Varsity blues

Back from holidays and into a new gaff. Let’s get this straight; my girlfriend’s parents are hospitable, kind, and tolerant. Nevertheless, living with them for four months has been, as you can imagine, far from ideal for any party and it’s a relief to move on.

Anyone know what's going on here?

The main downside of leaving is, once again, I lose access to the full gamut of sports channels. I’m not just talking about the Sky Sports family – I can rely on Sky Go and my mum’s subscription should I want to watch grainy footage of rugby league (well, once Virgin get round to installing our broadband). No, farewell too to ESPN, ESPN Classic (good for watching people that look like your dad facing West Indies quicks without a helmet but with a cable-knit sleeveless) and, of course, ESPN College, which always seems to be showing lacrosse – a sport that, in America, seems to be a big deal, unlike here where it, much like bulimia, is a niche interest in girls’ public schools.

It’s difficult to imagine a similar channel existing to cover the sporting exploits of Britain’s seats of learning. Sure, we’ve got the Boat Race (one set of hired Germans and Yanks versus another) and the Rugby Union varsity match just about justifies its spot on Sky Sports. But go any further than that and the quality gets decidedly dodgy. The broadcast of the Rugby League varsity game is faintly embarrassing, one gets the impression that Wakefield U-15s would give the Oxbridge boys a good game, and as for this debacle, it’s no surprise the BBC swiftly binned the concept. Yeah, Loughborough might have a decent hockey side, a shame then that about 7 people actually care about the sport. Sport exists in British universities not as a celebration of the athletic spirit, nor a focus of regional pride, but to support a sophisticated culture of binge drinking.

Returning to the present, sketchy access to the action in question makes life for the spread bettor somewhat frustrating. Even in a relatively packed weekend of terrestrial sport – a Grand National and an FA Cup semi final no less – ones options are limited. I managed to make a decent profit buying corners at 10.5 in Chelsea’s ref-assisted drubbing of Spurs, a bet struck for no better reason than a bored hunch, before giving most of it back blindly buying Aussie runs against the Windies (6 down but with Hussey still at the crease). Currently, I have a buy of West Indies 1st innings runs at 222 open, a bet that was looking in great shape until the aforementioned Mr. Cricket was tossed the ball and managed to burgle a wicket with some filthy trundlers. Bowling, funnily enough, that wouldn’t have looked out of place at Fenner’s or The Parks.


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