• November 15 down the years

The greatest makes his mark

The sporting events of November 15 down the years
The greatest: Muhammad Ali had it all © Getty Images

2009 You couldn't have scripted the ending. At Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland recovered from conceding a try in the third minute to draw level at 13-13 in the second half. But then Australia's captain Rocky Elsom restored the lead when two defenders failed to push him into touch at the corner. Two minutes from time, winger Tommy Bowe crossed the line for the second time, but he was held up and the referee couldn't award the try. That seemed to be Ireland's last chance, but then Brian O'Driscoll took a pass and found a huge gap in front of him. A captain's try, in the last minute, in his 100th international. Ronan O'Gara's easy conversion drew the match 20-20.

1997 England's squash players beat Canada 3-0 to regain the world team title. Jonathon Power later won the World Open and British Open, but he had a back injury and lost 9-1 9-0 9-0 to Peter Nicol as England won the final without dropping a game.

1981 Britain came into the game still seeking a first Fed Cup win when they tackled United States and despite fielding a strong team, were beaten 3-0 in Tokyo as Sue Barker and Virginia Wade lost to a US team which included Chris Evert. In the singles, Wade lost to 16-year-old Andrea Jaeger, who was very nearly twenty years younger than her. The States won the Cup for the sixth year in a row.

2003 The fight that told us Manny Pacquiao might just be one of the greats, his 11-round stoppage of the mighty Marco Antonio Barrera, who won world titles at three weights and claimed No. 43 on ESPN's 50 Greatest Boxers Of All Time. Pacquiao took his career to a new level following this win, as his destruction of Ricky Hatton in May 2009 demonstrated.

2003 The All Blacks, World Cup favourites yet again, lost another semi-final, this time to hosts Australia in Sydney. Their tight forwards were found out, their backs gifted Stirling Mortlock an interception try, and Australia won surprisingly easily 22-10. New Zealand haven't reached the final since 1995 or won the trophy since 1987.

1962 Out with the old, in with the new. Because it's boxing, the ins and outs are rarely gentle. On his rise to the top, 20-year-old Cassius Clay beat 45-year-old Archie Moore in four rounds, knocking him down three times in the last. Ancient Archie was arguably the greatest light-heavyweight of all time; there are fewer arguments about Clay, who soon became Muhammad Ali. On 25 February 1964, he won the world heavyweight title for the first time.

1981 Lorena Ochoa was born in Mexico. She won the British Open in 2007 and another women's Major, the Kraft Nabisco, the following year.

1965 Nigel Bond was born. The highlight of his career came in 1995, when he reached the World Championship final only to be beaten 18-9 by Stephen Hendry.

1963 Andrew Castle was born. Castle has carved out a career as a broadcaster, but made his name as a tennis player in the 1980s. He reached a career high of No. 80 in the world and was involved in an epic clash at Wimbledon in 1986, losing in five sets to Mats Wilander.

1952 It's very rare for two boxers to meet in three world title bouts without fighting anyone else in between. Dado Marino and Yoshio Shirai did just that. The Japanese took the Hawaiian's flyweight title with a seventh-round stoppage the previous year, then won two unanimous decisions against him in this one. This was the second, after which Marino retired.

1989 Two mighty Test cricket careers started in the same match - with neither player in action for the whole day! Pakistan batted first, so Waqar Younis didn't get a bat and Sachin Tendulkar didn't bowl for India. By the end of the match, Tendulkar had scored 15 in his only innings and Waqar claimed 4-91. There was rather a lot more to come in the years ahead.

1903 Stewie Dempster was born. His Test career was too short but long enough to show he was one of New Zealand's top batsmen. In ten Tests (1930-33) he scored 723 runs at 65.72: among cricketers who played 15 innings or more, it's the highest Test average behind Bradman. Dempster made centuries against England home and away, including his country's first in any Test, and his last innings was also against them: an unbeaten 83 out of 158 all out as New Zealand held on for a draw. It's said he was picked against England in 1947 (by which time he was 43) but had to withdraw when a piece of gorse scratched his eye during a round of golf.