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A series of firsts at Lord's

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Adam Mountford | 08:36 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

So the Test Match Special charabanc rolls onto Old Trafford ready for Friday's second Test after a highly enjoyable and in the end fairly competitive opening outing of the summer at the home of cricket.

Lord's again proved to be anything but stuffy as a venue with some imaginative initiatives which earned the MCC a rather rare TMS honour.

For many years now regular listeners will know we present a bottle of bubbly to honour the Champagne Moment of the game - an award which bears the name of TMS legend Brian Johnston.

Often the prize goes to someone who's taken a great catch or scored a brilliant hundred - but this time the commentators awarded the bubbly to a "body" for what must be the first time after deciding that the MCC's idea to allow spectators to walk on the "hallowed turf" during the lunch interval on Monday was the moment which Brian Johnston would have appreciated the most.

Spectators on the outfield at Lord'sThousands of spectators too the chance to step onto the outfield at Lord's

When Phil Tufnell spoke with some of the spectators on the outfield during Monday's lunch interval on TMS, he discovered many had only come to the ground because of the chance to experience the walk onto one of sport's most iconic playing areas.

Tuffers found people who'd travelled from as far a field as Durham and Cornwall just to enjoy that magical moment of being out in the middle at the home of cricket - and we saw people literally reaching down and kissing the turf.

The award was presented to MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw to share among his staff and it was certainly the most unusual Champagne Moment I can remember since the prize went to the groundsman at Trent Bridge who'd slept under his lawn mower after working through the night to make the ground playable for a Test a few years ago.

The match at Lord's provided us with some other notable firsts. The thrilling Tamim Iqbal became the first player, I would imagine, to almost run off the field after completing a hundred at the ground.

His celebration was a deserving Champagne Moment runner-up and his innings was particularly enjoyable when we heard it had been inspired by Geoffrey Boycott - although it was more a reaction to Geoffrey's strident views rather than a tribute to his batting style!

Then, on Sunday the five-minute bell, which signals the players are ready to enter the field, was rung for the first time ever live on air after the honour was given to our own Jonathan Agnew. As an extra bonus we were permitted to broadcast from the Lord's Long Room, again for the first time, as Aggers made his way to perform his duty.

Jonathan AgnewAggers rings the five-minute bell - but carries on broadcasting

You would think Jonathan's colleagues would be very proud of him having been given such a special opportunity but, of course, instead we all enjoyed taking the mickey out of him. The main culprit was Phil Tufnell (egged on by me to be honest).

Aggers was sitting in the TMS box adjusting his tie ready to go over towards the Pavilion when Tuffers came into the box and said: "I'm really annoyed ... they phoned me a couple of hours ago and asked if I'd ring the bell this morning but I didn't have any smart gear to wear. Apparently they've been asking everyone."

Also in on the joke was Keith Bradshaw, who greeted Aggers by telling him: "We tried the ground staff and most of the stewards but I guess we are left with you."

Yet another first at Lord's was the arrival of a cake in the TMS box which had been baked by a pop star. Lily Allen popped in on Monday morning with a delicious raspberry sponge which she assured us had been crafted by her own fair hands.

Lily Allen presents her cake to Aggers

We will have another young musician joining us at Old Trafford with the lead singer of Keane, Tom Chaplin, joining us for a "View from the Boundary". Most of the band are dedicated cricket fans - and, I'm told, fairly decent cricketers - and it will be fascinating to hear Tom's views on the game.

Also during our coverage of the Old Trafford Test we will be giving you the chance to put your questions to West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding, who earlier this week expressed the controversial view that Twenty20 could kill off Test cricket.

"Whispering Death" will be joining us during the lunch interval on Friday and you can get in contact via , on this blog or by texting 84040.

We will also be joined by Angela Marks, the daughter of the great England spinner Jim Laker, who will be making her first visit to the ground where her father took 19 wickets in a single Test.

Like England, we are adopting a rotation system on Test Match Special for this game with Henry Blofeld and Vic Marks coming into our team at Old Trafford as CMJ has a rest and Michael Vaughan joins Alison Mitchell providing regular reports on Five Live.

Vic and Blowers will join Aggers, Simon Mann , Phil Tufnell and Geoff Boycott in the commentary box.

As always look out for our pictures on the TMS Flickr page, make sure you don't miss Aggers and Boycott's legendary TMS podcast and keep on eye on @aggerscricket and @alisonmitchell on Twitter for insights from inside the commentary box.

We are on air from Friday at 1045 am .. Hope you can join us.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great blog Adam. Best wishes to Team TMS at Old Trafford.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 2.

    Shame about Michael Vaughan not being on TMS this match.

  • Comment number 3.

    looking forward to the TMS charabanc rolling "on to" Old Trafford (you're not literally going to park on the outfield, are you?) :)

    I must admit I thought Vaughany was pretty good at Lord's, too. His first few appearances on TMS made me cringe, but he seems to have "got his eye in" a bit now :)

    long live TMS!

  • Comment number 4.

    The Lord's Test turned out to be special, for all the reasons Adam has listed above, which is heartening, given that most people anticapted a humdrum Test, due to our opponents. It's surprises like this that make TMS, and Test cricket, so compelling.

    I look forward to the reurn of Blowers and Vic although, as someone above has said, Vaughan has certainly earned his spurs now and CMJ is always good value. In particular, the on-air partnership of Blowers and Tuffers is a delight.

    Congratulations to Aggers on his 'ringing the bell moment' - you can see an unusual picture of the moment, by @cecimasters, here: :o)

  • Comment number 5.

    Adam, looking forward to TMS as usual, particularly any Tufnell-Blofeld double acts! Please give Boycott a rest, preferably an extended one. Yes, he's knowledgable and has strong opinions which should in theory provoke interesting discussion, but we've heard them all before countless times and it just becomes tedious. Even the "Geoffrey bating" by the rest of the team can't compensate! If you have to have him on, perhaps you and the rest of the team could run a sweepstake on how long he's on air before first mentioning that he used to play on uncovered pitches, or how many times over the course of his stints at the mic he will talk of himself as if he were still a current international player?

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm afraid that I don't greet the return of 'Blowers' with any enthusiasm. He's become an anachronisitic cliche, whose continual misidentification of players and misannouncing of the score detract from the otherwise excellent TMS.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can someone tell Vaughan to stop reminding listeners how cushy a number TMS is? Repeated references to playing golf, nice dinners and wine are not required. Agree with postings re Boycott being tedious - the joke has worn thin.

  • Comment number 8.

    Can you ask Alison and Vaughan on 5Live to give updates on when Blofeld is finished commentating so I can tune back to TMS to hear the others.

    Boycott is a master broadcaster beside Blofeld.

    A word of praise however for the Cat. I would never have belived he would make any kind of broadcaster but he is becoming required listening. He was once refered to by an ols school friend of his as 'a waste of a good education'. As long as he doesnt try to tell anyone how to bat! Although I was present for his maiden (Only?) first class fifty at Lords against Worcester about a hundred years ago.

    Aggers is still the best though.

  • Comment number 9.

    P.S. Love to Shilpa, still looks not a day older. Love you Patel

  • Comment number 10.

    Boycott tedious? Time to give him a rest? I don't believe so. He tells it how it is and is a breath of fresh air compared to the "he'll be disappointed with that" type banal comments.

  • Comment number 11.

    I can't wait to hear Blowers again. There's more to TMS than accurate reporting of the score. For me, it wouldn't be summer without Henry's dulcet tones.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ohhh, reading this post makes me pin for TMS. Living in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada prevents this due to licensing restrictions :-( That is simply not cricket!

  • Comment number 13.

    The melliflous voice and naughty humour of Tuffers, the wonderful sound of TMS in the garden on a glorious English summers day - what greater pleasure could there be in life!

    Could you keep Boycott to a minimum though please and with the volume turned down and ask Aggers to lay off the KP-nitpicking. But thank you all at TMS for bringing us so much happiness. Life would not be the same without you all.

  • Comment number 14.

    Agree with most of the comments re Tuffers - who knew he had such an acute cricket brain when he was playing. Often insightful and excellent reading of the game with really helps the listener. Likewise Vaughan, whos thoughts are always intelligent and on-point - although like some other posters I do wish he'd lay off the golf/wine stories a little - remember some of us are working hard (ahem) while listening to TMS.

    Disagree with some about Boycs - he can be a little bit too straighforward and sometimes come across as laughing at players he feels are less able than himself (almost everybody?) which does not make for comfortable listening. That said he's worth having around because his reading of the game is good, he's not afraid to make more controversial comments and his banter when Aggers and co are winding him up are radio gold.

  • Comment number 15.

    For Mr Holding - I hope you will be gently reminding Geoff Boycott about 'the fastest over of all time'!

    As a young lad, I was spellbound watching the 1976 West Indies - England Test series on television, it inspired a lifelong love of cricket in me and got me playing the game and wanting to be a fast bowler. Watching the greats like Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd was absolutely inspirational because of their gifts and the passion with which they played the game.

    I hope that one day soon the BBC will be able to show Test matches again, as that pleasure is now restricted to a few, which is a great shame.

    One thing about Geoff Boycott though, he is refreshingly unafraid to call a spade a spade! - that's something to treasure in this day and age when we're constantly assailed by bland corporate jargon and motivational-speak even from sportspeople. I heard him summarise the quality of an England bowling performance in a Test session a year or two back simply as - "It was rubbish" - and he was absolutely right, nothing more needed to be said!

  • Comment number 16.

    Please pass on my very best wishes to Angela Marks. Jim Laker introduced me to cricket at the tender age of 11 in 1956 when he took 19 wickets in that Old Trafford Test against Australia. I watched over 3 days in a schoolmate's house as we didn't have a TV until the following year. And I'm still watching some 54 years later. And still enjoying it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nice blog Adam!. Do you have a picture of Aggers when you guys were taking mickey out of him?.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mikey holding back on TMS! AWESOME! He's the best cricket commentator around!

  • Comment number 19.

    Bit disappointed there's no room for Boycott's mum on TMS! I hear she can knock spots off his comments with a stick of rhubarb. My view is she'd have to go some. I don't tire of Sir Geoff's opinions, even when I don't agree with them.

    Like some, I'll be delighted to hear Henry Blofeld again. There won't be any more summers after he's gone. Vic Marks too is always good for a dodgy prediction and some wryly amusing comment along the way. Phil Tufnell seems to have walked effortlessly into everyone's estimation

    You're spoilt for choice, really. CMJ is the most precise and well-informed of commentators and Michael Vaughan is settling in well.

    As for the great Jim Laker whom I used to watch week after week at the Oval, I'm here to break the news that I once bowled him out! - On matting at the Schoolboys'Own Exhibition in about 1951/52 (??) Frank Chester said he was out and that made me even happier. - And anyway, I'm sure Jim would have done the same for me!

  • Comment number 20.

    I thought when I seen the headline that Holding was joining the TMS commentary team, not just popping in for a chat during the lunch break!

    Would have been good if he was, as I enjoy listening to him and to TMS while at work during week.

    As for Holding reminding Boycott of that over, I've heard Holding asked about this before, and in fairness to him, he is always quick to point out that Boycott was well passed his best when he bowled it.

  • Comment number 21.

    It was a great Champagne Moment, indeed. Hats off the the great men (minds) who came up with the idea. Perhaps one day cricket will reclaim its stolen innocence!

  • Comment number 22.

    Don't agree about Boycott being repetitive. He was a master defensive batsman - arguably the best ever. Certain basic points about defensive technique - getting in line, foot to the ball, playing straight - are repeated because they need to be. My fear about 20/20 cricket is that is damages further (already damaged in my opinion by limited overs cricket)the defensive techniques and mental concentration needed to sustain an innings over a long period of time. I fell in love with cricket because it went on a long time and batsmen could score huge totals if they took advantage of bad bowling.Boycott knows all about bad bowling! Youngsters can learn. OK Boycott have have been selfish, but he had to be to prepare himself mentally for a big opening innings.
    By the way, well done TMS for providing fantastic live commentary of many years and making so many people's summer for them.

  • Comment number 23.

    re magnetic_monopole 11:16am

    As the article states:

    "but any lesser mortal would have been out." Gladstone Holder in The Nation. Lasting 5 deliveries of such quality is a testament to Boycott's ability

    Long live Sir Geoff
    ( mind you, I'd have paid good money to see his face when Michael Holding reminded him of it )

  • Comment number 24.

    Thanks for adding TMS to the listen again iPlayer. Now I can listen to any part of the matches that I wish to hear again. Now to make it perfect, you just need to be allowed to stay on air rain or shine.

    It's also nice to have Henry back on air. When the cricket is exciting, so is Henry. When the cricket is boring, Henry isn't. Just how I like it.

    Thank Rod Hudson, RIP. I wasn't alive when he worked with TMS but thanks to him I can enjoy it.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sorry I meant Rob Hudson, RIP. Not Rod.

  • Comment number 26.

    i remember as a kid hearing robert hudson on tms .Also Ive just checked out the england fixtures this summer, what a complete mish mash of games.How come we are playing australia in a 1 day series? I thought the ashes start in november?.We seem to be playing australia nearly every year now its getting tedious.I prefer to follow the county stuff these days , much more interesting.


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