In Competition No. 2396 you were invited to supply a description of a sporting event by an intellectually pretentious journo.

‘Khan the high priest fast uniting greatness and wealth in holy boxing matrimony’ — Owen Slot in the Times. But Gerard Benson has capped my example with a magnificent piece of tosh by Robbie Hudson in last month’s TLS: ‘Football is both an international language with local dialects and an open-ended narrative offering endless opportunities for self-definition.’ Tell that to Beckham! The rot set in in the Fifties when Professor Ayer started to support Spurs. Did you know that Italo Svevo was a keen fan of Charlton Athletic?

The prizewinners, printed below, get £25 each except for Adrian Fry, who takes the extra fiver.

Irresistible force, immovable object; physicists will long relish debating which was which in last night’s nil-nil collision between Rovers and United, but fans struggled to take comfort from a match as inconclusive as the battle of Jutland. Rovers’ striker Wayne Shirt may have cleaned the Augean stables of his private life, but his once Lachesis-like weaving through enemy defences has degenerated into the uninspired dribbling of an ersatz Jackson Pollock. Sticking with the Pythagorean complexities of last season’s five-man tent, United played a tactical passing game but were blocked at every turn by Rovers, who helped guarantee goalkeepers Kev Nowt and Darren Sweat 90 minutes of existential idleness Camus would have recognised. Rovers’ midfielder Lee Kecks, a veritable Proteus last month against City, disappointed, proffering play as technically skilled yet directionlessly rambling as a Henry James sentence. Still, next Wednesday’s replay will doubtless put this match beyond all but Proustian recall.

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