The tide turns at St Helen's

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Q. In cricket's County Championship, which ground is nearest to the sea? Does this benefit either the batters or the bowlers?

A. St Helen's is no more than 200 metres from the high-tide mark in Swansea Bay. Almost half of Glamorgan's home fixtures are staged there, though in recent years the traditional Bank Holiday match against the tourists has moved to The Gnoll, Neath. If the present Glamorgan CCC committee has its way, no further county matches will be played in Swansea, all future activity being concentrated in Cardiff.

Swing bowlers, such as Malcolm Nash (he was still primarily a spinner when Sobers hit him for 36 in an over), Lawrence Williams and Stephen Barwick, have done well at St Helen's.

However, many batting records have also been set there, both for and against Glamorgan. My greatest memory is of Clive Lloyd equalling the fastest first-class double-century record. - Frank Little, Alltwen, Swansea Valley

Q. How many of the 22 GM Vauxhall Conference teams would have been eligible for promotion to the Third Division had they won the Conference title? Is the present situation really as daft as it seems?

A. In the answer to Tony Crosby (Q &A, 11 June), surely he has missed the point. Granted, setting a standard for ground improvements does encourage "more clubs to give their loyal fans some additional comforts, which they might not otherwise have had", but surely it would be more sensible for the Football League to adopt the Conference's policy. This involves a deadline of 6 May for clubs to reach the standards necessary, and if the champions fail to do so, then the runners-up are given the same opportunity for promotion.

Also, at the end of this season, Hednesford Town (Beazer Homes League champions) had failed to meet the requirements of the Conference by the deadline set, yet completed all necessary work by early June: they have been granted promotion, yet this will be appealed against by the now relegated club, Merthyr Tydfil. I agree, though, that it would be unfair on relegation- threatened clubs to offer a reprieve and then take it away. Finally, for clubs to undertake expensive ground improvements (as is often the case), they will normally need to be pretty confident of the financial gains of league status to risk such an outlay. - Daniel Hogg, Altrincham

Q. Stephen Hendry's 147 raises the quiz question as to the maximum possible break in snooker (155 - free ball plus black, then the standard 147). Has any break in excess of 147 been recorded?

A. If a free ball is awarded with all 15 reds still on the table, this creates the "extra red" which technically makes a break of 155 possible. Steve James made a 16-red clearance against Alex Higgins in the 1990 Embassy World Championship, the only one recorded in competition, but his break still only amounted to 135.

The Rotherham professional Steve Duggan made a break of 148 in a witnessed practice frame at Doncaster in April 1988 and Tony Drago made a 149 in one at West Norwood Snooker Centre in February this year. - Clive Everton, Editor, Snooker Scene, Edgbaston

Q. Miguel Indurain, who has won the Tour de France for the last four years, won the Midi Libre race in France on 29 May, but why did he not opt for the more prestigious Giro d'Italia in his preparations for the Tour?

A. "The gap between the start of the Giro and the end of the Tour is 49 days. That's too long to stay at the top of your form." Indurain quoted in Cycle Sport, July 1995 (page 12) - John Peaks, Erith


Q. As the following XI illustrates, it is still possible to pick a team of cricketers competing at the highest domestic standard, each having made their county debut in the Seventies: 1 Gooch (debut 1973), 2 Larkins (1972), 3 Athey (1976), 4 Briers (1971), 5 Lynch (1977), 6 Emburey (1973), 7 French (1976), 8 Parsons (1978), 9 Pigott (1978), 10 Cooper (1976), 11 Childs (1975). Can any other team sport better this longevity at top level? - N P Lovejoy, Shenley Brock End

Q. What is the protocol for the exchange of football shirts after international matches? Does a goalkeeper swap with a goalkeeper, etc? Is it obligatory, and when and how did this practice start?

- Simon Bromwich, Bradford

Q. On the 11 June 1995 England's national football, cricket and rugby union teams all played an international match. When, if ever, did this last occur? - Don Mathison, Warrington

Q. If Rob Andrew had not scored that memorable drop goal in injury time last Sunday, the Australia v England quarter-final would have gone into extra time. Had the scores remained the same after the extra period (one converted try and five penalties each), how would the result of the tie have been settled? - David Balcombe, Northwood

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