The Championships, Wimbledon

The Championships, Wimbledon known as Wimbledon or The Championships, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts, since 2009 with a retractable roof over Centre Court. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Since the Australian Open shifted to hardcourt in 1988, Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass, considered as the classic tennis court; the tournament traditionally took place over two weeks in late June and early July, starting on the last Monday in June and culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Finals, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the second week. However, recent changes to the tennis calendar have seen the event moved back by a week to begin in early July. Five major events are held each year, with additional junior and invitational competitions taking place.

Wimbledon traditions include a strict all-white dress code for competitors and royal patronage. Strawberries and cream are traditionally consumed at the tournament. In 2017, fans consumed 10,000 litres of cream. Pimm's is a traditional refreshment; the tournament is notable for the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts, with the exception of Rolex, which provides timekeeping technology during matches. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain. A roof was operational over No1 Court from 2019, when a number of other improvements were made, including adding cushioned seating and a table; the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is a private club founded on 23 July 1868 as "The All England Croquet Club". Its first ground was at Nursery Road off Worple Road, Wimbledon. In 1876, lawn tennis, a game devised by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield a year or so earlier as an outdoor version of real tennis and given the name Sphairistikè, was added to the activities of the club.

In spring 1877, the club was renamed "The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club" and signalled its change of name by instituting the first Lawn Tennis Championship. A new code of laws, replacing the code administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club, was drawn up for the event. Today's rules are similar except for details such as the height of the net and posts and the distance of the service line from the net; the inaugural 1877 Wimbledon Championship started on 9 July 1877 and the Gentlemen's Singles was the only event held. It was won by Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player, from a field of 22. About 200 spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final; the lawns at the ground were arranged so that the principal court was in the middle with the others arranged around it, hence the title "Centre Court". The name was retained when the Club moved in 1922 to the present site in Church Road, although no longer a true description of its location. However, in 1980 four new courts were brought into commission on the north side of the ground, which meant the Centre Court was once more described.

The opening of the new No. 1 Court in 1997 emphasised the description. By 1882, activity at the club was exclusively confined to lawn tennis and that year the word "croquet" was dropped from the title. However, for sentimental reasons it was restored in 1899. In 1884, the club added Gentlemen's Doubles competitions. Ladies' Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were added in 1913; until 1922, the reigning champion had to play only in the final, against whomever had won through to challenge him/her. As with the other three Major or Grand Slam events, Wimbledon was contested by top-ranked amateur players; this changed with the advent of the open era in 1968. No British man won the singles event at Wimbledon between Fred Perry in 1936 and Andy Murray in 2013, while no British woman has won since Virginia Wade in 1977, although Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the Girls' Championship in 1984 and 2008 respectively; the Championship was first televised in 1937. Though properly called "The Championships, Wimbledon", depending on sources the event is known as "The All England Lawn Tennis Championships", "The Wimbledon Championships" or "Wimbledon".

From 1912 to 1924, the tournament was recognized by the International Lawn Tennis Federation as the "World Grass Court Championships". Wimbledon is considered the world's premier tennis tournament and the priority of the Club is to maintain its leadership. To that end a long-term plan was unveiled in 1993, intended to improve the quality of the event for spectators, players and neighbours. Stage one of the plan was completed for the 1997 championships and involved building the new No. 1 Court in Aorangi Park, a broadcast centre, two extra grass courts and a tunnel under the hill linking Church Road and Somerset Road. Stage two involved the removal of the old No. 1 Court complex to make way for the new Millennium Building, providing extensive facilities for players, press and members, the extension of the West Stand of the Centre Court with 728 extra seats. Stage three has been completed with the construction of an entrance building, club staff housing, museum and ticket office. A new retractable roof was built in time for the 2009 championships, marking the first time that rain did not stop play for a lengthy time on Centre Court.

The Club tested the new roof at an event called A Centre Court Celebration on Sunday, 17 May 2009, which feat

Force play

In baseball, a force is a situation when a baserunner is compelled to vacate his time-of-pitch base—and thus try to advance to the next base—because the batter became a runner. A runner at first base is always forced to attempt to advance to second base when the batter becomes a runner. Runners at second or third base are forced only when all bases preceding their time-of-pitch base are occupied by other baserunners and the batter becomes a runner. A forced runner's force base is the next base beyond his time-of-pitch base. Any attempt by fielders to put a forced runner out is called a force play. Think of forced runners as bumper cars. If with a runner on first, the batter hits a ground ball, the batter must run to first, since two runners are not allowed to stay on one base at one time, the runner, on first to begin with is now bumper-carred by the advancing batter over to second. If there was a runner on second as well, that runner is now bumper-carred over to third, so on. If a runner is bumper-carred over to the next base by the advancing batter or by another runner, bumper-carred by the advancing batter that runner is considered to have been forced to advance to the next base.

If, with a runner on third, for example, the batter hits a ground ball, the batter must run to first, but the runner on third, not having been bumper-carred by the batter, is not forced to advance and can stay where he is if he elects to. Force plays, or force outs, are one of the two ways to get a runner out on a ground ball. For a fielder to get a forced, bumper-carred runner out, he needs only to retrieve the hit ball and step on the base in question before the forced runner gets there, or tag that runner before the runner gets there. For example, with a runner on first, the batter hits a ground ball to the second baseman; the runner on first is being forced over to second by the advancing batter. Since this is a force play, the second baseman, once he catches the ball, needs only to step on second base or tag the runner before the bumper-carred runner gets there in order to get him out. A tag out, or tag play, the second way to get a runner out on a ground ball, involves an unforced runner and is much more difficult to execute.

A force on a runner is "removed" when a following runner is put out. This most happens on fly outs—on such, the batter-runner is out, the other runner must return to their time-of-pitch base, known as tagging up, it occasionally happens when a hit ground ball is fielded by the first baseman, who quickly steps on first base to force out the batter-runner. This removes the requirement that the runner on first must advance to second base. For force outs resulting from neighborhood plays, see the highlighted link. No run can be scored during the same continuous playing action as a force out for the third out if a runner reaches home plate before the third out is recorded; as a result, on a batted ball with two outs, fielders will nearly always ignore a runner trying to score, attempting instead to force out the batter or another runner. For example, suppose there are runners on first and third with one out; the batter hits a ground ball to the second baseman. The second baseman, seeing the bumper-carred runner on first heading his way, retrieves the ball and steps on second to get him out on the force out for the second out of the inning.

If the runner on third had meanwhile ran home and touched home plate, his run would count, if the batter-runner reached firstbase safely. But suppose the same play happened with two players out; the second baseman, seeing the bumper-carred runner on first heading his way, retrieves the ball and steps on second to get him out on the force play for the third out of the inning. If the runner on third had meanwhile run home and touched home plate, that run would not have counted. Note that the 2nd baseman, tagging such a forced runner coming from first for the 3rd out prevents scoring by the speedy runner from third as this tag is considered a force out. An appeal play may be a force play. After a proper appeal, this runner will be called out; this is a force out. However, most appeals are not force plays, because appeals do not involve a forced runner, it is not a force out. Because this out is similar to a true force out, in that the runner can be put out by a fielder possessing the ball at the base that the runner needs to reach, there is a widespread misconception that this out is a force out.

But it is not, which means the run would count if it scored before the third out is made on a runner trying to tag up. Fielder's choice Double play Fourth out Baseball Almanac Rules

The Blue Ox Babes

The Blue Ox Babes were an English pop group, formed in early 1981 by the former Dexys Midnight Runners guitarist Kevin'Al' Archer, together with his girlfriend Yasmin Saleh, guitarist Nick Bache and former Dexys keyboard player Andy Leek. Archer was keen to mix the soul sounds of his previous group with folk styles. To this end he recruited fiddle player Helen O'Hara to play on demo tapes of the new songs he had written; when former colleague Kevin Rowland heard these demo tapes, he invited O'Hara to join Dexys, adopted a folk-influenced sound for his own group. By the time the Blue Ox Babes released their debut single "There's No Deceiving You" on Go! Discs in 1988, the line-up consisted of Archer, Pete Wain, Nick Smith, Ian Pettitt, former Dexys members Steve'Brennan' Shaw, Steve Wynne. "There's No Deceiving You" was only a minor chart entry, peaking at No. 92 in the UK. Two other singles, "Apples and Oranges" and "Walking On The Line", were released, but sales were disappointing and these singles did not chart.

A planned album Apples & Oranges was recorded by the group but shelved, the Blue Ox Babes broke up shortly thereafter. In 2009, a CD of Apples & Oranges was released, containing all their recordings for Go! Discs, through Cherry Red Records; the package included all their singles plus many unreleased songs, several additional demos were made available as downloads. Kevin Archerguitar, vocals Yasmin Saleh — vocals Nick Bache — guitar Andy Leek — keyboards Helen O'Hara — fiddle Corin Winfield — bass Pete Williams — bass Pete Wain — piano Nick Smith — saxophone Ian Pettitt — drums Steve'Brennan' Shaw — fiddle Steve Wynne — bass "There's No Deceiving You"/"The Last Detail"/"Take Me To The River" "Apples And Oranges"/"Pray Lucky"/"Yes Let's"/"Russia in Winter" "Walking On The Line"/"Four Golden Tongues Talk"/"What Does Anybody Ever Think About"/"Thought As Much" Apples & Oranges Blue Ox Babes' Apples & Oranges CD page The Blue Ox Babes' MySpace page Blues Ox Babes page within Dexys Midnight Runners website