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Derek and Nigel - Two Heads, One Tale


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My favourite comedy duo back in the seventies was Derek and Clive, aka Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Alas, both have long left us. Fortunately we now have a replacement double act in Derek and Nigel. Sporting anecdotes have always been popular, and larger than life characters have kept us chuckling over the years. In football, Shankley was the grand master of the repertoire. In rugby, half an hour in the company of Clive Rowlands is the best tonic anyone can ingest. And now we have not one but two masters of rugby ribaldry coming together to both amuse and inform us. Capturing the natural repartee that exists between Derek Bevan and Nigel Owens was a masterstroke dreamed up by author Alun Gibbard. Here we have two of the worlds best ever rugby referees, albeit of different eras, swapping tales. A natural bond exists between the two men. When Derek gave up whistling he became Nigels coach and also served as Nigels TMO. What makes this book stand out is that the banter between the two masters of the whistle also gives us an insight into the appeal of the game both on and off the pitch. Take the first chapter, The Tale of Two World Cup Finals. I should not have to remind you that Derek and Nigel are the only two Welshmen ever to have refereed a World Cup Final. We learn how referees were chosen in 1991, Dereks era, and in 2015, when Nigel officiated. In the former, you would be chosen on the basis of how good you were. By 2015, a ranking system had been introduced. Tales on the Road is particularly revealing. Imagine Nigel silencing a rowdy crew at the London Irish Club by singing Myfanwy! And Dereks recollection of his first-ever appearance as a referee in that cauldron called Stradey Park brought a lump to my throat. The book ends with an incident that became the stuff of legends. It occurred during the Blues-Ospreys game of four years ago. Nigel asks Derek for clarification after Rhys Webb had claimed a try. The resulting conversation between the two officials resulted in 120,000 viewings on YouTube. This is a book that is the result of an imaginative concept and transcends the world of rugby. Its appeal is universal, and I will be returning to it time and time again. Lyn Ebenezer It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council

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