Blofeld and Baxter spin a series of cricketing tales

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Cricket fans enjoyed a fascinating and often hilarious trip down memory lane with radio legends Henry Blofeld and Peter Baxter at The Maltings on Thursday.

The pair, who worked together on the BBC’s Test Match Special (TMS) for many years, had plenty of tall tales from life in the commentary box following England’s fortunes.

‘Blowers’, as he is affectionately called, boasts one of the most distinctive voices in broadcasting and is as renowned for his hilarious observations as for his cricket commentary, while Baxter produced TMS for 34 years.

They arrived on stage to the BBC’s popular cricket theme tune and settled into their armchairs. It made the audience feel like they had been invited into their drawing room for a post-dinner drink and nostalgia trip.

The first part of the show covered some of the radio gaffes which have gone down in legend, many involving Blowers himself.

The likes of Brian ‘Johnners’ Johnson, Jonathan ‘Aggers’ Agnew, Christopher ‘CMJ’ Martin-Jenkins also had their moments.

Both were unanimous in their view that John Arlott was the finest cricket commentator of them all, despite his propensity for drinking vast quantities of claret!

Tales of their time on foreign tours seem a lifetime ago, such are the changes which modern technology has brought. However, it was clearly no easy task to deliver a live broadcast or relay reports back to the UK from the Asian sub-continent in the 1970s.

Most recently, of course, the national team has had its struggles with a mauling at the hands of the Aussies.

Blowers, who was there commentating, said ‘there’s nothing worse than an Aussie winning’.

They ended with questions from the audience. They backed the decision to sack Kevin Pieterson, said Ian Botham was a better all-rounder than Andrew Flintoff and felt England would soon be back to winning ways.

Ian Smith