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  • January 19 down the years

Legendary commentator Bill McLaren dies

The sporting events of January 19 down the years
Bill McLaren was known as 'the voice of rugby' © Getty Images
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2010
Former commentator Bill McLaren, known affectionately as 'the voice of rugby', died aged 86. McLaren's celebrated broadcasting career with the BBC led him to become a focal part of the rugby landscape and he remains the only non-player to be inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. He was awarded an OBE, CBE and MBE for his services to the sport and retired in 2002.

2014
Sir Chris Chataway, the former 5,000 metres world record holder, died aged 82. Chataway helped pace Sir Roger Bannister to break the four-minute mile barrier, the same year in which he set the world record and was named the first-ever BBC Sports Personality of the Year. After a distinguished running career, which saw him win the Commonwealth Games three miles title crown in 1954, Chataway went on to enjoy a success in both broadcasting and politics. He was knighted in 1995 for services to the aviation industry and kept on running well into his latter years, completing the Great North Run half marathon course in one hour 38 minutes and 50 seconds in 2006 - aged 75.

1937
The great Benny Lynch became undisputed champion of the world. Not that there was much dispute. Even the NBA in America acknowledged him after his second-round destruction of Lancashire's Jackie Brown. But New York recognised Small Montana, so the two had to meet. Montana, a Filipino whose real name was Benjamin Gan, was a speedy flyweight with a good punch, but Benny Lynch was Benny Lynch, so Small did well to last the whole 15 rounds. Lynch had it all. He died of drink when he was only 33, which added to the legend. At his peak, he was a little Scottish hornet who punched way above his weight but could take it as well as dish out. He only forfeited the world title when the booze took hold and made him overweight for his last defence.

2002
Tony Allcock of England regained the world indoor bowls title he last won 15 years earlier. His opponent, Scotland's Richard Corsie, had also lost the final the previous year and last won it in 1993.

1980
Jenson Button was born. In a career with more stops than starts, he began it as the youngest British driver to start a Formula One race (the 2000 Australian Grand Prix), then had to wait until his 113th to win one for the first time (Hungary 2006), and finally was on the point of dropping out altogether when Ross Brawn put together a last-minute package. Even then, the downs threatened to beat the ups. After winning six of the first seven Grands Prix in 2009, Button didn't win any of the last ten as rival teams made inroads but he was able to hold on for tittle glory. Has moved on to race alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2010.

2008
Britain's Matt Skelton lost in his bid for the WBA heavyweight title, but he took Ruslan Chagaev the full 12 rounds. Not bad for a 41-year-old former Thai boxing champion.

1984
Francesco Moser became the first cyclist to cover 50 kilometres in an hour. In the thin air of Mexico City, he broke the record set by Eddie Merckx in the same city in 1972. Moser broke it again four days later, setting a record that lasted until 1993. A few years later, he admitted to blood doping before the event. It wasn't illegal at the time.

1966
Stefan Edberg was born. Unlike Björn Borg and Mats Wilander, he was one of the best serve-volleyers. Especially volleyers. Fast hands that were severe or delicate as required. He reached three Wimbledon singles finals in a row, all against Boris Becker, beating him in 1988 and 1990. He retained the US Open title by beating Pete Sampras in 1992, won consecutive Australian Opens, and came very close to joining the short list of men who won all four Grand Slam tournaments. In the final of the French in 1989, he led by two sets to one before being worn down by the inexhaustible retrieving of 17-year-old Michael Chang. Edberg helped Sweden win the Davis Cup three times.

1980
After their brainstorms of the 1970s, the England selectors got it right in time for their first Five Nations match of the new decade. They picked a pack of world-class forwards who knew how to look after themselves, two good finishers on the wings, and Steve Smith and John Horton at half-back - then the team fell 9-3 behind. Ireland had some very ordinary backs but a superb fly-half in Ollie Campbell, whose three penalties answered one by 'Dusty' Hare. Same old, same old? Not this time. The England forwards got their reward when they set up Smith for a try, then just before half-time Ireland's full-back gifted his hosts a try, Kevin O'Brien misjudging the bounce of the ball to let in Mike Slemen. England were very good value for their 24-9 win. Even when they were unlucky, they were lucky. Tony Bond's broken leg brought on Clive Woodward for his first cap, and he had a big say in the Grand Slam match on March 15.

Benny Lynch was a titan in the ring © Getty Images
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1949
Dennis Taylor was born in County Tyrone. Snooker player with outsize specs turned TV commentator. He won the Rothmans Grand Prix in 1984 and reached the final of the World Championship in 1979. What else? Appeared on that drippy Chas & Dave snooker song. Oh yes, and world trickshot champion a couple of times. Apart from that, not much. Just a single black ball against Steve Davis that changed his life for ever on April 29, 1995.

1991
The admirably dogged Dennis Andries made the last successful defence of his WBC light-heavyweight title. After being horribly outclassed by Tommy Hearns in 1987, he went back to the gym, learned new skills, and won the vacant title two years later. He lost it to Australia's Jeff Harding but won it back in 1990. Today he was in Melbourne again to win a unanimous decision against Guy Walters. Four months later, he lost the title to Harding again.

1970
Tim Foster was born. Britain's coxless four at the 2000 Olympics had the power of Pinsent, Redgrave, and Cracknell - which wouldn't have been enough for gold without Tim Foster. They won by only 0.38 of a second. Lighter and less beefy, distinctive with his long blond hair and ready smile, in training Foster beat all the heavyweights in a single scull, the true test of boat-moving ability. His chronic bad back nearly kept him out of the golden boat: he had a second vertebra removed in 1998. After bronze at the 1996 Olympics, he helped the big three win the World Championships in 1997 and 1998.

1848
Matthew Webb was born in Shropshire. On August 25, 1875, he became the first person to swim the English Channel. He died in 1883 trying to swim across Niagara Falls.

1985
Colin Jones of Wales was a big-punching welterweight who couldn't have come much closer to a world title. In two classic boxer v puncher fights, he drew with Milt McCrory and lost the rematch on a split decision. Excruciating. But today he faced a man with a punch as big as his own. Don Curry was known as The Cobra for a reason. He was unbeaten as a pro when he came to Birmingham to defend two world titles. He kept them with a fourth-round knockout, and Jones didn't fight again. Curry was regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, so Britain's Lloyd Honeyghan wasn't given much of a chance on September 27, 1986.

1945
Richard Dunn was born in Yorkshire. Craggy blond heavyweight who earned a shot at the world title in 1976 by becoming European champion a few weeks earlier. The world title at the time was held by a certain M Ali, so this was something of a mismatch. It ended mercifully enough in the fifth round, but Dunn's cheeky little punch behind his back showed he could mix it with the great man as a comedian. Later that year, he lost his British title in the first round when for once Joe Bugner threw a punch like he meant it.

1914
The unique Hans Redl was born. He lost his left arm in the Second World War, so they let him serve by throwing the ball up with his tennis racquet. Imagine how hard that is to get right. He played his first Wimbledon singles match in 1947, when he was already a veteran, beating John Archer in four sets after losing the first. He competed in the Championships until 1956, reaching the third round in 1953, and played for Austria in the Davis Cup.

1900
Frank Devlin was born in Ireland. The top badminton player of the 1920s, he won the All-England singles title five years in a row and regained it in 1931. His daughter Judy won the women's title for a record 10th time on March 18, 1967 as well as the doubles seven times.

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