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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Snooker; Paul Hunter: Suddenly, life becomes serious for Hunter, snooker's jack-the-lad

Composure comes easily to snooker players; without it they might as well find another means of making a living. But huge shock waves continue to resound through this most po-faced of sports following the announcement that 26-year-old Paul Hunter, one of the most popular players on the circuit and the nearest thing snooker has to a sex symbol, is suffering from cancer ( but not of the colon, as has been reported).

Butch Harmon: Masters and pupils; golfing guru who nurtured Tiger to top of food chain

At next week's US Masters, a burly figure with a twitch in his left eye that, when it gets going, is reminiscent of Herbert Lom's in the Pink Panther films, will practically set up camp on the Augusta National practice ground.

How I enraged xenophobes, Christians and devotees of both rugby codes

It is not an easy trick to write a newspaper column and simultaneously open a can of worms, but I appear to have pulled it off with my reflections a week ago on Peter Howard, captain of the England rugby union team in 1931, who was engaged by Oswald Mosley to crack heads, when it was deemed necessary, as leader of a bunch known as Mosley's Biff Boys.

Will Carling: 'Kicking is hard when you have Jonny's shadow hanging over you'

The rugby union players of beleaguered England take on those of mighty Ireland in the Six Nations Championship next Sunday, perhaps wondering how those adjectives, beleaguered and mighty, came to be transposed. In the meantime, a chorus of disapproval has gathered volume regarding the selection policy of the England coach, Andy Robinson. The loudest voice belongs to Rob Andrew of Newcastle Falcons, aghast at the treatment of his teenage protégé Mathew Tait. But there is some background baritone from Andrew's erstwhile England captain Will Carling.

Country Life

In many ways we count ourselves lucky to have a wildlife consultant as a neighbour. For more than two years, Will has been sporadically popping round to the back door to tell us that he has found a pond full of almost 1,000 copulating frogs and would be very happy to show it to us, or would the boys like to go bat detecting with him, or would it be OK if he and a friend investigated how many species of moth there are living in our wood?

Football: `I feel I'm cheating the rest of the world, waking up every morning with no real stress': Brian Viner interviews Gordon Strachan

A year ago this week Gordon Strachan walked out of football. It was a shock to just about everyone but him; Strachan is a football man from his ginger top to his toes, which he would be the first to point out is not much of a distance, and the game had provided him with a living, as player, coach and manager since he was 16. Splendid though he is as a BBC television pundit, chuntering in the Match of the Day studio is surely a poor substitute for bellowing from the sidelines?

Gordon Strachan:'I feel I'm cheating the rest of the world, waking up every morning with no real stress'

A year ago this week Gordon Strachan walked out of football. It was a shock to just about everyone but him; Strachan is a football man from his ginger top to his toes, which he would be the first to point out is not much of a distance, and the game had provided him with a living, as player, coach and manager since he was 16. Splendid though he is as a BBC television pundit, chuntering in the Match of the Day studio is surely a poor substitute for bellowing from the sidelines?

Brian Viner ON SATURDAY: God help us if we ever follow America's holier-than-thou sports coverage

A brilliant young quarterback has recovered from a blown anterior cruciate ligament and, erm, a near-fatal bullet wound

Have you heard the one about the KGB chief, the ski guide - and Roman Abramovich...?

Neither had Brian Viner, until he hit the slopes and got talking to the locals in Courchevel. He rediscovered his old skiing skills and learnt a lot more besides in the playground of Europe's high rollers

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil