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Merv Hughes' 104 Cricket Legends

Understanding cricket and cricketers has been a lifelong quest for Merv Hughes.

– How much can a roommate take before events deteriorate into shaving cream at ten paces?

– How seriously should senior players take their responsibility to train young twelfth men?

– What makes a good captain?

Now, for the first time, Merv brings us a combination of yarns about his favourite players as well as his observations of the game.

In Merv Hughes’ 104 Cricket Legends, he shares his thoughts on the importance of training effectively, learning by watching how the best approach their preparation and the qualities that make a player a champion. And he takes us through the 104 legends (teammates, opponents and heroes) who all had an influence on the cricketer Merv became.

Stumped!

Stumped! offers definitive answers to sports-related conundrums including:

* Which country is the best at sport?

* Who would win a fight between Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee?

* In motor racing, is the car or the driver more important?

* Are English footballers really thicker than foreign players?

Drawing on studies by historians, statisticians, scientists, doctors and philosophers – and bringing a healthy amount of common sense to bear – Nicholas Hobbes addresses the whys, whats and hows so you don’t have to.

Stumped: it’s not the questions but the answers that count.

Who Would Win a Fight between Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee?

Nicholas Hobbes tackles the sports-related questions that thousands of people have debated in front of the TV and in the pub, but for which they have never found a definitive answer. These include:

Why do female tennis players grunt?

Are English footballers really thicker than foreign players?

Why do cyclists shave their legs?

Can one swimming pool be ‘faster’ than another?

Who would win a fight between Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee?

Drawing on studies by statisticians and scientists, doctors and philosophers, Nicholas Hobbes explains the whys, whats and hows, so you don’t have to.

The Best Game Ever

The remarkable story of the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Colts and the Giants – considered by many to be the greatest American football game ever played – from Mark Bowden, bestselling author of Black Hawk Down.

Wallaby Warrior

When the Australian team won the Gold Medal for rugby at the 1908 Olympic Games The Times pronounced: ‘If ever the Earth had to select a Rugby Football team to play against Mars, Tom Richards would be the first player chosen.’

This book tells something of Richards’ extraordinary sporting life, but it mainly reproduces highlights from the very entertaining diary he kept during WW1. He had worked part-time with the Sydney Morning Herald before he enlisted and he would write between 100-800 words about his experiences each day, giving a revealing, intimate account of what occurred throughout the Gallipoli campaign and then the Western Front, where he received a Military Cross for his courage under German fire.

He was acerbic in his opinions, often critical of his superiors and fellow soldiers; he was a great observer of human tragedy and frailties, repeatedly finding fault with the British in charge, and meeting numerous important war figures, including Simpson at Gallipoli. He included vivid descriptions of football matches played in Egypt, Gallipoli and on the Front, and there are also numerous lighter moments, as Richards sought out and was intrigued by strange characters.

Hype and Glory

There have been twenty major international football tournaments since that Saturday in July 1966 when Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup trophy for England. As each of these competitions has come around, a wave of expectation has been followed, with seeming inevitability, by disappointment just weeks later. But with just three semi-final appearances to show for over forty years of effort and pain, why does England – as a team and as a nation – continue to believe that it has an almost divine right to succeed in international football?

Tracing the footballing fortunes of ten England managers – Ramsey, Revie, Greenwood, Robson, Taylor, Venables, Hoddle, Eriksson, McLaren and Capello – Hype and Glory shows just why the England football team has struggled to live with the weight of expectation. Full of dramatic on-field action and dressing room gossip, it vividly recreates the highs and lows, the agony and ecstacy, the close calls and the humiliations, and through scores of interviews with players, managers and journalists, pinpoints precisely why things have always gone so badly wrong…

Two Tribes

In 1979, after 20 years of thrashings of British and Irish teams by America’s seemingly unbeatable golfers, the representation of the British and Irish Ryder Cup team was extended to include continental European players. The experiment began badly for Europe, with defeats in 1979, 1981 and (more narrowly) in 1983. In 1985 at the Belfry, however, European golfers won the trophy for the first time since 1957. Over the ensuing 25 years, the Ryder Cup has been transformed into a highly charged – and sometimes highly controversial – clash of golfing equals, Europe having won 7 cups to the USA’s 4 since that memorable September day at the Belfry.

In Two Tribes, Gavin Newsham not only tells the thrilling story of 31 years of the expanded Ryder Cup, he analyses how the event has changed from Samuel Ryder’s original conception of the competition when he started it in 1927, why exactly it had become so uncompetitive before 1979, and how Europe’s golfers have succeeded in turning the tables so effectively from 1985. Two Tribes will tell the full story of the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Drawing on interviews with, and contributions from, a world-class line-up of Ryder Cup heroes (and villains) past and present (including Sandy Lyle, Mark James, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Sam Torrance, Nick Faldo, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Colin Montgomerie, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Hal Sutton, Paul Azinger, Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson to name but several), Two Tribes captures the essence of three passionate decades of Ryder Cup competition – its dramas, duels, triumphs, traumas and more than occasional moments of controversy.

Hardmen

When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.
The ranks of rugby league around the world have been liberally peppered with hardmen. With violence that would never be tolerated off the footy field, the game has always been rough, tough and dangerous. Stiff-arm tackles, headbutts, spear tackles – all aimed at maiming the opposition players – were once just part of the game. But while the thuggery of old has been cleaned up, the modern game of huge hits at breakneck speed is definitely no place for the faint-hearted.
Fans in pubs and clubs have always talked about the courage of their favourite sons – men who never took a backward step, like legendary South Sydney captain John Sattler, who played through the 1970 Premiership grand final with his jaw broken in three places, and ‘Bumper’ Farrell, who was accused of biting off the ear of an opponent as he simultaneously gouged his eyes. In more recent times Andrew Johns orchestrated Newcastle’s 1997 grand final success with a punctured lung and three broken ribs, and pint-sized Gold Coast star Preston Campbell picked up a broken jaw early in the game but hid it from team-mates until the final whistle.
But Hardmen is much more than a collection of bone-crunching collisions and wild confrontations. As Malcolm Andrews’ vivid profiles of the most courageous and colourful dramatically unfold – from those who played on with broken legs in early times to the fast and furious high impact of today – we see both the fascinating evolution of the game and the fiercely resolute qualities that have steadfastly remained at its heart. Simply put, Hardmen captures the unique spirit of rugby league with the greatest collection of ripping yarns ever published in a single volume.

George Smith

George Smith is one of the greatest players Australian rugby has ever produced, and certainly one of the all-time best, open-side flankers in the world arena.

After becoming the fourth Wallaby and the 10th in the history of the game worldwide to reach a century of Tests, Smith went on to earn 110 Test caps for Australia. Throughout his career he bedazzled crowds – and more importantly, the opposition – with the tactical brilliance, technique and physicality in his game. A relentless and supremely skilful terrier, he was spectacularly targeted by opponents as the player they had to close down but through all such storms Smith responded heroically.

His glorious career included numerous best and fairest player awards in both Test and Super rugby where he played his entire career with the Canberra-based Brumbies. He also played in two World Cups – in 2003 and 2007 – and starred in numerous Test wins in the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations series, as well as in the Wallabies’ stunning series victory over the British and Irish Lions when they toured to Australia in 2001. He became the 75th Wallabies captain, leading Australia for the first time in the 2007 World Cup against Canada in Bordeaux and on a number of occasions afterwards.

But for Smith, an errant youth who’d been seduced by a bad crowd on Sydney’s northern beaches, life could have turned out disastrously, barely before it started. He was raised in a Tongan family as one of nine siblings and after his expulsion from Balgowlah Boys High School it was this Tongan heritage, in the end, which proved to be his salvation. The dramatic road he’s followed since, throughout a stellar amateur and professional rugby career, has been littered with pot holes. Some he fell into. Others he avoided. But, as in rugby, in life it’s how one responds that really counts.

David Boon's Funniest Sporting Moments

Boonie is best known as the man who drank 52 cans of lager en route to London to play a game of cricket. Not only did he manage to drink 52 cans but he then went on to play a cracking game. So who better to relay some of sport’s funniest moments?