After the World Snooker Championship moved to its ‘spiritual home’ at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 1977, the first overseas player to win was Canadian Cliff ‘The Grinder’ Thorburn who, in 1980, defeated the late Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins 18-16 in the best-of-35-frame final.
However, strictly speaking, much earlier in the history of the World Snooker Championship, in the days when it was still contested at various venues around Britain, and elsewhere, the first overseas player to win was Australian Horace Lindrum, in 1952. Be that as it may, the World Snooker Championship that year was an oddity insofar that a financial dispute between the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC) and Professional Billiards Players’ Association (PBPA) led to a player boycott and left only two entrants.
Lindrum, who had previously finished runner-up to Joe Davis in the World Snooker Championship three times, in 1936, 1937 and 1946, faced reigning Professional Billiards Champion, New Zealander Clark McConachy, in a marathon, albeit one-sided, ‘final’ at Houldsworth Hall, Manchester. The best-of-145-frame match was contested over a total of 13 days between February 25 and March 8, 1952, but was effectively over after ten, when Lindrum took a winning 73-37 lead. Nevertheless, the pair earnestly played out all bar two of the remaining 35 ‘dead’ frames, to make the final score 94-49 in favour of Lindrum.
Of course, the ‘maximum’ break in snooker is generally considered to be 147, comprising 15 reds, 15 blacks and all six colours. According to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), the first officially ratified 147 break in professional tournament play was compiled by Steve Davis, in a quarter-final match against John Spencer, at the Lada Classic at the Civic Centre, Oldham in 1982. While still not exactly ‘ten-a-penny’, 147 breaks occur much more frequently in modern professional competition than was once the case; Ronnie O’Sullivan, for example, has 15 to his name.
However, under extraordinary circumstances – that is, if one player commits a foul stroke and, in so doing, leaves his or her opponent a ‘free ball’ with all 15 reds remaining – it is possible for a player to pot 16 ‘reds’, 16 blacks and all six colours, such that a break of 155 is theoretically possible. Indeed, retired English professional Jamie Cope recorded a 155 break, albeit in a witnessed practice match, in 2006. So far, the only ’16-red’ clearance over 147 recorded in professional competition was a break of 148 compiled by Scotsman Jamie Burnett, against Leo Fernandez, in the second qualifying round of the UK Championship at Pontin’s, Prestatyn. Burnett potted 16 ‘reds’, 12 blacks, two pinks, one blue and one brown and, obviously, all six colours to reach his record total.
The Football Association Challenge Cup, popularly known as the FA Cup, was first contested during the 1871/1972 season and in its long, rich history has been held aloft by the Arsenal captain a record 14 times. Interestingly, just two of those victories came before World War II, in the Thirties, when Arsenal were the dominant force in English football. The first came under one of the most influential managers of his day, Herbert Chapman, in 1930 and the second under George Allison, who succeeded Chapman following his unexpected death from pneumonia, in 1934.
‘The Gunners’ did not win the FA Cup again until 1950, by which time Tom Whittaker, who had previously served as first team trainer under Chapman and Allison, had succeeded Allison as manager. In the Seventies, Bertie Mee led Arsenal to its first First Division – FA Cup ‘double’ in 1971, and Terry Neill guided the club to three successive FA Cup finals in 1978, 1979 and 1980, winning the so-called ‘Five-minute Final’ against Manchester United in 1978.
George Graham, who played in the double-winning side in 1971, was manager when Arsenal won the FA Cup again in 1993 but, following the appointment of Arsène Wenger – who would become the longest-serving and most successful manager in the history of the North London club – seven more victories followed between 1998 and 2017. By the time Mikel Arteta was appointed head coach at his former club in 2019, Arsenal already held the record for the most FA Cup wins, 13, but extended its lead over nearest rivals Manchester United by beating Chelsea in the delayed FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium the following August.
According to Guinness World Records, the longest golf hole in the world is the seventh hole on the Sano Course at Satsuki Golf Club in Japan, which measures 964 yards, or 881 metres, from the back tees and is one of the few par-7 holes in the world. Guinness World Records states, ‘All records listed on our website are current and up-to-date’ but, neverthless, in November, 2018, Ladies European Tour professional Florentyna Parker posted pictorial evidence of an even longer hole, also a par-7, at the Gunsan Country Club in South Korea.
The Gunsam Country Club occupies 1,060 acres of low-lying, flat land, formerly a salt field, in North Jeolla Province in the southwest of the Korean Peninsula. All told, Gunsan Country Club consists of 81 golf holes, 63 of which are open to the public, but the hole in question is the third on the Jeongeup Course; a photograph of the tee marker confirmed the yardage as 1,098 yards, or 1,004 metres, or a jaunty seven-minute walk, just to cover the distance, never mind negotiating the water hazards that surround the hole, left and right.