Friday, July 13, 2007

Playing at Home

England prop Julian White has ruled himself out of contention for the World Cup, due to family and 'farming' reasons. White has reportedly purchased a large amount of land in Devon, which is seemingly in more urgent need of his toil than the front row of his country's scrum.

Few would think it likely that a professional sportsman would rather sort out the drainage in the lower field than represent their nation at a World Cup. Still, it's always nice to hear - in these days of 'crucial clashes' and 'must-win encounters' - of someone putting the hidden struggles of private life ahead of sport's overblown priorities.

Could this be the start of a new generation of domestic gods?

Stevie Pulls Plug - Gerrard to Miss Champions League Clash After Plumbing Crisis
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has pulled out of the Anfield club's crunch Champions League meeting with Inter Milan tomorrow, after a plumbing problem bubbled up at the star's Cheshire home yesterday.

Gerrard was forced to withdraw from the Reds' squad upon hearing a strange clanking noise, then a sudden "watery thud" coming from his back boiler yesterday. Plumber John Smedley, of Smedley & Smedley Plumbing & Heating Services has vowed to get to the bottom of the dilemma, but admitted yesterday evening that "realistically we won't get round to it until Wednesday afternoon. And we'll need Mr.Gerrard there to let us in, otherwise we can't come round till next week. And we have work on in Widnes all next week, so there's no guarantees even then."

Gerrard reluctantly accepted the the bad news, revealing that "with the missus away, I suppose it's the only choice. I wouldn't trust the neighbours to let the plumbers in after the thing with their dog doing its business in our garden last year. Don't get me wrong, I'd do anything for the club, but that boiler needs fixing."

That's All She Wrote - Harrington Snubs Open for TV Sleuth
Padraig Harrington has ruled himseld out of the Open in Carnoustie after admitting being gripped by the exploits of a geriatric TV detective!

Rather than hitting the fairways to perfect his game ahead of golf's oldest major next week, the Dublin-born European Order of Merit winner has spent recent afternoons engrossed in Murder She Wrote, the American TV series currently being repeated on BBC 1 each afternoon.

The series, which stars Hollywood veteran Angela Lansbury as crime writer-cum-real life detective Jessica Fletcher, first grabbed Harrington's attention while he was resting a mild wrist injury several weeks ago.

"I'd always been wary of the Beeb's mid-afternoon drama slot, having missed out on vital preparations for the 2002 US Masters due to a particularly absorbing run of Quincy episodes," said the Irishman from his living room yesterday, "but this series of 'Murder' has destroyed my game."

"Just the other day Jessica got to the bottom of a sinister development scheme which had used foul play to turn profits. Today she finds herself on the hunt for a killer at an elite prep school. To be honest, golf comes second at a time like this."

And it's not going to get any easier for Harrington - August's US PGA Championship clashes with a rerun of the classic first series of The Rockford Files.

Fed's Off His Noodle
As he finally placed the chopsticks down, Roger Federer knew he wouldn't be able defend his Wimbledon title.

"I saw all the Chinese leftovers I had, even after stuffing myself," said the Swiss World Number One at a specially convened press conference today. "It quickly dawned on me that I could never focus on defeating Rafael Nadal the next day, knowing that there was half a tray of chicken chow mein and at least three sweet and sour ribs lying uneaten in my fridge."

The five time Wimbledon champion choked back the tears, and the regurgitated chicken balls, as he opened his heart to the private torment that ended his chances of a record sixth consecutive title.

"I was really hungry after beating Roddick in the semi," Federer explained, "and fell into the trap of ordering more than I could possibly eat. Beef in black bean sauce, Szechaun pork, spring rolls - I really pigged out. But then I realised 'hey, you're not gonna finish this tonight'. Well anyone who's played me on the court knows I don't back down easily, so I'm going to come back this evening and finish it off, every last prawn cracker too."

Federer apologised for letting his fans down, then burped.


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