Sports Book of the Week: Triumph and Tragedy, by Peter Jackson
Sunday 16 October 2011
Hard for the Welsh to find comfort after yesterday's cruel defeat in Auckland, but this celebration of some of the country's past sporting heroes just might help. Unsurprisingly, rugby gets the most attention, with five of the 17 pen portraits of Welsh legends devoted to the game's two codes.
In union, there are the incomparable scrum-half Gareth Edwards, the inspirational skipper Mervyn Davies and the boy wonder Keith Jarrett, an 18-year-old who had left school only four months before contributing 19 points, including a 70-metre solo try, in a 34-21 victory over England in 1967.
Jarrett later switched to league, a path previously taken by Billy Boston and Clive Sullivan, the latter becoming the first black man to captain a Great Britain side in an international event when leading his team to World Cup victory in 1972.
Jackson conducted a great number of interviews to bring his subjects back into vivid focus, and while some stories are well-known, he has also rescued grand prix driver Tom Pryce and Busby Babe Ken Morgans from the shadows lengthening around them.
He stresses his choices in this highly readable package are "entirely subjective", which explains the absence of Ken Jones, arguably Wales's greatest sportsman. But if you want to know more about the lightning-fast rugby union winger who won a then-record 44 Welsh caps and earned a silver medal in the sprint relay at the 1948 Olympics, try reading Ken Jones: Boots & Spikes by Steve Lewis (SportsBooks, £18.99). While not a racy read – Jones wasn't one for mystery blondes in nightclubs – it's a fitting tribute to a modest, dedicated man who deserves to be remembered.
Published in hardback by Mainstream, £17.99
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