MASTER SPORTSMAN

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

 

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As a schoolboy, I watched Norman Borrett, the first Great Britain hockey captain play three times in the 1948 London Olympics including the final at Wembley where disappointingly he did not add to the 9 goals he had scored earlier against the USA (5) and Afghanistan (4).

So “Master Sportsman” the story of Norman Borrett by Richard Sayer was a must read. And my hopes were justified. A brilliant all-rounder, Norman Borrett played cricket for Devon, and one game for Essex, won the British amateur squash title for five years in a row and played 37 times for England and Great Britain at hockey as a dashing inside forward. His greatest sporting honour probably being captaining the Great Britain Hockey squad to the Silver medal in the 1948 Olympics.

His list of achievements might have been even more outstanding but for the intervention of the Second World War

There are very few things you can be sure of in sport, but it is safe to say that we will probably never see another sportsman capped at senior level for their country at both hockey and squash. Indeed, it is difficult to believe that sportsmen like Borrett, Mike Corby and P J Wilson have achieved this feat in the past.

The author played a number of sports under the control of Norman Borrett when he returned to Framlingham College from his first teaching spell at Allhallows School in Devon. With painstaking research and the close co-operation with the family, he has put together a splendid picture of Borrett from prep school to Framlingham in the 30s to Cambridge University, where he won five Blues, and on to his teaching career and beyond. The story is absorbingly interesting As a writer Richard Sayer’s approach is measured, meticulous, lucid and in great detail in its record of Borrett’s outstanding sporting achievements. Moreover, naturally for a man who spent just about his whole life centred around Framingham the College and College personalities feature prominently. Nevertheless it is an extremely interesting read, and indeed record, on an outstanding sportsman and should be a first class addition to the limited number of British hockey and squash books currently available.

The 186 page fully illustrated book is available, price £17.95 plus p&p from the author - Richard Sayer, Tilburys, Liphook Rd. Passfield, Liphook, Hants GU30 7RX (01428 751 302 - sayer@tilburys.co.uk)  – Bill Colwill Hockey Correspondent The Independent 1986 - 2008

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