I've recently been asked to read and review a book, an honour for me to do as what a book it was as well.
Neil Clark's ' It was never my ambition to become a Hooker' was actually quiet an enlightening piece of scripture, and also quite a gripping tale......its Not all just about rugby. The book runs through the Hookers time at Exeter, Bristol, Bath and Cornish All Blacks then once again back to Exeter and now celebrating his testimonial year with the Cheifs.
A very frank, open and very honest account of his life. A forward for the book written by another renowned Hooker Mark Regan gives a tiny insight into Neil's life but not a scratch on his own version.
The book begins with the players perspective of the second fixture of the Exeter v Bristol championship promotion final. We're given a behind the scenes view of the fixture- before, during and the celebrations of their victorious promotion.
Once the opening chapter is done the book flips back to his childhood. This for me was the truly gritty part as its somebodies childhood who shapes the man they become, and what a topsy-turvey time he had.
A long move when young to the parental issues that can only be described as unbelievable. What he witnessed and went through as a child would of broken many a child's spirit. Luckily through the passage of his story he was gifted with meeting some people who saw good in this tearaway. For all of his wrong doings and mistermeaners there was people who saw good and helped him turn his life around.
He was a late comer to rugby but eventually came to the realisation this was the pathway for him, turning his back on his beloved surfing.
As the book progresses we hear of his physical and personal development. He met some fantastic connections in the game and became passionate to make it his life.
During the season of promotion Neil gives a very detailed description of each fixture which he continues through seasons one and two of premiership status. It's not just a rendition of the way the games went but inside the reactions of the players, how they felt and their general physique.
To hear a players views on pre-season training, the turmoil of injuries show the intensity of the modern game. From the highs and lows of victories and losses, even through the sense of rejection of clubs. Even to the point of the skill needed to fulfil the Hooker's role, and the slightly touched mentality needed. This book truly covers all those points and so much more.
All in all if you're going to get a sporting book to read this year grab this little ditty and you won't be disappointed.