• November 24 down the years

A true English hero is born

The sporting events of November 24 down the years
Ian Botham finds time to relax © Getty Images

A boy called Botham was born. England's last cricket hero before Freddie Flintoff, he was one of the few players to do the Test treble of 1,000 runs, 100 wickets, and 100 catches. He simply had all the talents, including a golden arm. A fair number of his 383 Test wickets were taken with pretty ordinary deliveries, including the first, the great Greg Chappell in 1977. When he was suspended for smoking a weed that couldn't have been performance-enhancing if it tried, his first ball back brought him a wicket that equalled the world record. As Graham Gooch said, 'Who writes your scripts?' No-one in Hollywood did, after he went there as supposedly the next big thing - and the England captaincy came too soon: they didn't win any of his 12 matches in charge, and he made a pair in the last one. Oh, and his Test averages against West Indies were anything but beefy: 21 with the bat, 35 with the ball. But he was a match-winner against other teams: in Mumbai on February 19, 1980, he became the first cricketer to hit a hundred and take ten wickets in the same Test. And of course there was the Ashes series of 1981, when he hit 149 not out to turn a match in which England had followed on, followed by a spell of five wickets for one run to win the next Test by 29 runs. If it hadn't been for him, Australia would have taken the series at a canter instead of losing it 3-1.

In an instant, one shocking moment, Herol Graham of Sheffield lost his big chance of a world title. Graham's nickname was 'Bomber', which must have been ironic, because he was the opposite of a big puncher. There's never been a more elusive boxer. He could make even the best look foolish, which is what he did to poor Julian Jackson of the US Virgin Islands. Fighting for the vacant WBC middleweight title in a small town in Spain, Graham outboxed him silly for the first three rounds. Then, in the fourth, he backed Jackson into a corner, dropped his left arm for a second - and bang. Over came a terrible right hand, and Jackson was already celebrating as Herol hit the floor: everyone knew it was all over. Graham made a remarkable comeback in 1998, when he fought for the world title again at the age of 38. But it was the same old story. After bamboozling Charles Brewer (and knocking him down twice: a bomber after all), he was stopped in the tenth and didn't fight again.

In his 94th and last match for Wales, Colin Charvis scored his 22nd try, a world record for a forward. But South Africa scored five tries to two and won 34-12 in Cardiff.

Turned down by Britain, Norman Read won gold for New Zealand. At the Olympic Games, he finished the 50 kilometre walk more than two minutes ahead of the silver medallist.

Graham Price was born. One of the great prop forwards, he was a rock in the scrum and mobile as they come: in Paris in 1975, he ran 70 yards to support a breakout and score a try on his debut. He was part of the famous Pontypool front row for Wales and the Lions, winning 41 caps for one and 12 in a row for the other.

The most traumatic defeat in Scottish rugby history. At a time when international matches were won by the odd score, they lost 44-0 at home to a Springbok team with six new caps. The score would be worth 62-0 today and led to the original 'lucky to get nil' joke. South Africa's nine tries were shared by eight different players, seven of them converted by prop forward Aaron 'Okey' Geffin. The result crushed Scotland for years to come: it was the third match in their run of 17 defeats in a row, still the record for any of the British countries.

New Zealand won the first women's rugby league World Cup by beating Great Britain 26-4 (five tries to one by Shelley Land) in front of 1262 spectators in Warrington. The Kiwi Ferns retained the title in 2005 and 2008.

Roper Barrett was born in Essex. He was doubles champion at the 1908 Olympics and three times at Wimbledon, where he twice finished runner-up in the singles. At the Championships in 1911, he allegedly scored three successive net-cord winners against AR Sawyer - then repeated the feat in the next game.

Herbert Sutcliffe oozed class with the bat © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Gisela Mauermayer was born in Munich and became the leading female thrower before the Second World War, which was started by the Nazi Party she was a member of. Six feet tall, a giant by 1930s standards, she won gold in the discus at the Berlin Olympics of 1936 and the first women's European Championships two years later, as well as setting 11 world records in the event. Her longest throw in the shot, achieved in 1934, wasn't officially bettered until 1945.

Great Britain's rugby league players twice lost the deciding match in an Ashes series after winning the first game of three. In 1990 they went down 14-0 in the third Test to lose the series 2-1 after winning the first match. In 2001 they lost 28-8, five tries to one. Britain didn't win a home series against Australia after 1959.

Sachin Tendulkar became the youngest batsman to score a Test fifty, making 59 in a draw with Pakistan at Faisalabad at the age of 16 years 214 days. He scored his first Test century when he was 17.

Herbert Sutcliffe was born. Cool and technically flawless, the famous opening partner of Jack Hobbs, he lost little in comparison with the great man. In a first-class career that lasted 26 years, Sutcliffe scored 50,000 runs and 151 centuries at an average of 52 - and he moved up a gear for Test matches: among batsmen who scored more than 2,500 Test runs (he made 4,555, with 16 hundreds), his average of 60.73 is second only to Bradman's. He needed all his skill and concentration at the Oval in 1926, when he and The Master added 172 on a rain-soaked pitch (Hobbs 100, Sutcliffe 161) to regain the Ashes. He was even better on a vicious Melbourne wicket in January 1929, making 135 to put England 3-0 up.

Fred Titmus was born. An off-spinner who could bat, he played first-class cricket in five different decades (1949-82) and also had a long Test career: it began in 1955 and he was recalled for the 1974-75 Ashes series when he was 42. Not bad for someone who lost four toes in an argument with a boat propeller on the 1967-68 tour to the West Indies. He was England's leading wicket-taker in the Tests Down Under in 1962-63, when he took 7-79 in a losing cause in Sydney, and averaged 64 with the bat there three years later. He made a courageous unbeaten 50 against the pace and hostility of Hall and Griffith (no helmets in those days) at Lord's in 1963.