What is the wooden spoon?

What is the wooden spoon? The wooden spoon is figurative booby prize awarded, in good-natured ridicule, to the team that finishes bottom of the table in the annual Six Nations rugby tournament. Historically, a real, physical wooden spoon was presented to the student who achieved the lowest mark in the final honours degree examinations, known as tripos, in mathematics at Cambridge University, but still earned a third-class degree. The last such spoon was awarded at Cambridge University in 1909, but 15 years earlier, the ‘South Wales Daily Post’ had already used the term, in the correct sense, in connection with rugby union.

The Six Nations began life as the Home Nations Championship – as the name suggests, featuring just England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales – in 1883. Since then, Ireland has won the wooden spoon 29 times, followed by Scotland on 21, England on 19 and Wales on 16. The Home Nations Championship became the Five Nations Championship between 1910-1931 and 1947-1999, with the addition of France, and the Six Nations Championship from 2000 onwards, with the addition of Italy. France has won the wooden spoon 12 times, but Italy has already finished bottom of the table in 13 of its 19 appearances.

How many runs can be scored off a single delivery?

How many runs can be scored off a single delivery? Generally speaking, the maximum number of runs that can be scored off a single delivery is six, achieved by hitting the ball over the boundary on the full. However, legend has it that in a match between Western Australia and Victoria in 1894 the ball became lodged in a tree, in sight, but out of reach, and the batsmen completed 286 runs while it was being recovered. More plausible, perhaps, is the 17 runs scored off a single ball by Garry Chapman for Banyule against Macleod in a Grade cricket match at Windsor Park, Victoria, in 1989, when the ball was lost in long grass in the outfield.

Chapman is recognised by Guinness World Records, but in first-class cricket, even Test cricket, instances of eight, nine or ten runs off a single legal delivery are not unknown. In the Test match between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane in 2008, for example, Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds scored four off the bat, all run, plus four overthrows for a total of eight runs. In 1842, in a first-class match between Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Cambridge University, the Hon. Frederick George Brabazon ‘Fred’ Ponsonby scored nine, all run, off a single delivery on the vast expanse of Parker’s Piece, Cambridge. Ten runs off a single delivery has happened a couple of times in first-class cricket and was recorded most recently by Samuel Hill-Wood for Derbyshire against MCC at Lord’s in 1900.

In 2003, Yorkshire fast bowler Ryan Sidebottom did, effectively, concede 11 runs off a single legal delivery in a first-class match against Glamorgan, but bowled five consecutive wides before being hit for six and retiring hurt.

Can jockeys still remount?

Can jockeys still remount? Historically, jockeys could, and frequently did, remount horses that fell, unseated rider or refused during races, in order to complete the course and collect prize money. Sir Anthony McCoy, for example, famously remounted odds-on favourite, Family Business, to finish alone and win a race at Southwell in January, 2003, in which all seven starters failed to complete the course unscathed.

However, since November, 2009, when the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduced new safety rules, jockeys are not allowed to remount horses after the start of a race. Jockeys may remount, with the permission of the racecourse doctor or veterinary surgery, if they are unseated during the preliminaries but, once the race is underway, may only remount, with permission, for the purpose of riding back to the unsaddling enclosure.

Of course, the rule change introduced the possibility of races being declared void in the event of no finishers. Indeed, that eventually famously happened for the first time in a novices’ chase at Towcester in March, 2011; two of four the runners fell at one fence early on in the race and, at the same fence on the second circuit, the favourite refused and unseated his rider, hampering the only remaining runner so badly that he, too, unseated his rider.

Which is the oldest of the five English Classics?

Which is the oldest of the five English Classics? The five English Classics are, of course, the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, the Oaks Stakes, the Derby Stakes and the St. Leger Stakes. At least, that is the order in which the Classics are run in the modern racing calendar, but they all came into existence at slightly different times.

Indeed, the St. Leger Stakes, which is run over 1 mile 6 furlongs at Doncaster in September, may be the final Classic of the season, but was, in fact, the first to be inaugurated. The brainchild of Major General Anthony St. Leger, a local army officer and politician, the St. Leger Stakes was first run, as ‘a sweepstake of 25 guineas’, on Cantley Common in 1776, before moving to Town Moor two years later.

Next, chronologically, came the Oaks Stakes, devised by Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby and friends, and first run on Epsom Downs in 1779. The Derby Stakes, co-founded by Smith-Stanley and his friend, Sir Charles Bunbury – who, according to legend, tossed a coin to decide after which of them the race was named – followed a year later. Decades later, in his capacity as Jockey Club Steward, Sir Charles Bunbury was also responsible for establishing the 2,000 Guineas, first run at Newmarket in 1809, and the 1,000 Guineas, five years later.

1 5 6 7 8 9