Although it sounds like an episode from Father Ted, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Cricket Team slaughtered the Pope’s Cricket Team at their last encounter in Rome. The Vatican was left reeling.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Football Team has just been launched and it already has a strong Swindon connection.

Pearce Funeral Services has become the main sponsor of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Men’s Football team for 2020.

Managing director John Pearce, well known to many of us, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring such an amazing activity. Sport brings people together. The church is something that we as a business, and myself personally, hold very dear to our hearts.

“With 10 million people playing sports in 150,000 clubs every week, this is a fantastic opportunity for the Church of England to reach out….”

In a few months’ time, the team will play against both the Vatican National Team and the Pope’s personal bodyguard The Swiss Guards. Pope Francis will be hoping that his two teams will give the Choir of St Peter’s Basilica something to sing about this time.

Reverend Pouya Heidari, from the Diocese of Durham and captain of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s men’s team, said: “We’re thrilled to have Pearce Funeral Services sponsor the men’s team. It will go a long way to providing the team with kit and travel expenses. We’re excited to see how it can be used for outreach into the community”

The football team will be coming to Swindon on Saturday, 29th February, for a 1:30pm kick-off at The Deanery School, Wichelstowe. ITV has shown interest in the scheme and they have informed us that they intend to be there to report about the team and their aims. Please come along and support the team while they are in the area.

Can it be long now before Archbishop Justin feels he needs an Angling Team? You might care to write to Lambeth Palace suggesting names for him to consider.