Q & A: The emblematic hazards of nipple rash . . . and the tales of a vegan voodoo magician

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Why do county and international cricketers always wear vests, no matter how hot or humid the conditions?

My answer stems from my own experience in club cricket, the reason being nipple rash. If a shirt is worn without a vest or T-shirt then the sewn-on emblem on the breast pocket of the shirt tends to rub against the nipple. I'd rather be hot and sweaty for an afternoon rather than suffer nipple rash for days. - Chris Allen, Godalming, Surrey.

Have any cricketers played for England despite never playing county cricket? And have any footballers played for England despite never playing in the League?

Seven cricketers hold this distinction: A J Fothergill (1889), B A F Grieve (1889), L Hone (1879), J E P McMaster (1889), A M Miller (1896), F W Milligan (1896) and D C H Townsend (1935). J Fothergill played for Somerset but they were not a first-class county at the time. - Kevin Preston, Romford, Essex.

Which football team holds the record for the fewest wins in a season? And has any team matched Cowdenbeath's achievement of failing to win at home all season?

In answer to both these questions, the unfortunate team was Loughborough FC in 1899-1900, when they finished bottom of the Second Division. Their record was:

----------------------------------------------------------------- P W D L F A Pts ----------------------------------------------------------------- 34 1 6 27 18 100 8 -----------------------------------------------------------------

The solitary win came from their last-ever league match, away to Gainsborough Trinity, where they won 2-1 on 28 April 1900. - Mark A Tull, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Every football team seems to have local rivals their fans love to hate. Do rivalries vary in intensity across the country? And are most rivalries mutual? Newport used to have Cardiff as their main rivals, while Cardiff fans considered Swansea their most loathed opposition. Are there cases where a team has supplanted another as a third team's main rival?

This question can not be answered without considering the unique events that have surrounded the fall and rise of each of the Sheffield clubs.

Remembering that Sheffield FC and their local rivals, Hallam FC, are the oldest and second oldest clubs in the world, we in Sheffield know a thing or two about changing rivalries and love-hate relationships.

Although Wednesday have always been despised rivals of United (both sets of fans refer to each other as The Pigs), most Blades have a sneaking pride when the Owls achieve success and vice versa.

Throughout these turbulent times, the hatred of our Yorkshire cousins in Leeds has been kept alive. The depth of this feeling was felt nationally when it was proposed to hold the all-Sheffield FA Cup semi-final at Elland Road.

When United were in the lowest divisions, most hatred was reserved for Bradford City, who were promotion rivals. A more friendly rivalry existed with our South Yorkshire neighbours, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, whilst the encounters with Chesterfield, the nearest team from another county, were always good-naturedly hostile. - Alan Marsden, Sheffield.

When was the first instance of a streaker at a sporting event?

Mr Shearing's suggestion that Miss Erica Rowe was the first streaker at a major sporting event is, I think, misguided.

Before Miss Rowe's 15 minutes of fame there came a man, in 1975, named Michael Angelow, who ran naked across Lord's and hurdled the stumps at the Nursery End with extraordinary agility.

The event elicited the following commentary from the incomparable John Arlott: 'And a freaker, we've got a freaker down the wicket now. Not very shapely and it's masculine. And I would think it's seen the last of the cricket for the day . . . he's being embraced by a blond policeman, and this may be his last public appearance, but what a splendid one. And so warm . . . '

Off microphone we then hear a voice saying: 'He flashed through the covers.' Mr Angelow was fined pounds 20 at Marylebone magistrates' court - the exact amount he had earned from the bet that led to his exposure.

However, I am still not convinced that this was the first example of a streaker at a major sporting event. I have distant memories of a long-haired gentleman being led off the field at Twickenham with only a policeman's helmet to retain his modesty. I would place that in the early Seventies. Can any of your readers advise? - David Balcombe, Northwood, Middlesex.

Who were the first black players to appear in the Football League (particularly the First Division)?

Back in 1887 when Preston North End's invincibility was starting to gather pace, the reigning AAA 100-yard champion was a Trinidadian called Arthur Wharton. Showing a bizarre bit of logic, North End signed Wharton as a goalkeeper, and promptly won the double. - Gavin Willacy, Old Trafford, Manchester M16.

Are there any footballers in the present top flight who are vegetarian?

On 14 February the responses included an answer from John Robinson, of Liverpool, who told readers about his brother Neil who, like himself, was vegetarian and had played for several clubs including Everton. John himself also played professional football.

There are numerous footballers, both amateur and professional worldwide, who are vegetarian and I, as a nutritionist, was consulted by a professional club manager regarding the likelihood of natural diet being an influence in the performance of his club (Crusaders FC), who were then lying almost bottom of the Irish League.

I met the players on training days when we had talks on diet and fitness and the rest is history, as they say, for the club won the Irish Cup that season and then went on to become runners-up in an All-Ireland special challenge trophy competition. I sat on the bench with the manager and coaches, and had to endure insults and threats from opposition supporters who accused me of dosing the team with all kinds of drugs, monkey glands, and even voodoo magic. In fact all that had happened was that most of the players had acted on my dietary advice and became vegetarian for the period I was with them. The 'magic' administered during stoppages was simply small doses of the Swiss elixir, 'Bio Strath'. Those who were smokers stopped smoking and the whole team enjoyed the invigoration of good nutrition as opposed to animal matter, which is toxic and inhibits maximum performance.

A superstar of the past who was one of the early trend-setting vegetarians was the greatest wrestler of all time (never mind Hulk Hogan), the one and only George Hackenschmidt. As a young man and professional wrestler in the days when wrestling was a sport and not the burlesque of today, I had the unforgettable experience of wrestling with George on the carpet in his lounge in Gypsy Hill, London.

Even then he was still a giant of a man, both physically and intellectually, and at 33 years old I had to struggle to prevent George from pinning me to the hearthrug. And the 'Russian Lion' was then 90 years old]

Need more be said in support of vegetarian, or better still vegan diet, and sport? - Jack McClelland, Country Antrim, Northern Ireland.


With the obvious exceptions of the Roses and London counties, do other county cricket clubs have bitter rivals? And do they have considerable followings like Lancashire? - Gavin Willacy, Old Trafford, Manchester M16.

Why is the Glasgow derby between Celtic and Rangers known as the Old Firm match? - John Harvey (aged 10), Magheramore, Carndonagh, Co Donegal, Ireland.

How did Ray Wilkins get the name 'Butch', and what was the name of his footballer brother? - Julia and Simon, London SE5.

Has there ever been an occasion when an own goal was deliberate (in any sport but preferably football)? - Peter Edwards, Old Trafford, Manchester.

Why in athletics do runners go in an anti-clockwise direction? Greyhound racing is the same, and I have been told that the dogs are trained to run this way. Why is this? - Josie Richards, London N9.

Watching Milan v Roma on television, I was intrigued to hear the fans singing a terrace song to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory. My wife, who is Italian, was unable to decipher the lyrics. Perhaps someone, even Malcolm Macdonald, could enlighten us. - David Vear, London W4.

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)