Q & A / Chris Old and the four no-balls incident . . . and when seven goals weren't enough

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How is Formula One motor racing financed? How can the small teams such as Jordan or Minardi remain viable when they rarely finish a race?

Formula One is financed by sponsorship. All teams have sponsors, such as Shell and Sasol. Most grands prix are also sponsored, for example the recent grand prix at Donington was sponsored by Sega. I would also like to say that in seven out of the last 10 grands prix Jordan had a finisher, as have Minardi in nine out of the last 10. - Brian Soughley (aged 14), Dublin.

What would happen if a cricket player was 'bowled' off a no-ball which then travelled to the boundary?

Your correspondent, Fred Godson, writes, correctly, that four no-balls are awarded, but that he has never seen or heard of it (1 August). I can report that this very incident occurred yesterday, 31 July, in a game between Old Hendon and Southgate A XI.

The bowler, Raman, undid D Gordon with a ball which the latter claimed pitched on middle and leg and hit off. As the non-striker I suggested that, whilst the ball was straight, perhaps Gordon had changed his shot at the call of 'no-ball'. The joke, however, was on me, as Gordon ran me out a few balls later. - Ian Henley, Southgate, London.

This happened in the first Test between England and West Indies at Nottingham in 1976. The batsman was Chris Old, who edged a no-ball on to his stumps; the ball than travelled to the boundary and four runs were added to his score. The incident was of some significance as England were struggling to pass the follow-on target with only two wickets left. - John Price, Cheltenham.

Such an event occurred in a match between North Maidenhead and Aldershot on 26 June 1993.

The North Maids bowler was called by the umpire for overstepping, the Aldershot batsman was clean bowled and the ball ran away in the direction of fine leg. The fielder at square leg (myself) did not chase the ball, thinking it was dead. The more knowledgeable non- striker, realising the opportunity, called his partner for a single.

While I set off to retrieve the ball a debate took place between the fielders and the umpire as to the validity of the run. The umpire rightly informed the players that the run stood. Meanwhile, down at fine leg, I was in gentle pursuit of the ball which was by now approaching the boundary, at which point a watching club member decided to take pity on me, jumped over the fence and threw the ball back to me unnoticed by the players and officials still discussing the incident.

I returned to the middle and informed the umpire of the outside intervention and he immediately signalled four no-balls, much to the consternation of the fielding side. - Ian Catley, North Maidenhead CC, Berkshire.

Which Premier or Football League team can boast the highest number of locally born players ever to have represented the club in any one league match?

On 4 December 1948, for the match against Blackpool, Stoke City fielded the following team: Herod, Mould, McCue, F Mountford, Franklin, Sellars, Malkin, Bowyer, Steele, Peppitt and Ormston. All but Mountford were born in Stoke-on-Trent; Mountford was born in Doncaster but had spent most of his life in Stoke-on-Trent. The side had cost pounds 140 in signing-on fees, Mountford being the most expensive - his fee was pounds 40 rather than pounds 10 for the others.

The Blackpool team that day also included two players born in Stoke-on- Trent, the great Stanley Matthews and Eric Hayward. - David Pepper, Stoke- on-Trent.

On 4 April 1967 Sheffield United fielded the following team aginst West Ham United at Upton Park: Hodgkinson, Badger, B Shaw, Munks, Matthewson, B Wagstaff, Woodward, Mallendar, Jones, Barlow, Cliff. Five of these players were born in Sheffield, and all within 20 miles of Sheffield. Mick Jones (born furthest away) came from Worksop, Phil Cliff from Rotherham, Frank Barlow from Mexborough, Ken Mallendar from Thrybergh, Barry Wagstaff from Wombwell and Alan Woodward from Chapeltown. All but Alan Hodgkinson had come through the junior team and Hodgkinson had joined United from Worksop Town as a 17-year-old.

Six other local players represented the Blades that season: Coldwell, G Shaw, A Wagstaff, Finnigan, Fenoughty and Bell.

Incidentally, the Blades beat the Hammers 2-0. - Andrew Kirkham, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s a combination of a good youth policy and sound management at Grimsby Town resulted in a considerable number of young players appearing for their home-town club.

When Grimsby Town kicked off at Elland Road in the Second Division game with Leeds United on 9 February 1985, six of the team were Grimsby-area born, (Paul Wilkinson, Paul Emson, Kevin Drinkell, Andy Moore, Kevin Moore and Tony Ford). When later in the game substitute Gary Lund replaced Steve Foley, seven of the 11 were born in the Grimsby area. If full-back Dean Crombie (born in nearby Lincoln) is counted as well, then eight of the 11 were born within a 35-mile radius and within the County of Lincolnshire.

The inevitable appearance of the big clubs waving their cheque books and one disastrous managerial appointment led to the break-up of the squad of local players that had taken the club from the threat of relegation from the Football League to an established Second Division side. Of those local players on duty at Elland Road that day in 1985, three gained international honours (two England U-21s, one England B), one captained a First Division Club and one played European football with Rangers.

Of those players signed for the coming season at Blundell Park, none is locally born. - Mike Worden, Chester.

How often do impulsive, but marginally premature, celebrations misfire? I am thinking of a Tour de France stage leader who stops pedalling and thrusts his arms in the air before he crosses the line. Is he ever pipped at the post?

With regard to Graham Fulcher's reply (1 August), Luc Roosen (not Besson]) was the rider beaten by Adri van der Poel in the 1990 Amstel Gold Race. - Joe Soap, Edinburgh.

What is arguably the greatest come- back in sporting history?

28 January 1961: Manchester City lead Luton Town 6-2 at Kenilworth in a fourth-round FA Cup tie, all six City goals coming from one Denis Law. After 69 minutes the clouds burst and referee K R Tuck (Chesterfield) abandons the game. They try again on 1 February. Law scores yet again. Luton score three (Ashworth twice and one from Fleming). Denis Law thus scores seven goals in a tie but finishes on the losing side. - Steven Whitehead, Wingrave, Bucks.

ANSWERS PLEASE

What is the quickest reply to a goal in either domestic or international football? - T Fayan, Barnet, Hertfordshire.

In football, when did goalkeepers begin to wear gloves as a matter of course, rather than with regard to playing conditions? - R P Elliott, Southampton.

My father claims that the speed a fast bowler generates is solely due to the speed of his run-up. Is this true? - Sherwin Atkins, London SE24.

Sports have appeared as the main theme in many novels. Have there been any novels published which have featured snooker or angling as their main theme? - Kevin Maguire, Batley.

What is the highest score draw in a British league or cup match? - N Smith, West Bridgford, Notts.

What is the highest number of wickets taken in one over? - J Hart (aged 13), Thrapston, Northants.

In Hunter Davies's book A Walk around the Lakes it is stated that Carlisle United supporters sang 'D'ye ken John Peel?' during the 1974-75 season. Have there been, and are there still, any other instances of (non-sectarian) folk songs peculiar to a particular area sung in support of the local team? - Ian Lakin, Derby.

In football you can block a possible scorer with a foul which allows you to form a defensive wall in front of the attacking side's free-kick. Is football the only sport in which you gain a legitimate advantage by committing a foul? - Wallace Reyburn, London NW3.

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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