Blakey's airings sing despite title

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Taking It From Behind From Boycott to Blewett: Cricket's Changing Face in Yorkshire's Quest for Glory by Richard Blakey with Andrew Collomosse Mainstream, £15.99

Taking It From Behind From Boycott to Blewett: Cricket's Changing Face in Yorkshire's Quest for Glory by Richard Blakey with Andrew Collomosse Mainstream, £15.99

No one would judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to a title such as this one it becomes a little more difficult.

There is not merely a temptation to judge the book and its contents on the double entendre of the title of Richard Blakey's grande oeuvre, but also the author's mentality. It is staggering the Yorkshire wicketkeeper was able to persuade the publishers to run with it rather than their preferred Caught Behind.

No matter that it is precisely what Blakey does for a living, the choice of title is tasteless, bordering on the crass. Marketing the book may prove to be a challenge.

Take it down from the bookshelf, however, and the content is anything but crass or tasteless. Under the experienced supervision of his collaborator Andrew Collomosse, an experienced sports journalist, Blakey succeeds where many before have failed.

He entertains and informs. The book records, almost, but not quite, in diary form, Yorkshire's and Blakey's roller-coaster ride through the last season of the 20th century. There is the misery of losing the Benson & Hedges Super Cup final to Gloucestershire at Lord's on 1 August and two weeks later the team is inconsolable after losing to the same side in the semi-final of the NatWest Trophy.

There is also the wry, but never self-pitying backwards look that Blakey can now afford to give to his early years in the game and his disappointment at the way his Test career foundered at the first hurdle, thanks to what has now become known as the Tour of Hell to India and Sri Lanka in 1993.

The structure of the book is more imaginative than many. The reader follows Blakey and his Yorkshire team-mates from match to match. These become a vehicle for allusions to the past and thoughts on the game and where it is going, while giving revealing peeks into life on the road.

Cricket always seems to be so ordered out on the field, players moving around with precision, therefore the scenes during Yorkshire's humiliating first innings total of 52 against Leicestershire make for amusing reading.

And after the seasonal stuff Blakey moves back into his life, but modestly. Stand by for a belly laugh at his description of Simon "Donkey" Dennis and his bandaged ankle. Overall a great read. Shame about the title.

Top Ten Books

1 A Social History of English Cricket , by Derek Birley (Aurum, hardback, £29.99).

2 The European Football Yearbook 1999-2000 , edited by Mike Hammond (Sports Projects Ltd, paperback, £23.95).

3 The Miracle of Castel di Sangro , by Joe McGinniss (Little Brown, hardback, £17.99).

4 Life in The Fast Lane , by Eddie Irvine with Jane Nottage (Ebury Press, hardback, £16.99).

5. Blue Moon: Down Among the Dead Men with Manchester City , by Mark Hodkinson (Mainstream, paperback, £7.99).

6 A Fan For All Seasons , by Laurance Marks (Little Brown, hardback, £16.99).

7 We Fear No Foe! , by Colin Johnson (Terrace Banter, paperback, £8.99).

8 Taking it From Behind , by Richard Blakey with Andrew Collomosse (Mainstream, hardback, £15.99).

9 Elliot's Golf from 2000 , by Keith Elliot (Portway Press, paperback, £22.00).

10 In Your Face , by Richard Cockerill with Michael Tanner (Mainstream, hardback, £15.99).

List compiled by Sportspages Bookshops: 94-96 Charing Cross Road, London (0171 240 9604); St Ann's Square, Manchester (0161 832 8530).

www.sportspages.co.uk

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