Having badmouthed TMS last week, we feel that we should redress the balance and one person we’ve really warmed to has been South African journalist Neil Manthorp.
Somehow we’ve never heard a lot of Manthorp before, or maybe we just haven’t noticed him, but on scant evidence he’s now our favourite.
Manthorp does all the everyday commentary stuff well, but what really appeals is the fact that he’s irrepressibly jovial. Not in a forced laughter ‘aren’t I the life and soul’ kind of way. He’s just one of those people who finds things funny.
He’s not an imbecile. Not by any stretch. He’s not someone who just laughs at things like he’s been overmedicated. He just seems to have joyful mirth constantly bubbling beneath the surface.
A good example would be the teaming of him with Boycott. Where Mark Pougatch gets contradicted and practically whimpers before backpedalling, Manthorp laughs – and genuinely too.
The two of them were talking about Paul Harris. Boycott plainly stated that he things Paul Harris is crap. Manthorp presumably knows Harris quite well, but rather than get remotely upset, he instead pisses himself laughing at Geoffrey’s blunt dismissal. And you know what? When he finds it funny, it IS funny.
Shortly afterwards A B de Villiers reached his hundred. Manthorp was briefly caught up with the moment, before again descending into laughter. Why? Because the crowd were booing de Villiers. For some commentators this would be a sad thing, but Manthorp saw the funny side and effortlessly made you see the funny side too.
From now on, we’re going to imagine Neil Manthorp’s commentating on our everyday life. Stubbed toes will become things of joy. Lost keys will become hilarious.