The Diocese of London was left trying to explain how the Bristol Diocese won the Church Times Cricket Cup by five wickets with two overs to spare.

The London team had arrived confident that they would win the trophy for the sixth year in succession. Their young opponents from Bristol had formed a team only the previous year, organised by Sam Rylands, a young ordinand studying at Trinity Theological college.

He had a problem: his team consisted largely of fellow theological students, all minsters in training. The competition’s rules dictated that teams must consist of actual priests. (I realise this is all starting to sound a bit Father Ted.) The editor of the Church Times was asked to give a ruling. He decided to give Bristol diocese a bit of encouragement and the match went ahead. Dr Lee Rayfield, the Bishop of Swindon, admitted: “The rules were bent – but in the right way for us,” .

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