'Thank you for listening, it's been the greatest fun' - Blofeld bows out of TMS

10 September 2017 06:24

Henry Blofeld took his leave from the BBC's Test Match Special after 45 years of "the greatest fun" as England won the Test and the series against the West Indies at Lord's.

The 77-year-old's final stint on the microphone contained a wealth of memories as he watched England ease towards their target of 107, before enjoying a lap of honour around Lord's with England captain Joe Root among those applauding him.

Blofeld's catchphrase "my dear old thing" got several airings while he repeatedly referred to West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel by his personal nickname for him, "The Archangel".

Having mistakenly referred to off-spinner Roston Chase as a leg-spinner early in his stint, he joked: "There it is, my final mistake! Actually, there's plenty more time, there's 31 more runs. 38 more runs to be scored."

There was a brief fear he might have to "do it all again tomorrow" as a light rain shower skirted the ground but play continued as Blofeld reminisced briefly on playing on the hallowed turf of HQ as a 15-year-old in a 1955 Eton-Harrow match.

TMS s corer Andrew Samson offered up some "career statistics" for Blofeld, suggesting he had described 6,872 pigeons and 4,997 buses, among his famous idiosyncrasies - "Oh, much more than that," Blofeld joked.

As the TMS team gathered behind him in the commentary box, Blofeld said: "I've enjoyed every moment we've had together, it's been the greatest fun.

" I don't know where to start, end or continue, or what to do. They're all in the back of the box grinning, they're making me feel rather important for about 35 seconds."

He claimed to have "no last words" before watching Tom Westley strike a boundary from the penultimate ball of his commentary.

"Well, if that's the last shot I describe it's a pretty good one, Westley driving Chase through the covers for four," he said.

"Here we go, my last ball - I say, it's exciting - it's a sweep. and dear old Gabriel does the fielding, it had to be Gabriel!

"Well that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Thank you for listening - you all say you're going to miss me, I'm going to miss you all terribly."

Interviewed on Sky Sports Cricket after his circuit of the ground, he said: "I'm 78 next week - or is it the week after, something like that - I don't quite see as well.

"Perhaps it's better to go when people are prepared to clap you rather than 'why didn't you go 10 years ago?'

"It's been terrific, I have loved my life."

Jonathan Agnew said of his long-time colleague: "He looks pretty emotional, the old fellow, and why not?

"Forty-five years of broadcasting come to an end at Lord's with an England win, from that perspective he couldn't ask for much more I suppose."

Samson described working with Blofeld as "a great privilege, an absolute pleasure" while co-commentator Phil Tufnell told him: "The older I've got, the more I've come to realise cricket is actually fun, and I'd like to thank you for that."

Another member of the TMS team, Michael Vaughan, said: "We've seen two magicians here, Jimmy Anderson with his 500th (Test) wicket and the end of a magician on the mic.

"Henry Blofeld doing a lap of honour like I've never seen, a wonderful reception. it shows what he means to so many people and I know how fond the team are of Henry."

Root told Test Match Special: "What a credit he is to the game, I'm quite emotional speaking about it actually.

"It's going to be strange listening to the radio and not hearing him commentating on not just the cricket but the rest that comes with it.

"He'll be sorely missed, by the players and I'm sure the public as well."

Source: PA