Brian Viner

Brian Viner swapped London for the Herefordshire countryside, and his column ‘Country Life’ documents his attempts to chase the rural idyll. Chiefly a sports writer, he pens a weekly sports column and interview for the paper. He is the author of 'Ali, Pele, Lillee and Me: A Personal Odyssey Through the Sporting Seventies'.

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Jackie Leven, Scottish songwriter and folk musician

Jackie Leven

Further to your obituary of Jackie Leven (17 November), when I was writing a book about the British on holiday, and wanted to include a chapter on cruising, a mutual friend put me in touch with the singer-songwriter, who in his droll Scottish manner told me about his experience as the "entertainment" on a two-week cruise of the Norwegian fjords in 2002.

The best spinner in the world, Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann: Swann goes below the surface

The Brian Vinet Interview: The shock of seeing cricketers jailed for corruption has forced the England spinner to look beyond the 'bubble' of his own success

Gary Player (right) says golf brings people together. It seems Ian Woosnam is in agreement, even if the majority of people would beg to differ

John Gosden: 'Flat racing is in peril. the future is in the East...'

The Brian Viner Interview: John Gosden talks frankly of his fears for the British racing industry's future, and eloquently puts forward a rescue plan

Dan Lydiate: 'I woke after the op and wiggled my toes...I was just so happy'

It takes Dan Lydiate about three minutes, on the family farm in mid-Wales, to shear a sheep. He uses the Bowen technique of shearing, but three minutes won't gain him much respect when he arrives some time tomorrow in New Zealand, where the Bowen technique was invented, and where a quick shear takes 45 seconds. What might gain him some respect, however, is his ability to play hard, direct rugby. The big blindside flanker made his international debut for Wales in 2009, but it was not really until this year's Six Nations, in which he excelled, that he made the No 6 shirt his own.

Guus Hiddink: Flying Dutchman

You manage Chelsea Football Club at your peril. So how come the latest man to take on the task is succeeding so spectacularly?

It's cricket, Geoff, but not as we know it

If Michael Vaughan's second-in-command were called Spock rather than Trescothick, there is little doubt that he would by now have murmured "it's Test cricket, captain, but not as we know it".

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