What is the oche in darts?

In darts, the oche – pronounced ‘ockey’, as in ‘hockey’ – is a line, or raised ridge, on the floor, behind which a player must stand to complete a valid throw. In official tournament play, with steel darts, the furthest point of the oche is positioned 7 feet and 9.25 inches, or 2.37 metres, from the face of the dartboard, measured horizontally. The maximum permitted dimensions of a raised oche are 50cm x 4cm x 2cm and, while a player may stand either side, if necessary, his or her toes must remain behind an imaginary line parallel to the raised edge.

The origin of the word ‘oche’ is unknown, although it may be derived from the Old French word ‘ocher’, meaning ‘to cut a notch in’. In fact, the earliest written examples of the term, such as those found in the tournament rules for the News of the World Individual Darts Championship, which was founded in 1927, are spelt ‘hockey’ rather than ‘oche’. The Championship originally adopted a 9 feet throw-line, but the hockey length was shortened to 8 feet when play resumed following World War II.

The now-defunct British Darts Organisation (BDO) was founded in 1973 and popularised the term ‘oche’.Originally, the oche length was still 7 feet and 6 inches, as defined by the National Darts Association of Great Britain (NDAGB) in 1954. However, in 1977, the newly-founded World Darts Federation (WDF) agreed a ‘world’ standard of 7 feet and 9.25 inches, as a compromise between the NDAGB and News of the World rules, with a concession to metric measurement of oche length.

Who was the first British female track-and-field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal?

The first British female track-and-field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal was Mary Rand, who did so on October 14, 1964 at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Rand led the qualifiers – as she had done in Rome four years earlier, only to capitulate, after two foul jumps, in the final – with an Olympic record of 6.52 metres. In the final, she opened with a British and Olympic record of 6.59 metres, which she improved to 6.63 metres in the fourth round and again, with a world record jump of 6.76 metres in the fifth.

Her winning jump, which beat the previous mark set by Tatyana Shchelkanova of the Soviet Union on July 4, 1964, by 0.06 metres, or 2¼ inches, was all the more remarkable for having been made into 1.6 metres per second headwind and from a sodden, clay runway. Rand later confessed, ‘I didn’t know until many years afterwards that I was jumping against the wind – and that five of my jumps beat the Olympic record.’

Elsewhere at the Tokyo Olympics, Rand won a silver medal in the pentathlon, behind Irina Press of the Soviet Union, who set a world record of 5,246 points and, alongside Daphne Arden, Dorothy Hyman and Janet Simpson, a bronze medal in the 4 x 100-metres relay, behind Poland and the United States. Rand continued to compete but, despite winning a gold medal in the long jump at the British and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica in August, 1966, she later confided, After Tokyo, I did a few meets, but I just didn’t have it.’ She retired from competitive athletics in 1968.

Which teams contested the first Four Nations Championship match?

Not to be confused with the Rugby League Four Nations, which was last played in 2016, the Four Nations Championship, a.k.a. the Home Nations Championship or International Championship, was the original incarnation of what became the Six Nations Rugby Union Championship. Initially, the annual international competition was an entirely domestic affair, featuring teams from only England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales; it became the Five Nations Championship in 1910, when France joined, and the Six Nations Championship in 2000, when Italy was admitted.

It would be fair to say that, by modern standards, the Four Nations Championship was a chaotic affair. In those early days, there was no points system and matches were decided on goals scored. A goal could be scored by means of a successful conversion, following a try, a drop-kick in open play or a seldom-seen scoring move known as a ‘goal from mark’. At that time, a player could make a mark by taking a fair catch anywhere on the field and, thereafter, had the option of taking a place-kick or drop-kick at goal. If teams finished level on goals scored, the number of unconverted tries was used to decide the winner; if the teams still finished level, the match was declared a draw.

The inaugural Four Nations Championship match was played at St. Helen’s, Swansea, on December 16, 1882 and was contested by Wales and England. England scored four tries and three-quarter Arthur Evanson, an Oxford University student, successfully converted two of them, while Wales failed to score; thus, the final scoreline was a peculiar looking Wales 0-2 England.

Which was the first FIFA World Cup mascot?

The FIFA World Cup was established in 1930, but it was not until the eighth iteration, hosted by England in 1966, that a mascot became a feature of the quadrennial football tournament. Seeking to maximise merchandising revenue from the tournament, the Football Association (FA) approached Walter Tuckwell & Associates, a Picadilly-based company specialising in character merchandise for design ideas.

Their chosen design, ‘World Cup Willie’ – a square-shouldered lion with a Beatlesque, mop top haircut and a Union Flag jersey bearing the legend ‘World Cup’ – was the brainchild of freelance illustrator Reg Hoye, who reportedly needed less than five minutes to produce his initial rough sketch. Nevertheless, his creation proved to be a roaring success (sorry), appearing on a variety of products, including t-shirts, in comic strips and elsewhere and providing the inspiration for the official World Cup song by Lonnie Donnegan. All together now, ‘Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie…’.

After the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the idea of an official tournament mascot caught on. World Cup Willie was followed by Juanito, a boy wearing a Mexico home jersey and sombrero, in 1970, and Tip and Tap, two boys wearing West Germany jerseys bearing the letters ‘WM’, for ‘Weltmeisterschaft’ – the German word for World Cup – and number 74, four years later.

Rather more fanciful, and creative, mascot ideas down the years have included Naranjito – or, in English, ‘Little Orange’ – an anthropomorphic orange dressed in Spanish kit, in 1982. More recently, direct descendants of World Cup Willie have included a green-haired leopard called Zakumi in South Africa in 2010 and a Brazilian three-banded armadillo called Fuleco in Brazil in 2014.