- October 8 down the years
Glory for Europe
Europe's golfers regained the Solheim Cup. After winning it for the first time in 1992 (October 4), they left it in America the next three times, and nerves were stretched at Loch Lomond today. Europe had shot out of the traps on the first day, winning all four foursomes in the morning. The US pulled a point back in the afternoon, but dropped another two in the four-balls on day two, leaving Europe with a lead of five before the singles. Then it all began to unravel. After a couple of hours' play, the US were ahead in 11 of the 12 matches. And they won six of the first ten, inflicting defeats on stars like Annika Sörenstam and Laura Davies. But a few Europeans began to turn things round, especially Carin Koch, who trailed Michele Redman by three holes but took the lead with a superb third shot at the 16th. A birdie putt at the next gave the Swedish girl the match and Europe the Cup.
Great Britain's rugby league team regained the World Cup. After winning the inaugural tournament in 1954 (November 13), they surrendered the trophy to Australia in 1957 and met them again today. The tournament was staged as a mini-league like the first two, and both teams had beaten the only other two countries, France and New Zealand. This was the first World Cup staged in Britain - at Odsal Stadium in Bradford - and GB not only had home advantage but a surface they were used to, while Australia struggled in the conditions, though their brilliant young centre Reg Gasnier was a threat even with a slippery ball in deep mud. Meanwhile some of the British players were among the best and most competitive of all time. Alex Murphy (October 16 1971), Vince Karalius, captain Eric Ashton in the centre, flying wings Mick Sullivan and big Billy Boston. Both wingers scored tries while the wind and rain were at their backs. Boston took Ashton's pass after a scoreless first half-hour, and right on half-time Karalius timed a pass perfectly, Murphy broke the first line of defence, and Sullivan took the scoring pass on the burst. Austin Rhodes's conversions made the score 10-0 at the interval; and all Australia could manage was a try by Brian Carlson. Remarkably, Britain won the Cup only once after that (November 11).
At the World Judo Championships in Birmingham, Scotland's Graeme Randall won gold in the half-middleweight division. In the final, his unorthodox style was too much for Farkhad Turaev of Uzbekistan, who couldn't match him for sharpness or groundwork. Randall won the fight with an armlock which led to ippon. He was the first British judoka to win a world title in a men's event since Neil Adams in 1981 (September 4).
The only Canadian to win the Canadian Grand Prix. The race was the last of that Formula One season, and Mario Andretti had already clinched the world title after Ronnie Peterson's fatal crash (September 11), so he wasn't unhappy with 10th place today. Jean-Pierre Jarier's Lotus started on pole, but an oil leak forced him out after he'd led for 48 laps. Gilles Villeneuve manoeuvred his Ferrari round the tight course to finish comfortably ahead of Jody Scheckter's Wolf. It was the first World Championship race Villeneuve ever won. Jarier never did, despite taking part in 134 of them.
An Australian winning gold in Australia. Marathon hard man Rob De Castella finished first at the Commonwealth Games for the first time. Running a sensible race on a difficult Brisbane course, he hung back while two Tanzanians set a bonkers pace, taking the field through halfway in less than one hour four minutes. Gidamis Shahanga was the defending champion, Juma Ikangaa champion of Africa - but De Castella timed his run perfectly, catching Ikangaa with only four kilometres to go. They swapped the lead a few times before Deek pulled away. He won by only twelve seconds but decisively enough. The fast early pace resulted in a winning time of 2 hours 9.18, only six seconds slower than the Games record set by a British runner in 1974 (January 31), which still stands. Ikangaa was the first African runner to break 2 hours 10. De Castella retained the title in 1986.
On the same day, there was another gold for Australia in the pole vault, where Ray Boyd shared the winning height with two others. By his own admission, Boyd's 5.20 was a very mediocre vault - but he'd got there in the end: back in 1970 he'd set a Games record before finishing out of the medals. And at least he had something to bring to the family table. His wife, the former Denise Robertson, won eight Commonwealth Games medals, including gold in the 200 metres in 1978. Their daughter Alana won the pole vault at the 2010 Games.
In Game Five of baseball's World Series, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen achieved the only perfect game in the history of the event, i.e. in nine innings, he allowed no hits or walks or any opposition player to reach base for any other reason. The year before, the Yankees had lost the World Series 4-3 to the Brooklyn Dodgers. This time they reversed that score against the same team.
Laurie Doherty was born Hugh Laurence Doherty in Wimbledon and did most of his best work there. In the early years of his century, he was far and away the best tennis player in the world. Neat and tidy, mobile and severe, he had the generalship and groundstrokes to win five Wimbledon singles titles in a row, from 1902 to 1906 (July 4). In 1898 he lost the Challenge Round to Reggie Doherty (born October 14 1872), but there was some suspicion that he'd let his older and frailer brother keep the title. In 1900, Laurie became Olympic champion in singles (when Reggie gave him a walkover in the semi-finals) and won the doubles with his brother. He was the first overseas player to win the US Championships (August 27 1903), and he won all his 13 Davis Cup matches as Britain took the trophy four times (August 8 1903). Laurie's 15 Wimbledon titles are still the record for any male player. With Reggie, he reached ten doubles finals there, winning eight. Naturally they won that event at the 1900 Olympics.
Despite losing their opening match in the World Cup (October 3), England's rugby union boys were always going to qualify from their group: the other two teams were Italy and the USA. The Italians were up first. They knew they weren't going to win at Twickenham, so they set out to keep the score down - by any means necessary. They conceded 37 penalties, and Jon Webb would have turned more than four of them into points if England hadn't run so many of them in the second half. Webb also converted all four England tries, including one he scored himself. Jeremy Guscott scored two and fellow speedster Rory Underwood the other. Italy somehow managed a try too in all their fouling, and were probably quite happy to lose only 36-6. Business as expected for England, but that opening defeat sent them into a tough quarter-final with one of their co-hosts (October 19).
Superstar French cyclist Jeannie Longo collected her 8th world title on the road and 12th in all. After winning the road race five times, she now won the time trial for the third time to go with her four track titles: three in the pursuit, one in the points race. Here in San Sebastian in Spain, she got round in 39 minutes 15 seconds, a full minute faster than anyone else. She made it world title number 13 by winning the time trial again in 2001.