Off to the Batican

It may be the ultimate game of office cricket…

Later this week a cricket bat made by Taunton-based Millichamp and Hall will be presented to His Holiness Pope Francis, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s ABC cricket team, accompanied by the Archbishop himself, will be flying out to Rome on October 18 to play a match against the Pope’s XI.

The ABC team will be playing in kit supplied by Millichamp and Hall who are based behind the Somerset Cricket Museum at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

M&H will also be supplying a full-size cricket bat for the Archbishop of Canterbury to personally present to his Holiness Pope Francis.

This week, six members of the Archbishop’s XI visited Millichamp and Hall’s workshop to select their kit, after which they had a net in the Centre of Excellence along- side Somerset’s Craig Overton who was putting the finishing touches to his Ashes preparations.

Tim Still from M&H said: “One of our customers is a Reverend who bought a bat from us two years ago and loved it.

“His team-mates in the Archbishop’s XI wanted to get involved and asked to use our kit for this year’s tour to Rome, something they embark on every other year, and we were more than happy to oblige.

“To say thank you, they have asked for one of our bats to present to the Pope, which is certainly the pinnacle for Millichamp & Hall so far.

“It’s great timing, as we are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year.

“What better way to celebrate than by seeing possibly the most famous person in the world use one of our bats?”

Vice-captain Chris Kennedy said: “M&H kit is the best I’ve ever used, and we love the fact it’s made in this country and has great heritage.

“The Pope is not an easy man to get gifts for, and it will be great to go over there with a gift of such good quality to present from one church to the other.

“Both teams will sign the bat and it will be given to the Pope for him to enjoy, while we will also bring one back for the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The tour symbolises the unity between the churches. “There are areas we disagree on, but we agree on so many things and this is an opportunity for the teams to enjoy each other’s company through cricket.”

Still added: “Pope Francis is from South America, so I can’t imagine he is too familiar with cricket – it will be something new for everyone concerned.

“We have had some world famous cricket stars using our products, but this is something else – everyone knows who the Pope is.

“Hopefully our bats will help the Archbishop’s team enjoy their tour, score some runs and pick up some wins.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.