Showing posts from August, 2015

A wonderful appreciation of the quintessential English summer game

Summer's Crown: The Story of Cricket's County Championship, by Stephen Chalke (Fairfield Books) £20.00 Available from Amazon , Waterstones  and other retailers Academic and cricket lover Stephen Chalke, the man behind F airfield Books,  has written some 16 books on his favourite subject.  Most - if not all of them - have won critical acclaim; four have won awards. Summer's Crown might be his best yet.  Chalke's latest work is a history of the County Championship, the competition conceived in 1890 to serve the interests of eight founder members and, 125 years later, somehow still going, repeatedly defying the odds against its survival. It is a weighty volume, some 352 pages long.  As such, it might have been a pretty dull affair, a catalogue of facts and figures and turgid chronology.  But not in the hands of Stephen Chalke. Beautifully written, as you might expect, it is also superbly well organised.  After an introductory chapter, there are a cou

Usain Bolt, Kevin Keegan, Ingemar Johansson and English Leg Spin come under the spotlight in a quartet of new titles

NEW BOOKS A selection of new sports books The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica's Sprint Factory, by Richard Moore ( Yellow Jersey ) £18.99 Available from Amazon , Waterstones , WHSmith and other retailers In nine of the last 11 years, the fastest time of the year for the men's 100m has been set by a Jamaican; seven times in the same period, the fastest time for the women's 100m has also been set by a Jamaican.  The latest phenomenon, Usain Bolt, is not only the fastest of them all but possibly the most recognisable sportsman or woman on the planet. Sprinters define Jamaica. So what is the secret of this one island's incredible success?  Genetics? Diet? The island's love of athletics that sees crowds of 35,000 turn up for high school championships? Or something more sinister? Richard Moore, who learned a good deal about success achieved by unfair means in previous books about cyclist Robert Millar and the banned Olympic 100m champion Ben Johnson, does