Q & A: The day a tail wagged to the Bert bat attack

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The Independent Online
Q. After his recent century, is Pat Symcox of South Africa to be considered the best No 10 batsman ever or has another tailender fared even better?

A. The most bizarre example is a No 11 finishing top of the averages in an English season. During the Australians tour of 1953, Bill Johnston, a fast bowler, made 102 runs in 17 innings and never once got into double figures. But he finished not out in 16 of them and thus averaged 102.

Bert Alletson was a medium pacer in the Notts side before the First World War. On 20 May 1911, he went in with Nottinghamshire at 183 for 7 an hour before lunch on the final day against Sussex at Hove. Notts had just avoided an innings defeat but looked certain to lose. Alletson saved the match by hitting 189 in 90 minutes! During the knock he hit 34 off an over by E H Killick, and this was the record until Sobers hit 36 off Nash at Swansea in 1968. Bert was a genuine tail-ender. He played for Notts from 1906 to 1914 and scored 3,217 for an average of 18.17. The 189 at Hove was Alletson's only century; it included a last-wicket stand of 152 with W Riley, of which Alletson made 142.

W Morgan, Birmingham


Q. We all know that John Major supports Surrey, but what County Championship side, if any, does Tony Blair support?

T Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. Is it possible to define whose initial idea it was to create the Cambridge University v Oxford University Boat Race which is now part of the British Heritage. Who chose the route?

K Maguire, Batley

If you know the answers to either of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.