– the official website


Annual Johnners Dinner

The annual Johnners Dinner took place on 2 November 2015 in the Long Room at Lord’s. The evening was sold out and it raised more than £10,000 towards funding the Brian Johnston cricket scholarships. Many thanks to Sir Tim Rice for his wonderful speech, Charles Hanson for his energetic auctioneering, and to Chris Cowdrey, Peter Such, and everyone from the Lord’s Taverners who helped to make the dinner such a great success. See you next year for our 21st anniversary!

Adil Rashid

Many congratulations to Adil Rashid on becoming the first former Johnners Scholar to play Test cricket for England. The Yorkshire leg-spinner made his debut in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on 13 October 2015 and took five for 64 on the final day, the first such haul by an English leg-spinner since 1959.

Brian Johnston Scholarships and Awards 2015

The BJMT Awards Panel  met on 29 April 2015 at the Lord’s Taverners offices in London to make the annual Brian Johnston Scholarship Awards. A total of £45,000 was given in scholarships, grants and awards to help promising young cricketers to fulfil their sporting potential. Once again we are grateful for the generosity and support of all our Johnners Club members, who have enabled us to make these awards.

(1) ECB Recommended Scholars.

On the recommendation of the ECB Performance Department, Brian Johnston Cricket Scholarships totalling more than £10,000 were awarded to the following young cricketers to assist them with travelling expenses so that they can attend their coaching and training sessions:

  • Kyle Awbery (Northants): A seventeen-year-old left-arm fast bowler who has progressed through the County system from a nine-year-old and is now part of the Northants Academy programme. He represented the Midlands at the Super 4s last season and is hoping to make the full squad this year.
  • Providence Cowdrill (Hampshire): Providence is a talented leg spinner and batsman, who is currently in the Hampshire Girls Emerging Player Programme and U17 and Senior Womens squads for 2015. She is currently pushing for a place in the England Womens Development Programme U19 squad.
  • Jan Gray (Kent): A sixteen-year-old right-arm leg-spin bowler and right-hand batsman who played for Kent U15 Performance team last season. Represented London & East of England U15 at the Bunbury Festival last summer.
  • Max Holden (Middlesex): He is one of the stand-out players in the country at his age group. He recently returned from Dubai where he captained England U17 against Pakistan recording three scores of over 50 in five innings, and taking vital wickets with his off-spin bowling.
  • Jade Hoyte (Norfolk): Jade is a very talented fourteen-year-old all-rounder selected for the Norfolk U15 squad who has come through the ‘Chance to Shine’ system and was Norfolk’s leading wicket taker when in the U13s.
  • Badhal Khunti (Leicester): One of the County’s most talented young cricketers who has benefitted from the BJMT Elite Spin Bowling Programme for the last two years. He has represented the County in his age groups for the last two seasons, having been spotted by one of Leicestershire’s ‘Chance to Shine’ coaches and fast-tracked straight into the County system.
  • Bhijal Khunti (Leicester): Badhal’s younger sister and part of Leicestershire’s Young Cricketers Programme, she is expected to be become part of the Leicestershire Emerging Player Programme when she is old enough.
  • Feroze Khushi (Essex): A fifteen-year-old right-hand batsman who had a very successful season with Essex U15, for whom he was named Player of the Season, and London & East of England Bunbury squad. He also received the award of best player in all Essex age groups and is now on the County Academy.
  • Dominic Manthorpe (Essex): Dominic is a seventeen-year-old left-arm medium fast bowler and left-handed batsman. He was identified as a strongly built left-arm seam bowler whilst playing for Suffolk against Essex in 2014 and has now become part of the Essex Academy.
  • Don Manuwelge (Middlesex): A talented top order batsman and off-spin bowler, who has been very successful in the Middlesex Youth and County 2nd XI cricket in recent seasons. Don arrived in the UK from Sri Lanka aged thirteen and the County have high hopes for his future, especially now he is qualified for England.
  • George Pardoe (Hampshire): An Under-14 seam bowler, who is now in his first year on the Hampshire Emerging Players Programme and is an important member of the County’s fast bowling programme.
  • Anis Raza (Nottingham): A promising young spin bowler now in second year with the Notts Academy. He represented the Midlands Region at U15 last season and was awarded the Bowler of the Tournament at the Bunbury Festival.
  • Oliver Robinson (Kent): He is a sixteen-year-old wicket-keeper and right-hand batsman and represented Kent U15 and U17 Performance teams last summer.
  • Sukhjit (Sunny) Singh, (Warwickshire): Sunny is a left-arm spinner who emigrated from India about four years ago and is currently in his second year on the Warwickshire Academy. He has played for Warwickshire U19 as well as a few 2nd XI games for the County last season.
  • Joe Voke (Glamorgan): Joe is an exciting top order batsman in his first year on the County Academy. He was one of the leading batsmen in the Glamorgan U17 team last year which reached the final of the U17 Trophy and semi-final of the two-day championship.
  • Jem Warner (Dorset): A leg spin bowler and middle order batsman, Jem played for Dorset U17 for whom he was their Player of the Year last season, and was the leading wicket taker in the Dorset Premier League in 2014.

(2) Blind Cricket.

The Brian Johnston Memorial Trust is proud to continue its support of cricket for the visually impaired and a grant of £7,500 was awarded to Blind Cricket England and Wales towards the cost of funding their sixth annual development weekend at the University of Leicester in September 2015, designed to introduce players and teams from around the country to blind cricket.

An additional grant of £6,000 was given to Female VI Cricket Development to further develop their girls-specific cricket initiative that offers blind and visually impaired school children the opportunity to participate in out of school cricket clubs. Last year the first-ever international womens’ blind cricket match was held in Nepal and the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust was proud to be one of the sponsors.

 (3) BJMT Elite Spin Bowling Programme.

The Brian Johnston Memorial Trust has agreed to continue its sponsorship of the BJMT Elite Spin Bowling Programme in association with the ECB. All eighteen of the first class Counties and UCCEs are now participating in this programme that aims to encourage and develop the art of spin bowling in England and Wales by providing funds for additional coaching at Academy level.

The Wit of Cricket.

witDickie Bird, Henry Blofeld and Brian Johnston
Audio CD (10 May 2004)
Hodder and Stoughton Audio Books; ISBN: 1840328339
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Now available for the first time on one CD and as an audio download, here is a bumper collection of funny stories and anecdotes from the world of cricket as told by three of the game’s all-time great characters – Dickie Bird, Henry Blofeld and Brian Johnston.

Recorded live in front of appreciative theatre audiences, here are dozens of hilarious stories about legendary Test cricketers such as Richie Benaud, Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Michael Holding and Fred Trueman – as well as some of the most famous gaffes and practical jokes carried out by the commentary team on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.

Enjoy three of the best storytellers in the business as they prove that cricket is a funny game – even when rain stops play!

The Wit of Cricket 2.

wit2Richie Benaud, Dickie Bird, Henry Blofeld, Brian Johnston & Fred Trueman
Audio CD (1 November 2007)
Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books; ISBN: 978-1844567003
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Cricket is often said to be a funny game and now you can hear why with another brilliant collection of humorous stories, jokes and anecdotes from the world of cricket as told by five of the game’s all-time great personalities – Richie Benaud, Dickie Bird, Henry Blofeld, Brian Johnston and Fred Trueman.

Recorded live in theatres and in the studio here are dozens of hilarious anecdotes about England players such as Denis Compton, Len Hutton, Mike Brearley and Ian Botham – not to mention broadcasting gaffes, sledging, short-sighted umpires and the first male streaker at Lord’s!

The Wit of Cricket at Home and Abroad.

homeandabroadChristopher Martin-Jenkins, Peter Baxter, Barry Johnston, Robert Powell
Audio CD ((2 Sept 2010)
Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books; ISBN: 978-1444711363
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From the producers of the Number One bestselling CD The Wit of Cricket, here is their latest collection of the funniest cricket stories at home and abroad, recorded live at Great Brickhill Cricket Club in Bedfordshire.

Featuring a rare live recording of the late cricket commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who was a brilliant after-dinner speaker, here are dozens of hilarious anecdotes about the Ashes, overseas tours, sledging, Test Match Special, and much more!

Christopher Martin-Jenkins commentated on TMS from 1973 to 2012, and was cricket correspondent of the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and The Times, as well as President of the MCC in 2011; Peter Baxter was the producer of TMS on BBC radio for 34 years; Barry Johnston is the son of Brian Johnston and compiled The Wit of Cricket book; Robert Powell is an award-winning actor and former President of the Lord’s Taverners.

Johnners: Cricketing Gaffes, Giggles and Cakes.

gaffesBrian Johnston

Audio CD (29 September 2008)
BBC Audiobooks; ISBN: 978 – 1408409480
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Brian Johnston was as well-known for his on-air gaffes as for his Test Match Special commentaries. Here are his most famous and funniest cricketing mishaps, which have been chosen by his son, Barry. Among Johnners’ laugh-out-loud clangers are ‘joined by the Balls’, ‘sitting on a shooting stick’ and a streaker’s ‘cheeky performance … waving her flag and other things’. There’s also Mr Titt’s letter …

More giggles from the archives include Johnners’ notorious Ashes comedy song, his appearances on Quote, Unquote and Trivia Test Match, plus Fawlty Towers insights from John Cleese.

From leg-pulling to leg-overs, inflatable parrots to chocolate cake, this special recording is not just for cricket lovers, it’s for anyone who loves a laugh.

Johnners’ A View From The Boundary

boundaryBrian Johnston
Audio CD (5 May 2011)
BBC Audiobooks; ISBN: 978 – 1408467305
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During the lunch interval on the Saturday of every Test in England, BBC Radio’s Test Match Special used to invite a well-known guest into the commentary box for a chat with Brian Johnston about themselves and their passion for cricket. Some turned out to be able cricketers, but they all had stories to tell about matches they had seen and cricketers they had met.

Barry Johnston has selected five chats from the series ‘A View from the Boundary’, beginning in 1980 with the playwright Ben Travers, and his vivid recollections of W.G. Grace and other characters from the golden age of cricket. He is followed by Michael Charlton, the political broadcaster and former cricket commentator, who covered the great Australia v West Indies tied Test in 1960, and John Cleese, a lifelong Somerset supporter, who tells some funny stories about Monty Python and Fawlty Towers. Hollywood film star Sir Christopher Lee recalls watching the legendary Jack Hobbs and Don Bradman, and Sir Michael Parkinson talks about opening the batting at Barnsley with Dickie Bird and how he nearly played for Hampshire.

Johnners: It’s Been a Lot of Fun

Johnners' Its been a lot of funBrian Johnston
Audio CD (4 November 2010)
AudioGo: ISBN: 978-1408467282
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Now available for the first time on CD and as an audio download, in this delightful reading from his autobiography It’s Been a Lot of Fun, Brian Johnston recalls his schooldays at Eton and Oxford, his early career in the family coffee business, and his service as a Technical Adjutant in the Grenadier Guards during World War II.

In January 1946, Brian joined the BBC Outside Broadcasts Department. For the next 48 years, he presented hundreds of programmes on radio and television, from In Town Tonight to royal weddings and Down Your Way, but he was probably best known as a cricket commentator and he became a national institution on Test Match Special.

Recorded in 1990 when he was 77, Brian tells some of his favourite stories and gaffes in this cheerful look back at a unique career behind the microphone, a life full of lucky breaks and private disappointments, but always a lot of fun. Edited and digitally remastered by Barry Johnston, this is the fascinating autobiography of a legendary cricketing commentator.

Johnners’ Trivia Test Match

Johnners' trivia test matchBrian Johnston, Tim Rice & Willie Rushton
Audio CD (2 September 2010)
BBC Audiobooks: ISBN: 978-1408467299
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Brian Johnston is the umpire in this test of wit and general knowledge, as two teams try to score the highest number of runs by answering questions on trivia and unusual facts. In these four episodes, team captains Tim Rice and Willie Rushton are joined by Stephen Fry, Paul Merton, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Barry Cryer, Bill Tidy, Caroline Quentin, Bernard Cribbins and Robin Bailey.

Originally broadcast on BBC Radio and now available for the first time on CD and as an audio download, hear the stumps fly and the wickets fall in these four wonderfully funny episodes!