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The Duckworth-Lewis Method

The Duckworth-Lewis Method is the gathering of Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh (from the Irish power pop band Pugwash).

Both living in Dublin, Hannon and Walsh met a first time at their mutual friend’s Graham Linehan wedding in 2003. For this occasion, Neil Hannon played ‘Songs Of Love’ and had to borrow the guitar of Thomas Walsh whose band, Pugwash, was invited to play. It is by complete accident that Thomas Walsh could later contact his hero Neil Hannon, in seeing his email address on a collective email sent by Graham Linehan [1]. Thomas Walsh asked Neil for contribution to a Christmas charity single for Brainwave; Tinsel & Marzipan was then released in late 2006 under the name of Pugwash & Friends.

It is during the recording of Tinsel & Marzipan that it occurs Neil asked Thomas if he didn’t mind listening to the cricket results on the radio. That raised no point for his sidekick, being himself an enthusiast for this sport [2]. They also found themselves a common passion for the band Electric Light Orchestra. Thus was formed the idea of a creation on cricket, first having fun in drawing puns up, then writing a few ELO-inspired songs.

At the same time, Neil took part in the fourth Pugwash album, Eleven Modern Antiquities, to which Andy Partridge (ex-XTC) contributed too. The album was released in February 2008 by 1969 Records in Ireland.

After the recording of two songs about cricket (including the single ‘The Age Of Revolution’), the project took shape and found a name: The Duckworth-Lewis Method, a term borrowed from a cricketing equation that determines the winner of a match interrupted by rain. The recording of a whole album followed, with special guests such as Matt Berry or Cathy Davey.

Thomas Walsh and Neil Hannon then became two cricket players, Duckworth and Lewis, grew their beard. An eponymous album was released in July 2009 for the beginning of the Ashes Series, both by 1969 Records and Divine Comedy Records. The release was celebrated by two gigs at the cricket stadium The Oval in London.


Even though only two digital singles were released, and a handful of gigs were given – accompanied by Simon Little (bass) and Tim Weller (drums) as well as Tosh Flood (guitar) – the album enjoyed great success among the critics and in the charts. The band counted many celebrities and media figures among their fans. In 2010 the duo was nominated in the Choice and Meteor Awards, the Irish Music Television Awards for the video of ‘Meeting Mr Miandad’, as well as the prestigious Ivor Novello awards. The same year, the band played their first full length concerts, at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, and at the Richard Thompson’s curated Meltdown Festival, and released their own hymn for Ireland.

The success of the album led Thomas Walsh to re-launch his own band, Pugwash with a new line-up. Hence, Tosh Flood as well as his mates Joe Fitzgerald and Shaun McGee joined Thomas for the recording of a new album. Released in 2011, The Olympus Sound features contributions from Dave Gregory, Neil Hannon and Ben Folds. It was during the recording of the record that Thomas received a letter from his hero of all times, Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra saying how much he loved Pugwash for its ’60s/’70s influences and the double-tracked vocals; Jeff Lynne also congratulated Thomas for the Duckworth Lewis Method album saying “I really like the cricket album but I don’t think it features you enough.” [3]

In 2012, Pugwash and Neil Hannon teamed up again recording a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted’ for a charity album. The song also featured DLM collaborator Matt Berry.

The same year, Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh decided to make a second album. After many months of works, the band recorded new material at Exchequer Studios, Dublin, with the help of Nick Seymour (Crowded House). Released in 2013, Sticky Wickets features many guests such as Henry Blofeld, Stephen Fry, Billy Cooper or Daniel Radcliffe, but not Jeff Lynne nor Mick Jagger who declined the invites [4]. The album was successfully received by the critics and the duo could be spotted at many crickets events such as test matches or radio programs. The band’s hunt for the first ever streaker, Michael Angelow (who featured the cover of the album), went on the front page of the Independent.

[1] Thomas Walsh interview for Blurt
[2] Duckworth Lewis Method interview for Miriam Meets, RTÉ Radio 1, 14/02/2010
[3] Rocksucker interview of Pugwash, 2012
[4] Belfast Telegraph 20/07/2013