Have a go at our next caption competition (above). Send entries by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 a.m., Monday 31 July
Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:
Rebecca ChapmanRebecca Chapman
Has been saved, will be saved, or is being saved?’ asked the theologically canny bishop (Martin Kettle)
PROFESSIONAL footballers are frequently seen petitioning God before a match starts. Who could blame a bishop for doing the same?
“When in goal, always be aware of the clergy’s powerful cross” (Philip Lickley); “So desperate was the Bishop to win, he called on a higher authority to quietly floor the opposition” (Jeannie Chamberlain); “The children reckoned that the purple team had an unfair advantage by calling on assistance from on high” (Michael Foster); “Bishop invokes ‘Hand of God’ to score goal” (Malcolm Brownless); “An ‘immaculate interception’ and shot on goal” (Aaron Milne); “Bend it like Bishop” (Graeme Denman); “The Divine Dribbler: When the priest prays, goals are raised!” (Kristyn Harris); “When you play football with a bishop, don’t expect him to believe in being saved!” (Avril Forrest).
Holding ecclesiastical office brings certain limitations, however:
“Since he could only move diagonally, the Bishop was no use whatsoever as a reserve for the Sunday-school team” (Denise Noble); “The Bishop of Southwark was as sick as a parrot when his penalty in the pre-season friendly was ruled out by the Archbishops’ Council” (John Radford); “You’ve got to hand it to them — when bishops score an own goal it’s always a belter!” (Charles Taylor); “When the Bishop scores, even the ball is surprised” (Paul Lodge).
Which game, exactly, was being played? There may have been some confusion:
“No, Tommy, this isn’t cricket, you’re not supposed to try to catch the ball” (Richard Hough); “Baseball, Bazball . . . and now Bishball!” (John Saxbee); “I thought the game was It’s A Knockout” (Andrea Dimmick).
Some other entries for readers’ amusement:
“The Boys v. Bishop game failed to attract any spectators — even neutral ones to sit on the fence” (Jonathan Young); “Saving Grace!” (Helga Brandt); “Bishop accepts his first penalty” (Janet Stockton); “Beating the under-eights 10-0 was not the aim of Holiday Bible Club, Bishop” (Vicky Deasley); “There was some confusion about who was organising which game. The fielders took their positions — and the Bishop scored a goal!” (Valerie Budd); “The Bishop was amused as his shot on goal landed the boy to the ground — saving the two cones!” (Eunice Owens); “The Bishop was delighted to score goals and save souls!” (Mark Parry); “The Bishop had an uphill task to teach the local children to play living chess” (Ray Morris); “The goalie expected the Bishop to move diagonally” (Michael Doe); “Unfortunately, the Bishop failed to achieve yet another goal” (Mervyn Cox).
“Saving Grace is one thing, but saving goals is quite another, the Bishop admonished” (Richard Strudwick); “Despite the Bishop’s obvious ball skills, the kids weren’t too keen on his proposed Sunday League kit” (Paul MacDermott); “The Reverend liked to encourage the children to take a closer look at nature” (Fiona Drinkell); “Football’s answer to cricket’s latest craze: Bishball!” (Peter Beal); “Slain by the Spirit — or was it the football?” (Sue Chick); “The Bishop attempted to attract younger members by acting out the OT lesson instead of reading it. ‘He has blocked my way so I cannot pass’ (Job 19.8)” (David Sims); “I said ‘divine’, not dive in!” (Pearl Davison); “The Bishop wanted to be goalkeeper — living in glove and faith” (Chris Hammett); “Not a spot-the-ball competition but spot-the-Bishop’’ (Peter Walker); “True faith means holding nothing back, and the Bishop gave the children a run for their money to prove he was going to get that goal!” (Kim Willing); “Train up a child in the play he should know” (Alison Woods); “The Pink Panther strikes again!” (Howard Foster).
As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate.