British Sports Hall of Fame 1938: Edgar Baerlein, Alex James, Gladys Lunn and Gwen Neligan

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame for 1938 are

Edgar Baerlein (Rackets and Real Tennis) – winner of the British Amateur rackets singles title a record nine times and the British Amateur real tennis singles title thirteen times.  He was also rackets doubles champion six times.  He won his first real tennis crown in 1912 but only really concentrated on the sport after World War I and dominated the event until 1930.  His number of singles titles remained the record until 1979.  He stayed at the top of real tennis at doubles until 1937 when he won his eleventh British title.  In 1931 he won the first British Open singles title when aged 51.  Internationally in 1923 he became the only man to beat the great American Jay Gould during his twenty year supremacy at real tennis from 1907 to 1926.

Alex James (Football) – one of the finest midfielders of the 1930s, he was a key player in the Arsenal team which dominated the English game in that decade.  He won the league four times and the FA Cup twice between 1930 and 1936 with Arsenal where he was used in a deep-lying role.  In his earlier career with Raith Rovers and Preston he had played in a more attacking position scoring eighty goals as an inside-forward.  Despite this great club success he only appeared eight times for Scotland following disputes with selectors.  He was one of the most famous sportsmen in Britain between the Wars.

Gladys Lunn  (Athletics) – one of the best middle-distance runners in the world for a decade in the  early days of women’s competition.  In 1925 she set a world best for the 880 yards with a time of 2:24.8.  She took more than six seconds of this time in 1930 when winning the first of five British titles at the distance.  In 1930 she won the World Women’s Games title at 800m.  In 1936 she set a world best for the mile and reduced that record twice down to a time of 5 minutes 17 seconds.  She also set two world records for the 1000m.  She was also a fine javelin thrower and won British titles at that event.  At the 1934 Empire Games she won the 880y and javelin and took bronze in javelin at the 1938 Games.  She was also international cross-country champion in 1931 and 1932.

Gwen Neligan (Fencing) – winner of the 1933 fencing European Championships title.  These championships were later awarded world championships status so she can be regarded as Britain’s first female world champion.  She won team silver medals at the championships in 1933 and 1934 when she narrowly missed out on defending her title.  She was British champion each year from 1934 to 1937.

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History of Sport 1911: First Indianapolis 500 and Monte Carlo Rally, Salchow’s 10th title, Larned’s 7th US Open

Some of the main events in sport from 1911.

John McDermott becomes both the first American-born man and the youngest golfer (19 years, 10 months) to win the US Open
Harold Hilton became the only British player to win the British and U.S. Amateur golf championships in the same year.
Harry Vardon wins his fifth Open Golf championship.

In Canadian football the 3rd Grey Cup is won, as were the first two, by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues who win14–7 against theToronto Argonauts.
The first use of the “mountain” circuit on the Isle of Man TT motorcycling course.


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The first Indianapolis 500 motor race is held. It was won by Ray Harroun in a Marmon Wasp at an average speed of 75 mph.


The first Monte Carlo Rally is held. It is won by Henri Rougier in a Turcat-Mery.

Ulrich Salchow wins his record tenth world figure skating title (his fifth in succession)
Lily Kronberger (Hungary) wins her fourth successive world figure skating title.
Five Nations Championship series is won by Wales who complete the inaugural Grand Slam by defeating all four of its opponents


In tennis the singles finals at Wimbledon made history as in the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championship – Anthony Wilding (New Zealand) defeats Herbert Barrett (GB) who retired with the match at two sets all.  The only time that the title has been won on a retirement.
In the Women’s Singles Championship  Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers defeats Dora Boothby 6–0 6–0.  The only time the losing finalist has failed to win a game.
Bill Larned wins his seventh US Open singles title (still a record), his fifth consecutive title, at the age of 38 years and 242 days.
Australasia win their fourth successive International Tennis Challenge (Davis Cup) title.


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Cy Young ends his baseball career with a record 511 games won as a pitcher since 1890.

In show-jumping the first King George V Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious individual competitions, is held.

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A short quiz on women’s cricket

In the first of an occasional series of quizzes,  here are fifteen questions on the history of women’s cricket to coincide with the final of the World Cup .  Answers at the bottom of the page.


1. In 1958 Betty Wilson was the first player (man or woman) to take 10 wickets and score a century in the same Test. In this match she also became the first woman to achieve which other feat.

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2. What is the name of the great English all-rounder (pictured) from Nottinghamshire who In Tests scored 1,078 runs at an average of 59.88, with 4 centuries, as well as taking 50 wickets at an average of 16.62 between 1968 and 1979?

3. Which well-known personality was England captain when the team won the first women’s world cup in 1973, two years before the first men’s World Cup?

4. Which English player was her country’s leading batsman between 1979 and 1998. Her total of 1,935 runs scored at an average of 49, is a record for Test matches?

5. In the 1997 world cup Australia scored a record 412 runs against which unlikely opponents from a nation not well known for cricket?
6. Over how many days does a women’s test match take place?

7. What is the main difference between men’s and women’s cricket in deciding which team wins an Ashes series?

8. In 2000 which nation became the only other team apart from England and Australia to win cricket world cup?

9. Which two European nations other than England have played test cricket, each having played just one match?

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10. In 2014 the woman in the picture became the first female player inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. She is the record holder for most test and One Day International runs, and ODI appearances for Australia.  Can you name her?

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11. In 2009 which England batsman (on the right in the picture above) was the first woman to be named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year. She was leading run scorer in the 2009 World Cup and was named player of the tournament in England’s winning Twenty20 team?
12. Which team won three successive World Twenty20 titles between 2010 and 2014?

13. Which English batsman (on the left in the picture above) became the first player, man or woman, to score 2500 runs in T20 internationals?

14. Which team won the women’s world Twenty20 Cup in 2016? Their men’s team also won their equivalent tournament.

15. Which Indian player, (pictured) the captain of their team in the 2017 World Cup, is the leading run scorer in ODIs?

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  1. She took the first Women’s Test hat-trick.
  2. Enid Bakewell
  3. Rachel Heyhoe-Flint
  4. Janette Brittin
  5. Denmark, who were making their only appearance in the competition.
  6. Four days, compared to men who play over five, although women are expected to bowl more overs in a day.
  7. The men’s Ashes series is only played in Test matches.  The women play a mixture of Test matches and limited overs games worth different points.  The highest points score wins the series.
  8. New Zealand
  9. Ireland and The Netherlands
  10. Belinda Clark
  11. Claire Taylor
  12. Australia
  13. Charlotte Edwards
  14. West Indies
  15. Mithali Raj




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World Sports Hall of Fame 1937: Frank Burge, Johan Grottumsbraten, Sonja Henie and Fred Perry

My choices for the World Sports Hall of Fame for 1937 are:


Frank Burge (Australia – Rugby League) – one of the greatest forwards in the history of rugby league, who was noted for his scoring ability. On the Australia tour of Britain in 1920/1 he scored 33 tries in 23 matches. This is the record for any forward on a tour. He could play anywhere in the forwards and could also kick goals. His career started at the age of 14 in rugby union where he is the youngest player at grade level in history. He switched to League and made his club debut for Glebe aged 16. He first played for New South Wales at 18 and for his country two years later. He played thirteen times for Australia from 1914 to 1922 scoring seven tries. In his club career from 1911 to 1927 he scored 146 tries in 167 games, a total not beaten by a forward for nearly eighty years. and was top scorer in the league three times, an amazing feat for a forward. In 1920 he scored eight tries in one match, a record.

Johan Grøttumsbraaten (Norway – Nordic Skiing) – the dominant figure in Nordic skiing and Nordic combined in the 1920s and early 1930s. He won three medals at the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924 and in 1928 he won golds in cross-country and Nordic combined to become the most successful athlete at the Games. He retained the combined title in 1932. He won three world championship titles, including a double in 1931. He is one of only four men to win the Holmenkollen Nordic Combined event five times, which he did begtween 1923 and 1931.

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Sonja Henie (Norway – Figure Skating) – the most successful figure skater in the history of the sport. She was unbeaten from 1927 to 1936, winning a record ten consecutive world titles in those years, the European title each year from 1931 to 1936 and the Olympic golds of 1928,1932 and 1936.  Those three Olympic titles also remain a record total unmatched by any female solo figure skater.  She had made her Olympic debut 11 in 1924 and was second in the 1926 world championships, her last defeat.  She revolutionised the sport with her flair and style to become the most popular skater the world has seen.  Following her retirement from the sport she went into films.  She was one of the greatest movie stars of the 1930s.

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Fred Perry (Great Britain – Tennis) – arguably the greatest British tennis player ever. He won the Wimbledon men’s singles title each year from 1934 to 1936, the US Open three times (in 1933,1934 and 1936) the French Open in 1935 and the Australian Open in 1934.  These eight titles made him the first man to win all of the major singles.  He also won two men’s doubles and four mixed doubles titles in Grand Slams.  In Davis Cup he won nine out of ten singles matches and 45 out of 52 matches overall.  This helped Britian win the Cup every year from 1933 to 1936. He continued to play tennis for some years after turning professional at the end of the 1936 season.

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The History of Sport – 1910: Meriel Lucas sets the record for All-England Badminton titles, Boxing’s first “fight of the century”

1910 was a fairly quiet one in sport but here are some of the notable events from that year:

In football Manchester United move from Bank Street to present home Old Trafford.

Celtic win their sixth successive Scottish league title.

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In boxing’s first “fight of the century”, Jack Johnson knocks out the “great white hope” James J. Jeffries in the 15th round to retain his World Heavyweight Championship title.

In ice-hockey the National Hockey Association (NHA) commences its inaugural season

In rugby union France joins the Home Nations Championship which then becomes the Five Nations Championship. They lose 49-14 to Wales in Swansea with Billy Bancroft kicking eight conversions and a penalty (a record number of goals in an international match).

The International Skiing Commission is founded in Christiania (Oslo).

Trampolines are used in show-business performances by “The Walloons”.

The first steel-shafted golf clubs are patented by Arthur Knight of Schenectady, New York.

Meriel Lucas wins her sixth All-England women’s singles badminton title. She also wins her tenth women’s doubles title to finish her career with 17 titles since 1899. This remains a record for a woman.

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The Greatest Hammer Throwers of All-Time: Yuriy Sedykh and Anita Włodarczyk

Another in the occasional series giving my choice as the greatest athletes in the various athletics events.  This time it is the hammer throw.  This is one of the trickier events to choose a number one.  There have been several throwers who have dominated for a number of years but the most dominant athletes have appeared at opposite ends of the twentieth century.  This adds to the difficulty of comparisons as the difference in strength of competition has to be considered.   This is my choice of the top ten.

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  1. Yuriy Sedykh (USSR/Ukraine)
  2. John Flanagan (USA)
  3. The top three were clear of the rest for me but the order of those three was difficult.  Sedykh had a long and distinguished career which saw him win the Olympic titles in 1976 and 1980 (and a silver in 1988), the world championship in 1991, and three successive European Championship golds in 1978, 1982 and 1986.  The third of these saw one of the greatest hammer competition in history when Sedykh and his great rival Sergey Litvinov exchanged the lead with some of the longest throws ever seen until Sedykh eventually won the gold.  His throw that day still stands as the world record.  Such a long standing record will raise a few eyebrows, especially with so many throwing events tarnished with drug affected results, but Sedykh never failed a drug test and so I am happy to consider him, although with a slight doubt.  His closest rivals were also from regimes with questionable practices at a time of strong competition.  Flanagan was Olympic champion three times, in 1900, 1904 and 1908.  In the second and third of those competitions he broke the world record on his way to gold.  He was the dominant figure in the event for the first decade of the 20th century having already staked a claim to be the best in the world in the final years of the 19th.  He won the American championship in 1897 to 1899 at a time when Americans, and in particular Irish-Americans like Flanagan, were the best in the world.  Ryan was another of these “Irish Whales” who dominated the hammer in the early 20th century.  He was the best thrower of the 1910s but because of the World War was denied a shot at Olympic glory until 1920.  He seized that chance, taking gold by the largest margin in the history of the event (4.6 metres).  His greatest throw came in 1913 when he set the first official world record  in the hammer.  His throw of 57.77m stood as a world record for 25 years and an American record for forty.  He won the AAU (American) title every year from 1913 to 1921 (except 1918 when he was away) so could claim to be the best in the world in those years.  As stated previously this is hard to assess but the depth of competition just makes me go for Sedykh (number one in the world for eight years) over the two Irish-Americans.

  4. Sergey Litvinnov (USSR/Russia) twice world champion and the Olympic champion in 1988 and silver medallist in 1980.  He won two European medals and set three world records.
  5. Pat O’Callaghan (Ireland) Olympic champion in 1928 and 1932.  He could have added a third in 1936 but a dispute with athletics federations meant he missed the Games.  In 1937 he exceeded the 24 year old world record in an unofficial competition.
  6. Matt McGrath (USA) in a remarkably long career he was the Olympic champion in 1912 and took silver in 1908 and in 1924 (aged 47, still the record age for an American track and field athlete medallist).  He had a great rivalry with Pat Ryan over many years and broke the world record twice before Ryan’s 1913 epic throw.
  7. Imre Nemeth (Hungary) Olympic champion in 1948 and second in 1952.  He broke the world record three times.
  8. Karl Storch (Germany) The dominant thrower of the early 1940s when Germans were the world’s best but unable to compete in the Olympics.
  9. Anatoliy Bondarchuk (USSR) Olympic champion in 1972, third 1976 and twice broke the world record.  He was European champion in 1969.  He later became the greatest coach in the event.
  10. Koji Mirofushi (Japan) Mirofushi is probably the best of the 21st century throwers with a world and Olympic title plus three other global medals in a long career at the top level.


For the women’s event I am only choosing a top three as it is such a new event.  Although it has only been an international event for twenty years or so a few of the athletes who would be considered have tested positive for drugs and they miss out.  In fact there aren’t too many to choose from when these are removed from consideration.  This leaves my top three as.

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  1. Anita Włodarczyk (Poland) – the  Olympic champion  in 2012 and 2016, and world champion in 2009 and 2015.  She has broken the world record six times since 2009 and was the first woman to throw more than 80m.  She has also won three European championships.

2. Ypsi Moreno (Cuba) – three times world champion consecutively between 2001 and 2005.  She surprisingly came only second in the 2004 Olympics but took the gold in 2008.

Reasonably close between these two but Wlodarczyk has been so good in the last few years that she is clear of Moreno.  There is then a big gap.

3. Betty Heidler (Germany) – world champion in 2007 and European champion in 2010.  She has won two world and one Olympic silver medal.  She held the world record from 2011 to 2014.

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British Sports Hall of Fame 1937: Jack “Kid” Berg, Steve Donoghue, Nellie Halstead and Harold Larwood

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame in 1937 are:

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Jack “Kid” Berg (Boxing) – one of the best British boxers of his time.  He was a precocious youngster who in a non-title bout aged sixteen beat the British featherweight champion.  He had a very successful career in Britain over the next three years before fighting well in the USA.  In 1930 he took the NBA title of the world light welterweight title and defended the title three times.  After an unsuccessful challenge for the world lightweight title he won his first British title in 1934 and held this lightweight title until 1936.  He continued his career at a lower level to finish with a total of 157 wins from 192 contests.

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Steve Donoghue (Horse Racing) – the British champion flat racing jockey every year from 1914 to 1923.  His highest total was 143 in 1920 and he rode over 100 winners in four other seasons.  He rode fourteen Classic winners between 1915 and 1937 including six winners of the Derby with three of those coming in successive years in 1921 to 1923.  He rode 1845 winners in total and also had success in France and Ireland, where he was champion jockey in 1908.  He was the most popular jockey with the public of the 1920s.

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Nellie Halstead (Athletics) – a versatile runner of the early 1930s who set world record times at four distances.  In 1930 she broke the world record for 220 yards and in 1931 for 100 yards.  Her finest run came in 1932 when she broke her own 440 yards record by two seconds.  Her time of 56.8 seconds was unsurpassed at the distance until 1950.  She set an unratified world record at 880 yards in 1935.  In championships she won bronze at the 200m in the 1930 World Women’s Games and the 220 yards at the 1934 Empire Games.  In relays she won medals at the 1932 Olympics and 1934 Empire Games.  She won eleven WAAA titles at distances from 100 yards to 880 yards.

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Harold Larwood (Cricket) – one of he most feared bowlers in the history of English cricket due to his express pace.  He took over 100 wickets in a season eight times between 1926 and 1936 with a highest total of 162 in 1932.  That year saw him heading the England bowling attack in the notorious Bodyline tour of Australia.  His role in that tour brought an end to his Test career, which had seen him take 178 wickets since 1926.  He was top of the first class bowling averages five times and in his first class career took 1427 at an exceptional average of 17.51.  He was also a decent batsman who scored 98 in his final test match which was the highest score made by a night-watchman.

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