Two clergywomen take on the Pope’s men. In cricket.

9 July 2019 By Paul Martin

THE Archbishop of Canterbury’s cricket team played a historic match in Rome this month against the Vatican’s St Peter’s Cricket Club. Historic in that for the first time the Archbishop’s XI contained two women players, Thea Smith and Becky Heath-Taylor.

Image
The two women Church of England cricketers, Thea Smith, 25 (left) and Becky Heath-Taylor, 30 at the Vatican

Smith was ordained in Guildford Cathedral, one day before travelling with the team to Rome. A self-confessed “passionate sportsperson”, he has played football since the age of seven, and was instrumental in setting up her religious college’s women’s rugby team.

Heath-Taylor is finishing her second year, with one more year to go, in the same college. Her main sport is distance running, and she recently completed the Edinburgh marathon. She played hockey and rounders at school.

The contest between the two sides began in Canterbury in 2014, when the Archbishop’s side narrowly beat the Vatican. The Vatican won the return match in Rome in 2015. Since then, in Leeds in 2016 and Rome in 2017, the Anglicans have been victors. In 2018, a joint Anglican-Roman Catholic side beat an interfaith team at Lord’s.

Paul Martin went to Smith’s ordination, then travelled with the Anglican team to Rome to watch the Encounter of the Faiths.

BBC RADIO:  “SUNDAY PROGRAMME”

SCRIPT OUTLINE

NATSOT Guildford Church organ music.  (Camera –audio / tape audio)

VOICEOVER: After a two-hour ceremony 25-year-old Thea Smith is leaving Guildford cathedral. Amid the hubbub outside, she can hardly believe she’ just become a deacon of the Church of England

SOT Thea Smith  Camera audio.  (Consider keeping musical audio as above, underneath)

Expresses excitement `

VOICEOVER: A special delight for her mother Angie Smith, vicar of Hartney Whitney. SOT MOTHER Tape audio: Proud etc…

VOICEOVER: Thea’s first assignment as a deacon: to make a small but significant slither of Christian history.: she’s about to travel to Rome, and to become the first woman priest ever to take on a sports team of men from the Vatican – all male of course because the Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests.

NATSOT “Welcome to St Peter’s…

They’re inside the most famous and biggest place of worship in the Christian world….

VOICEOVER: Along with her fellow-priests and seminarians, Thea is being taken on a tour of St Peter’s by Father Tony Currer, originally from Newcastle and in charge of the Vatican’s relations with the Reformation Churches, as they’re called here. On a huge statue, one of the visiting priests spots what he thinks may something of significance.

 SOT orb

SOT Father Tony Currer (tape)  Re why this cricket visit is significant …

VOICEOVER: Somewhere in the Vatican the Pope has stowed away a very valuable cricket bat, with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s signature on it.  Famously, the Pope is a keen football fan – and the players are hoping against hope that he might just grace their cricket match with his Holy Presence.

SEGWAY Cricket sounds…

SOT Sightseeing over, it’s time for get on with their main mission.  On the Capanelle, the only cricket field in the whole of Rome.

SOT  The umpire, Rev Roger Driver of Bath, tosses the papal coin and Rev Chris Kennedy, captain of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team, loses.

VOICEOVER: So the first minor victory to the Vatican – they’ll bat first.

SOT …Ok so we’ll take the field …

VOICEOVER: Before the battle, though, something that definitely brings them together:

SOT Prayer

In the same match last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury team captain, the Reverend Chris Kennedy, a nuggety South African, scored a century to win the game. He’s a strong believer in the power of this game to bring the two churches closer together.

SOT KENNEDY

VOICEOVER: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI have taken on the Pope’s team five times now and it’s been 4 1 in games so far in favour of the Englishmen. But this time the Vatican team may present a bigger challenge: they’ve brought in some demon fast bowlers and tricky spin-bowlers from their Catholic seminary, together with a strong batsman, a priest from Australia.

In their allotted 20 overs the Vatican amass an impressive sore of 134 runs for 4 wickets. The Archbishop of Canterbury side respond slowly.

 The third wicket falls, and her big moment, the historic moment, is upon her as Thea Smith strides to the centre of the pitch.

But she soon finds her maiden appearance very tough.

(Commentary: re PLAYS AND MISSES)

VOICEOVER: No-one told the Vatican that Thea, a fine sportswoman in other ballgames, has only played one cricket match in her life. But her captain is confident she can rise to the challenge.

SOT KENNEDY What I like about her…

VOICEOVER: She narrowly survives six deliveries from the Vatican team, then:

SOT Paul Martin Cricket commentary (tape)

… her first run…

SOT Chris Kennedy (tape)

VOICEOVER: Watching alongside is the Vatican’s manager, Father Semeer Advani.  He’s not at all fazed by the fact that two women and nine men are playing against his all-male team.

SOT: Father Semeer.

Well, they must be there on merit and I hope they don’t score centuries…

SOT  Becky Heath-Taylor

…that’s really cool.

VOICEOVER: The Reverend Dan Christian is a veteran player in these matches. He’s sure the annual encounters are doing a great deal for true progress in relations beween the two major strands of Christianity.

SOT Dan Christian;    The essence of what we are is that we are male and female.  It’s not about deliberately offending it’s our openness of who we are.  We have caused wounds is by …they exist.

VOICEOVER: But all good things come to an end..

SOT Commentary Paul Martin    … and she’s out bowled…

SOT CoE captain on the handshakes’ significance.

SOT Thea

VOICEOVER: One of the two women included for the first time, Becky Heath Taylor, is delighted with what sport can achieve.

Or VOICEOVER: The other woman player in the team, Becky Heath Taylor, believes the tour has already been a major boon for them:

VOICEOVER: The match is soon over – a big win by 74 runs for the Vatican.  Bishop Mark Rylands,  the only senior clergy playing in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team, was gracious in defeat.

SOT Bishop RYLANDS

VOICEOVER: Though this is only their second win in the total of six matches so far, the Vatican team’s founder and chaplain Father Eamon O’Higgins was modest in victory.

FATHER EAMONN O’HIGGINS… relativises everything else.

SOT CoE player

VOICEOVER: It was left to Thea Smith to conclude the proceedings with a bit of fizz – opening  a bottle of – if not champagne – then something nice and bubbly.

UPSOT Pop and remarks

VOICEOVER: The only downer, it seems, for the visiting cricketers: the absence of the Pope himself. He had to receive Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican – a good enough reason not to turn up.

For Thea and Becky, then, a cricketing baptism of fire – all, they believe, in the service of church unity.

………………….

THIS IS THE OUTLINE OF THE ORIGINAL, LONGER AUDIO FEATURE:

NATSOT Guildford Church organ music. 

VOICEOVER: 25-year-old Thea Smith is leaving Guildford cathedral after a two hour ceremony. Amid the hubbub outside, she can hardly believe she’ just been ordained as a deacon of the Church of England.

SOT Thea Smith  Camera audio.  (Consider keeping musical audio as above, underneath)  Expresses excitement `

VOICEOVER: Her mother Angie Smith, vicar of St John’s near Winchester, believes her daughter is well equipped for the new challenges ahead… on and off the field.

SOT MOTHER Tape audio

VOICEOVER: Thea’s first assignment as a deacon: to make a small but significant slither of Christian history: she’s about to travel to Rome, and to become the first woman priest ever to take on a sports team of men from the Vatican – all male of course because the Catholic Church does not allow women to become priests.

NATSOT “Welcome to St Peter’s…

They’re inside the most famous and biggest place of worship in the Christian world….

VOICEOVER: Along with her fellow-priests and trainees, Thea is being taken on a tour of St Peter’s by Father Tony Currer [, the Pope’s sports adviser. [originally from Newcastle and in charge of the Vatican’s relations with the Reformation Churches] High abe them, on a huge statue, one of the visiting priests spots what he thinks may something of sporting significance.

 SOT What’s that …orb… cricket ball.

SOT Father Tony Currer,  Re why this cricket visit is significant …

VOICEOVER: Somewhere in the Vatican the Pope has stowed away a very valuable cricket bat, with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s signature on it.  Famously, the Pope is a keen football fan – and the players are hoping against hope that he might just grace their cricket match with his Holy Presence.

  SEGWAY Cricket sounds…

SOT Sightseeing over, it’s time for get on with their main mission.  On the Campanelle, the only cricket field in the whole of Rome.

SOT  The umpire, Rev Roger Driver of Bath, tosses the papal coin and Reverend Chris Kennedy, captain of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team, loses.]

VOICEOVER: So the first minor victory to the Vatican – they’ll bat first.

SOT …Ok so we’ll take the field …

VOICEOVER: Before the battle, though, something that definitely brings them together:

SOT Prayer

In the same match last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury team captain, the Reverend Chris Kennedy, a nuggety South African, scored a century to win the game. He’s a strong believer in the power of this game to bring the two churches closer together.

SOT KENNEDY

VOICEOVER: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI have taken on the Pope’s team five times now and it’s been 4 1 in games so far in favour of the Englishmen. But this time the Vatican team may present a bigger challenge: they’ve brought in some demon fast bowlers and tricky spin-bowlers from their Catholic seminary, together with a strong batsman, a priest from Australia.

[In their allotted 20 overs the Vatican amass an impressive sore of 134 runs for 4 wickets. The Archbishop of Canterbury side respond slowly.]

 The third wicket falls, and her big moment, the historic moment, is upon her as Thea Smith strides to the centre of the pitch.

But she soon finds her maiden appearance very tough.

(Commentary: re PLAYS AND MISSES)

VOICEOVER: No-one told the Vatican that Thea, a fine sportswoman in other ballgames, has only played one cricket match in her life. But her captain is confident she can rise to the challenge.

SOT KENNEDY What I like about her…

VOICEOVER: She narrowly survives six deliveries from the Vatican team, then:

SOT Paul Martin Cricket commentary

… her first run…

SOT Chris Kennedy

VOICEOVER: Watching alongside is the Vatican’s manager, Father Semeer Advani.  He’s not at all fazed by the fact that two women and nine men are playing against his all-male team.

SOT: Father Semeer.

Well, they must be there on merit and I hope they don’t score centuries…

SOT  Becky Heath-Taylor

…that’s really cool.

VOICEOVER: The Reverend Dan Christian is a veteran player in these matches. He’s sure the annual encounters are doing a great deal for true progress in relations between the two major strands of Christianity.

SOT Dan Christian.    The essence of what we are is that we are male and female.  It’s not about deliberately offending it’s our openness of who we are.  We have caused wounds is by …they exist.]

VOICEOVER: But all good things come to an end..

SOT Commentary Paul Martin    “… and she’s out bowled…@

SOT CoE captain Kennedy on the handshakes’ significance.

SOT Thea

VOICEOVER: One of the two women included for the first time, Becky Heath Taylor, is delighted with what sport can achieve.

Or VOICEOVER: The other woman player in the team, Becky Heath Taylor, believes the tour has already been a major boon for them:

VOICEOVER: The match is soon over – a big win by 74 runs for the Vatican.  Bishop Mark Rylands,  the only senior clergy playing in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team, was gracious in defeat.

SOT Bishop Rylands

VOICEOVER: Though this is only their second win in the total of six matches so far, the Vatican team’s founder and chaplain Father Eamon O’Higgins was modest in victory.

FATHER EAMONN O’HIGGINS “… relativises everything else. “

SOT CoE player

VOICEOVER: It was left to Thea Smith to conclude the proceedings with a bit of fizz – opening a bottle of – if not champagne – then something nice and bubbly.

UPSOT Voxpop and remarks

VOICEOVER: The only downer, it seems, for the visiting cricketers: the absence of the Pope himself. He had to receive Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican – a good enough reason not to turn up.

For Thea and Becky, then, a cricketing baptism of fire – all, they believe, in a very good cause.

……………………………

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