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  • November 22 down the years

The greatest moment in English rugby?

The sporting events of November 22 down the years
Jonny Wilkinson drops 'that' goal for England © Getty Images
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2003
If you're Australian, the drop goal from hell. If you're English, the grand finale to the biggest win ever. Jonny Wilkinson won the rugby union World Cup.

England shouldn't have needed his late winner. Their nine-point half-time lead should have been fourteen or more, Ben Kay having dropped the ball in front of an open line. Then in the second half they were refereed out of it by South Africa's André Watson, who penalised them for dominating Australia's notoriously crumbly front row. But if England had won by the margin they deserved, we wouldn't have had that incredible climax from the player of the tournament. With his wrong foot, too. Thanks to his various injuries, this was Wilko's last international match until 2005. It was captain Martin Johnson's last, full stop: he retired from Test rugby at the top. Meanwhile revenge had been a long time coming for Jason Leonard, who was on the losing side against Australia in the 1991 final.

1986
Yup, Mike Tyson was as scary as we thought. Even his lack of socks was oddly intimidating. Here he was, only 20 years old, in his first world title fight, flattening WBC champion Trevor Berbick twice in the second round. The sight of the experienced Berbick rolling around on the ring with his senses intact but his legs refusing to comply was positively unnerving. Tyson was the youngest world heavyweight champion and looked set for a very long reign. Then, in his 10th defence, on February 11, 1990...his world fell apart.

1967
Boris Becker was born. One of the most intimidating fast-court players of all time, he exploded onto the scene by winning Wimbledon in 1985 when he was only 17. He was the only unseeded player to win a Wimbledon singles title, which he won twice more before he was 22, after which the muscular frame began to hinder rather than help. He was US Open champion in 1989 and Australian Open champion twice, and helped Germany win the Davis Cup for the first time. Although he never won a singles title on clay, he was an Olympic champion on that surface, winning the doubles with Michael Stich in 1992.

2008
Australia must be getting used to losing rugby World Cup finals at home. New Zealand shocked them 34-20 in Brisbane to win the rugby league version for the first time, prising their neighbours' fingers off the trophy they'd held since 1975.

2008
Ricky Hatton's last win, an 11th-round stoppage of Paul Malignaggi in defence of his IBO light-welterweight title, before the roof fell in on May 2, 2009.

1943
Billie Jean King was born. One of the greatest and most influential sportspeople of all time. Forget her win over a 55-year-old Bobby Riggs (September 20, 1973), which was a fairground attraction not a blow for gender equality; it was her constant lobbying that won the girls a fairer share of the prize money, and her ability on the court that raised the profile of the women's game. She won her first Wimbledon title in 1961 when she was 17 and her 20th in 1979, a total equalled only by Martina Navrátilová (born October 18, 1956). Half of her twelve Grand Slam singles titles were won at Wimbledon, where she was also the last player to achieve the triple crown of singles, doubles, and mixed, back in 1973.

1997
James Craig won his first cap for Scotland at rugby union - 30 years to the day after his father Jim won his only cap for Scotland at football.

1997
George Foreman's last fight. At the age of 49, he lost a decision to Shannon Briggs (age of 27), 28 years after his pro debut in 1969.

1971
Kyran Bracken was born. But for injuries, it might have been him and not Matt Dawson in the 2003 World Cup final - and England wouldn't have suffered. He lacked Daws' knack of making a telling break, but his passing was superior. But injuries it was, including one on his debut, when All Black flanker Jamie Joseph stamped on his ankle. Others kept him out of the 1995 and 1999 World Cups. He won his 51st and last cap in the 2003 semi-final. Ireland would happily have had him: he was born in Dublin.

1996
Pakistan squash legend Jansher Khan beat Australia's Rodney Eyles 15-3 in the fourth game to win the World Open for the eighth and last time, a record that still stands. He was favourite to win it again in Malaysia the following year, but didn't turn up because there was a court order there, to do with maintenance payments for his son after his separation from his Malaysian wife.

1969
Katrin Krabbe was born. Winning the sprint double at the 1990 European Championships and 1991 Worlds made her track and field's new golden girl. A tall attractive blonde, it seemed she only needed to stay upright for endorsements to keep rolling in and Olympic gold medals to give her neckache. Then it all fell apart. A failed drugs test kept her out of the 1992 Olympics, she became pregnant while she was suspended, and her sprinting career was effectively over at 22, one of the last to be manufactured in an East German lab.

1910
An invention that revolutionised a sport. Arthur Knight patented steel shafts for golf clubs.

1950
The lowest scoring game in NBA basketball history. The Fort Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18. What were they playing at?

1972
The North-West Counties came from 14-9 down with the wind in their faces to beat New Zealand 16-14 at Workington, the first win by an English club side against the All Blacks. Centre Chris Wardlow dropped a goal and made a try, and his tackling had to be felt to be believed.

1965
Ernie Terrell should have known better. He must have seen what Muhammad Ali did to Floyd Patterson for calling him Cassius Clay after he'd changed his name. But he still did the same in 1967 - and suffered even more than Floyd. Here in 1965, Ali was taller, faster, and a stone heavier than Patterson. He could have finished him early; instead he dragged the fight into the 12th round, taunting his challenger as he battered him, a cruelty we could have done without seeing. World champion himself back in 1956 (November 30), Floyd was never a contender again. The last fight of his career also ended in defeat by Ali, this time mercifully shorter: a 7th-round stoppage in 1972.

1997
In their first rugby union match at Old Trafford, England lost 25-8 to the All Blacks, conceding three tries to one.

1935
Ludmila Belousova was born. With her husband Oleg Protopopov, she formed an iconic ice skating pair, Olympic champions in 1964 and 1968.

1998
Stu Unger died of a heart condition brought on by years of drug use. Unbeatable gin rummy player turned three-time world champion poker player.

1995
Playing for Milan against Pontypridd, Massimo Giovanelli became the first player to be sent off in a Heineken Cup rugby match.

1968
Irina Privalova was born. Top sprinter turned Olympic gold medallist at 400 metre hurdles. She was European champion at 100 and 200 in 1994, at 200 again four years later, and won relay gold at the 1993 World Championships before that Olympic title in 2000. Married at 18, baby at 19, divorced at 20.

1943
Mushtaq Mohammed was born. A batting all-rounder talented enough to play his first Test at 15 and his last 20 years later, he scored ten Test centuries, with a highest score of 201 against New Zealand at Dunedin in February 1973, when he also took 5-49 with his leg-breaks to win the match by an innings. Stocky to the point of tubbiness, he had all the strokes and was especially good on difficult pitches. Pakistan had a strong batting line-up in the 1970s, but it was strong because it had Mushy in it. Three of his brothers also played Test cricket for Pakistan, including the great Hanif (see January 23, 1958).

1974
Two legends of West Indies cricket made their Test debuts. Against India in Bangalore, Gordon Greenidge came naggingly close to a hundred in his debut innings, run out for 93, while Viv Richards came perilously close to a duck first time out, dismissed for four after hitting a boundary. Greenidge reached that century in the second innings to help West Indies win by 267 runs. Viv made only three, but took the first two of his 122 Test catches.

1873
Alfred James Bowerman was born. His 59 in the second innings was the top score in the only cricket match ever held at the Olympics. The Devon & Somerset Wanderers won the title by dismissing a USFSA (French) XI for 78 and 26 in Paris in 1900.

1970
Marvan Atappatu was born. Vulnerable at the start of an innings, a limpet once he was set, he made only one run in his first six Test innings but turned six of his 16 Test hundreds into doubles. Three of those twin tons came against feeble Zimbabwe, but he made Test centuries against every other country, including the unbeaten 201 at Colombo that helped Sri Lanka beat England by an innings in 2001.

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