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Rugby League: A People’s History

Temporarily out of stock

By Tony Collins

In 1895, the game of rugby league was born. Ever since, it has brought us thrilling matches, magical players and countless memorable moments. Published to coincide with the game’s 125th anniversary, Rugby League: A People’s History tells the story of the sport in all its glory, from global superstars to local supporters and everyone in between … professionals and amateurs, men and women, officials and volunteers.

It goes back to the start of rugby and explains why rugby league was born, how it grew around the world, and what enabled – and still enables – it to triumph over adversity.
This is more than just a history of rugby league. It is a social history of the life and times of the north of England.

Tony Collins is emeritus professor of history at De Montfort University, whose books include The Oval World: A Global History of Rugby and How Football Began. He has won the Lord Aberdare Prize for sports history book of the year four times, and appeared on many BBC television and radio programmes.

Price: £14.99

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25 Years of the PDC World Darts Championship

With an introduction by Barry Hearn

Darts fans will not want to miss this official commemoration of the PDC World Darts Championship – which enters its 26th year in December 2018.

Readers will discover a vast collection of statistics, memories and images from a quarter of a century of darting excellence, with the results and player details of every match and player over that time, along with a comprehensive reference source for lists and records, contained in its pages.

Since the first match between Dennis Priestley and Jocky Wilson in December 1993, over 1,300 matches involving more than 350 players have been played. Colourful quotes and photos add to the celebration in a book compiled using data from Sportradar, who have collected live dart-by-dart data from events around the globe as official data partner to the PDC.

Numbers are a large part of a tension-filled, fast-paced, mentally-draining sport. So whether you are a fan, player, media professional or just a darting geek, 25 Years of the PDC World Darts Championship is a must-have publication.

The author, Steve Morgan, has worked for Sportradar at PDC tournaments since 2015 with responsibility for ensuring data speed and accuracy to the PDC and betting industry.

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The Struggle and the Daring

The Remaking of French Rugby League

By Mike Rylance

A much-anticipated sequel to The Forbidden Game

The Catalan Dragons’ stunning 2018 Wembley Challenge Cup victory came against a backdrop of well over half a century of both triumph and turbulence in French rugby league.

Re-emerging from the iniquitous ban under the Vichy government, le rugby à treize was rebuilt from scratch after World War II – so successfully that the Tricolores were recognized as unofficial world champions after their dazzling, ground-breaking tour of Australia, and were at the forefront of international innovation, including the World Cup.

Together with the acclaimed The Forbidden Game, which explored the story of the Vichy ban, The Struggle and the Daring makes up the first-ever complete history of French rugby league.

Based on extensive research and interviews, Mike Rylance’s book highlights the many great players France has produced and analyses key events as the game emerged from the chaos of post-Liberation France, continued to grapple with the threat posed by rugby union and, after a long decline, returned to the mainstream of professional rugby league.

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The Greatest Sacrifice

FALLEN HEROES OF THE NORTHERN UNION

By Jane and Chris Roberts

They were among the sporting elite of 1914 – the stars of the Northern Union – idolised by thousands of enthusiastic men, women and children up and down the land.

Yet despite their heroic status in what was soon to become known as rugby league, these warriors of the playing field were willing to sacrifice their careers – and then lives – on the World War One killing fields, for King and Country.

Other sports have honoured their Great War fallen over these past 100 years, producing Rolls of Honour to ensure that their ultimate bravery is never forgotten; not so rugby league – until now.

The Greatest Sacrifice – Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union – rights that wrong. It tells the story of talented sportsmen who, when war was declared on 4 August 1914, duly departed for France, Belgium and beyond, never again to see the rugby league towns and grounds they once so famously graced.

Among those who fell were three members of Great Britain’s 1914 summer tour to Australia and New Zealand. A number of other former internationals died too, as did many more who had earned top domestic honours with their clubs. Some of the youngest players were just embarking on professional careers and therefore never able to fulfil their potential.

Each player featured has a different tale to tell – from childhood to rugby stardom to enlistment into the British Army and, finally, the greatest sacrifice of all.

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The Dazzling Lady Docker

Britain’s Forgotten Reality Superstar

by Tim Hogarth

In the north of England there was a put-down for women who had ideas above their station: “Who do you think you are? Lady Docker?”

Through Britain’s post-War years, scarcely a day went by when Norah Docker and husband Sir Bernard didn’t dominate the newspapers. The Dazzling Dockers, as they became known, were on everyone’s lips. Rubbing shoulders with royalty and the era’s Hollywood stars, the pair caught the imagination of a public hungry for frivolity.

They were the pioneering reality superstars of their age, controversial standard-bearers for our own celebrity-obsessed 21st century. Yet of the two, there is no doubt whose star shone brightest. Born over a butcher’s shop in Derby, Norah Docker went on to enjoy a level of fame second only to a young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Brash but always fun, Sir Bernard was her third millionaire catch in a row.

Antiques expert Tim Hogarth, star of ITV’s Dickinson’s Real Deal and Secret Dealers, re-tells a tale once familiar but now almost totally forgotten featuring excessive spending, posh furs, diamonds, gold-plated Daimlers and terrible behaviour, such as when Norah got the couple banned by Prince Rainier of Monaco and saw the jewel that inspired the Pink Panther films stolen, thereby becoming involved with the London underworld. The Dockers sailed the Med on their own superyacht, owned castles and country estates.

It couldn’t last, of course, and didn’t, but what waves this working class girl made en route from rags to riches and back again. From the Bright Young Things of London’s Roaring Twenties to their equivalents in the Swinging Sixties, the adventures of Lady Norah Docker are a dazzling treat.

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