Outside Edge (31/01/10)

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The Independent Online

Bit of a kerfuffle at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, where the devoutly Muslim Afghanistan squad were incensed after several of them unwittingly ate toasted ham sandwiches served up to them one morning. Obviously rattled, they finished plumb last in the tournament. Pig-ignorant Kiwi organisation, it seems. Better news from Sri Lanka, though, as the senior Afghan side clobbered Ireland, the defending champions, by seven wickets in a four-day game to rise to the top of the ICC Intercontinental Cup table. Much more of this and Afghanistan will soon be pushing for full-blown Test status; they might even not need to rig the vote.


Number of years to the week since Eric Cantona kung-fu kicked a gobby spectator at Crystal Palace. Last week he made his stage debut in Paris; no reports yet of any injuries among the audience in the front row of the stalls.

Wayward golfers of the week

William Abbott collects golf balls. In 15 years he's amassed over 30,000. It's just a shame a fair few have smashed his windows, roof tiles and in one case hit his wife. Because years after he bought his house, a golf club built a course on adjoining land, plonking the first hole right next door, with predictable results. Showing almost saintly restraint, Abbott says: "I want them to pay for the damage, that's all. I'm not trying to be a meanie." He will at least be safe from one Florida golfer for a while; the former PGA player Jim Thorpe has just been jailed for a year for evading over $2m in tax. He pleaded guilty, so can't claim rough justice; he should have played straight with the authorities.

Good week for

Jose Mourinho, manager of Inter saw the league leaders win the Milan derby despite being reduced to nine men... Jose Maria Lopez, the Argentinian former Renault test driver was confirmed as a starter for the new US F1 team... and Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Gary Lineker, set to make a huge profit as part of a consortium who backed the blockbusting movie 'Avatar'.

Bad week for

Simon Jordan, Crystal Palace's owner saw the club forced into administration with debts of £30m and deducted 10 points... Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United defender had his ban for violent conduct increased to four games on appeal... Peter Ebdon, in danger of losing his top-16 snooker ranking for the first time in 16 years... and Portsmouth FC, whose club website was shut down because they owe money to the provider.

Banker-bashing story of the week

Breaking news from our arcade correspondent: the Whack A Banker game introduced to the end-of-pier amusements in Southwold, Suffolk, has proved so popular the owner keeps having to replace worn-out mallets. The principle is simple – players have to bash as many bald-headed banker figures as possible in 30 seconds as they pop up at random. Winners are greeted with: "You win. We retire. Thank you very much for paying our pension." Sounds far more satisfying, and far safer, than playing a Japanese arm-wrestling machine called Arm Spirit, which has been withdrawn after reports of players suffering broken arms. Heads you win, arms you lose.