As promised, and I'm sure keenly awaited in households up and down the land, here are the answers to my fiendish Christmas quiz, although I must first upbraid myself for kicking off with an ambiguous opening question. Andrew Flintoff is to Shane Warne what ............ is to Muttiah Muralitharan, I wrote, and invited you to identify the missing name. Some of you said Ravi Bopara, and some said Paul Collingwood, and although Collingwood was the answer I was looking for, I've decided to accept both. The fact is that Flintoff was Warne's record 708th Test wicket, and Bopara was Murali's 708th, but what I really wanted was the scalp that gave Murali the record.
The next nine questions all related to 2007...
2 Born Jason Thorpe Brannan, he retired after almost scaling the summit of his sport for a second time. Who is he? Jason Robinson.
3 "This being Easter, I cannot help but believe my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, was walking with me. I owe this to him." Who said so? Zach Johnson, winner of the US Masters. Whether he shared his prize-money with the Almighty is not on record.
4 Who robbed Fred Daly of his unique place in sporting history? Padraig Harrington, who became the second Irishman to win the Open Championship.
5 While scoring 149 in the World Cup final, Adam Gilchrist used a piece of sporting equipment that definitely wasn't cricket. What? He tucked a squash ball into his left glove, to help his grip.
6 Who retired, shortly after his 50th birthday, having learnt on a beach to play the sport at which he would so excel? Seve Ballesteros.
7 Russia beat Germany, then lost in the final to the US. Which competition was this? The Davis Cup.
8 Who, celebrating his 100th victory in style, disproved the superstition that it is unlucky to run over black cats? David Moyes, whose Everton team hammered Sunderland 7-1.
9 Otar got seven, Paul got five, Brian got three, Phil got two and Alfie got one. What? Number of weeks or games suspension in the rugby World Cup. Otar Eloshvili (Georgia) got seven weeks, Paul Emerick (US) five weeks, Brian Lima (Samoa) while Phil Vickery (England) got two games, and Alfie Vaeluaga (Samoa) one.
10 It is thought that only one man watched both the innings of 499 by Hanif Mohammed in Karachi in 1958, a record in first-class cricket, and the innings that broke Hanif's record, Brian Lara's 501 not out, for Warwickshire against Durham, in 1994. This man made the news himself in 2007. Name him? The late, lamented Bob Woolmer.
The next 10 related to 1957...
11 Argentina and Italy triumphed in Germany in August 1957. How? The Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio won the German Grand Prix in a Maserati.
12 Which footballer scored a total of four goals in three successive World Cup qualifiers, but never played for England again? Bristol City's John Atyeo.
13 Which cricketer made his highest Test score of 285 not out? Peter May.
14 "What you sow you have to reap." Which man, born in 1957, has reason to regret saying this? This was part of Glenn Hoddle's dubious beliefs about handicapped people being punished for transgressions in a former life, which cost him the England manager's job.
15 Which Algerian-born former goalkeeper had cause to celebrate? Albert Camus, who won the Nobel Prize for literature.
16 What prestigious competition was won by a man born into a family called Fortunato? The US Masters, won by Doug Ford.
17 Wood broke his jaw; Blanchflower took his place. What was the occasion? The FA Cup final. Ray Wood was the stricken Manchester United goalkeeper.
18 Which pioneering American was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City on returning in triumph from London? The Wimbledon ladies champion Althea Gibson, the first black person to triumph at Wimbledon.
19 Sugar Ray Robinson landed what has ever since been described as "the perfect left hook". On whom did it land? Gene Fullmer.
20 England, having last done it in 1928, did it again in 1957. What? Won rugby union's Grand Slam.
The final 10 questions related to 1967, 1977, 1987 and 1997...
21 Who, in 1967, went to Lisbon and roared? Celtic, the so-called Lisbon Lions, became the first British team to win the European Cup.
22 On his 1967 international debut he scored a remarkable try, kicked two penalty goals and five conversions, all at the tender age of 18. Who was he? Keith Jarrett of Wales.
23 Which team played their first-ever league game on 7 April 1977 and won 9-5? The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.
24 Red Rum, trained by Ginger McCain, won his third Grand National in 1977. Which comedian was once a stable lad at McCain's stables behind a second-hand car dealership in Southport? Lee Mack.
25 What did an American former mechanic do for the fourth time in 1977, an unprecedented achievement, having done it for the first time in 1961? A J Foyt won the Indianapolis 500.
26 How, in 1987, did Steve get his own back on Joe? Steve Davies beat Joe Johnson, his conqueror the year before, in the final of the World Snooker Championship.
27 In 1987, how did it all go pear-shaped for Tim Robinson in the Garden of Eden? He was dismissed first ball in the cricket World Cup final at Eden Gardens, Calcutta, between England and Australia.
28 Who, in 1997, was grossly mistaken in choosing the Tube? Not me, as one reader hazarded, but Christian Gross, who tried to look folksy by turning up on the London Underground to start his managerial career at White Hart Lane.
29 Who, in 1997, bit off more than he could chew, and was fined $3m for doing so? Mike Tyson tucked into Evander Holyfield's ear.
30 Graham Gooch retired from county cricket in 1997, having scored more than 100 first-class hundreds. Who are the other men in this exclusive club, a club that the erstwhile Independent columnist Mark Ramprakash seems certain to join in 2008? In order of the most centuries they made they are, deep breath... Hobbs, Hendren, Hammond, Mead, Boycott, Sutcliffe, Woolley, Hick, Hutton, Grace, Compton, Graveney, Bradman, Richards, Zaheer Abbas, Sandham, Cowdrey, Hayward, Turner, Edrich, Ames, Tyldesley, Amiss.
Thank you to all those who took part, and congratulations to the winner, Andrew Anderson of Ampthill in Bedfordshire, who gets 366 bottles of Spitfire ale for his trouble, one for every day of the year, courtesy of master brewers Shepherd Neame. Mr Anderson pipped, or in this context perhaps pip-pipped, everyone else to the post with his slogan: "Spitfire – Not Just For the Few!' For more details on Spitfire Ale go to:Reuse content