Highgate Taverners praying for success ahead of a Holy exciting trip to The Vatican

Highgate Taverners will be praying for success on their end-of-season tour after setting up a pretigious encounter with St Peter’s Cricket Club in Vatican City.

The Taverners – a social side emanating from the Prince of Wales pub on Highgate High Street – are now in their 12th year and have been heading abroad at the end of the summer for the last eight, playing games in Croatia, Slovenia, Malta, Corfu, Ibiza, Menorca and Valencia.

This time they are off to Rome, facing St Peter’s in a Twenty20 match inside the walls of The Vatican next Friday, October 2, before taking on Campanelle CC on the Saturday and LuxRoma CC on the Sunday.

The Taverners will be making a donation to The Vatican for charitable causes, with procurement consultancy 4C Associates helping with a generous contribution – and four of the club’s players have been invited to a mass which will be conducted by Pope Francis on the Sunday.

Club captain Jeremy Smith said: “The reason they accepted us rather than just any random team is that our president David Burden used to look after Westminster Abbey, so there was a connection there.

“We’re not all religious so it’s not like everyone’s going there on some kind of pilgrimage. It’s about cricket as opposed to religion, but it’s nice, it’s interesting and The Vatican team have been fantastic in coordinating and helping us out and getting us tickets for a mass that I believe the Pope is doing himself.

“The four guys who are going are really looking forward to it – it will be the chance of a lifetime.

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“We’ve got players who could play first XI league cricket – probably four to be honest – but they’d sooner play with us because it’s fun, it’s relaxing. We try to win but we also have people who are in their 60s. We balance it out.

“We will just take it like a normal game, be respectful of the opposition like with everybody else and hopefully not swear accidentally! We might have to tone down a bit of the friendly sledging, who knows.”