Adam Hart-Davies is not the first person you would expect to find on a sports blog. Unless you take recreational cycling in flurorescent shorts meant for someone twenty years your junior as a sport. Nevertheless, last night (late, post pub) there was a chopped up segment on his programme What The Victorians Did For Us. And last night what they did for us was invent sport.

The sports highlighted were the Eton Wall Game, tennis and football – which was called soccer much to my wincing. I am not so sure of the direct line from the Eton Wall Game to the invention of football, the reasoning was that public school games were so parochial and rubbish that an association (look out, we’ll see that word again) of ex students got together and invented rules. Now I can see why the Eton Wall Game got on people’s nerves, it is basically a big ruck against a brick wall, where liberal sanding of an opponents face agin the mortar is perfectly legal. But this posh reclamation of what is fundamentally one of the simplest games invented by man tries to give football proper gentlemanly rules. What about those big games that take over entire towns up north and are really useful for Newsround to lead with when the lead item in the Six O’Clock News is a particularly nasty kiddie murder?

As entertaining as Hart-Davies loony uncle inventor act is, he did not convince me that tennis was invented because suddenly we had machines that could flatten grass and rubber balls. There was far too much faith in invention causation. People fanny around, even in sports. The Victorians weren’t sitting on their arse in Wimbledon waiting for a rubber ball and a roller to be invented. No, they were playing croquet – a game which is a lot more fun to play than tennis if you ask me.