• On this day in 1877 the Russian Imperial Ballet Company stages the first performance of Swan Lake in Moscow.
  • George West scored a then record 11 tries in a rugby league match while playing for Hull Kingston Rovers against Brookland Rovers in the Northern Cup (now the Challenge Cup) in 1905. 
  • British motor-racing champion Jim Clark was born in Fife, Scotland in 1936. World Champion in 1963 and 1965, he was unquestionably one of the all-time greats of motor-racing. He died tragically young while racing at Hockenheim, Germany in 1968.
  • Another Scot, the former Celtic and Liverpool footballer Kenny Dalglish, was born in 1951.  Scotland’s most capped players with 102 appearances and joint top goal-scorer with 30 goals , he won every honour at club level as a player before going on to manage Liverpool and Blackburn.  Dalglish won the Ballon d’Or Silver Award in 1983, the PFA Player of the Year in 1983, and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1979 and 1983. In 2009 FourFourTwo named Dalglish as the greatest striker in post-war British football, and in 2006 he topped a Liverpool fans’ poll of “100 Players Who Shook the Kop”. He has been inducted into both the Scottish and English Halls of Fame.
  • What snooker player Willie Thorne, born in 1954, lacks in tournament wins, the 1985 Mercantile Credit Classic is his only ranking tournament success, he makes up for in personality as one of the game’s most popular players.
  • In 1967 third division Queen’s Park Rangers brought off a shock 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion in the first Football League Cup final to be played at Wembley. Today in 1975 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II knights the silent movie star Charlie Chaplin.
  • In 1976 John curry added to his Olympic gold medal by winning the men’s title at the world figure-skating championships.
  •  Willi Unsoeld American mountaineer who, along with Tom Hornbein, were members of the first American expedition to summit Mount Everest on 22nd May 1963, died on this day in 1979 in an avalanche during a winter climb of Mount Rainier.  Unsoeld and Hornbein’s legendary climb was the first ascent from the peak’s west ridge, and the first major traverse of a Himalayan peak. His subsequent activities included working as a U.S. Forest Service Smokejumper, Peace Corps director in Nepal, speaker forOutward Bound, faculty member at Oregon State University and The Evergreen State College and mountaineering guide.
  • The Kent and English cricketer Godfrey James Bryan died on this day in 1991 aged 88A left-handed batsman and right-arm medium pace bowler, he played first-class cricket between 1920 and 1935.  His brothers Jack and Ronnie also played for Kent, though Godfrey was considered the most talented of the three.
  • On this day in 1995 Michael Johnson runs an indoor 400m world record of 44.63s, which is currently held by American Kerron Clement who stopped the clock at 44.57 on 3rd December 2005 in Fayetterville, Arkansas.
  • Yvon Cormier the Canadian professional wrestler died on this day in 2009 aged 70Competing primarily under the ring name The Beast, he and his three wrestling brothers made up the Cormier wrestling family. He wrestled in many countries but regularly returned to Canada, where he competed for the Eastern Sports Association (ESA) and the ESA-promoted International Wrestling (IW).  Cormier was known for his physical strength and intense exercise regimen. He was known to bench press 450 pounds, and he was once recorded as bench pressing 527 pounds.  During one photo session, Cormier lifted a telephone pole from the ground and carried it around while posing for pictures.  According to one story, he once got upset with a horse that refused to cooperate and knocked it down with one punch. Like his brothers, Cormier was a lifelong ice hockey fan. He also trained horses for harness racing and had six of his own Percheron horses.  He had four sons, all of whom are being trained to wrestle, as well as one daughter. In May 2008, Cormier was diagnosed with lymphoma. He underwent treatment but suffered a heart attack soon after beginning. Doctors later determined that the cancer had moved into his bone marrow.
  • German pole vaulter Peter Laufer died on this day in 2016 at the age of 79, he was married to long jumper Hildrun Laufer-Claus. He was eighth at the 1958 European Championships and won East German national titles in 1959 and 1961, placing second in 1960 and 1963. In 1963 he also placed third at the nationals in the 110m hurdles. At the 1960 Roma Olympic Games Laufer failed to reach the final. He trained as a civil engineer and was a beekeeper as a hobby. He also worked with the board of the Association of Former Athletes of the German Athletics Federation.


  • On this day in 1850 The Britannia Bridge which spans the Menai Strait and links Anglesey to mainland Wales was opened.
  • Born on this day in 1886 was Freddie Welsh the Welsh World lightweight boxing champion. Born in Pontypridd and christened Frederick Hall Thomas, he was nicknamed the “Welsh Wizard”. Brought up in a tough mining community, Welsh left a middle-class background to make a name for himself in America. He turned professional as a boxer in Philadelphia in 1905, and spent the best part of his career fighting in the United States, leaving many in Britain to incorrectly believe he was an exponent of an ungentlemanly style of American boxing. Welsh spent much of his career chasing the World Championship title, held in turn by Battling Nelson, Ad Wolgast and Willie Ritchie, failing through a series of events to meet each until a successful encounter with Ritchie in July 1914, when he finally became World Lightweight Champion. Welsh held the title until 1917 when he lost to Benny Leonard, though he continued to fight sparingly until 1922. A keen follower of Bernarr Macfadden’s physical culture, Welsh believed in exercise and healthy living and was a non-smoker and a vegetarian. In the years following the end of his career, bad business choices cost him his fortune, and after numerous health problems as is usually the case – he died in poverty in 1927.
  • Sticking with the Welsh theme – One of the most successful goal-kickers in modern rugby league David Watkins, was born in 1942.  A former Welsh rugby union international, he played for his country 21 times and for the Lions on six occasions, which he also captained.  A fly-half, he switched to the professional code and soon adapted to the 13-a-side game.  His tally of 221 goals for Salford in the 1972-73 season, a rugby league record for the time. He played for the Welsh Rugby League team six times and played in every match of the 1975 Rugby League World Cup and with English club Salford he played more than 400 games over 12 seasons. After he stopped playing Watkins coached rugby league. He was the Wales national team coach and also coached Great Britain, taking them to the final of the 1977 World Cup, which they lost by one point to the hosts, Australia. Watkins was appointed Newport RFC team manager in 1992–93 and later became the club’s chairman when he was awarded an MBE. In 2006 Watkins, along with Falklands War hero Simon Weston, was installed as a patron of the Welsh Rugby League at a ceremony held in the Welsh Assembly. He was managing director of the Cardiff City Blue Dragons. In 2009, Watkins took over the position of Crusaders president from Jonathan Davies.
  • On this day in 1949 Don Bradman played his last innings in first-calls cricket, scoring 30 while playing for South Australia against Victoria at the Adelaide Oval
  • Ernie Terrell, brother of Jean Terrell, a former member of the Supremes vocal group, beat Eddie Machen to win the WBA heavyweight title in 1965.Cassius Clay had captured the title by beating Sonny Liston a year earlier but, because he refused to put a re-match clause into the contract, the WBA withdrew recognition of him as champion.  When Clay and Terrell eventually met, the judges were unanimous in declaring Clay (then Muhammad Ali) the winner at the end of the 15-round contest.
  • Born today in 1988 Jovana Brakočević, Serbian female professional volleyball player, who was a member of the Serbia women’s national volleyball team that won the silver medal at the 2007 European Championship in Belgium and Luxembourg. There she was named Best Server of the tournament. She was also a member of the Serbia women’s national volleyball team that won the gold medal at the 2011 European Championship in Serbia and Italy, where she was voted MVP of the tournament.
  • William Alvin Moody perhaps better known by his ring names Paul Bearer, and Percival Pringle III died on this day in 2013 aged 58.  He was an American professional wrestling manager, best known for his time in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE), where he performed as the manager of wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Kane and Mick Foley.
  • American sprinter Evelyn Furtsch died on this day in 2015. Born on 17th April 1914, she was a member of the Los Angeles Athletics Club (LAAC). She won gold as part of the sprint relay team at the 1932 Olympic Games, however, because both Elizabeth Wilde and Louise Stokes, who finished ahead of her at the Final Trials, were not selected for the Olympics, Evelyn was perhaps fortunate to have won a place on the relay team for the Games. The only time she placed in an AAU championship was in 1931, when she finished second in the 100 yards. After the Olympics she attended Santa Ana College for two years, but there was no track team and her opportunities for training in that era were limited, so she ended her track career. She and her husband, Joe Ojeda, ran a real estate firm in the Santa Ana, California area. She was elected to the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in California in 1985 and in 1984, received the Ralph Clark Distinguished Citizen Award in Santa Ana.


  • Ernest Michaux of France won the first international cycle race at Crystal Palace in 1869. 
  • Molla Mallory (née Bjurstedt) Norwegian tennis player and naturalized American was born today in 1884. She won a record eight singles titles at the U.S. Championships. Although she had won a bronze medal in singles for Norway at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, and was the many-time champion of her homeland, Mallory was relatively unknown when she arrived in New York City to begin work as a masseuse in 1915. She entered the U.S. Indoor Championships that year unheralded and beat three-time defending champion Marie Wagner 6–4, 6–4, which was the first of her five singles titles at that tournament. She also won the singles title in Cincinnati in 1915. She was a player of the old school. She held that a woman could not sustain a volleying attack in a long match. “I do not know a single girl who can play the net game” Therefore, she relied on her baseline game, consisting of strong forehand attacks and a ceaseless defence that wore down her opponents. She took the ball on the rise and drove it from corner to corner to keep her opponent on the constant run. Her quick returns made her passing shots extremely effective. She once said, “I find that the girls generally do not hit the ball as hard as they should. I believe in always hitting the ball with all my might, but there seems to be a disposition to ‘just get it over’ in many girls whom I have played. I do not call this tennis”. Mallory won the last of her titles at the age of 42 in 1926. Her worst finish there was a quarter-final loss in 1927 at 43. In 1926, Mallory hit one of the heights of her career when she came back from 0–4 in the third set of the final against Elizabeth Ryan, saving a match point in winning her eighth championship. Her farewell to the U.S. Championships was as a 45-year-old semi-finalist in 1929, losing to Helen Wills Moody 6–0, 6–0. She died on November 22, 1959, aged 75. ( NB – With four consecutive singles titles each, Molla Mallory and Helen Jacobs hold the record for most consecutive women’s singles titles won after the challenge round format was abolished. Mallory’s eight singles titles (1915–1918, 1920–1922, 1926) is the all-time record. During the US Open, since the inclusion of the professional tennis players, Chris Evert (1975–1978) holds the record for most consecutive women’s singles titles at four and the record for most overall titles at six (1975–1978, 1980, 1982) with Serena Williams (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012–2014).
  • Today in 1895 England beat Australia to win what some describe as the best ever cricket series – the England cricket team toured Australia and Ceylon in 1894-95, captained by Andrew Stoddart, played 24 matches in total, of which it won 10, drew 10 and lost 4. In first-class cricket, the team played 12, won 8 and lost 4. Five Test matches were played and it was a memorable series that England won 3-2 after Australia had recovered from 0-2 down to 2-2 with the final match a true decider. The first Test, won by England, made history in another way, as it was the first of only three Tests in history to be won by a side forced to follow on.
  •  Dick Fosbury, the man who added a new word to the vocabulary of track and field athletics, was born in 1947. He revolutionised the high jump at the 1968 Olympic Games by leaping backwards over the bar to take the gold medal. Once it was declared this was legal, most high jumpers copied his style, which became known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’.
  • Accrington Stanley were forced to withdraw their membership from the Football League on this day in 1962. They were only the second team, after Wigan Borough in 1931-32, to pull out of the League after the start of the season; a similar fate would befall Aldershot in 1991-92.
  • On this day in 1964 Cassius Clay joins the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad renames him Muhammad Ali. 
  • American-born motor-racing driver Mario Andretti enjoyed the first grand prix win of his career in 1971 when he won the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami in a Ferrari. It was the first of 12 wins for Andretti, who won the world title in 1978.
  • In 1976 Wilfred (then Wilfredo) Benitez of Puerto Rico became the youngest-ever world boxing champion at the age of 17 years and 176 days when he beat Antonio Cervantes to win the WBA junior-heavyweight title at San Juan.
  • In 1994 Welsh and British international athlete Colin Jackson sets a world indoor 60m hurdles record in Sindelfingen, Germany, breaking the tape at 7:30s – a record that still stands today.
  • In 2014 Prince Harry initiates The Invictus Games, an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing as well as athletics, archery, swimming and cycling. Named after Invictus, Latin for “unconquered” or “undefeated” the event was inspired by the Warrior Games, a similar event held in the United States. The first Invictus Games took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
  • Sheila Varian, American breeder of Arabian horses, died today in 2016. Born on 8th August 1937 she lived and worked at the Varian Arabians Ranch near Arroyo Grande, California. She grew up with a strong interest in horses, and was mentored in horsemanship by Mary “Sid” Spencer, a local rancher and Morgan horse breeder who also introduced Sheila to the vaquero or Californio tradition of western riding. She started her horse ranch, Varian Arabians, in 1954 with the assistance of her parents. Raising and training horses was her full-time occupation beginning in 1963. She used vaquero-influenced methods of training horses, although she adapted her technique over the years to fit the character of the Arabian horse, which she viewed as a horse breed requiring a smart yet gentle approach.


  • On this day two American ballerinas were born, 12 years apart, who were to become role models for ballet – in 1917 Janet Collins was born in New Orleans. Ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she performed on Broadway, in films, and appeared frequently on television. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. In 1932, aged 15, Collins auditioned with success for the prestigious Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, but as she was required to paint her face and skin white in order to be able to perform, she did not join the company. In 1948, she moved to New York and got the chance to dance her own choreography on a shared program at the 92nd Street YMHA. In 1951 she won the Donaldson Award for best dancer on Broadway for her work in Cole Porter’s Out of This World. She also performed in AidaCarmen, and was the first Black ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. She could not tour in parts of the Deep South, owing to her race. In later life Collins taught modern dance at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York City, and at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. Janet Collins struggled repeatedly against racism, which did not spare the world of professional ballet dancing. Not many African-American dancers and performers achieved the successful career she was able to attain, and she paved the way for others to follow. In 1951, she became the first African American to be hired full-time by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Marian Anderson, the first to sing there, did not perform until 1955. Janet Collins’ dance reputation today resides primarily in her role in breaking the colour barrier; the constraints on Black classical dancers were too strong for her to have a vibrant performing career. However, her original choreography, which she performed in solo tours, was clearly of note, although few records survive. In her late forties she retired, turning to religion and finding comfort as an oblate in the Benedictine order. She was also an accomplished painter and died in 2003 at the age of 86.
  • In 1929, one of the so called “Five Moons” or Native prima ballerinas of Oklahoma Yvonne Chouteau was born.  Inspired to dance at age four after seeing the great ballerina Alexandra Danilova dance in Oklahoma City, Chouteau studied at the School of American Ballet in New York before Danilova recommended her in 1943 to Serge Denham for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. At 14, she was the youngest dancer ever accepted. Her first solo role was as Prayer in Coppelia. (1945). At 18 she was the youngest member inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In 1956, Chouteau married dancer Miguel Terekhov. Together they organized the Oklahoma City Civic Ballet (now Oklahoma City Ballet). In 1962, they established the first fully accredited dance department in the United States at the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma. She was featured in Ballets Russes, a documentary film by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. She died after a long illness in 2016 aged 86.
  • Former West Indian cricket captain Viv Richards was born on this day in 1952.  He is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.  Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century by a 100-member panel of experts in 2000, along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Shane Warne. In one-day cricket, Richards was judged by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to have played the best ODI innings of all time. In December 2002, he was chosen by Wisden as the greatest One Day International (ODI) batsman of all time, as well as the third greatest Test batsman of all time, after Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. Overall, Richards scored 8,540 runs in 121 Test matches at an average of 50.23, including 24 centuries. As a captain, he won 27 of 50 Test matches and lost only 8. He also scored nearly 7,000 runs in One Day Internationals and more than 36,000 in first-class cricket. Knighted for his contributions to cricket, today Richards is an occasional cricket commentator and team mentor.
  • Tennis player Ivan Lendl was born in 1960. He is a former world No. 1 professional tennis player and is currently coaching current world number 1 Andy Murray, alongside Jamie Delgado. Originally from Czechoslovakia, he became a United States citizen in 1992. He was one of the game’s most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s. He has been described as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time. Lendl captured eight Grand Slam singles titles. He competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals, a record surpassed by Roger Federer in 2009, Rafael Nadal in 2014 and Novak Djokovic in 2016. He reached at least one Grand Slam final for 11 consecutive years, a record shared with Pete Sampras, with the male primacy of eight consecutive finals in a Grand Slam tournament (a record shared with Bill Tilden at the US Open). Before the formation of the ATP, Lendl reached a record 12 year-end championships (equalled by John McEnroe). He won two WCT Finals titles and five Masters Grand Prix titles, with the record of nine consecutive finals. He also won a record 22 Grand Prix Super Series titles (1980–89), the precursors to the current ATP Masters 1000. Lendl first attained the world No. 1 ranking on February 28, 1983 and bolstered his claim to the top spot when he defeated John McEnroe in the 1984 French Open final. For much of the next five years, Lendl was the top-ranked player, until August 1990 (with a break from September 1988 to January 1989 when Mats Wilander was at the top). He finished four years ranked as the world’s top player (1985–1987 and 1989) and was ranked No. 1 for a total of 270 weeks and set a new record previously held by Jimmy Connors, since broken by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. He is one of three male players (with Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer) to win more than 1000 tennis singles matches (1,071). Lendl has won 94 singles titles, second only in the Open Era to Connors’ 109 titles. Lendl has been runner-up in a record 11 grand slam finals.
  • The great Australian racing driver Jack Brabham enjoyed his 14th and last Grand Prix win in 1970, at South Africa’s Kyalami circuit. A long career by motor racing standards, lasting more than 15 years, he won the world title three times, 1959, 1960 and 1966. He is the only world motor-racing to win the championship (in 1966) in a car of his own design, the Brabham.
  • In 1991 Lenox Lewis captured the British and European heavyweight titles by stopping defending champion Gary Mason in the seventh round of their bout at Wembley.
  • Today in 2014 the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympics was held in Sochi.
  • On this day in 2016 tennis player Maria Sharapova revealed that she had failed a drugs test, testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January.


  • On this day in 1904 Australian cricketer Hugh Trumble takes a hat-trick in his final Test Cricket match.
  • Lidiya Skoblikova, Russian speed-skater and later a coach was born on this day in 1939. Representing the USSR Olympic team during the Winter Games in 1960 and 1964, she won a total of six gold medals, still a record number for a speed skater. She also won 25 gold medals at the world championships and 15 gold medals at the USSR National Championships in several distances. She was also the first athlete to earn six gold medals in the Olympic Winter Games, and the first to earn four gold medals at a single Olympic Winter Games. She was the most successful athlete at the 1960 and 1964 Winter Olympics, sharing the honour for 1960 Games with her compatriot Yevgeny Grishin.
  • Today in 1951 The International Table Tennis Federation bans Sgypt for refusing to play Israel.
  • Scottish and British Swimmer David Wilkie was born in 1955. He was Olympic 200m breaststroke champion at Montreal in 1976 and at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, he won a gold in the 200m breaststroke, a second gold in the 200m individual medley, and a silver in the 100m breaststroke. Also in 1974 at the European Championships in Vienna, Austria, he won a gold in the 200m individual medley in a world record time. He also won gold for the 200m breaststroke and silver as a member of the British 4×100 medley relay team. From 1972 to 1976 he was unbeaten in 200-metre breaststroke races.  He is the only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time and was the first British swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960. Since his retirement, Wilkie has remained active in the world of swimming, involved in swimming aids and technology. He was said to be the first swimmer to wear a head-cap and goggles together in competition to improve the streamline effect within the water although he also said he wore the goggles because of an allergy to chlorine in the water and the cap to keep his long hair in.
  • Today in 1971 Muhammad Ali failed to regain the heavyweight crown in his first world title fight since returning to the ring. He was beaten on points over 15 rounds by his arch rival Joe Frazier at Madison Sqaure Garden.
  • On this day in 1986 Martina Navratilova became the first tennis player to earn $10 million.
  • In 1989, Canada’s Cliff Thorburn made history at the Hawth Centre, Crawley, by becoming the first snooker player to compile two officially ratified 147 breaks
  • On this day in 2001 the wreck of Donald Cambell’s speedboat, Bluebird, was raised from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria. The boat had lain there since the accident in 1967 which killed Campbell, 46, as he attempted to break the world water speed record. The craft was winched to the surface after a three-hour operation to tow it to the lakeside from its resting place, 150 feet (45 metres) below the surface of the lake. The quest to raise the boat was led by diver Bill Smith. Mr Smith said he was glad they had reached the boat as there was always the risk that less scrupulous souvenir hunters could get there first. A crowd of more than 50 people gathered at the shore and saw the tail of Bluebird, emblazoned with a Union Jack, float to the surface aided by four orange air bags. Campbell’s widow Tonia Bern-Campbell flew from her home in America to witness the occasion. Donald Campbell was trying to break his own water speed record of 276mph (429.87 km/h) on 4 January 1967, when the boat vaulted from the lake’s surface. It somersaulted repeatedly before crashing and sinking. His body was never found and no remains were discovered in the wreckage. The Bluebird was discovered by enthusiasts late in 2000 after a four-year hunt. There were reportedly divisions among Campbell’s family over whether it should be raised from its resting place. Some family members wanted it left as a memorial to him.
  • John Jones, commonly known as Jack, British Olympic Water Polo player died at the age of 90 today in 2016.  Born on  17th April 1925 he joined the Cheltenham Swimming and Water Polo Club as a teenager and spent his entire career with them as an outstanding breaststroke swimmer, winning many County titles. He was ever better as a polo player. At the time of his death Jack was an Honorary Life Member of the club. His two younger brothers, Frank and Phil also played water polo for the club, and in the 1950 season Jack and Phil scored 195 of Cheltenham’s 293 goals in 35 matches, which saw them lose just once as they continued their domination of the sport in the area as they won the Gloucestershire Senior Championship for the 22nd time. Jack captained his country many times and was a reserve for the 1948 Olympics. He was appointed captain of the British team scheduled to compete at the 1950 European Championships in Vienna, but the Amateur Swimming Association decided not to send a team because they could not be given sufficient guarantee they could enter the pool, which was in the Soviet-occupied part of the city. However, Jack did go on to captain Great Britain at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics, which was the last appearance of a British water polo team at the Games for 56 years. Jack’s brother Phil was also a one-time captain of the England water polo team.


  • Born on this day is 1887 was Hampshire and England left-handed batsman Phil Mead. C B Fry spotted Mead playing as a schoolboy at the Oval and encouraged him to become a professional; he joined the Surrey ground staff in 1902. His exceptionally straight bat and quick footwork (surprising for a man of heavy build as he was) made him one of the most difficult batsmen to dismiss throughout his career. His mastery over the best county spin bowlers even on the most treacherous pitches is remarkable, but he could also be very good against the fastest bowling because he could get closer into line than just about any batsman in cricket history. Mead holds many batting records, notably that of scoring the most runs in the County Championship and the fourth-highest total in all first-class matches. His number of runs for Hampshire, in fact, is the greatest number any batsman has scored for a single team. He also exceeded one thousand runs in every season of first-class cricket except his first – when he only played one match. He was also a fine fieldsman, holding 675 catches. In 1907, Mead signed for Southampton for one season to assist the club’s reserve team as a useful inside-forward, but he had no intention of taking up football as a full-time occupation. On 21 December 1907, he was at Fratton Park, Portsmouth for a reserve fixture when he was summoned to The Dell where the Saints had an emergency as both regular goalkeepers, Herbert Lock and Tom Burrows were unavailable through injury. Mead therefore played in goal in a Southern League match against West Ham United. According to Holley & Chalk’s “The Alphabet of the Saints” he “shaped up well but was only required to save two shots and kept a blank sheet in a 0–0 draw. Soon after World War II, problems with his eyes led to Mead becoming totally blind, but he never complained about this. He retained a great interest in cricket and often attended Hampshire matches at Dean Park right up to his death aged 71 in 1958.
  • American chess genius Bobby Fischer was born in 1943. Grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion, many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time. In 1972, he captured the World Chess Championship from Boris Spassky of the USSR in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland, publicized as a Cold War confrontation, which attracted more worldwide interest than any chess championship before or since. In 1975, Fischer refused to defend his title when an agreement could not be reached with FIDE, the game’s international governing body, over one of the conditions for the match. This allowed Soviet GM Anatoly Karpov, who had won the qualifying Candidates’ cycle, to become the new world champion by default under FIDE rules. Fischer showed skill at an early age. At age 13, he won a “brilliancy” that became known as “The Game of the Century”. Starting at age 14, Fischer played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a one-point margin. At age 15, Fischer became both the youngest grandmaster up to that time and the youngest candidate for the World Championship.
  • The ex-England rugby captain Bill Beaumont was born in 1952. Lancashire-born Beaumont earned English 34 caps, then a record for a lock, and was captain 21 times. He made his international debut as a 22-year-old in Dublin in 1975 as a late replacement for Roger Uttley.. He played 15 times for the Barbarians, including the match against the All Blacks in 1978. Beaumont took part in the 1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand after being called up as a replacement when Nigel Horton broke his thumb, and played in the final three tests. He took over as England captain in Paris in 1978 and was captain when England won their first Grand Slam for 23 years in 1980. Beaumont then captained the 1980 British Lions tour to South Africa playing in 10 of the 18 matches. He is currently a member of the International Rugby Board and Chairman of the Rugby Football Union. On 11 May 2016 he was elected Chairman of World Rugby, with his tenure having commenced on 1 July 2016.
  • Another English (and Leicester) rugby captain, Martin Johnson was also born on this day but in 1970.   He is best known for captaining England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He is regarded as one of the greatest locks ever to have played, and listed among England’s greatest ever players. He toured three times with the British and Irish Lions, becoming the only man to have captained them on two separate tours. He also led his club Leicester Tigers to consecutive Heineken Cup victories, won the league five times including four consecutive victories as captain and won the Pilkington Cup twice. He became the new England team manager on 1 July 2008, replacing the previous manager Brian Ashton, but left the post in November 2011 following England’s quarter final defeat at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
  • The Canadian composer Jean Coulthard died on this day in 2000 aged 92. She was part of a trio of women composers who dominated Western Canadian music in the twentieth century: Coulthard, Barbara Pentland, and Violet Archer. All three died within weeks of each other in 2000. Her own work might be loosely termed “prematurely neo-Romantic”, as the orthodox serialists who dominated academic musical life in North America during the 1950s and 1960s had little use for her. Some of her well-known compositions include Cradle SongThrenodyCanadian FantasyBallade “A Winter’s Tale” and her opera Return of the Native.
  • Jerry Anderson, Canadian professional golfer, who became the first Canadian to win on the PGA European Tour, which he did in 1984 when he won the Ebel European Master (Swiss Open), died at the age of 63 on this day in 2018. His 1984 win was also a record 72-hole score,  not surpassed until Ernie Els shot a 29 under at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic. Jerry finished ninth on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1984, making it into the top fifty. He was a member of the US-based PGA Tour in 1990 and 1992. He represented Canada at the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1985 and at the World Cup in 1983, 1987, and 1989. He was inducted into the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame in 2002 and the PGA of Canada Hall of Fame in 2016.


  • Born on this day in 1850, Spencer Gore, an English tennis player who won the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877 and a cricketer who played for Surrey County Cricket Club (1874-1875). Gore made his first class cricket debut for Surrey against Middlesex in 1874 hitting 17 runs off the first four balls he received in his first match. He played again for Surrey against Middlesex in 1875 when Surrey won by 10 wickets and he did not have a chance to play a second innings. He played cricket mainly for I Zingari at club level, playing his last match for them in 1893. He played two first class matches for I Zingari which were against Yorkshire in 1878 and 1879 and one match for Gentlemen of the South in 1879. In 1877 the first Wimbledon lawn tennis championship was held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which had been renamed from the All England Croquet Club since tennis had been established there two years earlier. Gore won the Gentleman’s Singles beating William Marshall 6–1, 6–2, 6–4 on 19 July 1877. He was the first player who ever used the technique of volleying and is  therefore considered the creator of the style. Gore was among the twenty-two men who paid a guinea to enter the inaugural 1877 championship (women did not have a competition until 1884). The 21 matches were spread over five days. The championship was suspended for the weekend so as not to clash with the annual Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The scheduled final on Monday was postponed for four days because of rain.
  • At Baroda, India, in 1947 the fourth wicket partnership of Gulzar Mahomed and Vijay Hazare produced 577 runs against visiting Holkar, a world record in first-class cricket. Hazare celebrated his 32nd birthday the following day.
  • One of the smallest men to win a world boxing title Jimmy Wilde, died in 1969 aged 76.  A British professional Flyweight, Wilde was born in Wales and often regarded as the greatest British fighter of all time. He was the first official World Flyweight Champion and was rated by American boxing writer Nat Fleischer, as well as many other professionals and fans including former boxer, trainer, manager and promoter, Charley ‘Broadway’ Rose, as “the Greatest Flyweight Boxer Ever.” Wilde earned various nicknames such as, “The Mighty Atom,” “Ghost with the Hammer in His Hand” and “The Tylorstown Terror” due to his near superhuman punching power. While reigning as the world’s greatest flyweight, Wilde would take on Bantamweights and even Featherweights, and knock them out. Wilde had a record of 139 wins, 3 losses, 1 draws and 5 no-contests, with 99 wins by knockout, which makes him one of the most prolific knockout winners of all time. Ring Magazine, a publication which named him the 3rd greatest puncher of all time in 2003, has twice named him the greatest flyweight of all time (March 1975 and May 1994). Furthermore, the October 1999 issue of Ring Magazine rated Wilde the 13th greatest fighter of the 20th century. In 1990, Wilde was elected into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame as a member of that institution’s inaugural class, a distinction shared with all-time greats such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Harry Greb, Benny Leonard and Henry Armstrong. In 1992 he was also inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and one of his prize winning belts is part of the organisation’s display. Wilde was ranked as the number 1 Flyweight of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization in 2006 and voted as the Greatest Bantamweight Ever in 2014 by the Houston Boxing Hall Of Fame.
  • Belinda Bencic, Swiss tennis player was born today in 1997. She was ranked World No. 48 in singles on 9 January 2017. Bencic has won two singles and two doubles titles on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, as well as two singles and two doubles titles on the circuit organized by the International Tennis Federation. In 2012, Bencic made her debut for the Switzerland Fed Cup team. The following year, she won the French Open and Wimbledon girls’ singles titles.  Bencic also reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 US Open, defeating two top-ten players along the way, including former World No. 1 Jelena Janković. This propelled her singles ranking into the top 40 for the first time in her career. In 2015, Bencic won the Aegon International, her first singles title on the WTA Tour, beating Agnieszka Radwańska in the final. This caused her singles ranking to rise into the top 20. She won the biggest title of her career at the 2015 Rogers Cup, beating four top-ten players: Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, World No. 1 Serena Williams, and Simona Halep en route. Bencic is coached by her father who emigrated to Switzerland from Czechoslovakia in 1968, and on occasion by Melanie Molitor, the mother of fellow Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis.
  • Maurice Lusien, French Olympic swimmer, died on this day in 2017 aged 90. He competed in the 20om breaststroke at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, making the final at Helsinki, when he finished seventh. He was silver medalist in that event at the 1950 European Championships, and was gold medallist at the 1951 Mediterranean Games. He also won gold at the 1955 Mediterranean Games in the 200m butterfly and was a member of the gold medal winning medley relay team in 1951 and 1955, winning silver with the medley team in 1959. He won 10 French titles: the 100m breaststroke in 1958, seven times in the 200m breaststroke (1947-52, 1959), and the 200m butterfly in 1953-54. He twice set a world record for the 400m individual medley (1953 and 1954) before it was a recognized event by FINA. He also swam on a world record setting 4×100 medley relay team in 1953.