While admitting that there may be room for improvement in the looks of our country's cricketers, we take exception to Ms Bowler (15 August) describing them as 'almost always decidedly plain'. Perhaps she should take note of the following examples of prime first-class cricketing beefcake: Dermot Reeve; Allan Lamb; Robin Smith; and David Gower, all of whom have played for England. We could go even further and point out that there are many counties which boast players of an equally toothsome standard who have to make an impact on international cricket. Our own county of Leicestershire, while not performing as well as they might on the field, can still boast David Millns (who, much to our delight, once appeared on the players' balcony clad only in a peach-coloured towel). Indeed, some at Grace Road are already mourning the loss of Laurie Potter and would like to see him appear on the balcony clad only in chocolate mousse and whipped cream.
Our advice to Margaret Bowler is to invest in a really good pair of field-glasses and an active imagination. - Carolyn Moore and Vanessa Jackson, Leicester.
What is the quickest reply to a goal in either domestic or international football?
On 19 May 1951, in a Festival of Britain International at Goodison Park, England advanced straight from the kick-off, and Pearson headed down into the path of Bill Nicholson, who slammed it into the Portuguese net with his first touch of the ball in a full international. Not to be outdone, the Portuguese did much the same thing from their kick-off, scything through England's defence for a wonderful equaliser. I think it all happened in the space of two minutes. I know a lot of spectators arriving just a few minutes late missed it. Incidentally, I believe this was Bill Nicholson's only cap. - N Seaton, Stoke-on-Trent.
What is the highest score draw in a British league or cup match?
ZDS Cup, 1 October 1991: Tranmere Rovers 6 Newcastle 6 (Tranmere won on penalties). - P A Gatt, Tooting, London SW17.
I was at the First Division match on 2 September 1984 between Queen's Park Rangers and Newcastle United at Loftus Road. Chris Waddle scored a quick hat- trick and by half-time QPR were 4-0 down. After the interval Rangers came back to 4-3, then with three minutes left Newcastle went further ahead. QPR managed to score twice in the final minute leaving the final score at 5-5. - Vivek Malik, London W3.
I saw Birmingham City draw 5-5 at home twice within 12 months. On 24 April 1965, they drew 5-5 with Blackburn Rovers and on 9 April 1966 they drew 5-5 with Derby County. In the two matches Malcolm Beard scored five times for Birmingham. - R O'Sullivan, Birmingham.
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 (non-sectarian) folk songs peculiar to a particular area sung in support of the local team?
The Norwich City song, 'On the Ball City', is believed to be the work of Albert T Smith, a director between 1905 and 1907. The lines 'On the ball City, never mind the danger' are still sung at Carrow Road:
In the days to call, which we have left behind,
Our boyhood's glorious game,
And our youthful vigour has declined,
With its mirth and lonesome end;
You will think of the time, the happy time,
Its memories fond recall,
When in the bloom of our youthful prime
We've kept upon the ball.
Kick off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo,
win or die;
On the ball, City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now's your chance,
Hurrah] We've scored a goal.
Let all tonight then drink with me
To the football game we love,
And wish it may successful be
As other games of old,
And in one grand united toast
Join player, game and song,
And fondly pledge your pride and toast,
Success to the City club.
Charlie Salt, Cheriton Bishop, Devon.
Surely the most well-known example of the adoption of a local folk song by football supporters is Geordie Ridley's 'Blaydon Races', sung in its original form by Newcastle United fans.
Sunderland fans also sing the chorus of this song, but with a slight change from the original. Instead of 'Gannin' along the Scotswood Road to see the Blaydon races', they sing 'Gannin' along the Roker Road to see the Roker Aces'. - D Franklin, Sunderland.
Which Premiership or Football League team can boast the highest number of locally born players ever to have represented the club in any one league match?
In the late Seventies, when I had the great good fortune to watch West Ham more regularly than I can now, the first-team squad boasted a dozen 'locals': McDowell (West Ham), Lampard (East Ham), Bonds (Woolwich), Taylor (Hornchurch), Lock and Brooking (Barking), Holland (Poplar), Curbishley (Forest Gate), Pike (Clapton). Jennings, Devonshire and Morgan were also Londoners and Mervyn Day came from far distant Chelmsford. Is this a record? - David Hempstead, Reims, France.
Watching the women playing cricket in their skirts during the recent World Cup made me wonder whether a first-class cricketer has ever gone to the crease in shorts. If so, when? - Roger Dismal, Basingstoke, Hants.
We have heard a lot this season about Shane Warne bowling the 'flipper'. Could someone please explain how this came into being? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby.
Japan can produce sumo wrestlers and world-rated flyweight boxers - why can they not produce a world-rated heavyweight boxer? - Kevin Maguire, Batley, West Yorkshire.
Bristol Rovers are now entering their eighth season of sharing with non-league Bath City. Does any other sporting organisation have a more unsympathetic local council? Has any other club survived when playing home matches in another city for so long? - Chris Walker, Bristol.
When and how did moronic chanting at cricket matches start and develop? Are there any suggestions as to how it can be stopped? - Hugh Litchell, Manchester.
Does a professional golfer use every club in the bag during a round? Which club, apart from the putter and driver, is used most often and what is the smallest number of clubs used by a player in the process of winning a major tournament? - Kieron Spencer, Cwmbran.
If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:
Q & A
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