British Sports Hall of Fame 1937: Jack “Kid” Berg, Steve Donoghue, Nellie Halstead and Harold Larwood

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame in 1937 are:

Jack “Kid” Berg (Boxing) – one of the best British boxers of his time.  He was a precocious youngster who in a non-title bout aged sixteen beat the British featherweight champion.  He had a very successful career in Britain over the next three years before fighting well in the USA.  In 1930 he took the NBA title of the world light welterweight title and defended the title three times.  After an unsuccessful challenge for the world lightweight title he won his first British title in 1934 and held this lightweight title until 1936.  He continued his career at a lower level to finish with a total of 157 wins from 192 contests.

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Steve Donoghue (Horse Racing) – the British champion flat racing jockey every year from 1914 to 1923.  His highest total was 143 in 1920 and he rode over 100 winners in four other seasons.  He rode fourteen Classic winners between 1915 and 1937 including six winners of the Derby with three of those coming in successive years in 1921 to 1923.  He rode 1845 winners in total and also had success in France and Ireland, where he was champion jockey in 1908.  He was the most popular jockey with the public of the 1920s.

Nellie Halstead (Athletics) – a versatile runner of the early 1930s who set world record times at four distances.  In 1930 she broke the world record for 220 yards and in 1931 for 100 yards.  Her finest run came in 1932 when she broke her own 440 yards record by two seconds.  Her time of 56.8 seconds was unsurpassed at the distance until 1950.  She set an unratified world record at 880 yards in 1935.  In championships she won bronze at the 200m in the 1930 World Women’s Games and the 220 yards at the 1934 Empire Games.  In relays she won medals at the 1932 Olympics and 1934 Empire Games.  She won eleven WAAA titles at distances from 100 yards to 880 yards.

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Harold Larwood (Cricket) – one of he most feared bowlers in the history of English cricket due to his express pace.  He took over 100 wickets in a season eight times between 1926 and 1936 with a highest total of 162 in 1932.  That year saw him heading the England bowling attack in the notorious Bodyline tour of Australia.  His role in that tour brought an end to his Test career, which had seen him take 178 wickets since 1926.  He was top of the first class bowling averages five times and in his first class career took 1427 at an exceptional average of 17.51.  He was also a decent batsman who scored 98 in his final test match which was the highest score made by a night-watchman.

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