First novel for former rugby scribe

Appley Bridge resident Peter Aspinall has realised a life long dream after the first fiction novel he has written has been published
Appley Bridge resident Peter Aspinall has realised a life long dream after the first fiction novel he has written has been published
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A FORMER newspaper journalist has moved from fact to fiction in a new career departure.

For a quarter of a century Peter Aspinall was Wigan’s voice of rugby league and during that time also had several tomes on the sport published.

But this month saw his first novel hit the bookshop shelves and may not be the last either.

The Tour is described by the 56-year-old author as a “comedy adventure novel, underpinned by a sobering moral story.”

Appley Bridge dad-of-three Peter says that the biggest influence on his writing is the droll Peter Tinniswood who penned such northern classics as I Didn’t Know You Cared and A Touch of Daniel.

And neither is it entirely a work of fantasy.

Peter said: “You may think from the cover that it is a book about cricket, but it’s not - the sport is just the backdrop. It’s half-based on a true story and set in 1981 when I went on a cricket tour myself. That was the year of Ian Botham’s heroics in the Ashes.

“In The Tour we have a group of lads from the North who go on a tour of Somerset and the book is about what happens to them.”

The publicity material that comes with the book gives a flavour of the plot. “The arrival of a dashing young Australian - the first ever professional at Crawford Cricket Club - brings both “bonza” times and bother for his new colleagues.

“Stuey’s new landlord, Bernard Gazelle, is a staid man three times his lodger’s age who learns to cope with the demands of a young knave determined to have a good time, legal or otherwise.

“Meanwhile, Sammy the winsome wicketkeeper becomes infatuated with the new recruit and the outrageous antics of all concerned test the tolerance of the stuffy club chairman.”

The Tour is published by Matador Books and is priced £7.99.

Peter, who these days can be found working at the Golden Days garden centre in Appley Bridge, says that it has taken three years between the commencement of writing and seeing the book in print, although the hardest part was finding a publisher.

But work is now under way on a second book. Peter said: “I have made a start on another although there hasn’t been a great deal of progress so far. I will see how this first one goes for now.”