Wednesday, May 21, 2008

the bowler's Holding, the.....oh, you know the rest

One of the great joys of early summer in Britain, along with cuckoo-spotting and dying of a hideous allergic reaction after making pea-shooters out of giant hogweed is the first home Test match of the summer, and the accompanying return of Test Match Special.

As this is the 21st century, you can now listen to it online as well as on the wireless, or your home-made crystal set. I hesitate to enthuse about Great British Institutions, lest people imagine that I am a dewy-eyed supporter of the monarchy, fox-hunting, Delia Smith, etc., when in fact nothing could be further from the truth in each case, but I think TMS qualifies as one. There's something quite comforting and heart-warming that in no other country in the world would something as bumblingly schoolboyish and amateur be allowed on the airwaves, or certainly not by the country's flagship "official" broadcaster anyway.

I listened for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, just to see if Michael Vaughan could reach his century (he did, in the end), and even during that short period there were a few highlights:
  • new addition to the team Phil Tufnell adding a bit of gruff Cockney barrow-boy banter to the generally fairly public-school atmosphere, with much talk of "the ball nippin' abaaaahht aaahht there" and the like
  • Henry Blofeld plummily responding to Tuffers' claim to have once scored 67 for Middlesex "all in fours" by saying "you're mathematically incontinent, my dear old thing"
  • the team goading Geoff Boycott by getting scoremeister Bill Frindall to list all the occasions he'd been out for a duck in Tests - strangely enough they all turned out to have been duff umpiring decisions, according to Geoffrey anyway
Nothing as unintentionally hilarious as Christopher Martin-Jenkins' ill-chosen "rod" analogy from earlier in the match, and certainly nothing to match the Brian Johnston/Jonathan Agnew "leg over" incident from 1991, but highly entertaining nonetheless.

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