By Vince Groak
With an introduction by the Rt Hon Lord John Prescott
Hull, 1980. The fishing industry is in terminal decline, the Humber Bridge still unfinished. A depraved killer is on the loose and Hull City FC look doomed to relegation. But, on a long Bank Holiday weekend in May, all thoughts turn to Wembley … chance for ultimate bragging rights.
Against a backdrop of a dramatically changing city, Last One Out… traces the story of how Hull’s two rugby league teams emerged from mid-seventies gloom to take their place at the very top of the game – exerting a dominance over the sport that others would follow.
Featuring first-hand interviews with players, officials and supporters, this is the definitive history of the ultimate rugby league derby; the early rounds and the draw that kept them apart, the clamour for tickets, the divided families and that famous sign on the road heading south. It tells of Roger’s joy, Sammy’s despair and the story behind ‘that try’.
Later, there was the pride and emotion of the homecoming. Later still, the game entered history, spelling joy for one side, despair for the other and encapsulated in a song the losers were taunted with until another dramatic Wembley victory more than three decades on.
More than just a derby, more than just a cup final, this is the story of an exodus: the day Hull invaded Wembley.
The Road to Super League
By Mike Latham and Daniel Spencer
The 2016 Kingstone Press Championship was a season unlike any other. Thrills and spills all the way were crowned with a first promotion to Super League in British rugby league’s much heralded New Era.
And the club that made that leap was Leigh Centurions, packed full of great players, backed by charismatic owner Derek Beaumont and roared on by a vocal crowd whether on the road or at a bouncing Leigh Sports Village.
In The Road to Super League, Mike Latham and Daniel Spencer take a look back at an action-packed year, with all the memories and statistics any fan could hope for. It’s a perfect feast to celebrate the Centurions’ return to the top flight in 2017 and a yearbook that no Leigh supporter will want to miss.
By Bev Risman
With a foreword by Lord Melvyn Bragg
At the start of a glorious and varied career, Bev Risman faced two major dilemmas. Should he represent his ancestral homeland Wales or England, his country of birth? Ought he to play rugby league or rugby union? Son of league icon Gus, Risman made his name in the fifteen-a-side code, playing for England and touring with the 1959 British Lions.
Later, after initially moving to rugby league with Leigh, he enjoyed huge success at Leeds, with whom he played in the famous Watersplash Challenge Cup final at Wembley. He was top goal-kicker in the league for three years and became a dual-code tourist while captaining the 1968 Great Britain side in the World Cup in Australia.
Upon retirement, Risman became rugby league’s first ever development officer in the South of England. He was appointed director of the Student Rugby League, became a founder member of the charity Rugby League Cares and, in 2010, enjoyed a year as President of the RFL and was awarded the OBE for services to the game.
An all-round sportsman, Risman also worked for the Lawn Tennis Association and was technical director of David Storey’s rugby league-based play The Changing Room in London’s West End.
Both Sides of the Fence is his autobiography. A fascinating insight into decades of great change, it lays open the events and personalities that have dominated both codes of rugby.
“From the first time I saw them, I was a Rovers fan – for better or worse – and always will be,” says official club historian Roger Pugh of his life-long passion, which began in 1968.
In, The Robins – An Official History of Hull Kingston Rovers, Roger Pugh goes back to the founding fathers of a club that has become a name synonymous with rugby league and traces their story up to the present day; their appearance at Wembley in 2015 and subsequent celebration of ten years in Super League.
It is a fascinating odyssey of their initial growth in the late nineteenth century against all the odds; of heady early successes; the long fight against debt and the wider forces of economic depression in the city; of a renaissance and a transition to becoming ‘nearly men’; the glorious breakthrough to the very top, followed by a slide into obscurity and administration, and of rescue and return.
That Hull Kingston Rovers have survived at all through their dark periods is testament to the determination and dedication of men who simply would not let the club die. This is their story, the players and administrators whose contributions should not be forgotten, their achievements and tribulations properly documented and celebrated.
With a foreword by legendary ex-player and current president Colin Hutton and a preface from chairman Neil Hudgell, the book also contains pocket profiles of iconic players through the eras, a focus on the great matches – with a special chapter on the victory at Wembley in the all-Hull Challenge Cup final of 1980 – a list of club honours and records, a players, officials and coaches directory, together with a season-by-season and club-by-club analysis.
Putting the Robins in their social context, this meticulously researched volume will appeal not only to fans of the red and whites of east Hull, but equally to sporting historians and those who love a tale of defiance and pride.
The autobiography of Gareth Hock – As told to Neil Barker
With a foreword by Adrian Morley
Gareth Hock is widely seen as the bad boy of rugby league. A player who, in his early years with hometown Wigan, seemed to have the world at his feet was instead derailed by a drugs ban, skirmishes with officials and other headline-grabbing controversies.
Yet now, for the first time, Hock insists that there is more to this private family man than that, while putting his side of a story that has never been short of incident.
Hock: The Real Me is a rugby league book that – like the player himself – packs a real punch!
160 pages, paperback.