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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unhealthy obsession maybe, but what a great game
For those of a certain age, this will forever be the English cricket fans' JFK moment. We all know where we were the day that Bob Dylan Willis went nuts and shot down the Aussies or, the day before, when his bearded accomplice, Sir Beefy of Bothamshire, had moved the antipodeans into no-man's land with his 145 run assault then raced to the pavilion, sat down with 3 lions...
Published on 30 Jan. 2012 by Vic Templar

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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but you don't get the flavour
I was to young to see this match. I have seen clips, however I have always heard about how good a match this was. I got the book hoping to learn and experience the moment. The authors have been very thourgh with the facts, however in doing this, they have lost the atomsphere. A real shame.
Published on 7 July 2003 by Colin Butler


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unhealthy obsession maybe, but what a great game, 30 Jan. 2012
By 
Vic Templar (St leonards, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
For those of a certain age, this will forever be the English cricket fans' JFK moment. We all know where we were the day that Bob Dylan Willis went nuts and shot down the Aussies or, the day before, when his bearded accomplice, Sir Beefy of Bothamshire, had moved the antipodeans into no-man's land with his 145 run assault then raced to the pavilion, sat down with 3 lions on his cable-knit jumper and smoked a slim panatella.

I know where I was - in Eric Jones' maths class. Mr Jones was old-school; a war veteran, a quiet disciplinarian, of grey hair, Ronnie Barker specs and furrowed brow, who occasionally let a wry sense of humour decorate his lessons without ever losing grip of the controls. As I said, old school, to the extent that he knew that some things in life are more important than the curriculum.

As we trooped into his class on the afternoon of Tuesday 21st July 1981 the black and white before our eyes was not chalk on board but a primitive Sony portable TV. Word had spread during lunch break (Pearce had smuggled in a transistor radio) that the Aussies were in deep trouble and Mr Jones was not going to deprive his pupils of the chance to witness this historical moment. Thirty boys and a master huddled round the tiny screen to see first Chris Old dropping Alderman - twice, to fatalistic groans, then Willis cartwheeling Bright's middle stump to joyous cheers.

I concur with Gideon Haigh when he observes in the foreword, 'It happened, and, for some, never stopped. Thirty years on, and the Headingley Test seems eerily contemporary.' Yes, as another Amazon reviewer has noted - it's an unhealthy obsession, but it was one hell of a game.

The England XI have given us many memorable moments since - I was there at the Oval when Devon Malcolm took nine south African scalps - our current all-conquering side seem to engineer a bus fleet of them, but none match the drama of those 24 weird hours three decades ago. In years to come there will be documentaries celebrating 'Freddie's Ashes', focussing on Geraint Jones' sprawling catch off Kasprovitch's glove at Edgbaston, but Headingley '81 will forever remain a glowing memory without equal.

I had long thought Mike Brearley's 'Phoenix from the Ashes' to be the definitive account, but this book trumps it, at least in Headingley terms. Brearley's great book took in the whole summer, whereas '500-1' is the anorak's almanac of the incredible third test; the miracle.

Most of the key players (in its widest sense) have been interviewed for their tuppenyworth/invaluable insight and those who have not (including one I.T. Botham) have published enough autobiographies down the years to aid the authors' research.

The key chapters, three and four, which set the stage, introduce the participants and recount the details of the match, are presented 'as live' without hindsight by the authors and this device is successful in achieving their aim of capturing the time, the atmosphere, anticipation and drama as the events unfolded. Of course, they eat their cake too, with snippets of dry, knowing humour; Dilley is described as "not shy of giving the ball a crack, he is developing into a useful No. 9"; Of Gower, "one can only pray they (the selectors) don't do anything silly...and make him captain."

This is holiday reading of the first water. If you want a criticism, then some will find the socio-political portrait of Britain in 1981 veers too far towards a subjective left-wing rant on the evils of Thatcherism rather than a calm, sage, objective analysis of the evils of Thatcherism!

Messers Steen and McLellan have upturned every possible stone that constitutes this story and for that we can say a hearty thanks, as can generations not yet born, who will be able to marvel at the account of this cricket match bloody miracle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Summer of 81, nostalgia, heros, laughter, great Read, 12 Sept. 2013
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I can almost relive every minute of this test series, as good as The Ashes has been since 2005, there will never be another like 1981. I cannot think of a single element that was missing from the whole series, it had everything. The Aussies even take a bet at 500-1 that they will lose - No public out cry, no one thinks foul play, No because it was impossible to consider England actually winning........But they did.
How many stories have we heard around this particular event, still worth reading this one - Superb.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracle indeed, 28 Oct. 2010
By 
R. Senior "Smallfry" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is something truly amazing about those cricket matches where the dynamic of the game changes dramatically and unexpectedly ... perhaps because of all those hours we spend watching when nothing much happens? Matches like these give great pleasure to the spectator and live on in cricketing legend. The beauty of a book like this is that it extends the invitation to those who weren't there at the time, too. It gives more than a glimpse of a spectacular cricketing triumph - it captures the feel and the excitement of the match, and the flavour of an entire period in British history. I am an avid reader and cricket fan, and this was a great combination for me. Highly recommended!
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but you don't get the flavour, 7 July 2003
By 
Colin Butler (Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81 (Hardcover)
I was to young to see this match. I have seen clips, however I have always heard about how good a match this was. I got the book hoping to learn and experience the moment. The authors have been very thourgh with the facts, however in doing this, they have lost the atomsphere. A real shame.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Unhealthy Obsession, 9 April 2009
By 
Andy (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81 (Hardcover)
I suppose it's not entirely surprising that a country like England, whose routine sporting outcomes so often undershoot our expectations, should latch onto those events where we emerge so emphatically triumphant. I'm thinking of things like the 1966 World Cup (groan!) and, yes, Headingley 1981. This 260 page book is devoted to documenting the events of that remarkable Test match, in exquisite, painstaking, detail.

The book was published by the BBC just prior to yet another beating at the hands of the Aussies, in 2001. Its authors are perfectly respectable and serious people, and there are contributions from all kinds of other worthy folk. Yet you have to wonder why something like this needed to be written. I couldn't bring myself to finish it I regret to say, though it was interesting enough to browse through. It includes plenty of nostalogic reminiscences to the early 80s (music, politics etc.) which may be of interest to some readers, I guess; but it only served to remind me what a wretched interval of history it was.
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500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81
500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81 by Alastair McLellan (Hardcover - 8 Jun. 2001)
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