• October 7 down the years

Radcliffe too strong for Adere

Paula Radcliffe dominated long-distance running at the turn of the decade © Getty Images
Enlarge

2001
In Bristol, Paula Radcliffe retained her world title in the half-Marathon. Before the race, 'The only runner I was worried about was Adere', knowing that Ethiopia's Berhane Adere had a strong finishing kick. So Radcliffe set off to run it out of her. At halfway, the plan hadn't worked yet: Adere was right behind and looking comfortable. But after 40 minutes Radcliffe surged again, upping the pace to five-minute miles despite a strong headwind - and Adere dropped back to finish third. Radcliffe came home 49 seconds clear of Kenya's Susan Chepkemei. Despite the conditions, Paula ran 1 minute 06.47, a new championship best which was only four seconds outside the world record. The men's race was won by Haile Gebresilasie, who outsprinted his Ethiopian team mate Tesfaye Jifar to clock a personal best just three seconds outside one hour.

2007
In the rugby union World Cup, Scotland had a chance to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1991 (October 26). But they ran into the surprise packets of the tournament - who weren't surprising anyone by now, just beating them. Argentina had produced a shock opening to the World Cup by beating France at the Stade de France. And Scotland hadn't looked anything special on the way to this quarter-final. Easy wins over Portugal and Romania were followed by a 40-0 thrashing from New Zealand, and they needed Chris Paterson's boot to squeeze past Italy (September 29). So Argentina were favourites back in the Stade - and didn't mind grinding their way through a match which was error-ridden and dull. Their No.8 Gonzalo Longo capped a fine performance with a try after charging down Dan Parks' kick; Felipe Contepomi landed the conversion and three penalties; and skilful fly-half Juan Martín Hernández added a drop goal. For Scotland, Paterson and Parks kicked a few points, but they didn't really threaten until substitute scrum-half Chris Cusiter went over in the corner. Argentina held out to win 19-13 to reach the semi-finals, where favourites South Africa weren't going to take them lightly (October 14).

1962
Britain's Stirling Moss was such a motor racing icon that his name became a byword. Anyone caught speeding risked the question 'Who do you think you are: Stirling Moss?' Well, today the great man got to hear it himself. Recently recovered from career-ending injuries (April 23), he was invited to act as an honorary track steward at the United States Grand Prix. After the race, he was travelling through New York State when he was stopped by police for driving his sports car at 60 in a 50-mile-an-hour zone. Since it was his first offence in America, he was allowed to pay the ten-dollar fine by post.

1982
The only dead-heat in a track final at any Commonwealth Games. Olympic 100-metre champion Allan Wells had won that event here in Brisbane and now set out to retain his title in the 200. But the Scot's muscular frame tightened up in the straight and although he dipped at the finish, his time of 20.43 seconds wasn't quick enough to shake off England's Mike McFarlane. In their post-race interview, McFarlane was delighted to share the gold, Wells visibly less so.

At the 1978 Games, Dave Moorcroft had won the 1500 metres. Today he moved up to the 5000 metres and won that too. No great shock, given that he was the world record holder. The race was slow and tactical, and Moorcroft had a lot left in the tank when he sprinted clear, finishing 25 metres ahead of England team mate Nick Rose.

In the 800 metres, Kirsty McDermott gave Wales a first Commonwealth Games gold medal in a women's athletics event. A determined run down the home straight ended in her first ever win over Scotland's Anne Clarkson. Their medals were poignantly presented by Betty Cuthbert, winner of four Olympic golds (October 17 1964), who was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Today was the closest Kathy Smallwood ever came to an individual gold medal in a major championship. At that year's European Championships, she'd finished second in the 200 metres behind an East German. Now she won silver again, closing fast on Jamaica's Merlene Ottey and finishing only two hundredths of a second behind.

Lennox Lewis © Getty Images
Enlarge

1995
Lennox Lewis padded out his record by beating great white no-hope Tommy Morrison in Atlantic City. After losing his WBC heavyweight title to Oliver McCall (24 September 1994), Lewis was working his way back up. Tonight he fought for something called the IBC title, which Morrison had won in June. Tommy had lost the WBO title to another British boxer in less than two minutes (October 29 1993), so tonight he boxed timidly and allowed the bigger man to batter him at long range. Lewis knocked him down on the way to a sixth-round stoppage. Two fights later, Lewis met McCall for the vacant WBC title (February 7). Before his next fight, Morrison tested positive for HIV. Forced to retire, he claimed to have tested negative in 2006 and made a short-lived comeback the following year.

1978
At Crystal Palace in London, Britain's tennis players met Australia in the Davis Cup for the first time since the Challenge Round of 1936 (July 28), looking for the win that would put them in the final for the first time since 1937 (July 27). In hindsight, the crucial game - the critical rally - was played in the first set on the first day. Australia's men were in a slump at the time. The days of Laver, Rosewall, and Newcombe were over - and although Tony Roche was from that generation, he was 33 by now and had a history of tennis elbow. And John Alexander was just a solid serve-volleyer. In the opening match, Roche had a break point to lead Buster Mottram 5-4. Mottram held serve and won the set 8-6. He lost the second and had to work hard again to take the third 7-5, but won the match in four. Then John Lloyd followed a close first set against Alexander by winning the next two 6-2. Australia should have pulled a point back in today's doubles. Ross Case and Geoff Masters had been Wimbledon champions the year before and were expected to beat Lloyd's brother David and veteran Mark Cox - especially after leading 4-2 and 30-love in the first set. But Cox felt 'There was always an underlying tension in their play. I could sense it.' The British pair followed Mottram's pattern by winning the first set 8-6 and dropping the next 6-3, then they broke Case in the final game of the third and took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Their victory gave Britain a 3-0 winning lead. On the last day, Lloyd and Mottram lost the reverse singles easily, but they weren't exactly breaking their necks. In the other semi-final, Björn Borg won both his singles matches, but the USA won 3-2 - and they had a kid called McEnroe ready for the final against Britain (December 10).

Britain reached it on Ann Jones's 40th birthday. Born Adrienne Haydon in Birmingham in 1940
, she was one of the top tennis players of her generation, winning her share of Grand Slam titles despite the presence of Maria Bueno, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Court. A strong and dogged left-hander, Jones won the French Open singles in 1961 (May 27) and 1966 (June 5) as well as finishing runner-up three times. She also lost two finals at the US Championships and another at Wimbledon, but climaxed her career by winning Wimbledon in 1969 (July 4), showing typical fighting spirit to come from behind and beat Billie Jean 6-2 in the third. Before turning to tennis, Jones had been one of the world's top table tennis players, though she couldn't quite get her hands on the top rung. She reached five finals at the World Championships but lost the lot, including all three in 1957 (March 15), all in five sets after playing umpteen matches on the same day. She also lost the singles final at the inaugural European Championships in 1958. In five sets, of course.

2006
On the way to qualifying for the next World Cup, Italy had an easy 83-0 win over Portugal in L'Aquila. Their 13 tries included three each for the two wingers: Kaine Robertson, who was born in New Zealand, and new cap Marko Stanojević, who was born in Birmingham. There were eight successful conversions from David Bortolussi, who was born in France, and another from substitute Gert Peens, who was born in South Africa!

1952
The New York Yankees equalled the record they'd set in 1939 by winning baseball's World Series for the fourth consecutive year. In Game Six, Mickey Mantle scored the first of his 18 runs, still the World Series record. In Game Seven today, second baseman Billy Martin took a great catch to win the game and the Series. It was the fourth time the Yankees had beaten the Brooklyn Dodgers in the big event. The following year, they beat them again to win it for the fifth time in a row (October 4). The Dodgers didn't win it until 1955, when they won 4-3 - against the Yankees.

© ESPN EMEA LTD
Close