Tales, Truths & Tirades – 20 October 2016


With tempting titles such as The Timeless Test, The Pedal-power Prince, The Marvellous Morkels, and Tragedy on the Track, I simply had to buy this 330-page book with the beautiful photographs. At only R50 per copy Peter Joyce’s 100 Memorable Sporting Moments – Events that united South Africa is a super bargain. (Okay, you asked for it. I bought it at the “crazy sale” at Bargain Books last week.)
The book covers most major sporting events from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present day. “From the dramas and disappointments to the triumphs and tragedies.”
All the usual suspects are there. Gary Player, Frik du Preez, Graeme and Peter Pollock, Kevin Curren, “SuperVan” van der Merwe, Baby Jake Matlala, Lucas Radebe, Chad le Clos, Caster Semenya. But there are also a number of long-forgotten heroes from days gone by.
Guess who features in the chapter “One Man and the Sea”? Do you remember that bearded guy with the pipe? Bruce Dalling and his yacht Voortrekker made an indelible impression on my young mind back in the 1960s. Dalling made history when he won the 1968 transatlantic single-handed yacht race on handicap. He also became the inspiration behind the Cape-to-Rio yacht race.
The chapter headed “The Timeless Test” tells the story of the longest cricket game in history, which was played in Durban between South Africa and England in 1939. Everybody was “fed up with drawn and rain-ruined matches”. So it was decided to play a test match where the two sides would battle it out until “only one remained standing”.
The game lasted 10 days. Nearly 2,000 runs were scored, more than 5,000 balls bowled, five centuries accumulated and “one double-ton completed”.
The “Pedal-power Prince” was a 25-year-old lad from the Eastern Cape who completely overshadowed all his cycling rivals when he competed against the world’s best riders in Chicago in 1893. If you want to know more about Laurens Meintjes, you’ll have to buy the book. You won’t regret it.