28 May 2022

‘When they are all out, the side
that’s out comes in and the
side that’s been in goes out’

Cricket in the early summer sunshine at the Ancell Trust Sports Grounds this weekend (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

One of the joys of summer weekend afternoons in England is spending time watching cricket in the sunshine.

I spent some time this afternoon (28 May 2022) at the Ancell Grounds on Ostlers Lane in Stony Stratford, at the end of Vicarage Road and close to ruined tower of Saint Mary Magdalene.

Over the years, many tennis, bowls, football, cricket and croquet players from around the Milton Keynes area have enjoyed the unique facilities on offer at the Ancell Trust Sports Ground.

Frederick Thomas Shillingford Ancell was a lifelong Baptist and a builder with a social conscience who lived at 33 High Street, Stony Stratford. When he died in 1919, he had no near relatives, and in his will he left over £18,000 to the benefit of the townspeople.

Under the terms of Ancell’s will, the residents of Stony Stratford were offered grants for healthcare, travelling expenses, education, apprenticeships, training and recreation facilities. Ancell also gave £105 for building a bathing place on the banks of River Ouse behind the Barley Mow – now 185 High Street.

A trust was set up and one of the first requests was for the provision of a Sports Ground by the Football and Cricket Clubs who faced being without grounds.

The trust set up a sub-committee in May 1920, and it was agreed to buy land from a Mr Calladine and the Radcliffe Trust. A price was agreed in 1921, a groundsman was employed, fences and walls were built, the footpath was diverted the layout of various sports grounds was planned for cricket, football, croquet, tennis and bowls.

A paddock beside the new sports ground was bought In February 1922, providing extra land for four tennis courts, and by 1930, old railway coaches had bought to use as changing rooms for the tennis and cricket clubs.

Indulging in the pleasure of watching cricket at the Ancell Grounds in the sunshine this afternoon, I was reminded of this humorous explanation of cricket that has been reproduced on tea towels and mugs:

The Rules of Cricket

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

Each player that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next player goes in until he’s out.

When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.

Sometimes there are players who are still in and not out.

When a player goes out to go in, the players who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next player in goes out and goes in.

There are two people called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the players who are in are out.

Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter if they’re in or out.

When both sides have been in and all the players have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the players have been in – including those who are not out – that is the end of the game!

‘You have two sides, one out in the field and one in’ … watching cricket this weekend in Stony Stratford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Praying with the Psalms in Easter:
28 May 2022 (Psalm 94)

‘O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?’ (Psalm 94: 3) … the gates of Auschwitz … some Jewish communities recite Psalm 94 on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Although Thursday was Ascension Day, the season of Easter continues until the Day of Pentecost. Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning to continue my reflections in this season of Easter, including my morning reflections drawing on the Psalms.

In my blog, I am reflecting each morning in this Prayer Diary in these ways:

1, Short reflections on a psalm or psalms;

2, reading the psalm or psalms;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Psalm 94:

Psalm 94 is known in Latin as Deus ultionum. In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, this psalm is counted as Psalm 93.

Psalm 94 is the second in a series of psalms (Psalms 93-99) that are called royal psalms as they praise God as King. This is a psalm about the connections between religious faith and a failure of humanity.

In Jewish daily prayer, Psalm 94 is used on Wednesdays, and there is a tradition that the Levites sang this psalm in the Temple on Wednesdays. Some Jewish communities recite Psalm 94 on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Nisan).

Commentators divide this psalm into two sections.

1, verses 1-11: the Psalmist calls on God to manifest himself as judge of the earth; 2, verses 12-23: the Psalm is occupied with thoughts of consolation for times of trouble.

When people begin to worship themselves, they dream of becoming a god, but end up lower than the beasts.

The Psalmist (Psalm 94: 5-6) speaks of the mentality of those who wage war without thinking of the consequences for women, children and the outsider:

They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They murder the widow and the stranger;
the orphans they put to death.
And yet they say, ‘The Lord will not see,
neither shall the God of Jacob regard it’.

War is an every-day reality for children, women and non-combatant men throughout the world today – in particular, today, the people of Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East, including the people of Gaza, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Who speaks out today for the victims of racism, war and genocide?

Who speaks out today for children who are the innocent victims of the failed politics of adults?

‘Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?’ (verse 16)

‘They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan’ (Psalm 94: 6) … ‘Mother and Child’ by Anna Raynoch-Brzozowska, a sculpture in Auschwitz (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Psalm 94 (NRSVA):

1 O Lord, you God of vengeance,
you God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
give to the proud what they deserve!
3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?

4 They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
5 They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
6 They kill the widow and the stranger,
they murder the orphan,
7 and they say, ‘The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.’

8 Understand, O dullest of the people;
fools, when will you be wise?
9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10 He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
does he not chastise?
11 The Lord knows our thoughts,
that they are but an empty breath.

12 Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 giving them respite from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16 Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping’,
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who contrive mischief by statute?
21 They band together against the life of the righteous,
and condemn the innocent to death.
22 But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will repay them for their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Mission in Australia.’ It was introduced on Sunday by Peter Burke, Manager at Mission and Anglican Community Engagement AnglicareSA.

The USPG Prayer Diary this morning (28 May 2022) invites us to pray:

Let us remember that we are part of a global community of mission. May we learn from and listen to each other in all we do.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org