Sports

Are you Ready? - 169
Are you Ready? - 169

Race 45 – Oxford win - 15 March 1883

Once again both crews had difficulty in finding a suitable stroke. At Oxford Higgins had gone down. Sharpe had again stroked one of the trials, and he and his vis-à-vis, W. D. B. Curry, were both given long trials. But neither found favour, and when the crew went into training West was prevailed upon to come up and stroke once more. Yet in spite of the fact that Paterson had four other old Blues and a splendid recruit in D. H. McLean, the progress of the crew was slow, partly because they had been hampered by lack of coaching in the early stages owing to floods. Mr. Grenfell entertained the crew at Taplow when they left home waters and coached them right up to the race. At Taplow they were put through a great deal of work, and gradually began to improve. It was not until late in practice, when they finally decided to discard the old 78 boat in favour of a new Clasper fitted with a fin, that they really showed what they could do. They were, perhaps, forced to make the change owing to the fact that Cambridge three times, on the same tides, did faster trials. On March 8 Oxford rowed the full course (somewhat idly, for their coach’s launch was out of earshot by Craven Steps and out of sight at Hammersmith) in 22 min. 7 sec., Cambridge in 21 min. 44 sec. On the 5th Oxford had taken 8 min. 40 sec. to row from Hammersmith to the Aqueduct ; Cambridge 8 min. 15 sec. On the 6th over the same piece Oxford took 7 min. 57 sec. ; Cambridge 7 min 53 sec. Three days before the race, Oxford, after changing their boat, rowed from Barnes to Putney in what was then record time.

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Are you Ready? - 169 brown boat holder
Are you Ready? - 169 brown boat holder

Race 65 – Cambridge win - 1 April 1903

In the early stages of practice, influenza played havoc with the Oxford crew. One man after another was temporarily out of the boat for this reason, and several of them never really shook off the effects. In addition to Long, the President, there were four old Blues in residence, but only three of them eventually found places in the crew. E. G. Monier-Williams had done well as stroke of his College crew which he had taken Head of the river in 1902, but he met with an accident whilst tobogganing in Switzerland and was unable to row at the beginning of the Lent term. On the loss of W. W. Field (Exeter College) from influenza, however, Monier-Williams was put in at stroke. He was very lively and knew how to drive his men over a short course, but he lacked the length and steadiness which are necessary for a long course, and which he might have found had he rowed throughout practice.

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Der erste Ruderschlag - 169 German
Der erste Ruderschlag - 169 German

Credit:-

In Seide gewebt.

The Final Spurt - 170
The Final Spurt - 170

How it all began
The idea for a rowing race between the universities came from two friends - Charles Merival, a student at Cambridge, and his Harrow schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth), who was at Oxford.

On 12 March 1829, Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford and thus the tradition was born which has continued to the present day, where the loser of the previous year's race challenges the opposition to a re-match.

The first Boat Race took place at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and contemporary newspapers report crowds of twenty thousand travelled to watch. The race was stopped soon after the start and, following the restart, Oxford were clear winners. The event was such a resounding success that the townspeople later decided to organise a regatta of their own which duly became Henley Royal Regatta. After the first year, the early Boat Races took place at Westminster in London, but by 1845, when Westminster had become too crowded, the Boat Race moved six miles up-stream to the then country village of Putney. In 1856 the race became an annual event (excepting only the war years).

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The Home Stretch - 171
The Home Stretch - 171

The term Standardbred originates from the standard set in 1879 by the National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders in America, whereby a horse had to trot a distance of one mile in not more than 2' 30" to qualify for registration in the new breed. The mile has remained the usual distance of harness racing today.

The Standardbred breed dates back over 200 years. An English grey Thoroughbred called Messenger was foaled in 1780 and in 1788 it was exported to America by Thomas Benger. Messenger was the great-grandsire of Hambletonian 10 to whom most Standardbreds can trace their heritage. He stood at stud for twenty seasons. He sired many well known Thoroughbreds and his descendants soon dominated American racecourses. In Britain trotters have been racing for over 100 years.

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The First Set - 172
The First Set - 172

THE ORIGINS OF TENNIS
Some believe that tennis was practiced all the way back in the times of Homer and Ovid. There are also accounts of a similar game played by the Toltec Indians of Mexico. Frescos in Egypt, Spain, and Renaissance Italy depict a game much like that of tennis. In addition, several books in the 16th century were written about games akin to tennis. But of all the educated guesses, one of the more popular belieft is that tennis has its origins in the late 19th century in Great Britain.

Present day tennis most likely has its origins in the "Jeu de Paume", which was practiced at the King's Court in the 13th century. Tennis spread throughout Europe, finding great support in Great Britain. At the foot of the Windsor Castle ramparts, and in the majority of royal British residences, a "tennys courte" could always be found. This trend was credited to Henry VII, who had four courts built on the land surrounding Whitahall Palace. The word "tenetz", which was cried out by the player upon serving the ball to his opponent, eventually gained acceptance throughout Europe and became the deciding factor in the unification of the "Jeu de Paume".

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The First Set - 172 unrecorded mat
The First Set - 172 unrecorded mat

TENNIS
The game of tennis is the same everywhere. The name given to the game differs in different countries. In Great Britain it is called Tennis or, to distinguish it from Lawn Tennis, Real Tennis or Royal Tennis. In the USA it is called Court Tennis: in France Jeu de Paume (hand ball): and in Australia Royal Tennis. The various names throw light on the development of the game. Tennis originated in France before the 12th century. The whole appearance of a tennis court is influenced by its origins. The first courts were to be found in courtyards immediately adjacent to a castle or in cloistered monastery quadrangles. Originally the players played with their hands (jeu de paume). Later they used gloves, then short bats to hit the ball. The game became very popular and in the 13th century it is said that there were as many as 1,800 courts in France.

The First Touch - 173
The First Touch - 173

RUGBY
Rugby began in a small way in New Zealand, with a match between Nelson Football Club and Nelson College in 1870. The Nelson Football Club had previously played by Victorian (Australian) rules, which illustrates the fact that rugby was only one among a number of football codes played by clubs at this time. In Wellington, for instance, Victorian Rules Football was more popular than rugby until the late 1870s.

However, as time went on rugby football became more and more popular. By the end of 1890 at least 700 rugby clubs had been formed. Why did Rugby Football prosper while Victorian and Association Football declined? That's a very interesting question. There is still no convincing answer.

On the other hand............

Origins
1400-1800: Many different types of football - rugby league’s ancestors - are played throughout Britain. Unlike modern soccer, most football games allowed handling the ball. There are records of football games being played in future league strongholds such as Hull, Huddersfield, Rochdale, Whitehaven, Workington and York.

1823 - William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School, allegedly picked up the ball and invented rugby. But there is no evidence to support this myth - even the 1895 Inquiry, which immortalised Ellis found no proof. Running with the ball became common in 1830s at Rugby School and Rugby School football became popular throughout the UK in the 1850s and 1860s.

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The First Innings - 174
The First Innings - 174

BASEBALL
In 1842, a group of young professionals began meeting regularly to play baseball on a field at 47th Avenue and 27th Street in Manhattan. Three years later, they formed the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, evidently at the suggestion of Alexander Cartwright, the owner of a book and stationery store who had once been a volunteer fireman with the Knickerbocker Engine Company. A four-man committee was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws. Cartwright and the committee's president, Daniel L. "Doc" Adams, did most of the work on the by-laws, which became baseball's first formal rules.

The rules called for four bases in a square, 42 paces (about 126 feet) on each diagonal. The batter was placed at the fourth base, which was renamed "home." "Soaking" was eliminated; a runner had to be tagged or forced out. The batter was out if his batted ball was caught on the fly or on first bounce.

The new rules also established three strikes for an out and three outs in a half-inning. A game lasted until one team scored twenty-one runs, or "aces" as they were then called.

In most histories, Cartwright has replaced Doubleday as the inventor of baseball, but it's impossible to know how much he actually contributed to the rules. However, he did draw the diagram of the new diamond.

The first recorded game under these rules, between teams made up of Knickerbocker members, was played on October 7 at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, NJ, a short ferry ride from Manhattan. On June 19, 1846, the Knickerbockers lost 23-1 to a team known as the New York Club in what is considered the first real baseball game. (Not as bad as it sounds; most of the players on the New York Club were actually members of the Knickerbocker Club.)

The First Over - 175
The First Over - 175

Cricket Matches
If you are clueless about cricket, then this is the ideal place to know more about the sport. This site aims to instruct readers who are new to the sport. Almost every aspect of the sport is discussed in this site. The rules and laws of Cricket have been explained in a simple manner. Those who do have a basic idea about cricket can also find out more about its nuances by reading the advanced topics.

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The Last Lap - 176
The Last Lap - 176

Cycling 1: Development of the Bicycle
The history of cycling, a.k.a. bicycle racing, naturally begins with the history of the bicycle. The development of the modern bike, which seems to us like a fairly simple mechanism, took much longer from conception to full realization than the development of the automobile.

It began in 1690, when the Comte de Sivrac of France came up with a two-wheeled vehicle propelled by the rider, pushing it along with one foot while the other foot rested securely on the backbone connecting the two wheels. He called it a celerifere, or “fast-goer.” We would probably call it a scooter.

Several types of scooters were developed during the 18th century, including one called the velocipede, which was shaped like a small wooden horse. But the first real advance in design wasn't made until 1816, when Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn of Mannheim added a padded seat and a steerable front wheel.

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The Last Lap - 176a
The Last Lap - 176a

In 1870 James Starley, with William Hillman (England), developed the ariel, officially known as the ordinary bicycle, nicknamed the penny-farthing. The very large front wheel allowed an increase in the distance covered per turn of the pedal. The penny-farthing became an immediate success in Australia. Clubs were formed in each colony and by 1884 there were thirty. Like the football and soccer clubs of today, each had its registered colours, and members were expected to wear uniform whenever they went cycling in a group.

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The Last Lap - 177
The Last Lap - 177

Further developments
While penny-farthings were very popular they were also quite dangerous. The next major development was the bicyclette by Henry Lawson in 1879 in England. The two wheels were more similar in size. The bicyclette featured:
  • pedals
  • sprocket wheels
  • a chain.

    The bicyclette was not a commercial success because of its complexity. James Starley's nephew produced the Rover or 'safety' bicycle in 1885 (England). This design resulted in a huge increase in bicycle riding. Millions of people, men and women, took to the roads.

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Spanish Bull Fight - 178
Spanish Bull Fight - 178

The Spanish Bull-Fight
Neither the English term nor the German (Stiergefecht) used to designate this popular diversion of the Spaniards, can be said to express adequately the essential idea of the Spanish corrida de toros.

Great has been the discussion as to the origin of this spectacle. Some attribute it to the Roman Circus, where men contended with wild beasts, among them wild bulls; others—Doñ Nicolás de Moratin, for example—to the customs of the ancient Celtiberians. As Spain was infested by wild bulls, first necessity and afterwards sport led to this personal combat. In this opinion, indeed, is to be found what might be called the philosophic origin of the bull-fight. Man, surrounded by wild natural conditions, saw himself obliged to struggle with wild beasts in order to protect himself from them; and as the peoples naturally acclaimed as heroes those who slew in single combat these ferocious animals, so, when the necessity of protecting life had ceased, brave men still sought glory in these struggles. (In this connection the killing of the Calydonian boar by the Ætolians, as related by Homer, the legend of Hercules and the Nemean lion, the Catalonian legend of Wilfrid slaying the Tarasque, and the Swiss legend preserved by Schiller in his "William Tell", with many others of a like nature, suggest themselves as examples.) But if, putting aside these a priori considerations, we turn our attention to historical facts, we shall find that the Spanish bull-fight originated in a Moorish custom.

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