To paraphrase dear old Aggers I’m about to use a sentence that has never been used before. Not truthfully anyway. England are cricket world Champions. Sounds good doesn’t it? There was even some icing on an already tasty cake. It was Australia that we beat in the Final. Handsomely. For a cricket fan, it doesn’t get much better than that.
So why do I find myself feeling slightly underwhelmed?
Well, the culmination of the tournament meant two things. On one hand, it meant England hoisting aloft their first ever World Cup, but on the other, it meant that (for a while at least) Test Match Sofa would be going off air.
Whenever I used to happen across an episode of Eastenders, I always used to baulk at the lack of realism – “There is no way they could be so close to Ian Beale without ever swearing at him” I would protest. Well, sports commentary is a bit like that too. It is often very good, but it rarely describes the action in a way a passionate fan would. This is where the Test Match Sofa gang come in.
Broadcasting from a front room in London, Test Match Sofa comprises a gaggle of cricket fanatics who gather in front of Sky Sports to provide an alternative, live commentary on all England’s International matches.
Having commentated on the recent winter tours of South Africa and Bangladesh, the sofa team faced their biggest and most ambitious challenge when they undertook to commentate on each and every game of the Twenty20 World Cup.
These boys and girls know their cricket, but Aggers and Henry Blowfeld they most certainly are not. Fortunately they aren’t Mark Nicholas
either. Once tuning in, you can expect to hear a full compliment of profanity, the voicing of personal and irrational hatred for individual players and demands for someone to “answer the bloody front door”. You’ll also get used to the background accompaniment of beer bottles being opened and drained, cigarettes being lit and food being fetched from the kitchen. Amongst the chaos and banter, you’ll also find some pretty entertaining cricket commentary.
The captain of the Test Match Sofa ship is Dan, who from what I can gather, was on air for every single game of the tournament, illustrating impressive if not slightly demented commitment to the cause. The rest of the commentary team was put together on a whoever can make it basis. Jarrod Kimber, the exiled Aussie, author of a number of books, creator of the cricket with balls blog and founder of the “Dirty” Dirk Nannes fanclub (Membership – 1) was a regular feature, whilst the caustic tones of Manny and Nigel were heard more sparingly, but to devastating effect.
Another regular was Sophia, who deserves a special mention for A) reading out a lot of my correspondence on air and B) putting up with the characters listed above. There is also anecdotal evidence that a number of listeners tuned in primarily to hear her velvety tones…
The other members of the squad all pitched in at frequent intervals and the jingles, recorded for use in any eventuality and ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, quickly became the soundtrack to my tournament.
I’m missing it already.
When you come back from a comedy night, your nearest and dearest invariably ask to be told one of the jokes you’ve heard. Invariably you can’t remember any. It’s equally hard to explain why listening to Test Match Sofa is such good fun. Trust me though. If you like cricket aren’t you aren’t a complete nitwit, you’ll enjoy it.
They are back on air for the Bangladesh test match which begins on 27 May. Tune in. You won’t like it. You’ll love it.
You can tune in via the web at http://www.testmatchsofa.com