Q & A: England's foreign legions . . . and the dead seagull saga

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Has an Oxbridge football blue ever played professionally?

Steve Palmer, the Ipswich midfielder, was captain of the Cambridge University football team in 1988-89. He also played for the Christ's College team, of which, due to archaic Cambridge tradition, I remained captain. - Stephen Blyth, London N1.

When was the last time England fielded a cricket Test side all born in England? Who were the players?

The other side of the coin of your correspondent's letter (Q&A, 4 April) is to ask if it is possible to field a strong and well-balanced England team comprised entirely of England qualified players born outside England. I would propose the following line-up: V P Terry (Osnabruck, West Germany); H Morris (Cardiff); G A Hick (Salisbury, Rhodesia); R A Smith (Durban, South Africa); P W G Parker (Bulawayo, Rhodesia, capt); M A Garnham (Johannesburg, wkt); D A Reeve (Kowloon, Hong Kong); P A J DeFreitas (Dominica); C C Lewis (Georgetown, Guyana); D R Pringle (Nairobi); D E Malcolm (Kingston, Jamaica).

All are qualified to play for England - indeed Garnham of Essex is the only one of the 11 not to have represented England at Test level. If he is unavailable, Robin Smith could take the keeper's gloves (as he has done when injury has struck the Hampshire keeper), making room for a further batsman, Nasser Hussain, born in Madras and another Test veteran. The chairman of selectors should be E R Dexter (Milan) and the manager M C Cowdrey (Bangalore, India).

Can any of your readers suggest a stronger team than this? - David Balcombe, Northwood, Middlesex.

Why do opposing teams in FA Premier and Football League matches have to wear differently coloured shorts? It leads to further needless strip changes and is of no help in team identification. The same rule does not seem to apply in Scottish or Italian leagues.

Our football is screened in countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, where some viewers aren't blessed, like we are, with colour televisions.

A good example was an England v Brazil international at Wembley a couple of years ago. Brazil's players turned out in blue shirts and white shorts rather than the familiar gold and blue. The comment made by John Motson was that many of the viewers back in Brazil had black-and-white televisions and would have difficulty distinguishing the two teams. The only flaw in Motson's point is that before Liverpool adopted the grotesque shoulder-bar design kit they use at present, on a black- and-white television you could have problems if they played either Chelsea or Oldham Athletic due to both teams being in dark strips. This is a problem that television snooker fans have contended with for some years. - Andrew Phillips, Sheringham, Norfolk.

In the last Calcutta Cup match there was a pair of brothers playing for either side, ie Hastings and Underwood. Has this ever happened before, and what is the largest number of people from the same family to have played in a national rugby union team?

The three Luyt brothers played together for South Africa against Scotland, Wales and England in 1912-13. Also appearing for South Africa in the same matches were the Morkel brothers, Gerhard and Jacky.

In 1892 the brothers C E and J E Orr, and W and G T Neilson played for Scotland against Wales, who fielded the James brothers, Evan and David. The two Boniface brothers played for France against New Zealand in Auckland in July 1961. Facing them were the two Clarke brothers, Don and Ian, and the brothers Meads, Colin and Stan.

One year later, the Clarke brothers played against the Thornett brothers in two games in the New Zealand-Australia match. In the same series the Thornetts did battle with Colin and Stan Meads.

In two games for Australia against New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup in 1964, the Boyce twins, Jim and Stewart, played against the Meads brothers.

In more recent times, Dick and Paul Moriarty appeared for Wales. Opposing them, in the same positions for New Zealand in the 1987 World Cup, were the twins Gary and Alan Whetton. Gareth and Glyn Llewellyn locked the Welsh scrum against the Scots in Murrayfield in 1991. Appearing for Scotland were Scott and Gavin Hastings. - John M Jenkins, Dyfed.

Have any Britons ever succeeded in the National Hockey League in the United States and Canada?

Currently the most successful British- born player in the NHL is Steve Smith. Born on 30 April 1963 in Glasgow, Steve was the Edmonton Oilers' fifth- round pick, 111th overall, in the 1981 draft. He twice led the Oilers' defencemen in scoring and was a member of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 1985, '87, '88 and '90. He played in the 1991 NHL All Star game, and for Team Canada in the 1991 Canada Cup.

Traded in 1991-92 to the Chicago Blackhawks, Steve was a losing Stanley Cup finalist against Pittsburgh, and was part of the Blackhawks team that won the inaugural Molson Challenge Cup at Wembley last September. - Richard Davies, Nottingham.

Has a passing bird ever been hit by a conversion or drop-goal attempt in rugby union, preventing the ball passing between the posts and depriving the kicker of his score? Come to that, have any other creatures had a bearing on the results of any important sporting occasion?

The response you received (Q&A, 4 April) about the Toronto Blue Jays' Dave Winfield requires some correction. I was at the baseball game between the Blue Jays and the New York Yankees. A bird was indeed killed; but the incident did not occur during play.

Winfield was in right field as the Blue Jays were due to bat. As he was taking some warm-up throws he aimed one in the direction of a seagull standing near the first base line. The hit was direct and killed the bird instantly, to the outrage of most of the crowd on that side of the stadium.

After the game Winfield was briefly detained by the police and charged with cruelty to an animal, though the charge was later dropped. Ironically, Winfield went on to become the most popular player in the history of the Blue Jays. - Thomas A Mallin, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France.

Five animals that have disrupted a cricket match: 1889: pig stops play, running across the cricket field (Worcestershire v Derbyshire). 1936: sparrow stops play. The ball hit it in mid-flight and killed it. It is now an exhibit at Lord's (MCC v Cambridge University). 1957: hedgehog stops play. Wicketkeeper carefully carries it off the pitch (Gloucestershire v Derbyshire). 1957: mouse stops play; its schoolboy owner runs on to the field to recapture it with his cap (Kent v Hampshire). 1962: bees stop play; players flee to the pavilion to escape (Oxford University v Worcestershire). (From What is a Googly, Robert Eastaway, Robson Books, 1992). - A Forsyth, London SE4.

Who were the Saints Mirren and Johnstone, and why have they never blessed Paisley and Perth with good football teams?

Richard Kemp is quite wrong in his assumption that St Johnstone are named after St John of Beverley. Long before Edward I ever came to Scotland a church dedicated to John the Baptist was built in Perth. In 1124 the area was known as Sanct Johns Toun of Perth. There were many ancient Christian settlements in the area, including a Culdee settlement at Scone and the priory of St Mary and St John the Apostle founded by the Earls of Strathearn at Inchaffray. Edward I did not conquer all Scotland. He conquered the Lowlands. - Donald J MacLeod, Aberdeen.


Why was the attendance for the Arsenal-Tottenham FA Cup semi-final at Wembley (76,263) last weekend 899 higher than for Sheffield United-Sheffield Wednesday the day before? All four clubs sold all the tickets allocated to them, and the Wembley box office certainly did not have any on sale - so how could nearly 1,000 people go missing? What is the present official Wembley capacity? - B Close, Sheffield.

In first-class cricket most of the umpires were previously first-class players. Is this scenario repeated in other sports, and, in particular, has a Football League player ever gone on to become a referee? - Brian Shearing, Reading.

A friend told me that when a football match is televised the television company has to pay royalties on recognisable songs sung by the crowd. Is this true? - D Williams, Manchester.

During the early Fifties an article in the Picture Post magazine described Bert Trautmann, the Manchester City goalkeeper, as 'The Penalty King'. If memory serves me correctly it stated that Bert had saved 11 of 13 penalties he faced that season. Is this correct, and what was his penalty-saving record? What is the all-time record? - A Wright, Sale, Cheshire.

In football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league, which ground is the highest above sea level and lowest at ground level? Are performances affected by these locations? - Kevin Maguire, Batley, West Yorks.

Which of chess, darts and pool is a game and which a sport? What criteria are used? Could Nigel Short, for instance, be BBC Sports Personality of the Year? - Guy Bellamy, Farnham, Surrey.

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

Sports Desk

Independent on Sunday

40 City Road

London EC1Y 2DB

Fax: 071-956 1894

(Photograph omitted)