Inside Sport review of Their Finest Hour
How do you cover off the entire history of a sport’s tournament just by looking at ten games? You can’t – and to be fair, author Andrew Marmont hasn’t tried to that here.
What he has succeeded in doing through this method though, is deliver pretty much the entire story of the growth of the international rugby league’s greatest event, from a round-robin event staged across Tests separated by months, to a blockbuster carnival of matches which will hit our shores later this year.
Call the league World Cup what you will (Mickey Mouse tournament is the laziest option), but it certainly can’t be labelled as stagnant. Each staging of the event has marked impressive progress for the international game. Marmont doesn’t just analyse individual matches, he helicopters over the lead-up and fall-out of his chosen fixtures, explaining the context in which they were played.
Your author, for example, still has a keen interest in the 2000 World Cup, which I attended as a beer-guzzling Aussie supporter. Marmont reminds readers of league’s great invasion of the Big Three stadia across Britain during the event that year – Cardiff’s Millenium, London’s Twickenham and Manchester’s Old Trafford, all venues which hosted matches throughout the tournament. Many locals surrounding those history grounds had to be begged to get involved that year, but that’s okay, they just hadn’t yet been enlighted…
Review by James Smith in the August 2017 edition of Inside Sport.