Peter's Oborne's 'Basil D'Oliveira - Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story' has won the 2004 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. It is the first cricket book to have won the prize, worth 15,000 to the author, since Derek Birley's 'A Social History of English Cricket' in 1999. The climax of Oborne's book is the so-called D'Oliveira Affair of 1968 when John Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, banned the touring MCC side because of the inclusion of a black man.
Oborne, the political editor of The Spectator magazine, beat off strong competition which included Matthew Pinsent's autobiography, 'A Lifetime in a Race,' and another cricket book - Ed's Smith's `On And Off The Field'. Oborne also collected a 1,500 free bet from William Hill as well as a specially commissioned, hand-bound copy of his own book.
The judging panel included Frances Edmonds, wife Phillipe Edmonds, and author of 'Another Bloody Tour,' her perspective of England 1985-86 tour of West Indies. The others on the panel were John Gaustad, founder of Sports Pages bookshop, John Inverdale, Danny Kelly, Paul Hayward and Hugh McIlvanney. Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill said: "Oborne's book is a timeless and timely tale of how racism blighted a sport."
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