Scams and scandals

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Q. Modern cricket seems to stagger from one ugly controversy to another. Was there ever a dispute similar to ball-tampering in, say, the last century?

A. Nineteenth-century cricket had every bit as much controversy. The only difference is the extent to which the rows were reported. Here are a few examples.

England were without their wicketkeeper, Ted Pooley, for the first-ever Test in 1877 because he was in a New Zealand jail, charged with assault arising from a betting swindle he had set up.

The original Australian Test captain, Dave Gregory, incited the Sydney crowd to riot in 1879 against an umpiring decision made in favour of Lord Harris's English team by not sending out a New South Wales batsman to replace Murdoch, who had been given out. When the riot had died down, Gregory refused to continue while the umpire, who had been selected by Lord Harris, stayed at his post. During the pause, the riot restarted and following a third outbreak of disorder, play was abandoned for the day. Lord Harris and counsel for the prosecution at a subsequent trial thought gamblers had been behind the riots.

Throwing was a constant cause of controversy. Ernest Jones, the Australian paceman, was no-balled for this in the second Test on Andrew Stoddart's England tour of 1897-98. The editor of the 1895 Wisden "heard such serious complaints as to the unfairness of bowlers" that he conducted a survey of amateur cricketers. They seem to have agreed that in the early 1880s the problem was even more serious.

Bobby Peel ended his career by being sent off by Lord Hawke, his Yorkshire captain, for being drunk and relieving himself on the pitch in 1897. - Adam Samuel, London NW3

Q. During the Sixties West Ham played Real Madrid at the Houston Astrodome. What is the story behind this unusual event?

A. The match in question was played on 19 April 1967 at what the official brochure described as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". What was so unusual about the event was that it was the first match played on a full-size pitch completely under cover. For the record, the Hammers lost 3-2. - Gary Price, London E4


Q. Which two clubs have met on the most number of occasions in one season? Can any pair beat the seven meetings, in five different competitions, between Rotherham United and Grimsby Town in 1988-89, comprising Yorkshire and Humberside Cup, Littlewoods Cup (two legs), Fourth Division (two matches), FA Cup and Sherpa Van Trophy? - Les Payne, Rotherham

Q. Would Formula One cars not be safer if the cockpit was enclosed, with roll bars etc? If so, why is this not done? - Glenn Horncastle, Brentwood

Q. Which is the lowest non-league club in football's pyramid to have reached the FA Cup first round, and which non-league club, post-war, went the farthest? - Jack McGowan, Poole

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to: Q & A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

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