Outside Edge

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The Independent Online

As South Africa puts to the test its preparations for next year's World Cup, lowly Swaziland on its eastern border has seen its only football stadium ruined after the artificial pitch in Lobamba was ripped apart by players trying to bury lucky charms. Back in the UK, the game is seemingly awash with cash again. Steve Day hired West Ham's Upton Park for £6,000 so that his son George can celebrate his 10th birthday with a game against his mates. They live in Cowbridge, Wales, so dad hired the England team coach, for another grand, to pick them up. They will meet Gianfranco Zola too but millionaire Steve must have too much business sense to invest in any Icelandic banks.

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Precentage of children who play cricket with a hard ball at school, or one in 25 matches according to Tony Baldry MP. The Government claims that 90 per cent of pupils play the game, but then we know politicians aren't great at figures.

Hops and scotch of the week

It's as if they want our children to turn into obese little beasties. The British Library and three universities are getting together with Nintendo's Wii to turn traditional playground pastimes like hopscotch, skipping and Cat's Cradle into computer games. Project leader Andrew Burn says: "Folklore, like everything else in nature, must adapt itself to new conditions if it is to survive." So let's take a moment to celebrate the first-ever UK Rock Scissor Paper Championships at the Imperial Pub in Exeter on Tuesday. Nick Hemley, 22, from Woking won the title. "I didn't have any tactics for the contest," he admitted. "I just prepared with plenty of beer." All good training for kids in later life.

Good week for

Sir Chris Hoy, received his knighthood on the same day that his mother Carol got an MBE for services to nursing... Leona Maguire, youngest matchplay qualifier in British Ladies Open Amateur Championship at 14... and Wales Rally GB, restored to the World Rally Championship after costs were underwritten by the Motor Sports Association.

Bad week for

Damir Dokic, father of tennis player Jelena, sentenced to 15 months in prison for threatening to kill the Australian ambassador to Serbia, Clare Birgin, with a grenade... Super8, the inaugural athletics-lite meeting in Cardiff saw three performers including team captain Kelly Sotherton pull out after a row with sponsors Nike... and Phil Scolari, the former Chelsea manager who is now in charge of Uzbekistan's champions FC Bunyodkor in Tashkent.

Surgical strikes of the week

Tennis sensation Simona Halep of Romania has shocked male tennis lovers the world over by saying she wants to undergo breast reduction surgery. "The breasts make me uncomfortable when I play. It's the weight that troubles me, my ability to react quickly," says the 17-year-old, and Outside Edge offers her its full support. Likewise we are rooting for Will – he hasn't given out his surname – who is set to be the first transsexual to play Aussie Rules football in the Bendigo League. He worries: "There might be a bit of resentment because they'd be thinking 'God, he doesn't even have a penis and he can kick the ball better than me'." So long as there's a level playing field Down Under.

a.tong@independent.co.uk

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