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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Country Life: A fire blazed and industrial measures of port were handed round to fortify us against the westerly wind

The pheasant shooting season finished yesterday. Those peculiarly beautiful yet brainless creatures need no longer live in fear of men in waxed jackets, although there are still the deadly perils of the A44; the pheasants round here like to play chicken with oncoming traffic, and frequently come off

Lauren: 'The main aim is the Champions' League. This is Arsenal's year'

Lauren Bisan-Etame-Mayer didn't play for Arsenal against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday; a knee injury kept him out. Had he played, then perhaps, as right-back, he would have thwarted the run by Stelios Giannakopoulos which led to Bolton's winning goal. Who knows? At any rate, it may be significant that Arsenal's most consistent defender this season was missing on the day of a devastating third Premiership defeat.

Everything you wanted to know about your icons but were too sensible to ask

Watching the Sports Personality of the Year show on the BBC, it occurred to me that, during six years of conducting a weekly sports interview for this newspaper, I had spent time questioning most of the luminaries present.

Robinson primed to play role of Paisley to the departed Woodward's Shankly

Whatever the outcome of this afternoon's reprise of the 2003 rugby union World Cup final, nobody in English rugby circles is in any doubt that Andy Robinson is the right man to succeed Sir Clive Woodward. Any faint wisps of doubt that may have lingered were thoroughly banished, if it is possible to banish a lingering wisp, by last Saturday's comprehensive defeat of the Springboks.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

A particular cabernet sauvignon was described as evoking a banana with its own chat show

In praise of the great Harold, our Ashes hero who refused to say sorry

Tomorrow is the centenary of legendary quick bowler Harold Larwood's birth, an occasion the old boy missed celebrating himself by less than 10 years. He died in 1995 in Sydney, having spent the latter half of his life in Australia. It is one of the more curious sporting ironies that the Englishman whose name remains so synonymous with the bitterness of the 1932/33 Bodyline Test series, should have settled Down Under, turning his descendants into Aussies. It is like finding David Campese living contentedly in Saffron Walden. Or Rod Marsh developing the future of English cricket. Unthinkable.

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