• April 24 down the years

Success at last for Bates

Jeremy Bates claimed his sole win in 1994 © Getty Images
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1994
The first British male tennis player to win an ATP tournament in 17 years. In a desperately weak Korean Open, Jeremy Bates won a deciding tie-break against Jan Siemerink of Holland in the semi-final, then beat Germany's Jörn Renzenbrink, who was a speck on the tennis radar. Bates himself was unseeded, but he recovered from losing the second set on a tie-break to break serve at 3-3 in the third. He was 31 by now, in his 15th year as a professional - and this was the only ATP singles title he ever won.

1897
The first Challenge Cup final. In the days when rugby league matches were still 15-a-side, Batley beat St Helens 10-3 at Headingley in Leeds. The first four points in a final were scored by Joe Oakland, who landed a drop goal from a scrum - then Batley went further ahead when Jack Goodall scored a try after collecting a cross-kick. Wharton (Wattie) Davies missed the easy conversion. In the second half, Dave 'Red' Traynor scored a marvellous individual try for St Helens, all swerves and hand-offs - but an injury to Fred Little left them with only 14 men for most of it and they had to take a man out of the forwards. So Batley kept the ball among theirs, and they drove the ball over the line for JT Munns to score. Batley retained the Cup the following year.

1968
The first amateur to beat a professional in an Open tennis tournament. At the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth, Britain's Mark Cox faced Pancho Gonzales, who'd once been a top player but was now nearly 40 years old. Age didn't matter in the first set, when Gonzales put the amateur across his knee 6-0. And he led by two sets to one. But Cox used his 15-year age advantage and played aggressively but calmly: he won both the last two sets 6-3, finishing off on his third match point. This landmark tournament began two days earlier with Owen Davidson of Australia beating his British pupil John Clifton. The eventual winner, Ken Rosewall, picked up £1,000. The women's champion, Britain's Virginia Wade, won only £300.

1926
The first ever Middlesex Sevens tournament. In the final at Twickenham, a fast and experienced Harlequins team was too much for St Mary's Hospital. Led by England captain Wavell Wakefield, they had other England internationals on the wings in JC (John Clifford) Gibbs and Dicky Hamilton-Wickes, plus the pace of Ireland's 'Horsey' Browne. St Mary's Hospital had an Ireland international of their own in Denis Cussen, and Nathan Jones of Wales. But after two minutes of the final, Cussen's loose kick led to Harlequins' first try, and Wakefield sidestepped him for the second. Quins led 10-0 at half-time, then Hamilton-Wickes scored two of their last four tries. They won 26-3 and also lifted the trophy in each of the next three years. Before the Final, the pitch was churned up like never before: a pick-up game was played between teams of 500 spectators! The numbers went up on April 23 the following year.

2000
Carl Fogarty's last race. A crash in the World Superbikes race in Australia left him with a shoulder injury that wouldn't let him race again. He finished as WSBs' most successful rider: 59 race wins, world champion four times.

Stephen Hendry is a legend of the green baize © Getty Images
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2009
When Stephen Hendry went 10-8 ahead against Ding Junhui, he became the first player to win 1,000 frames in the World Championship. He did it in style with a break of 140 on his way to winning 13-10 and reaching the quarter-finals.

1994
For the second year in a row, Wigan won the rugby league Championship on points difference. It was tight, but the last match wasn't: they won 50-6 away to Oldham. The home side attacked for the first 25 minutes but scored only one penalty goal, while Wigan responded with tries by Martin Offiah, Barrie-Jon Mather and Shaun Edwards. In the second half, Offiah scored his 30th of the season, and Frano Botica finished with two tries and 22 points. Wigan later won the Challenge Cup to complete the Double for the fifth year in a row. They eventually won seven League titles, eight Cup Finals, and six Doubles - all in a row.

1906
At the Intercalated Games in Athens, British swimming superstar Henry Taylor won his first Olympic title. In the 1500 metres freestyle, he finished a minute and a half ahead of team mate Jack Jarvis, with Germany's defending champion Emil Rausch way back in fifth. Taylor won the event again in home waters on July 25, 1908.

In the same Games, British cyclists Johnny Matthews and Arthur Rushen won the 2,000 metre tandem race. They'd never ridden together before the Olympics, so their win was a surprise. The Final was about to be held in semi-darkness, but the British pair objected and the race was postponed for a day. In broad daylight, they beat the experienced German brothers Max and Bruno Götze.

1916
Jack Britton and Britain's Ted 'Kid' Lewis fought each other for the 20th and last time on February 7, 1921. Today was their seventh meeting as professionals. Lewis had taken the world welterweight title from Britton the previous year and retained it against him three times. But tonight Britton regained the title by 'outclassing' Lewis in 20 rounds. He kept the title in his next three fights with Lewis before losing it to him on June 25 the following year. Phew.

1955
Amazingly, the last European table tennis player to win the women's singles at the World Championships. Romania's Angelica Rozeanu was the only player, man or woman, to become singles champion six times, let alone six in a row - and her last final was her easiest. She beat poor Linde Wertl of Austria 21-13 21-5 21-8.

1927
Josy Barthel was born in Luxembourg. A short, balding, and unglamorous runner, he used his strength to hold off the opposition in the last 50 yards of the 1500 metres at the 1952 Games. His time was a new Olympic record. Roger Bannister finished fourth. The national stadium in Luxembourg was renamed the Josy Barthel in 1993.

1953
Ten knockdowns in one world title fight. In one fraction of a world title fight. Tommy Collins moved up from featherweight to take on champion Jimmy Carter - but he wasn't strong enough at lightweight. In front of his own fans in Boston, Collins was floored ten times (six in the third round alone) before his own corner climbed into the ring to stop the slaughter in the fourth. Collins went down about once every minute. He retired the following year.

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