Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Billy on the Box: It’s time Final Score had a late kick-off

Newington players hear the news that Final Score managed to get their scoreline correct on Saturday

Contrary to popular belief down Ormeau Avenue way, I don’t spend every waking hour sticking pins into a wee doll in the shape of Broadcasting House.

Then again impaling yourself with something sharp and pointy would have been preferable to the torture that was Final Score from Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Honestly, there hasn’t been so many mistakes in such a short space of time since that day at the condom factory when that porcupine was given a shift.

Things started badly, Mark Sidebottom, clearly just back from his elementary origami class clutching a handful of white paper, but before he could proclaim peace in our time, it was off to the action.

Surely someone must have thought to themselves that Glentoran getting beaten by Newington was more newsworthy than Linfield treating Ballyclare Comrades very badly?

But no, it was on second and the question was asked would it be the ‘surprise upset of the day?’ I’m not sure what an expected upset is, maybe the graphics department making their customary howlers?

Harsh? Well, then we went live to Windsor Park for the draw and unlike any other draw in the world there was no caption to accompany the balls being drawn, well that was until Jackie Fullerton tried to interview the back of David Jeffrey’s head and suddenly the full draw covered their faces.

Ever the pro, he battled on, not even shaken when David casually threw ‘fulcrum’ into the conversation when everyone else was shouting slightly different ‘F’ words at the screen.

Still time to save it though, with the rugby results and ‘Aironi with a big win today,’ started Mark.

That would have been a surprise upset, only to quickly realise that the 82-0 win for Clermont had been slightly understated.

‘I think that should have been the other way round,’ he helpfully pointed out as Brian McLaughlin was helped back to his feet with smelling salts and the still flummoxed Mark revealed the Scarlets had a good win against Northampton, despite the Saints seemingly having won on the screen.

And yes it’s easy to criticise and pick holes, not in a porcupine way, but there is a simple solution. Stop making it hard on yourselves by going live within a quarter of an hour of a ball being kicked.

We’re on your side, I want to see action and interviews, so do us all a favour, take a deep breath and give local fans a decent show on a Sunday or even a Monday. Dan Walker on Football Focus on Saturday told us that Late Kick Off was returning to all the BBC’s regions on Monday nights. With one notable exception.

You have the footage, you have people at the grounds and more importantly many people who pay their licence fee and don’t get to see Final Score because they’re on their way home from the game would tune in.

Throw in a bit of rugby and GAA and a story about a seven-year-old snipe shooter from Swatragh if you feel the need and stick it in that wee Late Kick Off slot rather than some documentary no-one watches, or even worse, A Question of Sport.

You could even call it something catchy, maybe like ‘Sportscast’. I know just the man to present it and if you don’t like his face, just cover it up with a cup draw.

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