Showing posts from September, 2010

Sam Torrance revels in the magic of the Ryder Cup

Just as Wimbledon has the capacity to make temporary tennis fans from spectators and television viewers who at most other times have no interest in the sport, so the Ryder Cup can stir the normally golf-averse to acquire at least a fleeting fascination with foursomes and fourballs, birdies and bogeys.  It has a special appeal for some players, too, enabling them to escape from the insular, isolated pursuit of glory as an individual to work with familiar rivals towards a common goal, develop camaraderie and experience the singularly uplifting joy of shared success. One who falls into that camp is Sam Torrance, who won 21 tournaments on the European Tour between 1976 and 1998 but will recall two moments in the Ryder Cup as the high points of his career. The first came at The Belfry in 1985 when his 15ft birdie putt at the 18th clinched Europe’s first victory over the United States, ending a run of 13 consecutive wins by the Americans (one shared) since the last outright success by

Promised Land author to share his sports writing skills

As Promised Land, Anthony Clavane’s superlative history of Leeds United, continues to attract acclaim, the author has been engaged to pass on some of the skills of his profession at a sports writing course in Shropshire in November. Clavane, who writes about a range of sports for the Sunday Mirror , will share the tutor’s platform with fellow author Richard Beard at a week-long residential course in the splendid surroundings of The Hurst , the estate that was once the home of the playwright, John Osborne. From back-page reports to full-length books, the course will examine techniques for transforming a passion for sport into writing that engages and entertains a wide range of readers. In a series of workshops and tutorials, Clavane and Beard will explain how to bring people and events to life, find the connections between personal experience and the wider sporting world and turn the compelling narratives of sport into equally gripping stories. The course, which costs £595.00

Settle back for cricket in the raw as summer bids farewell

At last it’s over.  After 177 days, the longest English cricket season on record ended on Thursday, somewhat jarringly with a one-day international. There is a six-week pause now before the first pre-Ashes warm-up match.  For the players named for the tour this afternoon, the chance to cast aside the boots and consider a world beyond runs and wickets can seldom have felt more timely. Cricket is a well paid profession now, as it should be.  And with greater rewards come greater demands.  For the majority of England players, the schedule is tough but not unreasonable.  Yet there must be a small part of each of them that hankers after the more leisurely world of club cricket, the game that in  our imaginations is played in dappled sunlight on pretty village greens flanked by trestle tables draped in chequered cloths, heaving under the weight of sumptuous teas. Does that world really exist?  Here and there, perhaps.  But not in the picture that Harry Pearson paints in an entertainin

Programmed to entertain

The market in self-centred memoirs penned by obsessive football fans has veered close to saturation point more than once since Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch unleashed the genre’s potential in 1992. Naturally, it takes a special writer to stand out from the crowd and for that reason a new work from Dave Roberts, author of The Bromley Boys , is worth noting. Roberts, a former advertising copywriter, won wide acclaim for managing to capture how it feels to support a less-than-successful non-League club in his account of Bromley FC’s desperate times in the Isthmian League of 1969-70. Remembering in admirable detail how football (plus life, the universe and everything, of course…) looked through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy, Roberts revealed a talent for self-deprecating humour that impressed reviewers for The Guardian , The Independent and When Saturday Comes among others and saw Roberts proudly cover-to-cover with such luminary fan-writers as Tim Parks and Harry Pearson on book shop

Bryant's marathon task to chart life of Chris Brasher

Chris Brasher Chris Brasher’s influence on athletics was extraordinary. He was a pacesetter when Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, unexpectedly won an Olympic Gold in the 3,000-metres steeplechase in Melbourne in 1958 and was later instrumental in setting up the London Marathon.  Also a distinguished sports journalist and broadcaster, he was a complex and controversial character yet a man whose life story has never been properly told. Now that task has been taken on by John Bryant, former editor of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, who was a friend of Brasher and has a passionate interest in the history of running.  Bryant has plenty of his own memories to draw upon, but is appealing for help from others who may have known the former Observer sports editor, who died in 2003. Writing on the Sports Journalists Association website, Bryant says: I’d known Brasher from the 1960s, was a friend of his, and am now trying to make sense of his life, for which I’ll n