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Bumper book of useless cricket information by Marc Dawson

Release date: 05th May, 2009
Publisher: Metro Books

List Price: £9.99
Our Price: £6.99
You Save: £3 (30%)
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The bumper book of cricket (useless information)
By Marc Dawson
Metro Books price: £6.99, saving 30% on rrp

What is sport without a regular flow of useless (or should that be superfluous) information? Whatever the sport, spectators, fans and active participants readily accumulate wholly expendable details regarding their chosen game or pastime because perhaps significantly, they can never have too much.

Far too many sporting authors take their subject matter far too seriously, so for readers who play or watch sport for enjoyment, Marc Dawson's book of useless information, hewn from cricket's ample supply of the stuff, is a joy. Actually, at times Dawson's title does the author a disservice, for much of the information here goes well beyond the amusing and into decidedly tough quiz-question territory.

For example, can you name the only time a trio of left-handers opened the batting for their respective countries in a test match? This particular cricketing first occurred three years ago when England hosted Sri Lanka; if you cannot name the six players concerned, get this book.

Of course, the manuscript (and it is a bumper collection of cricketing facts and feats) does have a wonderful array of amusing anecdotes. Take the incident during the 1986 Cricketer Cup when an Old Cliftonian batsman was readying himself to face his next ball whereupon a mackerel, nicked from a nearby zoo by a thieving seagull, dropped and missed him by inches, no doubt much to the amusement of the fielding side.

Another odd incident from the amateur game occurred in 1997 when a club match was brought to a halt in unusual circumstances after it was discovered that the fielding side had 12 players on the pitch. The error only became evident when a member of the Southampton Travellers side complained that he had not received a drink.

This book is ideal for compilers of pub quizzes and budding game show hosts who delight in being the quiz-master whenever the team bus is returning from a long away trip. Alternatively, the curious can dip in and out on a regular basis to discover that, for example, Australian Test umpire Bill Alley, the last batsman to have scored 3,000 runs in an English summer, was also a very promising middleweight boxer who won all 28 of his amateur bouts.

There are numerous examples of cricketers who have excelled at other sports. They range from Noel Cantwell, who played for West Ham and Manchester United, also turning out in a first-class match at Edinburgh in 1956 to represent Ireland against Scotland. New Zealand rugby star Jeff Wilson, the highest try scorer in All Black history, later returned to play international cricket for the Kiwis, something of a rarity in the modern age.

If there was an award for lavatory book of the year, Marc Dawson's effort is an excellent early-year contender.

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