Q&A: A pigeon's part in the downfall of Dujon . . . and the crossbar that pole-axed Keelan

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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?

In 1991 England beat the West Indies in a home Test match for the first time in many years, helped in no small part by a pigeon, whose incursions on to the pitch so distracted Jeffrey Dujon that he mindlessly edged the following ball to the wicketkeeper. This ended a spirited fightback by the West Indies' middle order and was thus a key incident in deciding the outcome of the match - a fact handily ignored by those who regarded the result as a victory for superior English skill and tactics. - M Hottersall, Aberystwyth.

Will the winners of the First Division this year receive the old Football League trophy now held by Leeds, or will this trophy be passed to the winners of the FA Premier League?

At the start of the season, the word from Lytham St Annes was that as far as the Football League were concerned, the Premier League could make their own arrangements for a trophy. Perhaps this trophy will take the form of a bust of Rupert Murdoch, or a gold-plated satellite dish? - Simon Gorman, Bournemouth.

I recall reading once that in an early England v Scotland football fixture the entire Scotland team was comprised of Queen's Park players. Can anyone provide confirmation of this?

On 23 March 1935, in the England v Scotland amateur international match at Dulwich Hamlet FC in front of 8,000 or so spectators, eight of the Scottish team were Queen's Park players. I still preserve the programme, despite having played a mediocre game in a 2-1 win for England.

In late August 1939, the week before the Second World War broke out, I played for the Corinthian Casuals FC v Oxford City. Five of its players were killed in that war and I wonder if anyone could supply me with the whereabouts of my other five team-mates on that day? I can supply names. - 'Barney' Mulrenan (Life Vice-President of the Football Association), Brighton.

Mike O'Grady (Huddersfield and Leeds) played twice for England and scored three goals. Is he the only international to score more goals than he earned caps?

The most prolific British international goalscorer is generally regarded to be the 1920s centre-forward Hughie Gallagher, who scored 24 goals in 18 outings for Scotland while playing for Airdrieonians, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Derby County. A member of the Wembley Wizards team that thrashed England 5-1 in 1928, Gallagher's other career highlights included Airdrie's only major trophy, the Scottish Cup in 1924, captaining Newcastle to the League title in 1927 and scoring five in one international against Ireland in Belfast in 1929.

However Gallagher's record doesn't match that of Ernst Willimowski, who scored 43 goals while winning 30 caps (1.43 goals per game) for Poland and then Germany in the 1930s. Perhaps someone could comment on how willingly he turned out for Germany considering the political climate at the time. Willimowski's tally included four for Poland in a 6-5 defeat by Brazil in the 1938 World Cup finals in France.

Others who have managed the feat of more than one goal per game in internationals include the Hungarian Sandor Kocsis (75 goals from 68 caps at 1.10 goals per game), Gerd Muller of West Germany (68 goals, 62 caps, 1.09), Just Fontaine of France (30, 29, 1.03) and Pele (96, 93, 1.03). It is interesting to note that the above four make up the first four places in overall top scorers in World Cup final stages (Muller 14, Fontaine 13, Pele 12, Kocsis 11). - Bill Hall, Glasgow.

How about Henry Morris of East Fife? He scored four goals in his only full international for Scotland, against Ireland in 1949-50. - John M Smith, Coatbridge.

Do Inverness Clachnacuddin hold the record for the longest club name in the British Isles?

As a former player of Monkseaton KOSA Robin Hood, I can inform J M Lindsay (21 March) that it stands for 'King's Old Students Association'. King's College was a college of Durham University until 1963, when a charter was granted forming Newcastle upon Tyne University. No formal links now exist between the club and the university.

Monkseaton is where the club play in Whitley Bay, and Robin Hood refers to the team's venue for post-match beers. After a split between the club's First and Second XIs in 1986 the Seconds became Gosforth KOSA St Michael - not an M & S sponsorship deal but the name of a reputable second-hand car firm in Newcastle. This gives totals of 46 and 44 (47 if 'Saint' is used instead of 'St') letters respectively.

From the same league the DHSS put up a good challenge of 35 (they have not dropped the 'Health'), as do Catchgate RAOB (42) of the Justsport North West Durham league. Perhaps DEB Quality Meats of the Wearside HS Sangha Combination League have an acronym to match? - Mick Flynn, Tynemouth.

In view of Prabhakar's role in the recent Test series in India, how many other Test players have opened the bowling and batting for their country, regularly or otherwise?

David Kendix's mention of Trevor Bailey recalls another Trevor, Goddard of South Africa. He opened in both capacities in five of his 41 Tests between 1955 and 1970. Like Bailey he had genuine ability with both bat and ball. - Simon Garrett, Bath.

What happens if a player hits the ball so hard that the crossbar collapses?

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Norwich City, First Division, 25 August 1973: for the third (I think) goal in a 3-1 win Derek Dougan lifted the ball over the advancing City keeper, Kevin Keelan, who turned and in trying to retrieve the ball grabbed hold of the net and brought down the crossbar down on his head. Keelan was carried off but returned with his head bandaged just as repairs had been completed to reclaim his jersey and finish the match. - M Cropley, Norwich.

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

Alan Forsyth (14 March) dismisses as 'fanciful' my assertion that the Saint of St Johnstone is St John of Beverley. There is no doubt that Beverley Minster, with the shrine of St John of Beverley, was a frequent object of pilgrimage for Edward I, especially when he was preparing for battle against the Scots (T F Tout, Edward I).

It is equally a matter of historical record that the banner of St John of Beverley was taken by Edward on all four of his Scottish campaigns: 'The sacred banner of St John of Beverley was displayed at the head of the invading army' (T F Tout).

Edward I was particularly taken with the legend that St John of Beverley had granted King Athelstan 'a sign from heaven, to show future ages that Scotland was subject to England'. (A S Harvey, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 152).

Edward, a superstitious man - evidenced by his acquisition of the stone of Scone Abbey in 1296 - was certainly aware that conquered peoples had to be subdued both physically and psychologically. What better way of impressing his superiority upon the people of Perth than claiming the town - St John's town - for his own all-conquering English saint. I can see nothing inconsistent or fanciful, as Mr Forsyth insists, in this local tradition.

If Mr Forsyth requires yet further reading on this subject, may I recommend the Beverley Chapter Act Books XCVII and CVIII, edited by A F Leach and published by the Surtees Society?

Should Mr Forsyth ever visit Beverley, I would be pleased to show him the tomb of Gilbert de Grimsby, a vicar- choral of Beverley Minster, who carried the banner of St John of Beverley into Perth at the head of the victorious English army. - Richard Kemp, Beverley, East Yorkshire.


Queen's Park were at one time the dominant force in Scottish football and by far the biggest crowd puller (illustrated by the fact that Hampden Park was built to house their supporters). Why did this massive support dwindle to the present few hundred who now watch the Spiders? - Iain Cuthbert, Aberdeen.

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? - Roger Bainbridge, Edinburgh.

It is said that active sports people are suffering more leg joint problems, and having to have replacements. Is there any evidence for this? It is also said that Jim Peters broke the marathon record wearing Woolworths plimsolls. How are his leg joints now? - R V Marsh, Winchester.

When was the last time England fielded a cricket Test side all born in England? Who were the players? - Brian Shearing, Reading.

The increase from three points to four for a try was introduced to reduce the effect of penalties on results. Taking Triple Crown games, how did the 10 years before and after the rule change compare for tries and penalties scored? - Wing-Cdr TFH Hudson, Hungerford, Berks.

What is the lowest total never to have been recorded in an innings in a first-class cricket match by an individual batsman and by a team? - C J Lill, London E5.

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. - Tarquin Scott, Preston.

Provided the drivers were of equal skill, which vehicle would win if you pitched an Indy machine against a Formula One car? - Jules Blanc, Manchester.

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