Shinty is a stick and ball sport of ancient origin, now confined to Scotland and the solitary English-based team, London Camanachd. More closely related to Irish hurling than its tame descendant hockey, it is fast, exciting and skilful but commands little support outside the Highlands, Argyll, and a few outposts in the Central Belt. The main trophy competed for by the 40 clubs is the Camanachd Cup, and this year is the centenary of the game's governing body, the Camanachd Association. - Dr Fraser Gordon, Colchester (fixtures secretary, London Camanachd).
I play shinty at Oakley Juniors. I like it a lot. I am eight years old. - Sam Birkbeck, Basingstoke.
Why is it that a batsman can be given out, hit the ball twice, for striking the ball twice with his bat in defence of his wicket, yet be allowed to kick the ball away after his first contact?
A batsman is allowed to hit the ball again after his first contact in order to defend his wicket, provided that in doing so he neither attempts to score a run nor obstructs a member of the fielding side. PS: I hate Arsenal, too. - Roger W Holmes, London W5.
Can anyone confirm the story of a Scottish goalkeeper being booked during a league match for smoking?
Jack Kelsey, the former Arsenal and Wales goalkeeper, used to smoke on the field prior to the kick-off. Have any other sports had this kind of odd behaviour on the field of play? - Kevin Maguire, Batley.
A Scottish goalkeeper was once sent off (by his own captain) for drinking. In a league match in 1911, the Dunfermline Athletic goalkeeper Slavin was found drunk between his posts and was shepherded off the park by his captain, Jim Brown. Other Scottish players, such as James Cowan (captain, Scotland v England, 1898) and Hughie Gallagher, have been accused of being drunk in charge of a football.
The referee of a Scottish Cup tie in 1886-87 should have sent himself off, and the Scottish FA ordered the match to be replayed after agreeing with the defeated team that he was 'in a beastly state of intoxication' (from Drink, Religion and Scottish Football, 1873-1900). Has any English player ever been drunk on the field of play? - John Weir, Edinburgh.
Which sports have their own constituted learned society for the antiquarian interests of their followers?
The Society of Archer-Antiquaries, for anyone interested in the history and development of the bow. - Douglas Elmy, Secretary, Society of Archer-Antiquaries, 61 Lambert Road, Bridlington, North Humberside, YO16 5RD.
The Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association covers target shooting with rifles, pistols and shotguns. We publish an annual Journal and quarterly newsletters. - D J Penn, Imperial War Museum, London SE1.
Which goal has been shown most often on British network television?
As any Newcastle United fan will tell you it is Ronnie Radford's winning goal in an FA Cup match in 1972 for Hereford United (then a non-league club) against Newcastle United (Malcolm MacDonald et al). It was never off the screen at the time, being BBC's Goal of the Month and then Goal of the Season. It returns to haunt us every year when the FA Cup comes round and talk turns to giant-killing. It is reshown again and again and again.
The irony is it was a lucky goal (as any Newcastle fan will tell you), a chance effort from 35 yards rather than the sweet result of finely constructed football. No more please] - John Capstaff, Glasgow G13 (exiled Newcastle fan).
I wish I had a pound for every time I've seen the goal accompanied by: 'Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over - it is now]' - Neil Langley, London SE18.
The goal shown most often on British television is Geoff Hurst's second for England against West Germany. You have to remember that every time the goal is shown, the producer feels compelled to add four or five replays in a desperate attempt to prove the ball crossed the line. They have not yet succeeded.
This will eventually be superseded by Gascoigne's 30-yard screamer in the dying seconds of the 1994 World Cup final, as England romp home to beat Brazil 3-2. - St John Livesey, Sheffield.
For repeated showings over a limited period of time I would nominate the goal with which Northern Ireland beat the host nation Spain 1-0 in the 1982 World Cup. You remember it - 'Arconada . . . ARMSTRONG]' went John Motson's cry as the Spanish goalkeeper obligingly palmed away a cross from the right and the Brighton journeyman thumped it in.
The England team were going nowhere at the time, so the passion with which television embraced Northern Ireland's unlikely success was all the greater. For the fortnight or so that remained of the tournament the goal was rarely off our screens. And in case you missed it the first time . . . 'Arconada
. . . ARMSTRONG]' - Tim Byard, London NW6.
Has a rugby league player who was not formerly a rugby union player ever appeared on the BBC's A Question of Sport?
In recent times, both Andy Gregory and Ellery Hanley have appeared, but the question does raise the interesting point as to why the BBC, and much of the media in general, views rugby league as being very much a poor cousin of rugby union. The implication in Mr Rowland's question is that the vast majority of rugby league players appearing on A Question of Sport are former rugby union players and it is quite easy to think of a string of these over the past few years - Jonathan Davies, Martin Offiah, John Gallagher and Alan Tait come to mind.
While there is no doubt that these ex-rugby union players have made very good rugby league players, this has not universally been the case and a number of players who have switched codes have not done so with great success. Furthermore, ex-rugby union players are not always representative of the best of rugby league and there are surely many 'pure' rugby league players with suitably high profiles to be appropriate guests - Garry Schofield (the Great Britain captain), Denis Betts, Phil Clarke, Lee Crooks and Allan Hunte for example. It is an unfortunate feature of the sporting media in this country that rugby league is viewed as a second-class sport in relation to rugby union despite being a superior product. - J Brownlow, Horwich.
In their last three League and Cup games, Manchester United have had nine different goalscorers. Is this a record?
In the 9-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace in 1989, Liverpool had eight different scorers - Hysen, Nicol (2), Rush, Beardsley, Gillespie, Barnes, McMahon, Aldridge. Ah, those were the days. - Mr P A Clarke, Merseyside.
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?
On 31 August 1962, during a Third Division game against Halifax Town, the Reading goalkeeper Arthur Wilkie received a back injury, forcing him to play out on the wing, from where he scored two goals in a 4-2 win. - Barry Greenaway, Bracknell, Berks.
What are the favoured teams of Messrs Motson, Tyldsley, Gubba etc? And has there been an event they have commentated upon in which their team was involved? - Andrew Hewson, Nottingham.
What charity or charities does the Charity Shield benefit? What are its origins? - Frank E Notton, Rochdale.
Which football club has had the most managers? - K Newton, Croydon.
Why does cricket have bovine associations, such as 'cow shot' and 'cow corner'? - Steve Randall, Walsall.
Why do rugby league players, after being tackled, lie on their backs and thrash their legs like a tortoise trying to right itself? - Dr Richard J Hodgson, Sutton Coldfield.
Why do the results given in newspapers for top-class rugby union games never seem to list the crowd? Football matches do, as well as rugby league. Is it something to do with the fact that rugby union remains amateur? - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby.
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? - Michael Taylor, Edinburgh.
Other than chess, snooker and equestrianism, are there any other sports in which women compete on equal terms with men? - Miss K Brown, London W10.
Why is it that two features of modern sports, the time-out and the practice of having more players in a team than play at any one time, appear to be associated with sports that originated in North America? - Tom Coultate, Leighton Buzzard.
Are there any footballers in the present top flight who are vegetarians? - Robert Lewis, London NW2.
If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:
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