• Ask Steven

Seve's Augusta angst and Bolton's record claim

Steven Lynch February 6, 2012
Ken Jones used his speed to great effect in more than one sport © PA Photos
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Who scored a try for Wales against the All Blacks, five years after winning an athletics medal at the Olympics? asked Barry Dowsett

This sporting allrounder was the Welshman Ken Jones. Born in 1921, he initially came to prominence as a sprinter, although by the time of the 1948 Olympics in London he had already made his Welsh rugby debut as a flying winger, scoring two tries against Scotland in his second match in February 1947. At the Olympics the following year Jones was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100 metres, but ran the third leg of the 4x100-metre relay, in which the British team finished second in the final behind a powerful United States quartet. For a while Jones and his colleagues thought he had won gold, as the Americans were initially disqualified for a faulty handover, but they were eventually reinstated. Jones received the baton from John Gregory, who would later win a rugby cap for England. In rugby Jones toured New Zealand with the British Lions in 1950, scoring two tries, one of them after a dramatic 50-yard sprint. He eventually scored 19 international tries, the most famous of them coming at Cardiff Arms Park in December 1953, when Jones's late score helped Wales to a rare victory over the All Blacks.

Which club has spent the longest time in English football's top division without ever winning it? asked David Lonergan via Facebook

The answer here is Bolton Wanderers, who are currently in the middle of their 73rd season in the top division of English club football, and have still never won it (and, with due respect to the Bolton faithful, they're not going to win it this season either!). Bolton's best position is third, which they have managed three times, most recently in 1924-25. They have, however, won the FA Cup four times, three times in the 1920s and also in 1957-58, when they beat a Manchester United side still reeling from the Munich Air Disaster. If you reverse this question, the side which has spent the fewest seasons in the top flight but have won it is Ipswich Town (26).

Is it true that Martina Navratilova only lost one singles match one year? asked Mark Bradford

The year in question was 1983 when, remarkably, Martina Navratilova won 86 of her 87 singles matches in tournament play. Her only reverse came in the fourth round of the French Open, when she crashed to a shock defeat (4-6 6-0 3-6) against the unheralded American Kathy Horvath. Perhaps surprised by this surprise victory, Horvath went out in the next round (to Mima Jausovec, who would lose to Chris Evert in the final), and she never did win a grand slam singles title. Navratilova won the other three major titles that year, and the first three the following year as well. In fact she lost only six singles matches all told in the period 1982-84. Just for good measure, also in 1983 Navratilova embarked on a streak of 109 successive wins in doubles matches, invariably playing with Pam Shriver.

Seve Ballesteros won five majors in a colourful career © Getty Images
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Who won the Masters twice but missed the cut both times he tried to defend the title? asked David Moore

The man with this up-and-down record is the late great Severiano Ballesteros. The first European golfer to win at Augusta, in 1980, Seve missed the halfway cut the following year after rounds of 78 and 76: Tom Watson went on to win for the second time. Ballesteros bounced back to win his own second title in 1983, but struggled again the following year, carding 73 and 74 to miss the cut by just one shot. Ben Crenshaw went on to collect the first of his two green jackets.

Apparently the great Sugar Ray Robinson lost to three British boxers. Who were they? asked James McDonald

The most famous of these defeats came at the height of Sugar Ray's career, when he was surprisingly relieved of the world middleweight title by Randolph Turpin, from Leamington near Birmingham, on points after their fight at Earls Court in London in July 1951. Robinson avenged this defeat - and reclaimed his title - in New York two months later. The other two defeats to British boxers came later in Robinson's career, once his title-winning days were behind him. Londoner Terry Downes - also a previous world middleweight champion - beat him on points at Wembley in 1962, and then in September 1964 Robinson (who was 43 by then) lost another points decision to Mick Leahy in Glasgow. Leahy, though born in Ireland, held British citizenship by then. Sugar Ray is usually credited with 173 wins from 200 professional fights - he only lost 19, and most of those were late in his career.

Which Test cricketer owned a horse that ran in the Breeders Cup? asked William Langley

I think the only man who fits the bill here is David Brown, the former Warwickshire fast bowler (and captain), who took 79 wickets in 26 Tests for England in the 1960s. After retiring from playing (and later managing Warwickshire), Brown and his wife Trish ran a stud farm in the Wyre Forest. Their most famous product was a horse called Bolshoi, which in 1988 finished seventh in the Breeders Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in 1998. Earlier that year Bolshoi had won the prestigious King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

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