Cricket: North Down are brought to book
THEY tell me in the publishing business that upwards of 90 per cent of books sold every year fly off the shelves in the few weeks leading up to Christmas.
Little wonder then that in this World Cup year three new local cricket books are vying for a place under the Christmas tree.
Two reflect on those sunny days in the West Indies when Ireland wrote its name into the history books in capital letters - "Raiders of the Caribbean" from the pens of skipper Trent Johnston and journalist Ger Siggins followed by "Green Wickets" by another southern journalist, Ed Leahy.
Now a third book, and one much nearer home, is to be launched during the incoming week just in time for that last-minute shopping.
"One Shot More" is the history of North Down Cricket Club at the end of this its 150th anniversary, a labour of love by that quintessential clubman Ian Shields and a treasure trove of historical narrative and illustration.
It could not have been more appropriate that the Senior League and Cup double found its way to The Green in Comber in this year of celebration and Shields' book is a fitting climax to it.
As that legend of post-war West Indian and international cricket and very good friend of North Down, Sir Everton Weekes, puts it in his foreword: " Having reached 150 a few times in my career, I fully appreciate the effort and dedication required to get there."
That effort and dedication is tellingly chronicled as a result of Shields' meticulous research into a club that has brought distinction to the game throughout the country. None has won more Senior Cup finals and few have won more NCU League titles.
"One Shot More" also holds a mirror to the social climate of times gone by and paints the bigger picture of cricket as it evolved in the Northern Cricket Union area. But its charm is to be found in the characters of North Down cricket both on and off the field.
And few would argue with Shields' final thought: "No one can predict what will happen in the future, but while committed and able people who love the game give of their time and skill the future of North Down Cricket Club will be secure and in good health".
The two World Cup books are available at leading stores and all the publications - and others of less recent vintage - can be purchased on the www.cricketeurope.com website.