The streaker has struck and we return to the cricket

Michael Angelow achieved notoriety over forty years ago when he ran naked across Lord’s Cricket Ground, hurdling the stumps along the way, in the middle of an England versus Australia Test match in the glare of live television, er, exposure.

Angelow is often regarded as cricket’s first streaker, but there was at least one earlier televised instance of an unclad pitch invasion. I know this because I was watching at the time. To my knowledge there is no other record of this incident anywhere on the internet.

The date was Saturday February 1, 1975, the match between England’s touring team (called MCC as they actually organised all touring England teams in those days) and the Northern New South Wales XI, played at Newcastle’s poetically-named No.1 Sportsground. The local TV station NBN3 was broadcasting the entire game to its regional viewing area. To be honest there wouldn’t have been many people watching.

Mid-afternoon of that Saturday, the first day of a three-day match. Northern NSW was batting. I can recall no details of the play these days except for the sudden appearance of a naked backside on my black-and-white screen. (Colour TV being one month away from introduction in Australia.) The NBN camera stayed focused on No.1’s nude patron as he ran to the far side of the ground, jumped the fence, and disappeared up the hill.

NBN’s commentator, the legendary Noel Harrison, said nothing – lost for words maybe – but finally broke his silence in his inimitable deep laconic style (think Dennis Cometti at half speed): “The streaker has struck and we return to the cricket.”

As far as I am aware the streaker got away scot free. The MCC, captained by Tony Greig, won the game late on the third day.