Skewed finances leave Championship a poor second best

News of the agonising decision facing poor old Theo Walcott – the Arsenal player who can barely sleep at night, worrying whether he might sell himself catastrophically short by signing a new contract worth a mere £75,000 a week – puts the second tier of English rugby and its business model into some kind of perspective.

Mouritz Botha: Blond With Bottle

It's been a long road to the top for Mouritz Botha. Laid off from his office job, he begged for a chance with Sarries. Now all the hard work has paid off. He talks to Chris Hewett

Gordon Colling: Trade unionist who helped pave the way for the changes

Many newly- elected members joining the Parliamentary Labour Party for the first time are struck by the fact that often the opinions of politicians who enjoy a high media profile count for little, and that the opinions of some colleagues, virtually unknown to the public, count for a great deal. So it was, I found, in the mid-1980s, with the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Gordon Colling was by no means a household name but his opinions soon came to matter a great deal in the deliberations of the Party during those turbulent years.

The Photography of Bedford Lemere & Co, By Nicholas Cooper

The self-assured structures of an empire at its height were the stock-in-trade of Bedford Lemere & Co, the architectural photographers, whose archive of 20,000 glass negatives is the source for this bitter-sweet glimpse of a vanished world.

Portrait of an unknown artist: Stanley Lewis

Artist and teacher Stanley Lewis, who died last year at the age of 103, painted every single day for 84 years. Yet despite his remarkable talent and prolific work ethic, the first major exhibition of this little-known artist is yet to be held. It opens on Saturday alongside works from the Cecil Higgins Collection by Lewis’ tutors, friends and influences, including William Rothenstein, Augustus John and Stanley Spencer.

Inside Lines: Bouquets for Bedford but London's transport goes down

The London Marathon is the greatest pro-am mass participation event in the world, something of which Britain can be justly proud. Simply magnificent, brilliantly staged by Dave Bedford and his team. The way that race director Bedford got every international elite competitor to the starting line this year amid the volcanic ash crisis was a masterpiece of organisation.

Yamauchi goes the extra miles for marathon test

It was not the kind of preparation that the late, great Cliff Temple listed in the pages of Challenge of the Marathon – alongside carbohydrate loading and race week tapering. Mara Yamauchi was still finding her feet yesterday following her six-day, 6,500-mile marathon trek to get to England for the mere 26.2 miles of the London Marathon on Sunday. The afternoon after making it to the race headquarters in the shadow of Tower Bridge, the Oxford woman had every reason to feel more like Steve Martin in the midst of his Planes, Trains and Automobiles ordeal than the lean, mean, fully revved-up marathon racing machine ranked second in the world in 2009.

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