In the field Wilkinson actually threw himself about and his sprinting around the rope to restrict runs was inspirational. Gemma Hambrook (daughter of Marianne), was our secret weapon dizzying the batsmen as a long leg fielder and throwing the ball like an Olympic pentathlete. Hunt, curate at SMB, had divided loyalties so fielded for both teams although possibly with a slight preference to his day job. Clark behind the stumps held the batsmen to the crease with accurate and energetic keeping. SMB tried, they heaved, they swung, they ran, they did their energetic best to break the shackles but the diocese was resolute in attitude, the diocese was skilful in execution, the diocese was indomitable in spirit. SMB did well to make 103, their captain Ovenden carrying his bat, but lost by 30 runs. Thus the diocese completes an unbeaten year and has brought on new players which should ensure the Ashes spirit glows long in Canterbury.