• March 28 down the years

Phelps in hot form

It was another day at the office for record-breaker Michael Phelps © Getty Images

At the World Championships in Melbourne, Michael Phelps set a world record in regaining the 200 metres butterfly title and winning it for the third time. He won it for the fourth time two years later. In the very next race, Laure Manaudou of France broke the world record in winning the 200 metres freestyle, beating Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who'd set the world record the previous day. Pellegrini set another (her sixth) in winning the world title in 2009.

The brain haemorrhage that ended Mervyn Davies's career. An icon of Welsh rugby, distinctive in his white headband and scrubby moustache, this was one of the great No. 8s. He was known as Merv the Swerve just because it rhymed; you don't do much swerving when you rule the back of the lineout and act as unobtrusive kingpin in the loose. Playing for Swansea in a Welsh Cup match against Pontypool at Cardiff Arms Park, he was carried off and taken to hospital, where he stayed for several months. He'd collapsed a few years earlier, when he was wrongly diagnosed with meningitis. Now he was left paralysed down one side and had to come through a battle with alcohol. On March 6, just before his collapse, Davies had captained Wales to the Grand Slam, and was odds-on to lead the Lions the following year.

Ed Clancy claimed Britain's third gold medal of the week on the final day of the Track World Championships in Denmark. Victoria Pendleton missed out on her second gold medal by a matter of inches in the women's keirin. The British team lodged a complaint, suggesting Simona Krupeckaite had made an illegal move, but the Lithuanian was allowed to keep gold.

The inaugural International Cross-Country took place in Glasgow and was won by the great Alf Shrubb. Only England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland took part, and it was Ireland's John Daly who kept Shrubb company on the first lap of Hamilton Park Racecourse. Albert Aldridge came into contention on the third, but Shrubb pulled away to win from T Edwards, with Daly third. England easily won the team prize, and Shrubb retained the title the following year.

By the same day in 1999, the event had been re-named the World Championships - and Paul Tergat won it for a record fifth time in a row. On a muddy rain-soaked course that wasn't supposed to suit the Kenyans, he finished four seconds ahead of Patrick Ivuti, one of five in the top six. Naturally they won the team title for the 14th year in a row. Paulo Guerra of Portugal was third, the first European to win a medal in the event since Britain's Tim Hutchings ten years earlier.

In 2009, Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam won the men's race for Ethiopia, and Florence Kiplagat became the first Kenyan since 1994 to win the women's. Genzebe Dibaba retained the junior women's title. One of her sisters, Tirunesh, won the senior race three times. Another, Ejegayehu, finished second in 2004.

In 2010, Joseph Ebuya claimed gold in the men's event as Kenya dominated the field at the World Cross-Country Championships in Poland. Emily Chebet produced a superb sprint finish to win gold in the women's race, while Caleb Ndiku and Mercy Cherono completed the whitewash, winning the junior men's and girls' event respectively.

The boxer who fought two world heavyweight title fights on the same day... and won them both inside a round! Of course it's not quite as simple as that. The contests Tommy Burns had tonight are regarded as exhibitions nowadays. And rightly so. James Walker had only six recorded pro fights, Jim O'Brien just the one. And they lost all seven between them! But these were billed as world championship bouts at the time, so they're worth a mention. Burns later fought the first world heavyweight title fight in Britain (December 2, 1907) and the first against a black boxer (Boxing Day 1908).

Jenson Button took first place in the Australian Grand Prix, but it was not a good day for his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton who lost time when called in for a tyre change and was shunted by Mark Webber three laps from the finish.

Ted Ray was born in Jersey. One of the most charismatic golfers of all time, built like a portakabin, he drove the ball huge distances without bothering too much about where it landed, he was famous for extricating himself from some horrible lies, usually with sheer brute strength. An approach like that doesn't win as many tournaments as, say, his contemporary Harry Vardon, but it made for some spectacular viewing. Ray did win the British Open in 1912, well clear of Vardon and Jimmy Braid, and might well have done it again but for the War. After it, he won the US Open in 1920, when he was 43, one shot ahead of Vardon, who was 50. In America, they're remembered more for the seminal Open on September 20, 1913.

Mickey Walker was known as the Toy Bulldog for his tenacity and snap. Not much boxing technique, but enough aggression and determination to win world titles at welterweight and middleweight - and almost more than that. In 1931, he took on Jack Sharkey, who was five inches taller and outweighed him by two stone but was lucky to escape with a draw. The following year, Sharkey won the world heavyweight title. Tonight in 1929, Walker was the reigning middleweight champion when he tried to take the light-heavyweight title from the classy Tommy Loughran. The Bulldog charged in as always, but Loughran got his tactics exactly right. Leaning right back, he kept Walker at bay with his left jab and hit him with his right when he came closer. Walker landed punches of his own, especially with his left hook, and the referee awarded him the fight - but the two judges were right to give it to Loughran. Walker couldn't keep away from the big boys. He lost another light-heavyweight title fight four years later and was beaten up by Max Schmeling at heavyweight. Loughran moved up too, trying to take the heavyweight title from an absolute giant on March 1, 1934.

Ed Moses set a world record. No, not the famous 400 metre hurdler. This was Glenn Moses, an American swimmer predictably nicknamed Ed. Today he broke the world record in the 100 metres breaststroke.

Siua Taumalolo must have felt like he was working with amateurs after scoring a hat-trick in a 28-27 defeat © Getty Images

Reginald Birkett was born in London and played for England at two major sports. On March 27, 1871, he scored England's try in the first rugby international match. After the game with Scotland four years later, he was charged with punching two policemen at Waverley Station in Edinburgh. He won his first two caps as a forward. In the other two, he played as a back and helped England beat Scotland in 1876 and Ireland the following year, each time at Kennington Oval, where he played his only match for England at football. He kept goal against Scotland in a match England won 5-4 after being 4-1 down at half-time. He died when he fell out of a window while he was delirious from diphtheria. His brother Louis and son John also played rugby for England.

Top Swedish golfer Helen Alfredsson won a Major for the only time: the Nabisco Dinah Shore. She also won the British Open before it became one.

Martin Sheridan was born. One of the Irish Americans who dominated the throwing events in the first two decades of the 20th Century, he wasn't as huge as Ralph Rose, but his greater mobility made him well suited to the discus. He won the Olympic gold medal in 1904, 1906, and 1908, and set eight world bests, improving the record from 36.21 metres to 43.54. He won the Greek style discus in 1908, and his five golds were accompanied by four minor medals in events that don't exist any more: the stone throw on April 27, 1906 and the standing jumps. He won five medals at the 1906 Olympics, winning the shot putt in Rose's absence.

In a rugby World Cup qualifier in Tbilisi, Tonga joined the short list of countries who scored five tries in a match and lost. Their full-back Siua Taumalolo joined the even shorter list of players who scored a hat-trick of tries in an international match but ended up on the losing side. 18-year-old Malkhaz Urjukashvili kicked a conversion and penalty goal before becoming one of the youngest players to be sent off in an international. Thanks to his boot, Georgia won 28-27 - but they'd lost the away leg 37-6, so Tonga went to the World Cup.