An Ecclesiastical XI

In view of some of the players and one of the commentators involved in the match I am currently listening to in the county championship I have created an ‘ecclesiastical eleven’. Plus the usual photo gallery.

With the match between Hampshire and Surrey in the current round of county championship fixtures featuring a Pope and two Abbotts (Sean for Surrey, Kyle for Hampshire) plus Mark Church in the commentary box I decided to select an ecclesiastical XI. These are players whose names have ecclesiastical connections. I have not picked any players who had ecclesiastical roles as well as being cricketers.


  1. Imam-ul-Haq (left handed top order batter). Averages just short of 40 in test cricket. An Imam is an islamic preacher.
  2. Jack Parsons (right handed top order batter, occasional right arm medium pacer). A superb player for Warwickshire either side of WWI, he averaged in the high 30s with the bat for over 10,000 FC runs. He was also a notably aggressive player.
  3. Ian Chappell (right handed batter, captain, occasional leg spinner). A superb captain, and had a fine record as a test match number three.
  4. Greg Chappell (right handed batter, occasional leg spinner, occasional medium pacer, ace slip fielder). One of the game’s all time greats with the bat.
  5. Ollie Pope (right handed batter, occasional wicket keeper). Has a superb county record and is beginning to establish himself as England’s number three. He scored 91 for Surrey in their first innings of the current match.
  6. +Rachel Priest (right handed batter, wicket keeper).
  7. George Pope (right arm fast medium bowler, right handed batter). Averaged 28 with the bat and 19 with the ball for Derbyshire in a distinguished career which was disrupted by WWII. Like so many of that county’s fine players he received scant recognition from the England selectors.
  8. Charlie Dean (off spinner, right handed batter). Our front line spinner, starting to make a name for herself in the England women’s team. A dean is a church official.
  9. Ian Bishop (right arm fast bowler, right handed batter). A great fast bowler before injuries ruined his career, and also a useful batter.
  10. Kyle Abbott (right arm fast medium bowler). An excellent bowler who broke in to the South Africa side only after he had already agreed a Kolpak deal with Hampshire. His decision to honour that Hampshire contract ended his international career, but his record for the county has been superb.
  11. Harry Dean (left arm fast medium bowler). Only three test matches for him, in the 1912 Triangular tournament, but he took his first class scalps at 18 a piece. The fact that he bowled with his left arm lends the attack extra balance.

This XI has a powerful top five, a keeper batter at six, an all rounder at seven, two bowlers who bat at eight and nine and two tail enders. The bowling attack is strong and well balanced, and I would expect this side to give a good account of itself in most conditions.


The ecclesiastical figure who came closest to making the XI was the reverend David Sheppard, scorer of three test centuries, but the top order batting available to me was strong, and he was not the greatest of fielders. Australian leg spinner Lloyd Pope has a decent but not outstanding record in limited overs cricket and a dreadful one in red ball cricket, so I could not accommodate him. Sean Abbott missed out as I rated Kyle the superior bowler of the two Abbotts, and I wanted the front line spinner, the extra pace of Bishop and the left arm of Dean. Kevin Dean had a respectable record for Derbyshire, but not enough to challenge his namesake Harry. I await reader suggestions with interest.


My usual sign off…

Author: Thomas

I am a founder member and currently secretary of the West Norfolk Autism Group and am autistic myself. I am a very keen photographer and almost every blog post I produce will feature some of my own photographs. I am an avidly keen cricket fan and often post about that sport.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: