I’m not certain when I first listened to cricket commentary on the radio, but I know by the early seventies it was required listening for me whenever I got the chance. Back then it was Arlott, Johnson and co on Test Match Special and to a cricket mad kid from Somerset it was heaven.
Things have changed a lot since then. It seems to me that for many of the modern cohort of TMS commentators it is more about them than the game. There are notable exceptions, Simon Mann and Vic Marks most prominently, people who love the game of cricket as much as I do and let that shine through their words.
A few years ago the BBC won the rights to cover every ball of every game of county cricket (Championship, 50-over and T20) and a whole new world of enjoyment for cricket fans has opened up.
New names have come into my world, superb broadcasters who are also cricket fans and for who the game, and in the majority of cases, their county is the thing. They are too numerous to mention but a TMS crewed by these BBC “Local” commentators would be a thing to behold.
When I was 18 I decided that I wanted to be a journalist. The dream was to one day become a commentator on TMS and The Daily Telegraph cricket correspondent but, it was not to be and a career in accountancy beckoned!
But it hasn’t stopped me listening to cricket commentaries and wondering if I could do that, wondering if I’d ever have the chance, and if I did what it would be like.
I’ve been writing and about and taking photos of cricket on a regular basis now for the Somerset supporters website The Incider for the last two seasons with the desire to build myself a bit of profile as a cricket writer and photographer.
In the last few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to talk to the BBC Nottingham and Yorkshire cricket correspondents as part of my pre-match previews of Somerset’s upcoming games. And from that came the chance today to do my first bit of “radio” thanks to BBC Yorkshire’s Jonathan Doidge.
So if you happened to be tuned into BBC Somerset, BBC Bristol or any of the numerous BBC Yorkshire stations this afternoon you may have heard my debut as I joined Anthony Gibson as his summariser in the afternoon session.
I’m pleased to say I wasn’t nervous, but that had a lot to do with Anthony, Jonathan and the equally wonderful DT (Dave Townsend). And I think I acquitted myself well (well at least I remembered to stop talking as the bowler ran in!) . It certainly gave me a real appreciation of the skill and concentration required and an even greater appreciation of the work that goes in to each sessions commentary.
I just hope I get another crack at it – soon!
But in the meantime thanks again to Jonathan, Dave and Anthony not just for today but for their work every day of the season. And to them and their colleagues Martin Emerson, Dave Bracegirdle, Scott Reade, Kevin Hand, Mark Church and many more – well played sir.