Stan Hey: 6-5 Against
Rugby's Saints can offer timely redemption
Saturday 04 September 2010
I know what you're thinking – I'm a lickspittle who extols betting when it has a corrosive effect on sport, cricket allegedly being the latest victim.
But read this: "The bookies soon found out how to reach the players. When they were in London the cricketers usually congregated at a pub in Oxford Street called The Green Man and Still. Naïve newcomers were easy to spot." Not an extract from a Sunday tabloid but from Start of Play, a colourful study of cricket and culture in the 18th century by David Underdown. The book chronicles a seam of gambling throughout the first century of English cricket. There are similar strands in football (see Soccer in the Dock by Simon Inglis). Sport and betting have been locked together since the gladiators.
Ironically, the game that dredged up "Bloodgate" – the rugby Premiership – returns, freshly cleansed. There's a double-header at Twickenham today as London Irish take on Saracens while Wasps play Harlequins. Tomorrow's mighty clash sees Northampton face the champions Leicester.
The Saints had last season's regular season in sight until late wobbles and Leicester's battle-hardened experience told. Northampton still have their core of talented young England players – Chris Ashton, Dylan Hartley, Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes – while Leicester must compensate for the loss of Ben Kay, Lewis Moody and Sam Vesty. The Tigers are favourites (2-1 Totesport) but let's trust the Saints (£20 win at 5-1 Totesport); plus a £5 each-way on Wasps (20-1 Sportingbet). As for tomorrow's cricket – no bet.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao: 'Changes are not easy, but there are times when you have to'
Female BBC presenter receives offensive and sexist letter after she criticised level of women's sport given TV coverage and sponsorship
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
West Brom vs Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey desperate to be back in the middle for Arsenal title challenge
Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Group of students refused entry to Leicester nightclub 'because they are black'
- 4 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...