When Paul Davis co-presents the weekly Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League podcast there is one secret he has been keeping from listeners – at least until now.
Paul has been blind since birth and in an interview with league official Alan Birkinshaw that has been recorded for this Saturday’s Boundary Banter on Bradford Community Broadcasting, he explains how he loves to go to matches despite not being able to see any of the action.
“I learned about cricket as a youngster through listening to Test Match Special when I was eight or nine,” recalls Paul who is now 47.
“It was the only way I had of learning about this massively complicated game. My family were living in Bristol at the time and weren’t great sports fans, so it was friends and neighbours who used to take me to games.”
It is no surprise given his Bristol roots that he is an avid Gloucester supporter and though he loves going to county and international matches, his real passion is league cricket.
Every trip to a game is a major undertaking as Paul must depend on public transport, but for him it is just part of the challenge.
Once at a Bradford Premier League game he can access live scores through his smartphone. “It reads the scores out to me, so I know what is going on not just at the game where I am at but at the other grounds too,” he said.
“But the biggest help to me are those club officials and supporters who come and talk to me. Everybody is so welcoming, and I have made so many friends this way.
“I would urge any other blind person that they should go along to games. Cricket grounds are cosy and not too big, so it is much easier to find people to talk to.”
The league podcast came about after Paul, who has worked for BBC Radio Leeds and BCB, contacted Alan Birkinshaw and asked about producing one for the league.
“I didn’t know Paul, I certainly didn’t know he was blind, but I knew after a couple of email exchanges and telephone conversations that he was somebody with a deep love and understanding of cricket, plus a great broadcasting voice,” said Alan.
“Within days we did a test recording and that was used as a pilot for the new BCB Saturday morning show Boundary Banter.
“The first league podcast followed a few days later and that has now become a weekly production which is recorded via Zoom and broadcast via the league website.
“Paul is already putting forward ideas for player interviews and other innovations to make the podcast appeal more widely to league followers.
“He simply loves informing others about the game he loves and working with him it is hard not to be blown away by his amazing ability to overcome the incredible challenges being blind presents for him.”
Boundary Banter will be broadcast on Saturday at 10am on 106.6FM or online at https://www.bcbradio.co.uk/player/index.html
It wll also be available via the podcast section of the league website from 10.30am on Saturday.