The Victory Tests, the story of the 1945 cricket series between England and the Australian Services, written by Mark Rowe, and published by SJA treasurer Randall Northam’s publishing company, SportsBooks, has been shortlisted for the Cricket Writers’ Club book of the year.
The unofficial series staged in the summer of 1945, almost immediately after VE Day, is almost forgotten today. Before Rowe’s book, the only history of the series is a limited-edition Australian book on the subject.
Yet the five matches between a near full-strength England team and Australian servicemen, at least one of whom had just been released from a Prisoner of War camp, drew huge crowds. Great cricketers played on both sides: Len Hutton, Wally Hammond, Keith Miller, Lindsay Hassett.
Rowe’s book was described in the Wisden Cricketer as “…a vivid and passionate account of that extraordinary summer. Combining breathless accounts of the matches with wide ruminations on the game as it was then, Rowe has produced a fascinating book of a golden summer that rivals any of the great Ashes contests”.
Magazine editor Rowe got the idea for the book after a working holiday in Australia more than a decade ago. It is his second book on the wartime era, but his first on a sporting theme.
The British Sports Book Awards are to be staged at the Savoy in London, on May 9, when the winners of a number of categories will be announced.
Other SJA members who are among the shortlisted candidates include:
- Tom English for his book The Grudge, on Scotland’s Five Nations showdown with England in 1990;
- Brian Scovell‘s biography of Bill Nicholson;
- Anthony Clavane for his book Promised Land (reviewed here);
- Michael Calvin‘s season with Millwall, self-published as The Family; and
- Steve Bunce, for his foray into sporting fiction.
For all the shortlists, click here.
For more book reviews and news from the sports publishing business, click here
UPCOMING SJA DATES
Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Contact Paul Trow for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – note the date in your diary now.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates