14thOn this day in 1851 Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick is published in New York (incidentally one of my favourite novels, nothing to do with anything but just thought I’d let you know!!). England fast bowler Harold Larwood was born in 1904. He was the bowler at the centre of the famous ‘bodyline’ controversy during the 1932-33 series in Australia. The Australian captain Bill Woodfull accused the England side of ‘not playing cricket’ after he had been hit twice by bouncers from Larwood. Born on this day in 1930, Shirley Crabtree Jr, better known as Big Daddy. An English professional wrestler with a record-breaking 64 inch chest. Initially a villain, he teamed with Giant Haystacks. He later became a fan favourite, working until the 1990s. Crabtree was a former rugby league player for league club Bradford Northern. His temper often forced him off the pitch early. He also had stints as a coal miner and with the British Army’s Coldstream Guards. His brother Brian was a wrestling referee and later MC, while his other brother Max was a booker for – and later proprietor of – Joint Promotions. His nephews Steve and Scott Crabtree also had wrestling careers – Steve wrestled in the 1980s and 1990s, billed as ‘Greg Valentine’ (named after the American wrestler of the same name) while Scott wrestled as Scott Valentine. Both worked as tag team partners for their uncle. Another nephew Eorl Crabtree, a Huddersfield and England international rugby league player announced his retirement in November 2016. In August 1987 at the Hippodrome circus in Great Yarmouth, Big Daddy performed in a tag team match pitting himself and nephew Steve Crabtree against King Kong Kirk and King Kendo. After Big Daddy had delivered a splash and pinned King Kong Kirk, rather than selling the impact of the finishing move, Kirk turned an unhealthy colour and was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival. Despite the fact that the inquest into Kirk’s death found that he had a serious heart condition and cleared Crabtree of any responsibility, Crabtree was devastated. Crabtree himself died of a stroke in December 1997 in Halifax General Hospital. Leszek Cichy, Polish mountaineer, geodesist, financier, and entrepreneur, was born on this day in 1951. He is best known for making the first winter ascent of Mount Everest together with Krzysztof Wielicki in 1980, which established the winter ascent record of 8,848 meters. He was also the first Polish climber to complete the Seven Summits and a number of other prestigious climbs. French cyclist Bernard Hinault was born in 1954. Hinault won the Tour de France five times between 1978 and 1985 to equal the records of Jaques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx. Another top cyclist, Japan’s Koichi Nakano, who was born in 1955, shares Hinault’s birthday. Nakano won the world professional sprint title every year from 1977 to 1986. Bobby Moore bowed out of international football on this day in 1973 with an appearance for England, his 108th, against Italy at Wembley. The home side lost 1-0. The former Manchester United assistant manager Jimmy Murphy died in 1989 at the age of 79. Murphy took charge of the United team in the aftermath of the Munich air crash. He missed the game in Belgrade because he was on duty with Wales for a special World Cup qualifier against Israel. By rights the Welsh team, should not have been playing because they had been eliminated from the competition. Israel, however, had won their qualifying group by a walkover because of a political boycott by their opponents. FIFA ruled they could not go to the World Cup finals without playing a match. Consequently, the runners-up from the other groups, including Wales, were put into a draw to decide which of them should play Israel. Wales came out of the hat and Murphy was saved from experiencing the tragic crash at Munich. Wales won 2-0. Tom Ferrier, British racing driver, was born in 1981. The highlight of his long karting career was winning the 1998 British Championship. He won the Star Cup of the Formula Renault championship a year later, before switching to saloon cars. Grace Adelaide Jones, died on this day in 2013, a British supercentenarian, who was the oldest verified living person in the United Kingdom and the world’s seventh oldest living person until her death at the age of 113 years, 342 days She was the last known living British person to have been born in the 1800. Jones was born in Bermondsey, London on 7 December 1899, one of eight siblings. She never married, but was engaged, her fiancé, Albert Rees, was killed in World War I at 19. Jones said that she never married as she never found anyone as nice as Rees.




15thToday in 1909 Rene Metrot takes off in a Voisin biplane from Algiers, making the first manned flight in Africa. Walter Leslie Handley born in Aston, Birmingham, known as Wal Handley died on this day in 1941, He was a champion British inter-war motorcycle racer with four wins at the Isle of Man TT Races in his career. Later he also raced cars in the 1930s, and died in a World War II aircraft accident while serving as pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary. On this day in 1946 the 17th Paris Air Show opens at the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysees. It is the first show of this kind since World War II. In 1952 goalkeeper Ted Sager played his 463rd and last League game for Everton against Plymouth Argyle. Sagar only ever played for the one club from the moment he signed from the junior leagues as a 19-year-old in March 1929, until he made his last appearance – a mammoth 463 League games later. That total was an Everton record which outlived him, surviving until eight years after his death when it was surpassed by Neville Southall in 1994. Andrew Castle, English retired tennis professional, and now a television and radio presenter was born on this day in 1963. Castle was UK number 1 in singles tennis in 1986, reaching as high as World No. 80 in June 1988, and No. 45 in doubles in December 1988, with Tim Wilkison of the United States. He reached one Grand Slam final in his career in the 1987 Australian Open mixed doubles event with Anne Hobbs. He won three ATP titles in men’s doubles, as well as one title on the Challenger tour. Ajax footballer Johan Cruijff makes his debut against GVAV in 1964. American golfer Mickey Wright shoots a 62, the lowest golf score for a woman pro at the time. The Liverpool v West Ham game in 1969 was the first to be shown in colour on BBCs Match of the Day, Liverpool won 2-0. The Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide formed a round of the world motor-racing championship for the first time in 1987. The race was won by Austria’s Gerhard Berger. Also on this day in 1987, marathon runner Carla Beurskens runs a marathon in a Dutch female record of 2:26:34. She was one of Holland’s most prominent female long-distance runners from the second half of the 1970s until well into the 1990s, including all distances from 3000 metres to the marathon. Nigel Martyn became the first £1 million goalkeeper in Britain when he moved from Bristol Rovers to Crystal Palace in 1989. Sachin Tendulkar and Wagar Younis both made their Test cricket debuts on this day in 1989 at Karachi. Today in 2012 saw the death of Toulouse and Fiji rugby union player Maleli Kunavore at the age of 29. Kunavore enjoyed five successful seasons at Toulouse before leaving in 2010 following injuries to his arm, and perhaps more significantly, having to undergo heart surgery. A week prior to his death he reportedly had another heart operation, which is believed to have been related to his death a few days later. He played for Fiji seven times, including at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and made 80 appearances for French powerhouse Toulouse, which included winning the Top 14 title in 2008.


16thDavid Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now present-day Zambia-Zimbabwe in 1855. On this day in 1909, FC Eindhoven football team was formed under the name EVV Eindhoven. In 1938 Tottenham’s Willie Hall scored three goals in 3½ minutes against Ireland in Manchester, a record in a ‘home international’ at that time. He scored two more goals in England’s 7-0 win. Jockey Willie Carson was born in Scotland in 1942.  His first winner in Britain was Pinker’s Pond in a seven-furlong apprentice handicap at Catterick Bridge Racecourse on 19 July 1962. He was British Champion Jockey five times (1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983), won 17 British Classic Races, and passed 100 winners in a season 23 times for a total of 3,828 wins, making him the fourth most successful jockey in Great Britain. His best season as a jockey came in 1990 when he rode 187 winners. This included riding six winners at Newcastle Racecourse on 30 June, making Carson one of only four jockeys to ride six winners at one meeting during the 20th century. However, he came second in the 1990 jockeys’ championship to Pat Eddery (who rode 209 winners). British heavyweight boxer Frank Bruno was born in 1961. He held the WBC and European heavyweight titles, and faced multiple world champions including Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. He won the WBC title in 1995 after defeating Oliver McCall at a packed Wembley Stadium. Bruno was known for his excellent punching power: he won 40 of his 45 bouts and 38 by knockout, giving him a 95% knockout rate from the fights he won; his overall knockout percentage is 84.44%. Like Henry Cooper before him, Bruno has remained a popular celebrity with the British public following his retirement from boxing. Today was a special day in 1992 for Eric Lawes, who while using a metal detector to search for a friend’s hammer near Hoxne in Suffolk, discovered the Hoxne Hoard. It is the largest hoard of Roman silver and gold ever found in Britain and the largest collect of 4th and 5th century coins found anywhere within the bounds of the former Roman Empire. Lionel Messi makes his official debut for FC Barcelona in a friendly against Porto on this day in 2003.


17thThe Suez Canal opened in Egypt today in 1869, linking the Mediterranean and the Red seas. One of the first greats of women’s golf, Joyce Wethered, was born in 1901. She won five consecutive English Championships (1920-24) and the British Open four times between 1922 and 1929. Bobby Jones, the American Champion, once described her swing as ‘one of the best ever’. She became Lady Heathcoate-Amory on her marriage to Sir John Amory. Austrian skier Toni Sailer was born in 1935. He was the first man to scoop all three golds in his sport at one Olympics, the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina, where he won the downhill, slalom and giant slalom. On this day in 1940, the Green Bay Packers became the first NFL team to travel by plane. The top East German swimmer Roland Matthes was born in 1950. He won the 100 and 200m backstroke at both the 1968 and 1972 Olympics and set 17 backstroke world records between 1967 and 1972. The Russian figure skating coach and former competitor Alexei Yevgenyevich Urmanov was born on this day in 1973. He was the 1994 Olympic champion, the 1993 World bronze medallist, the 1997 European champion, the 1995–96 Champions Series Final champion, a four-time Russian national champion, and the 1992 Soviet national champion. Australian born rugby league player Lionel Cooper scored a then British record ten tries for Huddersfield against Keighley in 1951. Kinga Baranowska Polish mountaineer was born today in 1975. Kinga summited her first eight-thousander, Cho Oyu, in 2003. On 18 May 2009, she became the first Polish woman as part of the Alpinus Expedition Team, to summit Kangchenjunga (8586 m), which is located on the India-Nepal border. Kinga is the first Polish female climber to reach the collective summits of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Kangchenjunga. She climbs without the use of supplemental oxygen. Ryk Neethling , South African swimmer, was born today in 1977. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is the former joint owner of the 4×100 m freestyle relay world record and holds several South African records. He also is the first South African to compete four successive Olympic Games. Born today in 1986 Greg Rutherford, British long-jumper. Greg won the long jump gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2014 and 2016 European Athletics Championships and 2015 World Athletics Championships, and topped the 2015 IAAF Diamond League rankings in the event. From 4 September 2015, when his Diamond League victory was confirmed with a fourth event win in Zürich, until his withdrawal from the British Athletics Championships in June 2016, Rutherford held every available elite outdoor title, including his national title. Rutherford is the current British record holder, both outdoors and indoors. Pete Sampras beat Jim Courier to win the 1991 ATP Championship in Frankfurt for the second successive year and collect a cheque for $625,000. Died on this day in 1998, Cornelia “Kea” Bouman, female tennis player from the Netherlands. She won the singles title at the 1927 French Championships, beating Irene Bowder Peacock of South Africa in the final. Bouman was the first, and so far the only, Dutch woman to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. In 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926 she won the singles title at the Dutch Championships. Born in Almelo, Bouman is also the first female Dutch athlete to win an Olympic medal, when she teamed with Hendrik Timmer to win bronze in mixed doubles at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.


18thToday in1878, Soprano Marie Selika Williams became the first Black artist to perform at the White House.  Along with her husband and announced by Frederick Douglass, their performance took place in the Green Room for an audience that included President and Mrs. Rutherford Hayes. Her performance included Verdi’s “Ernani, involami,” Thomas Moore’s “The Last Rose of Summer,” Harrison Millard’s “Ave Maria,” and Richard Mulder’s “Staccato Polka.” Her husband also sang, by popular request, the well known ballad “Far Away” by Bliss. Welsh golfer Brian Huggett was born in 1936. He won many of the top European Opens and the British Match-Play and Dunlop titles. A member of five Ryder Cup teams, he played in the famous tied match of 1969, holing a 5-foot putt on the 18th to halve his match with Billy Casper. Joe Baker made his debut for England against Northern Ireland at Wembley in 1959 and made history as the first player from outside the English Football League to be picked for the national side; he played for Hibernian in the Scottish League at the time. Baker contributed one goal to England’s 2-1 win. Today in 1963 the first push button telephone goes into service. Jeroen Straathof was born today in 1972, a retired Dutch racing cyclist and speed skater. Straathof was the first, and still the only, athlete in the world to represent his country at the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics. He started his sports career as a speed skater, becoming World Junior Champion in Warsaw 1992. His best distance was the 1500 metres, and as the longest distances were his worst he only participated in one international all-round championship in his career. He made his Olympic debut at the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer. He was qualified for the 1500 metres and placed 9th. In 1996 the World Single Distance Championships were introduced, and Straathof became the first World Champion over 1500 metres. He was never able to equal this performance or come close to winning another medal, and he made a switch to track cycling. As pilot at the tandem he teamed up with visually handicapped cyclist Jan Mulder. In 1998 they took part in the World Championships and won the silver medal. At the 1999 European Championships they won the gold, and a year later they were acclaimed 2000 Summer Paralympics champions. Straathof decided to make another switch, and became part of the Dutch Team Pursuit team that qualified for the 2002 World Championships, where they placed seventh. A year later they placed 9th, and in 2004 they improved their ranking to the fourth position. The team also qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics where they came in fifth. After those Olympics Straathof ended his professional sports career, he is also one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games. Fred Daly, Irish golfer, died in 1990 at the age of 79. Daly was the only Irishman from either side of the border to have won The British Open until Pádraig Harrington won it in 2007 and the only Northern Irish major winner until Graeme McDowell won the US Open in 2010. Daly won the Open in 1947 while professional to the Balmoral Club in Belfast. He won with a score of 293, a single stroke ahead of runners-up Reg Horne and amateur Frank Stranahan. On this day in 2012, Lewis Hamilton won the US Formula one Grand Prix. Jonah Tali Lomu, New Zealand rugby union player died on this day in 2015 after suffering a heart attack caused by his kidney disease.. He was the youngest ever All Black when he played his first international in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days. Lomu finished with 63 caps and scored 37 international tries. He has been described as the first true global superstar of rugby union and as having a huge impact on the game. Lomu was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011. Lomu burst onto the international rugby scene during the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament. He was widely acknowledged to be the top player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa even though New Zealand lost the final to the host Springboks. At one time Lomu was considered ‘rugby union’s biggest drawcard’s, swelling attendances at any match where he appeared. He is one of the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorers with 15 tries. He played for several domestic teams, in the Super Rugby, NPC and later the Magners League competitions. These included the Auckland Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes, and Counties Manukau, Wellington and later North Harbour and Cardiff Blues. He made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2004, finally retiring from professional rugby in 2007.


19thOn this day in 1816, Warsaw University was first formed. Today in 1906, London is selected to host the 1908 Olympics. The Olympics should have taken place in Rome. The decision to award the fourth Olympics to Rome was taken in the belief that its fame and accessibility would encourage competitors to attend from all over the world, attendance at the St Louis Olympics of 1904 having been disappointing. However, by 1906 the Italian organizers were well behind with their preparations so, when Vesuvius erupted in April 1906, it was with some relief that the Italian authorities announced that they would have to devote the resources intended for the Olympics to the reconstruction of Naples. London was invited by the International Olympic Committee to step into the breach. Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle, youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on this day in 1910.   Adrian Conan Doyle has been depicted as a race-car driver, big-game hunter, explorer, and writer. Biographer Andrew Lycett calls him a “spendthrift playboy” who (with his brother Denis) “used the Conan Doyle estate as a milch-cow”. He was his father’s literary executor after his mother died in 1940. He founded the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Foundation in Switzerland in 1965. Adrian Doyle produced additional Sherlock Holmes stories, some with the assistance of John Dickson Carr. The basis of his production was to complete those tales referenced in his father’s stories, which his father had never written. These additional Sherlock Holmes tales were written in 1952 and 1953, a hardcover collection of the stories was published as The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes in 1954. On this day in 1911, New York receives first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy. With floodlit matches increasingly common, the white football was given seal of approval by the FA on this in day in 1951. Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman had first introduced the white ball in the 1930s, but, along with some of his other innovations the FA were slow to adopt his ideas. Pele scored the 1000th goal of his career during a game for his club Santos against Vasco da Gama in 1969. The goal, a penalty, was greeted with jubilation all around the ground – the Vasco da Gama keeper peeled off his jersey to reveal a shirt which bore a message congratulating Pele on his achievement! In 1989, the USA beat Trinidad 1-0, thus qualifying for the 1990 World Football cup finals, the first time the US had qualified since 1950. In 1990, the pop-duo Milli Vanilli was stripped of its Grammy Award after it was revealed that neither performer actually sang on the group’s record. On this day in 1992 Doctors treating Hillsborough victim Tony Bland were allowed to discount the feeding tubes that were keeping him alive, a judge at the High Court ruled. Tony was injured in the Hillsborough disaster, suffering severe brain damage that left him in a persistent vegetative state as a consequence of which the hospital, with the support of his parents, applied for a court order allowing him to ‘die with dignity’. As a result, he became the first patient in English legal history to be allowed to die by the courts through the withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment including food and water; he finally passed away on 3rd March 1993, becoming the 96th victim of the disaster. The National Lottery was drawn on this day in 1994. The first National Lottery show, entitled The National Lottery Live: The First Draw. was broadcast at 7pm, presented by Noel Edmonds, it was an hour long special, in which 49 contestants competed to become the first person to start the draw, the first person being 18-year-old Deborah Walsh. The first number to be drawn was 30.


20thOn this day in 1866 Pierre Lalemont is awarded a patent for the rotary crank bicycle. His patent drawing shows a machine bearing a great resemblance to the style of dandy-horse built by Denis Johnson of London, with its serpentine frame, the only differences being, first, the addition of the pedals and cranks, and, second, a thin strip of iron above the frame acting as a spring upon which he mounted the saddle to provide a more comfortable ride. Failing to interest an American manufacturer in producing his machine, Lallement returned to Paris in 1868, just as the Michaux bicycles were creating the first bicycle craze in France, an enthusiasm which spread to the rest of Europe and to America. Lallement returned to America again sometime before 1880, when he testified in a patent infringement suit on behalf of plaintiff Albert Pope, to whom he had sold the rights in his patent. At the time Lallement was living in Brooklyn and working for the Pope Manufacturing Company. He died in obscurity in 1891 in Boston at the age of 47. Wilf Wooller, cricketer and rugby union international, was born in 1912. He played rugby union for Wales 18 times before concentrating on a career in cricket begun while e was at Cambridge University. A useful all-rounder, he was appointed captain of Glamorgan in 1947. The following year he guided them to their first county championship title, a rare success for the Welsh county. South African golfer Bobby Locke was born in 1917. Distinguishable in his plus fours and white cap, he first won the British open at Sandwich in 1949. He retained it the following year and won again in 1952 and 1957. He died in 1988.   The shortest British title fight on record took place at Nottingham in 1961. Defending lightweight champion Dave Charnley knocked out Welshman Dave “Darkie” Hughes after just 40 seconds, including the count, of the first round of their title fight. A record 15 football players from English clubs were sent off on this day in 1982, twelve in FA Cup games and three in league matches. Disaster for The Queen today in 1992 as a fire breaks out at Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50million worth of damage. Died today in 2015, sumo wrestler Toshimitsu Obata known as Kitanoumi Toshimitsu. He was the dominant yokozuna in sumo during the 1970s. Kitanoumi was promoted to yokozuna at the age 21, becoming the youngest ever to achieve sumo’s top rank, and he remained a yokozuna for a record 63 tournaments. He won 24 tournament championships during his career and was one of a series of truly great yokozuna who came from Hokkaidō, the northernmost main island of Japan. At the time of his death he still held the record for most bouts won as a yokozuna (670). Following his retirement in 1985 he established the Kitanoumi stable. He was chairman of the Japan Sumo Association from 2002 until 2008, and from 2012 until his death.