The cricket season has just started (and not before time) so who better to spend an evening with than Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew?
The pair of legends brought their tour to Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre and a thoroughly entertaining evening ensued.
The publicity describes them as the Lennon and McCartney of cricket broadcasting. I’m not sure which one is which but they are perfect for each other and come across as a duo who, despite Boycs’ non-stop put-downs of Aggers on the radio, have great respect for one another.
Essentially it’s Aggers interviewing Geoffrey, though he does bring in his own share of nice cricketing yarns and helps the two-hour show along with just the right balance between humour and probing questions.
The first half consists of Boycs reflecting on his days as a Yorkshire and England run machine, not afraid to talk up his own talents or say if there was a character he didn’t get along with –and there were a few of them.
He talks candidly about his cancer diagnosis and the gruelling treatment that followed, revealing that he counted off the radiotherapy sessions like he used to count his runs out in the middle.
The second half sees the chat guided by questions sent in at the interval by the audience and on this occasion, subjects ranged from the future of cricket – more of that in a moment – to how Boycott has brought great pleasure over many years to a 95-year-old cricket fan who’s in the house.
Boycott – and to a lesser extent Agnew – are scathing about how county cricket in this country in being run, bemoaning the almost-complete lack of action available to terrestrial TV viewers. Boycott is also fierce in his criticism of the ‘money men’ he says are running the game here and who haven’t a clue.
Aggers, who finishes by thanking fans for keeping on listening to the BBC’s Test Match Special as it marks its 60th anniversary this year, uses vintage footage of Boycott in his prime to introduce some of the themes of their wander down Memory Lane, and it’s a format that works well.
And yes, sticks of rhubarb, uncovered pitches and Geoffrey’s mother all get a mention.
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