Q & A: C B Fry - renaissance man . . . and scrambling's heady days

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Q. As a lifelong West Ham fan, I remember Jim Standen, who played in goal in the mid-Sixties and also played first-class cricket for Worcestershire. I assume the Compton brothers are the most famous double performers. Who else can readers add to this list, and has there ever been a treble performer?

A. One of the greatest all-round sportsmen this country has produced must surely have been Charles Burgess Fry, who was a double international at football and cricket and in 1892 set the world long jump record of 23ft 5in, which stood for 23 years.

As a footballer C B Fry played for England against Ireland in 1901 and played full-back for Southampton in the 1902 Cup final, which they lost 2-1 after a replay. However, it is as a cricketer that he is chiefly remembered. In a career for Oxford University, Sussex, Hampshire and England lasting from 1892 to 1921, he scored 30,886 runs (ave 50.22) including 94 centuries. In 1901 he scored 3,147 runs (av. 78.67) including 13 centuries, a record at that time. As a bowler he twice performed the hat-trick at Lord's.

He played in 26 Test matches scoring 1,223 runs (av. 32.18). He was captain in his last six Tests, winning four and drawing two.

In his obituary Wisden noted that Fry would have gained a rugger Blue but for injury, was a fine boxer, and a passable golfer, swimmer, sculler, tennis player and javelin thrower.

In later life he stood as a Liberal candidate in Brighton and was offered the Albanian throne.

Your correspondent mentioned Jim Standen but omitted to say that as well as playing for West Ham's FA Cup-winning team and for Worcestershire's County Championship- winning team in 1964, he also finished top of the bowling averages taking 64 wickets (ave 13.00). In 1965, he again played in a champion Worcester team as well as in goal for West Ham's team which won the Cup Winners' Cup. - Bob Colley, Disley, Cheshire.

A. Ian Buxton led Luton Town's forward line for something like two seasons around 1966-67. He also played first-class county cricket for Derbyshire - I think he was a medium- pace bowler. Before joining Luton he played for Derby County.

Returning to West Ham's Jim Standen, it is worth mentioning that before he went to them he was on Luton's books for several seasons. He was never able to completely displace Luton's veteran England international keeper Ron Baynham from the first team and spent much of his time in the reserves. I remember one Easter holiday home Division Two match against Leyton Orient (the season they were promoted to Division One along with Liverpool). The Luton manager decided to give them both a game - Standen kept goal and Ron Baynham played at centre- forward] - J G Fildes, Jersey.

Q. Has any English football team fielded a side for a competitive match consisting entirely of players from a single country other than England?

A. Sunderland in 1902 and Accrington Stanley (1955) have turned out all-Scottish teams in the Football League. Accrington were then managed by Walter Galbraith, who specialised in cut-price Scottish players, eight being included in his Bradford Park Avenue XI versus Northampton on 6 April 1960. - Steve Edbury, Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Q. Readers recently debated the decline of speedway. For this Sixties child, rainy Saturday afternoons were brightened by scrambling. The only marque I can remember is (my spelling) Husque Varna; riders, sadly, not one. Who and what were the stars? When did television drop this spectacular contrivance? Why?

A. The sport of motorcycle 'scrambling' is alive and well, and rejoices under the name of moto-cross these days. There is a complete structure to the sport, from schoolboy level and club competition through to national championships and world championship grands prix. Britain does rather well at the sport, with the recently retired Dave Thorpe notable.

In continental Europe, the sport is as popular as cycling (another sport to suffer under-exposure over here), attracting huge crowds. In this country the blinkered media, unable to see the merits of any sport not involving a ball, give little credence to events which attract a large number of competitors and sizeable crowds, outstripping many minor league football games which are given prominence beyond their merits, especially in local papers.

Incidentally, the Swedish manufacturer is Husqvarna. Most moto- cross machines these days are Japanese, although small specialist makers do still provide competitive machines.

Mr Brooke of Cambridge (31 October) is also a trifle blinkered, I feel. The sport of bringing an 'old open-topped sports car to the top of a hill' is called Sporting Car Trials. The cars are usually specialist machines, often home-built, and reasonably new. There is great skill involved in driving up a hill over seemingly impossible terrain with two-wheel drive. It is a very specialist part of a wide motor-sport spectrum, but it is as valid a sport as any other. Again it thrives, with a national championship as the pinnacle.

A near relative, Production Car Trials, involves the same principle - the higher up you go, the fewer marks you lose, and offers an inexpensive way in to the world of motor sport. Many rally drivers begin their careers with PCTs.

The two-wheel equivalent, Motor Cycle Trials, go up to world championship level, with British competitors in the forefront. - Paul Weighill, Runcorn, Cheshire.

A. Your correspondents over the last two weeks on the subject of scrambling referred to moto-cross on Grandstand in the 1960s. As a boy I remember scrambling on Sunday afternoons on the former ATV in the Midlands. Commentary was by Murray Walker and details of the course were provided by, I think, Denis Parkinson, whose catchphase was 'oop 'ill'. Among the names which I remember were Arthur Lampkin, John Rhodes, Vic Eastwood, Dave Bickers, 'Badger' Goss, Dave Nicholl and the champion of the time, Jeff Smith.

On the subject of obscure motoring events of the Sixties, does anyone remember 'Autopoint', which appeared annually on Grandstand? A competition over rough terrain between the Army and the London Motor Club, it involved such vehicles as Mini-Mokes, Haflingers, Austin Champs and Gypsies as well as more conventional cars, together with Stalwart army lorries. Personalities like Graham Hill and Jim Clark took part with the regular competitors such as Steve Carradine, Maurice Gould and Sgts David Pickworth and Fred Baverstock. Can anyone remember the rules of this event? - Steve Clarke, Newport, North Humberside.

A. You have driven me to reach for my pen. Each week I hoped that your correspondents would remember the world's best scrambler - Jeff Smith. In the Sixties, I would switch on Grandstand and watch my hero invariably beating those other forgotten greats Vic Eastwood, Arthur Lampkin and, latterly, Arthur Browning, who became a speedway hero with the Birmingham Brummies. Arthur was 6ft-plus tall, with masses of carrot-coloured, curly hair and was as brave as they come. Smith, Eastwood, Banks, Lampkin, Browning - where are they now? . . .please]

PS: The BMC (British Motor Racing Club) hold obscure (and astonishing]) hill-climb meetings most weekends. - Martin D. Thomas, Poole, Dorset.


Q. During Charlton Athletic's recent match against Leicester City at The Valley, Steve Brown (No 24) replaced Alan Pardew (No 15). This left Charlton's numerical line-up as follows: 22, 16, 11, 24, 23, 10, 18, 6, 8, 12 and 21 - 11 players with a total of 171 on their backs. Is this a record for English league football? - Steve Rann, Orpington, Kent.

Q. Does anyone have any information about the downfall of the Castle Irwell racecourse in Manchester? - P W Collier, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

Q. How did other countries get such ridiculous names for their football teams as Young Boys and Grasshoppers in Switzerland and Go Ahead Eagles in Holland? What is the most ridiculous team name in the world? - Spike Denton, London SW9.

Q. Southampton have just lost more than pounds 500,000 on the transfer of Kerry Dixon - around pounds 25,000 per game for Saints. Which has been the worst-value transfer? - David P Hunter, Southampton.

Q. How many times was Glenn Hoddle not selected for England when he was fit, available and under, say, 32? How many caps did he win and what was his record of selection under different England managers? - W O'Neill, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.

Q. In cricket, what is the highest score by a nightwatchman? What is the highest partnership between two nightwatchman, and are there any examples of three nightwatchmen being used in an innings? - Richard Robert, Jersey.

Q. When two Maori rugby teams play each other, what happens about the haka? Do they do it simultaneously, take it in turns or simply get on with the game? - John Merriman, Northampton.

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

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