28th On this day in 1906, Tommy Burns and Jack O’Brien fought to a draw for the heavyweight boxing title. In 1919 Lady Astor is elected as a Member of Parliament, she would become the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. Countess Markievicz, was the first woman to be elected, but in line with the Sinn Fein abstentionist policy she refused to take her seat. Australian Test Cricketer Keith Miller was born in 1919. In 55 Tests he scored 2958 runs and took 170 wickets. In 1925 The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee, as the WSM Barn Dance. In 1929 Ernie Nevers scored an NFL records 40 points in a single game for Chicago Cardinals against the Chicago Bears. He also scored an NFL record six touchdowns in the game. The Cardinals won 40-6. Dwight Davis, the man who gave the Davis Cup to lawn tennis, died in 1945 aged 66. The former England striker Mick Channon was born in 1948. One of the most popular players in the 1970s, Channon made his name at Southampton before moving north to Manchester City. His England career saw him play 46 games in which he scored 20 goals. Stephen Roche, the first Irishman to win the Tour De France, was born in 1959. He won the gruelling race in 1987, a great season for Roche in which he also won the Tour of Italy and the world professional road race title. In 1968, more than 25 people were killed during a vicious gun battle in Mexico City just days before the Olympic Games were due to begin, causing concerns for the security of the Games. Thousands of students had gathered for a meeting organised by the National Strike Council in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco to protest against the military occupation of the National Polytechnic Institute. The protesters, many of whom were women and children, had been planning to march through a working-class suburb of the city, but by early evening military personnel in armoured vehicles had surrounded the square. The Mexican government say “agitator groups” among the students began shooting at the crowds from buildings, which resulted in a 90-minute gun fight. Hilbert van der Duim, Dutch former speed skater and two-time world and European champion, skated to a one hour world record – 39.4928km – today in 1986. On this day in 1989, Nadia Comăneci, Romanian gymnast, famed for scoring the first perfect 10 in an international competition flees to Hungary. Two games involving first division sides produced 17 goals in the fourth round of the Football League Cup (then called the Rumbelows Cup) in 1990. High-flyers Arsenal were stunned 6-2 at Highbury by Manchester United for whom Lee Sharpe scored a hat-trick. Coventry scored 5 goals at Highfield Road against Nottingham Forest to win a nine-goal thriller and inflict Forest’s first defeat in 22 matches in the competition. On this day in 2015, Gerry Byrne, one of Liverpool FC’s favourite players passed away aged 77.   Byrne played at Liverpool for his entire career and will forever be remembered in Liverpool folklore for playing in the 1965 FA Cup Final against Leeds United with a broken collarbone, which he suffered as early as the third minute. Despite being in what must have been agonising pain he continued to play the game and the whole of extra-time as substitutes were not permitted, Liverpool won the Cup for the first time. Manager Bill Shankly said of Byrne after the final “it was a performance of raw courage by the lad” Byrne’s injury was the latest to try to force the FA’s hand, and, eventually, two years later the first substitutes were allowed in the FA Cup final.


29thIn 1877 Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time. In 1897 Charles Jarrott, riding a Fournier, won the first ever motorcycle race around a track, at Sheen House, Richmond, Surrey. FC Barcelona football club is founded on this day in 1899. On this day in 1924 Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died in Brussels. Commander Richard Byrd makes the first flight over the South Pole on this day in 1929. Today in 1952, a grateful nation celebrated the announcement of the end of tea rationing. The news meant that Britons would soon be enjoying unlimited cuppas for the first time in 12 years. During a speech in Newcastle the Minister of Food, Major Gwilym Lloyd-George, said rationing and price controls on tea would be lifted on Sunday. Major Lloyd-George said the Ministry of Food had taken advantage of a steady improvement in supplies of tea since the end of the war. One of English rugby union’s most prolific kickers, Dusty Hare, was born in 1952. The former Nottingham and Leicester player scored a then record 7337 points during his 19-year career (1971-1989). He scored 240 points in 25 matches, again a record at the time, for England. On this day in 1965 Dale Cummings set a world record for the most consecutive sit-ups. Cummings was 17 years old when he decided to set a new world record for consecutive sit-ups, as he had previously broken a youth conference record of 250 consecutive sit-ups. He researched that the official record was held by a Florida F.B.I. agent that had done 14,000 consecutive sit-ups and began practicing in his dorm room to break it. On November 29th, Dale had some Y.M.C.A. staff members officiate his attempt at the academy gym. He began at 11pm with a crowd of students and newspaper reporters watching as he did 14,118 consecutive sit-ups over 12 hours, drinking only orange juice and iced water. Colin Cowdrey became Test Cricket’s leading scorer with 7250 runs on this day in 1970. Manchester United and Wales footballer Ryan Giggs was born in 1973. He made his international debut for Wales against West Germany in 1991 aged just 17 years and 321 days, the youngest person ever to pay for the country until June 1998, when Ryan Green appeared against Malta at the age of 17 years, 226 days. He was PFA Young Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993. British racing driver Graham Hill was killed on this day in 1975 when the light aircraft he was piloting crashed into Arkley golf course near Elstree in Hertfordshire. George Harrison of the Beatles died aged 58 following a battle with cancer on this day in 2001. Today in 2010 Pablo Picasso’s electrician reveals 271 previously unknown works by the artist, claiming they were gifts. In 2015, the electrician, Pierre Le Guennec was found guilty by a French court of possessing stolen works by Picasso – although the case still rumbles on. On this day in 2015, Britain’s Tyson Fury defeats the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko to win the world heavyweight champion title in Dusseldorf.


30thRobert Abel, Surrey and England opening batsman, was born on this day in 1857 (he died in 1936) Nicknamed “The Guv’nor” he was one of the most prolific run-getters in the early years of the County Championship. He was the first England player to “carry his bat” – opening the batting and remaining not out at the end of an innings – through a Test innings, and the first player to score 2000 runs in consecutive seasons – which he did each season from 1895 to 1902. In 1899, for Surrey against Somerset at The Oval, Abel carried his bat through an innings of 811, the highest total for which this feat has been achieved. His 357* in that innings remains a Surrey record, and was the highest score made at The Oval until Len Hutton scored 364 in 1938. Abel also played a record number of first-class matches in a season – 41 in 1902. England and Scotland play out a goalless draw at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, in the first ever soccer international in 1872. The sides did not produce their next 0-0 score-line until 98 years later. Floodlights were used in a football international in Britain for the first time, for the last 15 minutes of England’s match against Spain at Wembley in 1955. In 1956 21-year-old Floyd Patterson beat Archie Moore for the vacant world heavyweight title to become the youngest world heavyweight champion, until in 1986 Mike Tyson, at the age of 20 years and 4 months, took the youngest heavyweight champion in history mantle from Patterson. England footballer Gary Linekar was born in 1960. The United States best Norway 2-1 in 1991 to win the first women’s soccer World Cup in China. On this day in 1982 Epic records released Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album Thriller, which went on to become the best-selling album of all time. Ivan Lendl became the first tennis player to earn over $10million in his lifetime today in 1986 and sticking with tennis, the 86th Davis Cup, held in Gothenburg, saw Sweden sweep the USA away with a 5-0 win in 1997. Gertrude Ederle, American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in five events, passed away on this day in 2003 aged 98. On 6 August 1926, she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Among other nicknames, the press sometimes called her “Queen of the Waves” She had poor hearing since childhood due to measles, and by the 1940s she was almost completely deaf.


1st December  Reportedly, on this day in 1653, an unnamed Croydon athlete ran 20miles from St Albans to London in less than 90 minutes (I have found lots of mentions of this event but not one proper reference and a trawl of the newspapers have brought up nothing definite so I shall leave it up to you to believe this one or not). Dame Alicia Markova, English ballerina and choreographer, director and teacher of classical ballet was born today 1910. Most noted for her career with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and toured internationally, she was widely considered to be one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of the 20th century. She was the first British dancer to become the principal dancer of a ballet company and, with Dame Margot Fonteyn, is one of only two English dancers to be recognised as a prima ballerina assoluta. Markova was a founder dancer of the Rambert Dance Company, The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and was co-founder and director of the English National Ballet. She died on 2nd December 2004, the day after her 94th birthday. A memorial service of thanksgiving for her life and work was held at Westminster Abbey on 8 March 2005. As part of the service, dancers of the English National Ballet company performed extracts from the ballet Giselle and Les Sylphides. Lee Trevino, one of the greatest characters of golf, has a birthday today. Of Mexican descent, Trevino was born in Dallas in 1939. He won the US Open twice, the British Open twice and the USA PGA title twice. The US Masters title eluded him, although became close to winning it on several occasions. In 1971 he won the US Open, Canadian Open and British Open, all within a month. Tisha Felice Waller, American high jumper was born today in 1970. She participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics and is a five time American Champion and internationally won the 1998 Goodwill Games, plus bronze medals in the 1991 World University Games and the 1999 World Indoor Championships. Waller established an American women’s indoor record of 2.01 meters (6′ 7.25″) at the 1998 USA Indoor Championships on February 28, 1998. Her mark stood for 14 years until it was broken by Chaunte Lowe by a single centimetre (2.02m) at the 2012 USA Indoor Championships. On this day in 1971 Jack Nicklaus became the first golfer to win $2million in prize-money on the US Tour. Nicklaus was also the first to win $3, $4 and $5 million! The Medway Bears beat the Richmond Raiders 48-1 in 1985, a then record score in the British Ice-Hockey League. Canadian Ken McNaught scored a record 25 points in the same second division match. In 1988, NBC (US broadcasting company) bids a record $401milliam to capture the rights to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Today in 1990, 40m under the seabed of the English Channel, Britain and France are joined for the first time since the Ice Age as the last wall of rock separating two halves of the Channel Tunnel is removed. Born on this day in 1991 was Chinese Olympic and world-record-holding swimmer Sun Yang. In 2012, he became the first Chinese man to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. In 2016, he became the first swimmer in history to win an Olympic gold medal in the 200, 400, and 1500m freestyle events. Sun is the most decorated Chinese swimmer of all time, with a total of 26 medals (fifteen gold, seven silver, four bronze) in major international competitions. On this day in 1991, The French Davis Cup team, captained by Yannick Noah, beat the USA 3-1 to win the final in Lyon and lift the cup for the first time since 1932. The achievement was marked by a reception in their honour hosted by President Francois Mitterand at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Today in 1999 Darlington, losers in the second round of the FA Cup, were allowed a wildcard entry into the third round because of Manchester United’s absence, but they went out after drawing Aston Villa. Passing away today in 2007 at the age of 77 was Australian tennis player Kenneth Bruce McGregor.  He won the Men’s Singles title at the Australian Championships (now known as the Australian Open) in 1952. He and his long-time doubles partner, Frank Sedgman, are generally considered one of the greatest men’s doubles teams of all time and won the doubles Grand Slam in 1951. McGregor was also a member of three Australian Davis Cup winning teams in 1950–1952. In 1953, Jack Kramer induced both Sedgman and McGregor to turn professional. He was ranked as high as World No. 3 in 1952. After his retirement from tennis at the age of 25 he returned to Australian football and played five seasons for West Adelaide.  The Ken McGregor Foundation was established by Tennis SA, the governing body of tennis in South Australia, with the aim of assisting the next generation of international tennis players.



2ndToday in 1409, the University of Leipzig opens. The Football Players’ Union was formed on this day in 1907. Earlier attempts, in 1893 and 1898, to form a footballers’ union were unsuccessful. Rallied against the setting of a weekly maximum wage by the Football League, the fledgling organisation was the brainchild of Welsh international player Billy Meredith and its inaugural meeting was in Manchester. The Union’s activities were interrupted by WW1 and in December 1918 it was reformed as the Football Players’ and Trainers’ Union and in 1958 further changed its name to the Professional Footballers’ Association or PFA. Defending world bantamweight champion Vic Toweel put challenger Danny Sullivan on the canvas a record 14 times during their title fight in Johannesburg in 1950, no world title fight has produced more knockdowns. Toweel stopped his opponent for good in the 11th. Today in 1951, Don Hutson’s #14 jersey is retired by the Green Bay Packers, the first number retired in the history of the franchise. Vladimir Parfenovich, retired Belarusian sprint canoer and politician, was born today in 1958. Parfenovich competed for the Soviet Union at the Moscow Olympics and became the first canoer to win all three events he entered: K-1 500m, K-2 500m and K-2 1000m. He also won twelve medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, with nine golds between 1979-1983. Parfenovich retired from competitions after learning that the 1984 will be boycotted by the Soviet Union. He then worked as an instructor for the Sport ministry of Belarus and served in the KGB and police forces. Between 1995–2007 he headed the Canoe-Kayak Federation of Belarus and was a member of the Belarusian Olympic Committee. After that he trained canoers in Russia, and in 2013 became head coach of the Russian team. Yugoslav tennis ace Monica Seles was born in 1973. Also on this day in 1973, in the 62nd Davis Cup, Australia completely overwhelmed the USA to win 5-0 in Cleveland. Jan Ullrich, German former professional road bicycle racer was born today in 1973. Ullrich won gold and silver in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and his victorious ride in the 1997 Tour de France led to a bicycle boom in Germany. He retired in February 2007. In 2006, he was barred from the Tour de France amid speculation of having doped. In February 2012, Ullrich was found guilty of a doping offence by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He was retroactively banned from 22 August 2011, and all results gained since May 2005 were removed from his record.  He admitted to blood doping in 2013. Ullrich refused to return his Olympic medals from the 2000 Games if he was stripped of his finishes. In an interview with Sky Sports he said: “Almost everyone at the time was taking performance-enhancing substances. I didn’t take anything that was not taken by the others. It would only have been cheating for me if I had gotten an advantage which was not the case. I just wanted to ensure I had an equal opportunity”.  To date, Ullrich has not been stripped of his finishes.


3rdThe longest bare-knuckle fight on record took place at Dalesford, New South Wales, in 1855. The match, between James Kelly and Jonathan Smith, lasted 6 hours and 15 minutes. The former Kent and England wicketkeeper Les Ames was born in 1905. He claimed 1121 victims at the stumps between 1926 and 1951. Ames was also the most prolific run-scoring wicketkeeper England cricket has seen, with a first-class career total of 37,248 runs to his name, 3058 of those were scored in 1938. Ames died in 1990 aged 84 and in his obituary; the Wisden of 1991 described him as the greatest wicket-keeper-batsman of all time. Ames also briefly played association football for Gillingham in 1931, making five appearances and scoring one goal, having earlier played for Clapton Orient. Another English cricketer Trevor Bailey was born on this day, but in 1923. A great all-rounder, Bailey performed the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in a season eight times in his career. In 1959 he scored 2000 runs and took 100 wickets. One of Ireland’s greatest rugby-union players, Mike Gibson, was born in 1942, He won 69 caps between 1964 and 1979. He was also capped twelve times by the British Lions. On the 1968 tour to South Africa, Gibson made history in the opening Test by becoming the first replacement in international rugby, replacing the injured Welshman Barry John. In 1948, Don Bradman scored his last century, 123 in his own testimonial. Frannz Klammer, one of the greatest downhill skiers of all time, was born in 1953. He won a record 35 World Cup downhill races between 1974 and 1985 and was five times World Cup downhill champion. He also won the downhill at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. In 1961, the Dutch Judo exponent Anton Geesink broke Japanese hearts and became the first non-Japanese World Judo champion. He repeated the feat in 1965, as well as winning 21 European championships. He was responsible for making the sport more popular outside of Japan. In 1987 Geesink became a member of the IOC, not the most obvious candidate at the time, outspoken, he was inclined to say what he thought despite the consequences. He was one of 13 IOC members investigated in a vote-buying scandal in 1999, in the run-up to the 2002 winter Olympics. He admitted that his Anton Geesink Foundation had received a cheque for $5,000 from the bank account of the president of the bid committee for Salt Lake City, which went on to host the 2002 Games. It was accepted by the IOC that Geesink had used the money to promote his Dutch Olympic academy and not for personal gain. He was let off with a warning, Geesink died aged 75 in August 2010. Derek Clayton ran a world record marathon time of 2:09:36.4 in 1967 at Fukuoka Mountain, Japan. Born in Cumbria, raised in Northern Ireland and moved to Australia at 19, his time was the first marathon race ever run in less than two hours 10 minutes. Then in Antwerp, Belgium, Clayton lowered his own world best to 2:08:33.6 on May 30, 1969 – the first to crack the 2:09 barrier and more than two minutes faster than history’s next quickest, Britain’s Bill Adcocks (2:10.47.8) run in 1968.  All in all he held to record for 14 years from 1967 until another Australian, Rob de Castella, broke it in 1981.  Both men are faster than any current Australian marathoner!!   German figure skater Katerina Witt was born on this day in 1965. Four times the world champion in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988, she took the Olympic title in 1984 and 1988. She also won six consecutive European titles.


4thGriffith Rhys Jones, or Caradog as he was commonly known was passed away today in 1897. Jones, was the Welsh conductor of the famous ‘Côr Mawr’ of some 460 voices (the South Wales Choral Union), which twice won first prize at The Crystal Palace choral competitions in London in 1872 and 1873. He was born in December 1834, in 1920 a statue designed by Sir William Goscombe John was erected in his honour in Victoria Square, Aberdare. British three-day eventer Richard Meade was born in 1938. Considered one of the most successful equestrian Olympians, he was a triple Olympic gold medallist and the first British rider to win an individual Olympic title.  He also won five World championship medals, including team golds in 1970 and 1982. In 1948 MCC batsman Denis Crompton scored 300 runs in 181 minutes, at the time, the fastest triple century in first-class cricket, against Northern Transvaal. On this day in 1961 it was pointed out by an amateur viewer to the experts at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that within their exhibition of “The Last Works of Henri Matisse” the piece “Le Bateau” (The Boat) had been hanging upside down for 47 days!! Not sure if this is classed as sport or leisure – you decide! – in 1961, oral contraception became officially ‘available to all’ on the NHS. The Health Minister, Enoch Powell, made the announcement in the House of Commons but without giving any guidelines as to whom the pill should be given. “It is not for me to indicate to doctors when they should decide for medical reasons to prescribe for their patients,” he said. However some GPs were in a dilemma over whether they could prescribe the Pill, as it became commonly known, for social as well as medical reasons. Ukrainian pole-vaulter Sergey Bubkar was born in 1963. He won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympic gold medal and broke the world record for men’s pole vault 35 times. Sergey has also beaten his own record 14 times. (17 outdoor and 18 indoor records). He was the first pole-vaulter to clear 6.0m and 6.10m. He became an IOC Member in 1999 and has been involved in a wide range of Commissions, including Chairman of the Evaluation and then the Coordination Commissions for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. In May 2013 Bubka announced that he would run for President of the International Olympic Committee. At the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires he lost the vote to Thomas Bach. Born on this day in 1976 was Canadian speed skater Kristina Groves. She is Canada’s most decorated skater in the World Single Distances Championships with 13 career medals in this event. She has won four Olympic medals, two silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, in the 1500m and team pursuit, and the silver medal in the 1500m and the bronze medal in the 3000m at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. She is currently ranked 6th on the women’s Adelskalender. Also born on this day but in 1982, Nathan Douglas, English triple-jumper. He won the silver medal at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg