Love of the Roses: Imams and vicars to bat it out in cross-county cricket contest
Religious leaders from both sides of the Pennines will come together later this month for an inter-faith cricket match, aiming to eliminate any ‘boundaries’ which may exist between different communities.
Titled ‘Love of the Roses’, the event sees two teams - made up of a mixture of imams and vicars – face off in a Twenty20 match, representing both Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Farook Yunus, project manager at youth group Kumon Y’all, is one of those spearheading the project this year, building on the success of a similar event in 2015.
With the 11-man teams all signed up and ready for action, the community figure says he is looking forward to seeing the first ball of the day.
“We are confident that this event has the potential to be even bigger and better than last year,” he said. “Last year, the game was simply an ‘Imam XI versus a Vicar XI’ form the local area.
“This year we have our own war of the roses, except we are crossing out the word ‘war’ and replacing it with the word ‘love’ instead.
“We want to show the world that you can have different beliefs, different looks and different backgrounds but we have so much more in common which we can share. It’s as simple as that.”
Amongst those signed up to be a part of the ‘White Rose’ team is Batley, Purlwell and Hanging Heaton priest, Reverend Mark Umpleby.
Describing himself as a ‘proud Yorkshireman’, he is a keen advocate of the contest and represented the Vicars XI in last year’s matchup.
Speaking about this year’s game, set to take place The Mirfield Monastery on Saturday 17th September, Rev’d Umpleby said: “It’s a great initiative.
“Instead of vicars facing off against imams, we are playing together as Yorkshire against the old enemy – Lancashire.
“By playing side-by-side with different faith leaders, it shows what the whole event is about - growing friendships, understanding one another more. In today’s world it is a great thing for us all to be doing.”
On the day, free food and drink will be on offer for spectators as well as entertainment for children including archery and bouncy castles.
The event is headed by the youth group, Kumon Y’all and supported by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF).
Taj Butt is the Community Development Officer at YCF and he said it was important for the county club to back the project.
He added: “Last year it was a local event and we heard really good things about it.
“This time around, with it being Yorkshire versus Lancashire, we thought it was really important to get involved as it is not only a really good advert for the game but it brings different communities together.
“That’s what cricket is all about and we are really pleased to be involved with something like this.”