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Scratching Shed Publishing

Books

Border City Blues – The Story of Carlisle Rugby League

By Alan Tucker
With a foreword by Dean Bell

Border City Blues is the previously untold story of rugby league football in the proud Cumbrian city of Carlisle. Author Alan Tucker – a former chairman of the club – shares his inside view of the highs and lows and ups and downs of life in English rugby league’s most northerly outpost. Includes a detailed statistical analysis of every season in the Border Raiders’ existence, including tables, match-by-match records and player contributions. Paperback, 256 pages.

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Border City Blues is the previously untold story of rugby league football in the proud Cumbrian city of Carlisle. Author Alan Tucker – a former chairman of the club – shares his inside view of the highs and lows and ups and downs of life in English rugby league’s most northerly outpost. Complete with an introduction by the New Zealand rugby league legend Dean Bell, the bulk of the book is a season-by-season account of the city’s longest-surviving professional outfit, Carlisle Border Raiders. From their birth in the early-1980s to ‘merger’ with Barrow in 1997, it is a dramatic story of struggle against the odds and a faithfully produced insight into just what it takes to get a new sport up and running in often quite unsympathetic territory. Added to this is a detailed statistical analysis of every season in the Border Raiders’ existence, including league tables, match-by-match records and individual player contributions. Border City Blues also takes care to acknowledge the history of amateur rugby league in Carlisle, courtesy of the city’s junior, ladies and open-age teams. And it brings the story right up to date with the post-1997 launch of the Carlisle Centurions summer conference set-up. The book also provides short histories of the city’s original thirteen-a-side club, Carlisle City, who flared briefly in 1928; and the amateur side of the same name in 1950-52. All in all, this is a valuable and timely addition to the rugby league bookshelves that no treasurer of sporting heritage should be without.

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Ray French… and Rugby

By Ray French

Although BBC rugby league commentator and former St. Helens and Widnes forward Ray French represented his country at both codes of rugby and has, for the past thirty years, written and broadcast extensively on the sport, his latest book is far more than a look back at his life in the game. Here French looks back through his years in rugby and offers his often controversial views on its future. Paperback, 216 pages.

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Although BBC rugby league commentator and former St. Helens and Widnes forward Ray French represented his country at both codes of rugby and has, for the past thirty years, written and broadcast extensively on the sport, his latest book is far more than a look back at his life in the game. In Ray French… and Rugby, he presents the story of a man who has for the past six decades straddled and enjoyed both oval ball codes as a spectator, player, coach, administrator and commentator. He calls upon his experiences on and off the pitch to consider the problems facing both sports, the relationship between them, the values and appeal of both games, and offers his strong, passionate and controversial opinions on their future. Naturally concentrating on rugby league, the passion in his life, he provides an abundance of humorous anecdotes and stories surrounding incidents and the characters within the game. Already the author of seven titles, Ray French looks upon this as being the definitive book on his career and everything associated with it.

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The Woman Without A Number

By Iby Knill

An inspirational tale of Holocaust survival, The Woman Without A Number is the story of Iby Knill, who featured recently on the BBC1 television series My Story. An extraordinarily brave and open book, it tells of persecution, resistance and – ultimately – redemption. Appearing for the first time in print, it is a story that has waited sixty years to be told. Paperback, 288 pages.

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This is the story of Iby Knill, whose inspirational and moving account of holocaust survival was featured recently on the BBC television series My Story. In her book, Iby tells of her early childhood in Czechoslovakia and of how her parents – alarmed at the persecution of Jews in Germany – smuggled her over the border to Hungary. The Woman Without A Number also reveals how she was caught by the security police and then imprisoned and tortured, not only as a result of her Jewish connections but for having entered Hungary illegally and for aiding the resistance movement. Eventually, Iby was sent to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. In June 1944, Iby Knill left Auschwitz-Birkenau by volunteering to travel as a nurse with a slave labour transport of 500 women. Once transported to Lippstadt, she was put in charge of a hospital unit and risked her life protecting the weak and helpless from the gas chambers. Appearing for the first time in print, The Woman Without A Number is a truly remarkable tale that has waited sixty years to be told.

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The Great Ones & Other Writings (1969)

By Eddie Waring
With a brand new introduction by Harry Edgar

Eddie Waring’s The Great Ones & Other Writings is the fifth book in Scratching Shed’s Rugby League Classics range and a real eye-opener for those who think they know the one-time BBC rugby league commentator. First published in 1969, the original Great Ones has assumed almost mythical status among followers of the 13-a-side code. This updated edition also includes Waring’s rare 1946 Indomitables Tour diary, first published in 1947. This is a must-have volume for every fan of rugby league. Paperback, 320 pages.

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The fifth and latest book in Scratching Shed Publishing’s Rugby League Classics range is Eddie Waring’s The Great Ones and Other Writings. First published in 1969, the original Great Ones has assumed almost mythical status among followers of the 13-a-side football code thanks, in large part, to its rarity. The book is Waring’s personal take on some of the greatest rugby league players of all time, all of it written in his own idiosyncratic and entertaining style. Also included in this new edition is Waring’s highly readable account of the 1946 Indomitables Tour of Australia and New Zealand, along with assorted other writings from various publications which reveal that there was much more to this legendary broadcaster than met the eye – and ear! Rebranded as part of the Rugby League Classics range, this fifth book in a popular series also comes complete with a brand new introduction by esteemed rugby league writer Harry Edgar and an afterword by Eddie’s son, Tony Waring.

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Reluctant Hero – The John Holmes Story

CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT

By Phil Holmes Jr and Phil Holmes Sr

This is the long awaited biography of Great Britain and Leeds rugby league legendary ‘quiet man’ John Holmes. Uniquely told by his brother and nephew, it is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats. Paperback, 288 pages.

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The absolute local boy made good, Kirkstall-born John Holmes will forever be an icon at his beloved Headingley; his exceptional, distinguished service in a glorious double-testimonial career seeing him become Leeds Rugby League’s longest serving player. Holmes honed his talents on a school playground with his elder brothers, learning and refining his abilities in the ultimate school of hard knocks to become the most durable and, arguably, best ever to don the colours he so cherished. A majestic ball handler, able to unlock any defence, he was a superb cover tackler and, perhaps most importantly, had a supreme rugby intelligence. Not that such influence was planned, his genius was instinctive. In a glorious 21 year career, he won every honour in the game, appearing in 625 matches for the Loiners including 19 finals and was the architect of victory in the majority of them. In 1972 he was integral to the Great Britain side that triumphed in the World Cup. It was a mark of the esteem with which he was held that, at barely a few days notice after his passing at the tragically young age of 57 in late September 2009, over 100 ex-players gathered on the pitch in silent tribute to him. His long awaited story, uniquely told by his brother and nephew, is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats.

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