Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Billy on the Box: Poison arrow

Ali v Foreman; Bugner v Cooper; Tyson v Arizona Police Department - all pale into insignificance compared to the true heavyweight battle of the week.

When two bellies collided, sorry, worlds, at Purfleet, Phil 'The Power' Taylor and Chris 'Mace the Ace' Tyson went at it like two Weightwatchers' clients chasing a cream bun.

I have a confession to make though. I didn't see Taylor's outburst live on Sky, although it has been hard to miss ever since, because I was there in the flesh.

A bit like Mohammed going to the mountain, except the mountains were dressed in garish silk shirts and each thud of the board was drowned out by a colossal drunken roar.

The morning's press had warned us that relations had soured somewhat between 13-times World Champion Taylor and Mason, an insignificant clodder who just reminds me of Harris from Porridge, the one referred to as a 'charmless nerk' by Fletch.

Coming out on morning of your match against the greatest arrow thrower of all time and calling him 'Bertie Big B*******' was not the brightest move by Mason.

Taylor couldn't have run over him more if he's brought his Bentley onto the stage and then reversed over him.

A dismissive handshake and suddenly it all kicked off, with both men offering each other into the car park.

Taylor did his posturing in front of the cameras, threatening to quit because Mason had indulged in a dose of verbals, atlthough given, in his words, he used to make 'bogchains' then we were lucky it wasn't a dose of something altogether more unpleasant.

I'm not going to put up with it," said a furious Taylor on Sky. " It was filth," so maybe Mason did bring something from his past after all.

The soiled Stoke legend, claimed he was a working class boy done good, but while he may drive a Bentley it was good to see he hadn't forgotten his roots.

"I'm just a working-class man who has done well for myself," he said.

I had images of a Rocky-like moment with Taylor struggling up the steps of Stoke Town Hall, surrounded by pies and sipping a pint of ale.

It was heroic, a worthy stand against a lippy lobber, or a tungsten tosser as Sid Waddell may have said, but it all hit the fan when he finished: " I'll see him upstairs in a minute, and we'll see how big and brave he is."

Oh, not so heroic now.

Turn it over to golfing channel's Kournikova

The trouble with this time of the year is that there's hardly a sports programme on air that doesn't revolve around a review of the year.

No such problems on the Golf Channel, where the exciting exploits of Natalie Gulbis continue unabated.

Natalie who?

Let me explain. She's the golfing equivalent of Anna Kournikova: a leggy blonde bird who doesn't actually appear to ever play golf.

This week's episode offered us a fascinating insight of her having her portrait painted, prepping her gym and having her face scanned for a computer game.

The only golf club in sight was when she was doing an advertisement for a new club by whacking balls at her dad in a buggy - a cross between Meat Loaf and Grizzly Adams.

She hit him twice.

I suppose two out of three ain't bad.

ESPN has winning formula

This will come as a shock. I watched some motor-racing this week, Formula One no less, and it was enjoyable.

In my defence, it was from 1978 and 1979 as ESPN Classic showed the British Grands Prix from those years.

As it's Christmas, it reminded me that I was eight when I got a Scalextric set and my prize and joy - Mario Andretti's black JPS Lotus car.

I loved that car almost as much as my Evel Knieval, but I also had a Ferrari and it was rubbish because I stood on it and buckled one of its wheels.

This did not deter Carlos Ruetemann from winning in his Ferrari. He was then taken on a lap of honour in what looked like Bodie's silver Capri from the Professionals.

It was certainly more professional than the Renault pit squad, who tried to change a tyre and far from the seven seconds of nowadays they could have timed it with a calendar.

Off roared the driver, except someone had left their tools in the way and they ripped off the nose-cone, so back in he came, this time to be met by a man carrying what looked a like a tea-tray covered in Meccano.

Murray Walker and James Hunt were joined by Jackie Stewart in the commentary box, although the cameras weren't great and one fabulous over-taking manoeuvre was spoiled somewhat by a hedge!

But back to Murray for words of infinite wisdom: "And when the driver gets out of the car, that's it." Thanks for that.

Eurosport ham it up

There is a tendency at this time of the year to over-indulge a tad and it's good to see that Eurosport 2 - home of the rubbish - didn't fail us.

Whilst struggling with a big head I had to do a Scooby Doo-like head shaking manoeuvre as I flicked over and there it was - The Riviera Cup for backgammon.

I wasn't aware that backgammon was a sport, and two middle-aged men doing battle in casual slacks didn't help its cause any.

This nonsense featured an Irishman who looked like a priest that had diverted to Cannes with the money for Lourdes, against a Georgian nicknamed Gagua the Jaguar.

"The Irish wolfhound is getting rolled around like a Pekinese," shouted a daft American commentator, while terms like pips, blot and residual equity had me in as big a spin as the poor dice clattering off the board.

For the record, the wolfhound won, thanks to a superb move when two double -twos fell out of his shaker.

What next for Eurosport 2? Buckaroo, Kerplunk or inaugural World Cup of Guess Who? I'm there if it is.



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