Q&A / Amiss heads drive for cover

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Q. Who was the first cricketer to wear a protective helmet and when?

A. The first cricketer to wear a protective helmet in the County Championship was Dennis Amiss, the Warwickshire and England opener who introduced his headgear in the 1978 season. The protection Amiss wore was a white motorbike helmet with no brim or facial protection and with a black figure '1' painted on the top. I first saw him batting in the helmet in a Championship match against Lancashire on Saturday 17 June 1978. He scored 20 runs against the bowling attack of Willie Hogg, Bob Ratcliffe and the fiery West Indian Colin Croft. The following day he wore the helmet in the John Player League fixture, scoring nine. Mike Brearley, the captain of Middlesex and England, preceded Amiss with his 'temple protector', which was a hard padded flap protecting each temple held on by his cap, worn first in the 1977 season, although this did not count as a helmet. - Graham Lambert, Moston

Q. Am I right in thinking that there was a one-armed German international footballer in the early Fifties?

A. John O Machin (Q & A, 12 June) correctly identifies George Smith of Manchester City and Chesterfield as being the man he saw playing without a hand. George was shot in the hand while on military service: subsequent surgery left George in the condition that Mr Machin saw him. Thankfully, it did not affect a prolific career that saw him score 174 goals in 416 appearances with his clubs. You may be interested to know that, during the 1880s, Chesterfield could count on the services of a player with no arms, Billy Kirwan. His contemporaries rated him as a difficult opponent as it was apparently impossible to charge him off the ball. - Stuart Basson, Chesterfield

A. Perhaps Fritz Walter (West German captain and inside-left) unscrewed one of his arms for the duration of the 1954 World Cup final (Q & A 19 June) but the photographic evidence suggests that he had both of them immediately before the game, and also at the final whistle when he received the Jules Rimet trophy. His brother, Ottmar, who played centre- forward in the same match, was also in possession of all his limbs. - Ian Morrison, Surbiton, Surrey

A. There was a one-armed centre-

forward who played for Dundalk in the League of Ireland in the early Sixties. His name was Jimmy Hasty and he lost one arm in an industrial accident when 14. Despite his handicap he was a prolific scorer with either foot and head, and he had a beautiful sense of balance. He became a victim of the Troubles when he was shot dead while talking to a neighbour outside his house in Belfast. - Frank Soughley, Dublin

Q. Which football club was the first to have a fanzine attached to it?

A. The Kop at Anfield not only invented an oral tradition, but a written one as well. On 21 September 1966 the first issue of the fortnightly fanzine, entitled Kop, was produced. Its pledge was to produce 'a paper that will be as passionately partisan as the fans'. This it did brilliantly in the late 1960s - until it sadly disappeared. - Ralph Quigley, Keighley

A. The Chesterfield Supporters Club was producing a magazine during the 1947-8 season, in defiance of the football club, who had earlier denied permission for the supporters club to produce the official programme. Its name (The Spireite, predictably) was echoed in the naming of The Crooked Spireite, which, having been in production since January 1988, deservedly ranks alongside such 'zines as City Gent in the endurance stakes. - Stuart Basson, Chesterfield

Q. Which country is the best-

supported at the World Cup?

A. This is a question which may never be properly answered. We may read that Ireland are to take, say, 10,000 fans solely because that is the number buying tickets direct from the FAI. But what if another 5,000 Irish citizens buy tickets on arrival in the US and are then joined in the stadium by 20,000 Americans of Irish extraction? We then depend on estimates which, from past experience, are likely to vary from 25,000 to 40,000 and grow ever-bigger with each telling of the tale. - Nick House, Taunton


Q. Do today's breed of young cricketers get the jitters when they or their team are on a Nelson (111 or multiples thereof), traditionally an unlucky score? And is there any evidence of this? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. Who was the first Prime Minister to attend an FA Cup Final in an official capacity? And does the Leader of the Opposition also get the chance of a free ticket? - George Byfleet, Bridgnorth

Q. A simple working definition of an all-rounder might be anyone with a batting average higher than their bowling average (given a reasonable threshold of innings or wickets). Do examples bear this out? For how many Test all-rounders since the war can it be claimed that they would have been selected both as a specialist batsman if they did not bowl and as a specialist bowler if they did not bat? - Donald Splitwood, Sheffield

Q. I was intrigued to learn that Dean Sunders considers his career record of three sendings-off 'good compared with most players'. Could somebody put his statement into perspective by compiling a list of, say, the top 10 sinners. - Hans-Christer Sjoberg, Stockholm

Q. In the last few years which Premier League team has regularly fielded the most English players, and which team has regularly fielded the most players that came up through their own youth schemes, or did not cost a penny in transfer fees? Is there any relationship between having lots of self-developed players and success?