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  • January 27 down the years

The best try of all time?

The sporting events of January 27 down the years
Gareth Edwards: Tough to stop in full flow © Getty Images
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1973
The best try of all time? Certainly the one that's shown most often. In the second minute of the match between the Barbarians and the All Blacks in Cardiff, Phil Bennett fielded a bouncing ball in his own 25, dropped his shoulder three times to beat would-be tacklers, then moved the ball on to his left. It went through JPR Williams, John Pullin, John Dawes, inside to Tom David, to Derek Quinnell, who threw a one-handed pass towards John Bevan on the left wing. Gareth Edwards got there first and scooted 30 yards or so to dive over in the corner. It set the tone of the match. Some wonderful sidesteps by David Duckham broke New Zealand's defence in midfield; Fergus Slattery and Bevan scored tries; and the Baa-Baas led 17-0 at half-time. Little Batty demonstrated why he was the star of the tour with two tries of his own, including one where he showed the world how to get past JPR: chip it over him and run round. But Duckham blasted through again and JPR had his revenge with a try five minutes from the end. It finished 23-11, the only time the Barbarians beat the All Blacks until 2009, when the team included players from outside Britain.

1991
One of the most famous missed kicks in history. Right at the end of the Super Bowl, New York Giants led 21-19, leaving Buffalo Bills only enough time for a field goal attempt. Scott Norwood had kicked one to level the scores at 3-3, but that was way back when and now there were only eight seconds to go. The most dramatic kick in Super Bowl history. Norwood got the distance and aimed to the right hoping for a left draw. Didn't get it. His miss set the Bills on their way to the four-peat on January 12 1994. In cruel contrast, Matt Bahr kicked two field goals, including the winner. His brother Chris kicked points in the Super Bowl on January 22, 1984, and their dad Walter played in the USA's famous win over England at the 1950 football World Cup.

2008
Novak Djokovic won a Grand Slam singles title for the first time. In the final of the Australian Open, he met Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who'd beaten Rafael Nadal in the semis. Tsonga won the first set but lost the next three, including the fourth on a tie-break.

2001
Jennifer Capriati beat top seed Martina Hingis in the final. Capriati had won the gold medal in singles at the 1992 Olympics, and she'd been the youngest ever Wimbledon seed - but this was her first Grand Slam singles title. Hingis had won three Australian Opens in a row before losing the previous year's final. She lost the one after this too, to Capriati again, so she won the first three and lost the next three of six in a row.

1996
Another serial Australian Opener won her fourth title in the event. Monica Seles beat Anke Huber of Germany, who was playing in her only Grand Slam singles final. It was Seles' only Grand Slam singles title after the knife attack on April 30, 1993.

1991
Boris Becker won the title for the first time by stopping Ivan Lendl's attempt to win it three years in a row. Becker had spent the tournament feeling the effects of his five-hour marathon against Omar Camporese on January 18. Here he lost the first four games on the way to dropping the first set 6-1. He won each of the next three 6-4.

1990
The final was Steffi Graf's 48th match in a row without defeat. She had little trouble beating Mary Joe Fernandez to win the title for the third year in a row.

1940
Hugh Porter was born. One of Britain's top track cyclists, he won gold in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in 1966. In the same event, he won a medal in seven World Championships in a row and became the only man to win it four times, the first in 1968, the last on August 26, 1973. He married Olympic swimming champion Anita Lonsbrough.

1990
Welsh weightlifter David Morgan won three golds at the Commonwealth Games. He eventually competed in six Games, winning nine golds, the last two in 2002 when India's Satheesha Rai failed a drug test. Morgan also won six silvers.

1972
Keith Wood was born. Distinctively bald, an all-action hooker, he won 58 Ireland caps and five for the Lions. The only front-row forward to score 15 tries in international rugby, he got four of them in one match against the USA in 1999, equalling the record for a forward in any row. He showed his oomph in adversity by scoring two in a record 63-15 defeat by the All Blacks in 1997. A keen beekeeper, he produced honey that won the County Clare Golden Shamrock in 2007. His father Gordon was also a British Lion.

Keith Wood, the prop with an eye for a headline © Getty Images
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1975
Jim Watt stopped Johnny Cheshire in the seventh round to win the vacant British lightweight title. He'd lost it to Ken Buchanan on January 29, 1973.

1947
Chester Barnes was born. The great young star of British table tennis, he won the national title when he was only 15, retained it for the two years after that, and won it five times in all. He could beat the best on his day, but didn't do it often enough. Not even a ripple at the Worlds or Europeans or even the English Open. Unlike some of the horses he went on to help train, he didn't kick on.

1974
Northern Ireland's Mike Bull was the only athlete to win Commonwealth Games gold medals in the decathlon (today) and an individual event (the pole vault in 1970).

1978
The first privately-entered winner of the Monte Carlo Rally since 1956. Heavy snow muffled the more powerful factory engines from Fiat and Lancia, allowing Jean-Pierre Nicolas to take advantage in his hired Porsche. This was Nicolas's 12th Monte; he'd finished third twice before.

1990
Carlos De Leon made the first defence of his WBC cruiserweight title, drawing with Britain's Johnny Nelson in Sheffield. This was Nelson's first world title fight. He fought his last in 2005, defending his WBO cruiserweight title, and won a thing called the WBU heavyweight title.

1974
Ole Einar Bjørndalen was born in Norway. The most successful biathlete of all time, he was the only one to win all four events at the same Winter Olympics (February 20, 2002). His total of five golds is another Olympic record. He won 14 World Championship titles (another record) and umpteen World Cup races.

1913
'Peerless' Jim Driscoll made the last defence of his British featherweight title, a 20-round draw with the equally talented Owen Moran.

1952
Brian Gottfried was born in Baltimore. In his only Grand Slam singles final, he lost 6-0 6-3 6-0 to Guillermo Vilas at the French Open. In the Davis Cup Final on December 10, 1978, Gottfried lost a match after being two sets up and holding match point, and won just the last dead match. He did better in doubles. With his regular partner Raúl Ramírez of Mexico, he was Wimbledon champion in 1976.

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