Sunday, 13 June 2021

The fun side of being a radio sports presenter

TIM DELLOR holds an unenviable record, albeit not an official one.

TIM DELLOR holds an unenviable record, albeit not an official one.

The BBC Radio Berkshire sports presenter and Henley Standard columnist scored nought in 45 balls when opening the batting for Falkland Cricket Club against Banbury on the opening day of the Home Counties Premier League a few years ago.

His lack of runs was perhaps understandable bearing in mind that one of the bowlers was former Leicestershire and England international Paul Taylor, except that his batting partner was scoring freely at the other end.

Tim says that the umpire eventually gave him out LBW probably because he was bored and wanted a more entertaining player at the crease.

Tim, who is also a level 4 ECB coach who works for the elite coach performance department at the England National Academy at Loughborough, related this and other stories when speaking at the Henley Standard’s Best of the Week dinner at Antico’s restaurant in Henley last week to present the John Searby Trophy for the best performing cricketer of the season.

He recalled his nine years coaching the Greek national cricket team in Corfu for a couple of weeks a year. “They started off pretty badly and after the nine years they were dreadful!” he said. Still, he enjoyed his fortnight in the sun every year.

This summer, he coached youngsters at Henley Cricket Club and recalled one particularly enthusiastic boy.

“It was a Saturday morning with five- and six-year-olds,” said Tim. “There was this little lad who was keen as mustard and had watched more cricket than I have in 38 years.

“He was bowling and spraying it everywhere but finally, after 40 minutes, he hit the right spot and it had one bounce and the batsman could hit it.

“He came running up to me afterwards and said ‘now can you teach me reverse swing?’”

Tim’s other sporting love is football and he is lucky enough to commentate on Reading FC, his home town club.

He recently upset Barnsley fans when he referred to their old-fashioned ground and tweeted a photo of the gents’ toilets but insisted that in fact he was trying to say how much he liked football stadia of yesteryear compared with their modern counterparts.

“People accuse me of being sarcastic because I am a bit posh but I like going to places like Burnley,” he said.

He actually prefers non-league football to the Premier League, even he was following his beloved Royals from the commentary box last season, because it is “more fun and intimate”.

One of his favourite games was an FA Cup match between Slough Town and Mansfield Town. Tim helped the “minnows” of Slough by parking his BBC Radio car so close to the touchline that it hampered their opponents’ long throw-in specialist.

The game ended 0-0 after extra time but, sadly, the visitors won on penalties.

Tim said that one of his most memorable reporting jobs was covering the Olympic rowing regatta at Dorney Lake last summer, although he has only ever sat in a rowing boat once “to see what it was like”.

He recently moved to Nuffield with his wife Amanda, a fellow BBC journalist, and their two young children.

One villager asked him if it was because he was a keen golfer. Bemused, Tim replied that he played only very occasionally before learning that anyone who lives in the parish is entitled to play at Huntercombe Golf Club free of charge.

He also got a surprise after being questioned about what the village had to offer by a well-spoken woman. It turned out to be Lady Frost, widow of Sir David, who had moved to Nuffield shortly before the broadcaster’s death in August.

This is the same village where BBC sports commentator David Vine used to live, so what’s the attraction? “It’s rural and tranquil and yet has fast access to the M40 and all those northern football grounds I visit every week,” says Tim.

Just as long as the village cricket team don’t need an opening batsman!

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