Author(s): Robert Winder
Set against the backdrop of depression-era politics, 1934 was an annus mirabilis for English sport. Within just a few days of each other, Hedley Verity, Henry Cotton and Fred Perry all triumphed in their field. To a sporting audience still groaning through the quagmire left by the Great Depression, greedy for inspiring distractions, these heroic efforts made for a heady spectacle. England's Ashes Test victory at Lord's (later known as Verity's match) saw Australia seeking revenge after the Bodyline series of 1932-33, but Verity bowled England to a famous innings victory, taking 15 wickets - 14 in one day! That same day, Cotton set out on the first qualifying round of the British Open. He went on to set a new Open record with a game so sparkling the Daily Express called it "the best round of golf ever played". And within a fortnight, Perry had beaten Australia's Jack Crawford in the Wimbledon final. England had an extraordinary national hat-trick. Together, these three contests and these three singular life stories weave a vivid portrait of an England that has faded from view.
Half-Time celebrates a time of intense and rapid social and cultural change, a time that was both the last hurrah of the ancien regime and the stirring of something new. And moving through it, famous actors on a grand stage, are three very English heroes.
Three sporting victories from Fred Perry, Hedley Verity & Henry Cotton in one remarkable fortnight provide an atmospheric account of life between the wars
A fascinating and tremendously well-researched history. The Times on The Little Wonder Irresistible...Winder's graceful and measured prose is entirely suited to his topic. The Guardian on The Little Wonder Marking Wisden's 150th anniversary with detailed research, elegant style and dry wit. New Statesman on The Little Wonder
Robert Winder was Literary Editor of the Independent and Deputy Editor of Granta. He is the author of several books including Hell for Leather: A Modern Cricket Journey and Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain, and a team member of the Gaieties Cricket Club, whose chairman was the late Harold Pinter. His most recent book is The Little Wonder: The remarkable history of Wisden.