First BBC Sporting Commentary

Twickenham, London The 15th of January 1927 AD

It is perhaps indicative of the type of people running the BBC that the first sporting commentary the organisation broadcast was not for the most popular national sport of football – though that first came just a week later on January 22 1927 – but Rugby Union . The game covered was the England – Wales international played at Twickenham before a crowd estimated at 50,000.
The commentator for both broadcasts was the same chap, Henry Wakelam, perhaps more at home on the first of the two occasions as he was a former Harlequins player.
For the record, England won the match by 11 points to 9, though Wales managed two tries against one for the home XV. England’s hero was their captain Leonard Corbett (an all-round sportsman who also played cricket for Gloucestershire ) who scored their try, and also managed the rather rare achievement of scoring a goal from a mark, a method of scoring that finally ended in 1977. That obscure method of earning points makes it difficult to translate the score in modern terms, but if we allow it 3 for a penalty or drop goal then these days the match would have been a 13 – 13 draw.
The year 1927 was by the way definitely one for sporting firsts, the Ryder Cup making its debut in June.

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