There was a rugby double at the CROSS British Sports Book Awards last night as Gareth Thomas won Autobiography of the Year for his book, Proud, and Richard Parks won the Rugby Book of the Year with Beyond the Horizon.
Parks‘ story of his journey from reluctantly retired rugby player to intrepid “extreme environment athlete” wowed the rugby award’s judging panel, which includes Rugby World‘s Alan Pearey (as chairman) and Katie Field. Beyond the Horizon, which was written in conjunction with Michael Aylwin, was Rugby World’s Book of the Month in December and in his speech at the awards dinner at Lords, Pearey called it a “remarkable and inspiring story”.
Thomas‘s autobiography was also shortlisted for Rugby Book of the Year, and was Rugby World’s Book of the Month in November 2014. It was chosen as the Autobiography of the Year ahead of books by Ian Poulter, Chris Froome, Nicole Cooke, Roy Keane and Guy Martin.
Ghost-written by Michael Calvin, Pearey called it “a very powerful story”.
The other shortlisted rugby books were The Test by Brian O’Driscoll, The Secret Life of Twickenham by Chris Jones, Behind the Rose, Playing Rugby For England by Stephen Jones and Nick Cain, and Undefeated, the Story of the 1974 Lions by Rhodri Davies.
This was the third time there has been a rugby double at the British Sports Book Awards, as in 2011 Tom English’s The Grudge won the Rugby Award and Brian Moore‘s Beware of the Dog won the Autobiography Award, and in 2012 Alastair Hignell‘s Higgy and Matt Hampson‘s Engage were both winners.
This year awards were presented in ten categories in all, and each of the ten winning titles is now being put to an online public vote to determine the Overall CROSS British Sports Book of the Year in association with The Times.
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The vote, sponsored by National Book Tokens, is being held on the official website www.britishsportsbookawards.co.uk – with a prize draw of £100 National Book Tokens. The vote remains open until Tuesday, 16 June, with the winner announced shortly after.
A highlights programme from last night’s awards ceremony will be shown on Saturday, 6 June at 10am on Sky Sports 4 and 1pm on Sky Sports 2, and on Sunday, 7 June at 11.30am on Sky Sports 2 and 7pm on Sky Sports 5.