Q&A: Equal rights for women . . . and the two-goal goalie

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Other than chess, snooker and equestrianism, are there any other sports in which women compete on equal terms with men?

Gliding. (Why do they nevertheless stage their own women's international competition?) - Mrs S Doktor, York.

In field archery, prizes at competitions are awarded separately for men and women. However, since they shoot from the same pegs at the same targets, the resultant scores may be compared directly. - Christopher Wooding, Gravesend, Kent.

Association Croquet can claim to be one of the most level sports of all. True, there are still a few events segregated into men's and women's competitions, but they reflect more on croquet's long history than its need for specific strength. - Mrs Yvonne Bailey, Chippenham, Wilts.

In 1988 the first two places in hot-air ballooning's British National Championship were taken by two women pilots, the champion in her first year of competition and the other in her seventh. - Tony Cole, Milton-under- Wychwood, Oxfordshire.

In bowls, the skills required are not dependent on physique and it is perfectly possible for a woman to beat a man. Although at the top level the game is still played largely as a single- sex game, at club level the emphasis is increasingly on mixed games. - L Kishore, Reading.

There is no distinction whatsoever between men and women in tiddlywinks. Tiddlywinks is a compelling sport requiring a keen appreciation of strategy and tactics as well as manual (or womanual) dexterity. Despite this fact (or maybe even because of it]), there has only been one, short-lived, female champion in over 20 years of competition both in this country and America. - Dr Patrick J Barrie, Editor, Winking World Magazine, English Tiddlywinks Association.

Concentrating only on England and current players we have four regular world champions in women's bridge who have had significant success in the open game. Pat Davies and Nicola Smith (nee Gardener) inter alia won the Gold Cup (Britain's senior competition) in 1991 and the Spring Fours (Britain's most important congress) in 1992. Sally Horton was the reserve for the European in 1989 and 1991, and Sandra Landy, as well as being non-playing captain for the British Open team, has been a regular triallist for the Open team.

The strongest female partnership in the world, Beth Palmer and Lynn Deas of the United States, would probably have represented the US by now if it were not considerably more lucrative for them to play women's bridge professionally. - Barry Rigel, London W2.

If, as the football cliche goes, 'it only takes a second to score a goal', what is the highest possible score in a match, allowing for the time it takes to retrieve the ball, kick off and score? What is the highest number of goals ever recorded in a professional or amateur match?

I would guess that the nearest we have to a definitive answer to the first question was provided by two French teams only a couple of seasons ago. The teams were COMS (don't ask me what it stands for) and Caumont, both members of the Avignon District League.

COMS were in some kind of dispute with the League, and decided to stage a protest. This took the form of a certain amount of passive resistance during their fixture against Caumont. They deliberately gave the ball away from every kick-off and made no attempt to tackle or stop shots. The result? 72-0 to Caumont. That works out at a goal every 1min 15sec. - Murray Lindsay, Cannes.

The highest number of goals ever recorded, according to The Guinness Book of Records was Arbroath 36, Bon Accord 0 (22 September 1885, Scottish Cup). However it goes on to say that due to the lack of nets and the consequent waste of retrieval time the score could have been many more.

For English clubs it was Preston North End 26 Hyde 0 (15 October 1887, FA Cup tie). For an amateur match, Ipswich Exiles 45, Seaton Rovers 0 (11 March 1984, Felixstowe Sunday League). In an Under-14 league match (after 70 min): Midas FC 59 Courage Colts 1 (they scored first). Finally, in Yugoslavia in 1979: Ilinden FC 134 Mladost 1 (this was with the collusion of the opposition and the referee). - Noel Harbage, Leeds LS8.

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

Although not a current player, my brother, Neil Robinson, was a professional from 1974 to 1991. He played for both Everton (managed by Billy Bingham and Gordon Lee) and Swansea City (managed by John Toshack) in the old First Division.

He went on to play for Grimsby Town and Darlington, where he finished his career. Altogether he played around 300 first-class matches. He became vegetarian in 1970 when he was 13 and became a vegan (eschewing all animal products) in 1980. He wore non-leather football boots and was given the name 'Bananaman' because of his pre-match meal of banana and toast.

Despite initial resistance to his beliefs he managed to convince a succession of managers and coaches that his diet was sufficient to sustain him and in fact he was among the fittest of all the players at each of the clubs he played at. - John Robinson, Liverpool L17.

Considering the small number of vegans, there are many athletes in their ranks, especially runners. Jack McClelland, from Belfast, was offered terms by Arsenal when a boy but preferred to stay at home and play in the Irish League. He went on to become a famous long-distance vegan swimmer in the 1960s. He told me that Sir Stanley Matthews, whom he knew, was very nearly vegan. - Laurence Main, Machynlleth.

Occasionally we hear of goalkeepers scoring after kicking the ball straight from their area. Has a goalkeeper ever scored more than one goal in a game?

In a Lancashire Amateur League match which I refereed in the mid- 1980s, between Bury Amateurs and Hesketh Casuals, the goalkeeper for Bury Amateurs did indeed score two goals; moreover, they were the only goals of the game.

Both goals occurred in almost identical fashion. Bury Amateurs were favoured by a slight slope, a bouncy pitch, and quite a strong wind. The goalkeeper kicked the ball from his hand, and with the ball bouncing hugely in the direction of the goal, the poor away goalkeeper was confronted by a striker much larger than himself who gave every appearance of being about to place both ball and keeper into the net.

The threat was too much for the relatively small goalkeeper, who on both occasions remained rooted to the ground, as he watched the ball fly a good foot above him into the net. The striker made no contact either with ball or opponent. - Bernard Swarbrick, Barrowford, Lancs.

Why does cricket have bovine associations, such as 'cow shot' and 'cow corner'?

In contemporary cricketing parlance the phrases 'cow shot' and 'cow corner' describe any crude or rustic shot.

These terms do, however, appear to have common specific origins in the earliest days of the game. It was usual for a herd of cows to pass in close proximity to one corner of the Hambledon ground each evening whilst matches were still in progress. This quarter became known as 'the cows' corner'. Any shot played in that direction became known as 'the cow shot'.

Several cricketing authorities ascribe this phrase to Tom Box of Sussex but it is difficult to authenticate such a precise attribution. Ironically, the 'cow shot' was originally one of distinction. As, however, cricket has developed into a game of orthodox technique based on the straight bat the 'cow shot' has become despised, it being almost impossible to dispatch the ball between deep mid-wicket and long-on without playing across the line.

Readers wishing to pursue this matter may consult Crawford's Cricketing Lore, Dixon's On the Green and the passing references in Cardus. - P C Lauderdale, Sutton Coldfield.


The Wimbledon men's singles championship has not been won by a Briton since Fred Perry in 1936. Do any of our other sports championships have to go back so long, or even longer, to find a home winner? - Brian Shearing, Reading.

Which footballer holds the record for career own-goals? - David Davies, Canterbury.

Who is or was the oldest active jockey? - Sara Pearson, Peterborough.

Is there a rule preventing linesmen from stopping or retrieving the ball after it has gone out of play? This season I have seen some linesmen going out of their way not to stop the ball, while others have helpfully stuck out a boot. - Peter Small, Warwick.

I have seen the name of Ipswich Town's Bulgarian player spelt Bontcho Guentchev (by, among others, the BBC) and Boncho Genchev. Which is it? - Mary Clegg, Calderdale.

Why do most athletic clubs have the word 'Harriers' in their name (apart from a lack of imagination)? - Paul Steeples, London SW9.

Who were the Saints Mirren and Johnstone, and why have they never blessed Paisley and Perth with good football teams? - Desmond Hartrey, South Woodford.

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