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Published by Amazon, 2012.

 

1309 Days Later John PenningntonJohn Pennington's account of the plight of a never ending losing team may resonate with small sports and hockey clubs up and down the land, its rendition of a three year period when Grantham, a backwater hockey club in the east of England, experienced three entire seasons of losing every league game. The book will definitely strike a chord amongst the broad church which makes up the recreational hockey player in this country.

He hides his frustrations very well within a light and attractive style, seldom explaining away the pointless pursuits of his club's players at hockey's margin. Nevertheless many participants out there will identify with and almost champion the absence of players, the scarcity of quality pitches and the reliance on schoolboys and ringers to make up the numbers as testament to the spirit of hockey.

The irony of the title, 1309 Days Later, is that they were reached, indeed breached with a league win at just over the half way stage of the book. The remaining sector following this climactic occasion continued on in the same vein as a rather dreary catalogue of match reports. To labour through the monotony of the text describing the team's matches from season to season meant that the reader could easily flick through the 110 pages and regrettably report, just more of the same.

The author surely missed a trick here when he could have delved behind the scenes to take a look at the personalities off the field and how their hockey interacted with their professional lives; even to debate their combined efforts to improve, willing or not. Notwithstanding some amusing articles in the local press, his own sense of humour was rather underplayed in the book as there were and must have been more introspective and irreverent instances that would have provided an interesting insight into hockey at the blunt end.

Regrettably, the reader is left not really knowing any details of the lives of these loyal sportsmen other than through statistics, score lines, and league positions. The title of the book really does overshadow its content, but it remains a quaint but genuine reminiscence of the author's fond memories of what might soon become the forgotten breed of men and women in English hockey.

 

Editor: the opinions presented in this article are those of the individual assigned to review this particular book. They do not represent the views of The Hockey Museum.

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