Sport Q & A: Strikers who hit the spot . . . and the etiquette of kit changes

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Q. On the recent All Blacks tour, every team they faced stood respectfully during the haka. Has any team ever ignored it and just carried on running around and passing balls to each other?

A. In the 1991 World Cup semi final, the Australian winger David Campese alone did not stand and face the All Blacks during the preparations. He continued to practise at the back of the pitch. Also, in the recent England v New Zealand match on 27 November, while the English stood respectfully facing the haka and went on to give a fine display at rugby, the Twickenham crowd lost patience and started to sing half-way through. - Lorna Bettig, Bridge of Weir

A. Willie Anderson, when captaining Ireland, got his team to link arms and march slowly up to the All Blacks in the middle of their haka. Some believed that was intimidatory but surely the haka is too. Despite this 'eye-to-eye contact' from Willie and his team, we lost again. - John McCabe, Co Dublin

Q. Full-backs make the best penalty- takers. Phil Neal and Stuart Pearce are just two successful full-back penalty-takers who spring to mind. Do statistics support this theory?

A. Although Liverpool fans will remember fondly the almost faultless record Phil Neal had from the spot, I have reservations about the questioner's theory. 'Successful' would not be the word that immediately springs to mind for England supporters after watching Stuart Pearce miss from the spot in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against West Germany or to Wales supporters after Paul Bodin's miss in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Romania last year.

Indeed, the trend seems to be for high-scoring forwards to take penalties, for example Ian Wright for Arsenal, Dean Saunders for Aston Villa (Wales take note) and Clive Mendonca for my team, Grimsby, as well as many lower division players. The change in Arsenal's penalty-

taker, from Lee Dixon to Wright, seems to support this thought. - Neil Wood, Immingham

Q. As a lifelong West Ham fan, I remember Jim Standen, who played in goal in the mid-Sixties and also played first-class cricket for Worcestershire. I assume the Compton brothers are the most famous double performers. Who else can readers add to this list, and has there ever been a treble performer?

A. The correspondence on this subject so far seems to have missed C B Fry, who was a quadruple performer at the turn of the century. In football, he played in the 1902 FA Cup final for Southampton, having been capped for England the previous year. In rugby, he played as a three- quarter for Blackheath and the Barbarians. In athletics, he held the world long-jump record and would undoubtedly have won at the 1896 Olympics had he been aware of their revival. But he is best remembered as an all-rounder on the cricket field, averaging more than 50 with the bat, captaining England, and scoring a then-record six consecutive centuries in 1901. - Hamish Mansbridge, London SW6

Q. In the late Sixties I seem to remember BBC Television running a competition to find a new football commentator. The winner, I believe, was a Welshman - the name Idwal Robling sticks in my mind, though I don't remember hearing him commentate more than once or twice. Can anybody tell me more about this bizarre episode in broadcasting history?

A. The person who came last of the six finalists is still very much with us. Tony Adamson is now the BBC Radio golf correspondent, and was last heard reporting from Montego Bay on the Johnnie Walker World Championship. - G C Jager, Swindon

Q. There have been many pairs of brothers playing professional football in the same season, and I am sure there have been uncle-nephew combinations. But I have never heard of a father and son playing in the same season. Has this ever occurred?

A. The great Dane Michael Laudrup and his father, Finn, used to play together in the Danish league for Brondby. His younger brother, Brian, also played there, but not at the same time as his father. - Stuart Daniels, Surbiton, Surrey

Q. At the Scotland v New Zealand rugby international on 20 November the home side were wearing their

second strip, while the All Blacks wore their home strip. Does the RFU not adopt the same policy on visiting sides with clashing colours, as is the case in football?

A. So far as my experience of watching rugby union over half a century goes, if there is a clash of colours the home side will always change. The reason could be rationalised like this: a gentleman will always do what he can to make his guests feel at home. A more likely reason is that in the days before leagues, cups, training and planning, it might well be that no one would have thought of the clash of colours until the visitors started to pull on their shirts. The query brings to mind what is perhaps the most elegant change strip of all. When the real All Blacks last played New Zealand, Neath played in a photographic negative of their usual shirts, sporting a black Maltese cross on a white background. (Although they lost, Neath did do rather better than Scotland.) - Joel Clompus, East Twickenham

Q. Hearts' Cammy Fraser wore shirts from 1 to 11 at some time during his career at Tynecastle. Can any other player match this claim?

A. Paul Shrubb can. Born on 1 August 1955, Paul joined Aldershot FC in July 1982 and has worn every numbered shirt in his five-year career at Aldershot. While Aldershot FC is now defunct, Paul is back as player- coach for non-league Aldershot Town and is still playing at 38 years of age. These are the occasions which constituted Paul's full house for Aldershot as a professional: No 1 v Torquay United (a) 1 January 1985; 2 v Swindon Town (h) 27 December 1982; 3 v Swindon Town (a) 8 January 1983; 4 v Wimbledon (a) 9 October 1982; 5 v Exeter City (a) 29 November 1986; 6 v Blackpool (h) 23 March 1985; 7 v Tranmere Rovers (h) 28 August 1982; 8 v Scunthorpe United (h) 16 September 1986; 9 v Darlington (a) 17 December 1983; 10 v Torquay United (h) 29 March 1986; 11 v Rochdale (h) 26 November 1983; 12 v Hartlepool (a) 23 October 1982. - Graham Brookland, Aldershot Town FC

A. Big John Hewie appeared in every position for Charlton Athletic during a lengthy career with the club in the 1960s, including three or four games as goalkeeper. - Norman Jeffery, Wiltshire

A. I believe David Webb started League games for Chelsea in every shirt from 1 to 11, and this at a time when shirt numbers had a definite meaning. He appeared in goal on 27 December 1971 when Chelsea beat Ipswich 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. What a player. - Roy Morris, Arbroath

Q. Other than psychological reasons, why do football teams tend to do better at home than away? And why do Norwich City seem to be doing the opposite this season?

A. The enormous potential advantage for away teams (if they are managed well) is what you might call the Argonaut factor - the intrepid band of brothers bravely penetrating enemy territory, and gaining mutual support from shared dangers. Maybe Norwich, well away from the main clusters of football clubs, are subconsciously sensed as remote, and this brings out the Argonaut factor more strongly. - T Pledger, Croydon


Q. Is it true that the Vichy government banned rugby league in France? If so, why? - Mark Farrar, Norwich

Q. In American ice hockey and baseball games, the scores are on a par with our League soccer games, while in British ice hockey and baseball, the scores are much higher. Why? - K Spencer, Cwmcarn

Q. When is the last time a football player from their respective domestic leagues represented either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland? What is the greatest number of players from either country's club sides to play in an international? - Jonathan Phillips, New Barnet

Q. Which English school has produced the most international players at the sports of football, rugby union, rugby league and cricket since the Second World War? - Keith Markland, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Q. I seem to recall that at some stage Leicester City used a hot-air balloon covering their pitch to protect it from ice and snow. Did it work, and do any other clubs use unconventional means to safeguard fixtures? - Richard Shipley, Otley

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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