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Have a go at the Church Times caption competition, and read the latest winner and top entries

15 September 2023


Have a go at our next caption competition (above)Send entries by email only to captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk by 9 a.m., Monday 25 September

Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:

Jan McFarlaneJan McFarlane

“Take it again,” said Æthelred. “I wasn’t ready” (David Newman)


THIS week’s competition picture came at an apt time, given the England women’s team was on the verge of making history:

Æthelred was ready for the women’s world-cup final” (Denise Noble); Please, King Æthelred, can the Lionesses have their ball back?” (Anthony Tibbs); “Newly inspired by the Lionesses, the choirgirls took every opportunity to practise their skills” (Alison Rollin); “Support for the Lionesses transcended both time and space” (Michael Foster); “You may be an English Lioness, but not in my back yard!” (Peter Brierley).

The King’s seeming inability to save a shot left most entrants unsurprised: “Æthelred missed an easy save, ‘unready’ as usual!” (Susan Ramsaran); “Unready in death as in life” (Valerie Budd); “Well, he was certainly unready for that penalty” (Paul Lodge); Æthelred lived up to his nickname during the penalties” (Philip Lickley); “Æthelred the unready lived up to his name, allowing the Lichfield clergy to score a goal against the choirboys” (Sue Chick); “Clearly unready, yet again!” (Jacky Tivers);Meanwhile at Lichfield, Æthelred had been unready for the catch” (Martin Kettle); “Contrary to rumours, Æthelred was ready in the event of penalties” (Anthony Goodger).

The match commentators were giddy with excitement: Jesus saves, but Æthelred scores off the rebound” (David Bruce); “It’s not handball, it’s the ‘Hand of God’!” (Mark Hopkins).

Could a video assistant referee (VAR) be of any help in deciding whether the ball, in fact, went in? Readers think not: VAR not required as it was clearly an own goal” (Peter Walker); “Offside! And no, we don’t need VAR to review it. . .” (Chris Jenkins); The people who complain that VAR takes too long and disrupts the game forget how long how things took under the old system, SAR (Sculptor Assistant Referee)” (Jonnie Parkin); Now there’s one for the VAR system to decide on!” (Vicky Deasley).

Perhaps it wasn’t a football after all: “He was ready, until a giant ladybird distracted him!” (John Saxbee); “Global warming blamed for the increased sizes of ladybirds” (Ken Wilkinson).

Some other entries that we enjoyed: You could have just used jumpers, Æthelred!” (Jayne Holland); “Some of the Cathedral FC team members are still refusing to retire” (Olivia Thomson); “And did those feet, in ancient times, play upon England’s green and pleasant pitches?” (Stephen Low); “C of E scores own goal by suggesting the Church could be divorced from the Monarchy” (Catherine McGowan); “I said, on me ’ed!” (Peter Allen); Match of the Day meets Songs of Praise (Patrick Irwin); “I don’t know about you lot, but I’m having a ball up here!” (Geoffrey Robinson); “I told them not to build that new football stadium next to the Cathedral” (Andrew Berry).

“It clearly says here that, if kicked from an offside position, you can’t have your ball back” (Paul Taylor); “Can we have our ball back, Mister?” (Stephen Woodbridge); “‘Can I have my ball back, mister?’ ‘No,’ came a stony-faced reply” (Gwen Parsons); “An Orb, An Orb, My Kingdom for an Orb” (Richard Strudwick); I would have saved the penalty, but I was caught posing!” (Peter Sebbage); England’s Number One was far too static to do the job properly” (John Appleby); Is it a throw-in or a corner?” (Michael Watts); “Bishop Jan shot the winning goal past Æthelred’s shoulder. Final score Mercia 1, Wessex 0” (Jonathan Young); “‘Please, your Majesty, can we have our ball back?’ ‘Sorry, son, I’m not ready, as you’re always telling me” (Ray Morris); Æthelred was at least ready for the Spot the Ball competition” (Michael Doe) Æthelred said he was not yet ready to invent association football” (Robin Morgan).

“Lichfield’s Æthel Reds young football team in bad need of a coach! Should they merge with City’s Blues?” (Paul Brett); “I suppose I could get rid of the spherical object by implementing a stone’s throw” (Mike Smith); “We beat the Vikings once, and we’ll do it again — it’s a game of two halves” (Chris Coupe); “I don’t care if you are a bishop. I’m a king, and you don’t get your ball back until you pay for this broken window” (Jeannie Chamberlain).

As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fair­trade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate.


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