SPORTING: Q&A

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The Independent Online
Q. The Scottish Third Division champions, Ross County, regularly attract crowds of more than 3,000 for home games at Dingwall when the population is around 5,000. Have any other clubs attracted crowds which exceed half the town's population?

A. There is one occurrence of the crowd actually exceeding the total number of inhabitants. Lens, in northern France (where England played Colombia in the World Cup), has a population of approximately 35,000, yet their team - the 1997-98 French champions - play to crowds in excess of this figure. This week, for the visit of Bordeaux in the league, a gate of 39,975 saw the champions beaten 4-2 by the champions-elect.

CHRIS STRAW

Paris, France (via e-mail)

Q. Is the town of Preston unusual in having two town teams of national sports with unique names? We have our football team, North End, and our rugby union side, Grasshoppers.

A. Preston were also the home of rugby league's Lancashire Lynx (who played at North End's ground) in 1998. Leeds has its football team (United, nicknamed the Owls), rugby league's Rhinos and Hunslet Hawks, not to mention rugby union's Tykes.

KEVIN MAGUIRE

Batley

A. Grasshoppers is not quite unique as a name. There is rugby union club in Osterley called Grasshoppers RFC who play in the London Division Three North West. Bradford have the Bulls rugby league side and the Bradford Salem rugby union club. The Bulls used to be called Northern, but then there is a rugby union club called Northern who play in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne.

ACE FREHMAN

Hockley, Essex

Answers please

Q. In the Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest match on 24 April, both sides used all three substitutes and in the first half the referee Paul Durkin limped off and was replaced by his senior assistant. Is this the first time there have been seven substitutions in a Premiership match?

ANDREW LONG

Hagley, Worcestershire

Q. As none of the matches this year's cricket World Cup is being played under floodlights, why do we have to put up with the ridiculous white ball, black sightscreens and multi-coloured pyjamas? Can people really not tell which side is which if they are both wearing white?

CARL GIFFORD

Bradford

Q. As I understand the rules of golf, if a player knocks a ball off the tee while addressing it he can replace it without penalty. If he knocks the ball accidentally at address on any other part of the course it incurs a penalty. Why the difference?

BRENDAN WILLIAMSON

Galway, Ireland

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