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Lionel Tennyson - Regency Buck (Book Review)

Book Review - Lionel Tennyson - Regency Buck

Ian Henderson - Hampshire Chronicle

August 21, 2001

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A Hampshire writer has just completed the first biography of one of the most colourful cricketers of the 20th century.

The honourable Lionel Tennyson, grandson of the poet and himself later to become Lord Tennyson, was among the most distinctive and memorable characters the game has ever seen.

It was often said that he did not behave in the manner expected from a peer of the realm.

On the field, he was a charismatic team captain and hard-hitting batsman. Off the field his appetite for the high life, substantial gambling losses and reentless womanizing would have been a godsend to todays's tabloids.

Now in Lionel Tennyson - Regency Buck, Alan Edwards has, in his first book, separated fact from fiction and examines in detail the man behind the myth.

Alan, who lives in Chandlers Ford, has been the editor of the Hampshire Cricket Society newsletter for almost 20 years and has spent the last two years researching one of the county's most famous players.

Tennyson played 347 matches for Hampshire between 1913-1935, scoring more than 12,000 runs at a surprisingly low average of 23.68.

But he played in only nine Tests - the last in 1921. He led England in three matches in the home series against Australia in 1921, but was never selected again.

Edwards say Tennyson probably took Test cricket more seriously than anything in his life.

"But for all his off-pitch exploits, he might have led England more often. There is no doubt that he was regarded with suspicion by the heirachy at Lord's and was thought too much of a risk to lead the England team abroad," he adds.

"It's been a revelation looking into the many archives to try and discover the truth about such an extrovert figure and the stories which surround him."

Liberally illustrated with photographs of the remarkable subject, and with a foreword by Mark Nicholas.

Lionel Tennyson - Regency Buck - The Life and Times of a Cricketing Legend, published by Robson Books £16.95 from all good bookshops.

In the first biography of this complex talented sportsman, Alan Edwards attempts to separate fact from fiction and examines in fascinating detail the man behind the myth.

Alan Edwards has been the editor of the Hampshire Cricket Society Newsletter since April 1982, and has contributed to The Hampshire Handbook, Hampshire - The County Magazine and The Cricket Statistician, The Journal of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians. He is also the author of Milestones of Hampshire Cricket, published by the Hampshire Cricket Society in 1984.

REVIEWS

Daily Mail - Critic's Choice - 29 June 2001

"A timely ........... and lively book".

Independent on Sunday - Book Review - 8 July 2001

"(An) admirable book, succeeds in getting across the character of a man who lived for his cricket."

© The Hampshire Chronicle

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