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The Independent Online

Middlesex Crusaders, the county's one-day cricket team, have become the victims of, well, a crusade. Seems that the name reminded some Jews and Muslims of the Christian armies of the Middle Ages, so the club have changed it to the Panthers. (No record so far of complaints from Germany about the Kent Spitfires.) Rugby men are made of sterner stuff: new league outfit Celtic Crusaders go into battle this season, and union's Saracens and their fez-wearing fans soldier on, to the apparent unconcern of Watford's church-going citizens. Back in 1878, Sarries merged with their neighbouring club – the Crusaders. Peace in our time.


The number of miles Richard Donovan, a 42-year-old Irishman, ran last week to complete seven marathons on seven continents, starting in Antarctica, in five days, nine hours and eight minutes. The number of Britons who stayed at home because it was snowing a bit: millions.

Chants for glory of the week

Chants for glory of the week

A Government quango called Get On have, for reasons hard to fathom, launched a competition to find the nation's best football-chant writers and singers, to be judged by, among others, rap sensation and former Liverpool and England luminary John Barnes. He recommends "humour, as long as it's clean", which immediately rules out 95 per cent of all known chants, so presumably "He's tall, he's quick, his name's a porno flick, Emmanuel! Emmanuel!", the greeting from the terraces for Exeter's Emmanuel Panther on his occasional appearances, wouldn't qualify. Still, with a surname like that, if it doesn't work out with the Grecians he could always consider playing cricket for Middlesex.

Good week for

Rory McIlroy, 19-year old Irish golfer, became the youngest player to rank in the world top 20 (at 16th) after winning the Dubai Desert Classic... Michel Desjoyeaux, French sailor, won the Vendée Globe round-the-world race in a record time... Rafael Nadal, Spanish tennis world No 1, won his first hard-court Grand Slam in Australia... and Pittsburgh Steelers, American football team, won a record sixth Super Bowl.

Bad week for

Michael Phelps, US Olympic swimmer, suspended from competition for three months after being snapped smoking marijuana... Valentino Rossi, MotoGP champion, needed stitches in a hand after falling through a glass table... and Blake Aldridge, Olympic diver, missed last week's British Championships after injuries sustained in a nightclub rumpus.

Suburban superheroes of the week

Suburban superheroes of the week

While Freddie and KP will soon be dressing up in colourful costumes to perform heroic deeds in the Indian Premier League, Britain otherwise seems woefully short of real-life superheroes, according to the World Superhero Registry. America is awash with citizens in garish garb patrolling the streets to fight crime, right wrongs and, in the case of The Cleanser, pick up litter, but ours all figure on the retired list, including Angle Grinder Man, whose mission was to rescue motorists by cutting clamps off cars. Right now we could do with the equivalent of Polar Man, dedicated to clearing pensioners' drives of snow. So get out the sewing machine and shovel and sign up at worldsuperheroregistry.com.