On This Day

  • April 27 down the years

A Challenge Cup cracker

St Helens were rewarded for their dominance against Bradford Bulls © Getty Images
Enlarge

1996
In rugby league's highest-scoring Challenge Cup final, St Helens and Bradford Bulls amassed 13 tries and 72 points. Saints went first, Steve Prescott scoring two tries in the first 18 minutes. But tries by Jonathan Scales and Robbie Paul and the boot of Paul Cook gave Bradford a 14-12 half-time lead, and the Bulls seemed to have disappeared over the horizon when further tries by Saints old boy Bernard Dwyer and Paul put them 26-1 after 56 minutes. But although Paul won the Lance Todd Trophy for man of the match, it was St Helens' Bobbie Goulding who changed the course of the match - with the help of poor Nathan Graham. Bradford's coach Brian Smith picked Graham for his specialist full-back skills, including his safety under the high ball. You know the irony that's coming. When Goulding put up his first bomb, Graham committed the cardinal sin of letting the ball bounce - in the in-goal area, too. Keiron Cunningham jumped up to catch and score. Three minutes later, Goulding hit another high ball, Graham jumped and missed, Simon Booth scored. Same again soon afterwards: another Goulding moonball, another try, this time by Ian Pickavance. Suddenly St Helens were 30-26 ahead. Goulding thought Graham was 'outstanding' in the first half, but coach Shaun Macrae told him 'to keep going at him and he would crack.' Arnold scored his second try, and although Paul brought Bradford back into it with his third, Goulding made the clincher for big Apollo Perelini. The Bulls scored 32 points but lost by eight. Paul set records in defeat. The youngest captain in any final (20 years 84 days); the first player to score three tries in a final at Wembley; the only player to score three for the losing side. He was the first Lance Todd winner for a losing team since 1979, but he had better luck on April 26, 2003. Poor Paul Loughlin, Bradford's international centre, finished a runner-up for the fourth time. The following year, he set a record by doing it again. His first three defeats were with St Helens, the other two against them. He never won a winner's medal.

1995
The third maximum at snooker's World Championships. The previous year, Stephen Hendry had beaten Jimmy White in the final for the fourth time. Today he scored a 147 on the way to beating him 16-12 in the semi. Before White's first-round match with Peter Francisco, some massive bets had been placed on a 10-2 win for White. When he won by that score, Francisco was banned for five years. Hendry won the final for the fourth year in a row.

1908
The Olympic Games opened in London. They didn't close until October 31. For the first and only time, Britain topped the medals table. And how. Their 56 golds were more than the USA's total of medals of any metal. With many events contested only by British competitors, the hosts won a staggering 146 medals in all.

2003
The 16-year-old Chaz Davies of Wales became the youngest motorcyclist to score a World Championship point in a 250cc race when he finished 15th at the South African Grand Prix.

1994
Scottish cycling genius Graeme Obree regained the world hour record from England's Chris Boardman. Boardman set his record in Bordeaux, so Obree went to the same town and covered 52,713 metres to improve Boardman's distance by 443. Obree's latest record was broken by Miguel Induráin on the same track in September. When the Scot set his first, on July 17, 1993, he rode a homemade bike in the 'Superman' position he invented.

Alain Prost was one of the stars of Formula One in the 1980s © Sutton Images
Enlarge

1986
Alain Prost won the third race of the Formula One season on his way to retaining the drivers' title. After engine failure in Brazil and third place in Spain, he finished ahead of Nélson Piquet at the San Marino Grand Prix. Britain's Nigel Mansell had engine trouble of his own. The dropped points cost him the title: he finished only two behind Prost. But it was the excruciating finish in Australia on October 26, that really did it.

1975
Another Formula One race, another tragedy in a dangerous decade. A number of circuits simply weren't safe enough in those days: the list of drivers who died during races would fill a webpage. Today Émerson Fittipaldi refused to start the Spanish Grand Prix because crash barriers hadn't been assembled securely in time for practice. Other drivers were dissatisfied with the barriers but took part under pressure from the organisers. At the start of the 26th lap, unheralded German Rolf Stommelen was in the lead when the rear wing fell off his car and he crashed through a barrier at 150 mph. Five people were killed: a photographer, a fire marshal, and three spectators. Stommelen escaped with multiple fractures. Another German, Jochen Mass, was awarded the race when it was stopped after 29 of the scheduled 75 laps. It was his only win in 105 starts.

1906
The youngest male medallist in Olympic track and field. When the Games went back to Athens ten years after the first modern Olympics, the locals seemed to be looking for a throwing event they could win and the Americans wouldn't. After the disappointment of the discus on April 6, 1896, they came up with a stone. A rock. Strange enough in itself, but so was the weight of the thing. There'd already been a five-mile race in this metric country (won by a British runner on April 25), and maybe someone liked the idea of a stone that weighed a stone, ho ho. Anyway, a 14-pound weight it was - and this time the Greeks got it right. Nicolaos Georgantas won the event, ahead of the USA's Martin Sheridan (born March 28, 1881), who won the shot putt on the same day after retaining the discus title earlier in the week. The Greek who finished third in the stone throw was strong for his age. Mikhel Dorizas threw it a fraction under 61 feet, less than five behind the winner. Quite something for a boy just ten days past his 16th birthday. It was the only time the event was held in the Olympics.

1968
After the WBA stripped Muhammad Ali of the world title for refusing to go and shoot people in Vietnam, they organised a tournament to find his successor. Tonight Jimmy Ellis won the final by keeping Jimmy Quarry at arm's length and winning on points. But it was all very unconvincing. One of the judges scored it a draw; Ellis had once been Ali's sparring partner; and Quarry was far too limited to be a credible White Hope. There was a sense of someone keeping a throne warm. Ellis knew he'd have to fight Joe Frazier sometime - though it took until February 16, 1970.

1878
John Rimmer was born in Lancashire. One of the very few British track and field athletes to win two gold medals at one Olympics, he finished first in a very close 4,000 metres steeplechase on July 16, 1900 and helped win the 5,000 metre team race six days later. The following year, he won the AAA four-miles race.

© ESPN EMEA LTD
Close