CHARIOT racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine sports and we all know how it goes. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both the driver and the horse as they frequently suffered serious injuries and even death, but generated some strong spectator enthusiasm. In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games, the sport was one of the most important equestrian events and each chariot was pulled by four horses. In the Roman form of racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. It is unknown when chariot racing began, but it may have been as old as chariots themselves. The technique and clothing of Roman charioteers differed significantly from those used by the Greeks. Roman drivers wrapped the reins round their waist, while the Greeks held the reins in their hands. Because of this the Romans could not let go of the reins in a crash, so they would be dragged around the circus until they were killed or they freed themselves. They also wore helmets and other protective gear, but in a big accident that wouldn’t help them much. In any given race there might be a number of teams put up by each faction, who would cooperate to maximise their chances of victory by ganging up on opponents, forcing them out of the preferred inside track or making them lose concentration and expose themselves to accident and injury. Spectators could also play a part as there is evidence they threw lead "curse" amulets studded with nails at teams opposing their favourite. Another important difference was that the charioteers themselves, the aurigae, were considered to be the winners, although they were usually also slaves (as in the Greek world). They received a wreath of laurel leaves, and probably some money; if they won enough races they could buy their freedom. Drivers could become celebrities throughout the Empire simply by surviving, as the life expectancy of a charioteer was not very high. For those that did well, a great deal of money was up for grabs. One such celebrity driver was Scorpus, who won over 2000 races before being killed in a collision when he was about 27 years old, but most famous of all was Gaius Appuleius Diocles who won 1462 out of 4257 races. When did you begin playing cricket? I started playing at 10 years old. Because my mum said no more tennis racquets after breaking three in a month. ‘‘I am taking you to play cricket.’’ Why did you decide to play? Friends are the biggest part of cricket for me. Hot and windy up here makes for interesting chat between balls and overs. Cricket career highlight? Highlight of my cricket career was a premiership back in Melbourne in 1998-89 with the club I played all my cricket with, Keilor Park. Also all mates that I grew up with. Back in 1992 I got the chance to bowl to the West Indies. Brian Lara went out onto the nets at the MCG and I got one to keep low, he went back and across and he said that’s out, you got me. Not a bad scalp. Fav team mate? My favourite Muddies player would have to be Steve Doble for his unrivalled gracefulness moving across the outfield. How do you expect the Muddies to finish this season? The Muddies this year after a great start need now to follow up our bowling performances with some great batting to make sure we set our place in the finals. Once we get there anything can happen! Why should youngsters consider taking up the sport? It’s a great game for kids. It teaches mental strength, hand/eye co-ordination and it’s great to chat about after the game.