NICK Hancock is on form and the banter is flying. The former presenter of They Think It’s All Over is back doing what he loves, hosting a show where the focus is squarely on sport, and is joined by two icons – cricket’s Phil Tufnell and rugby’s Matt Dawson.

“At first I thought do I really want to do a show with these two?” he jokes.

“Then I thought ,well, I’ve got two teenage kids at home and I can handle them so it should be okay. But I was wrong, they are worse than a couple of teenagers – though at least they don’t sleep at my house!”

For fellow sports nuts, the trio’s show A Lock In With Tuffers and Dawson is about as much fun as its possible to get off the pitch and out of the bar – though they have the latter covered, presenting the show as if in the boozer.

The former England cricketer and ex-England rugby scrum-half have a wealth of anecdotes involving themselves and some of the biggest names in sport – and the show sees the pair ramping up the type of amusing chat which made them hits on TV’s A Question of Sport as they go head to head live on stage at the New Theatre Oxford on Wednesday.

With Nick attempting to keep control, the pair constantly try to outdo each other with games, big screen action and hilarious stories from their respective sporting careers, lifting the lid on their larger than life teammates and opponents – on and off the field.

The lifelong Stoke City fan says: “As a lover of sport I can’t wait to hear what stories Matt and Phil have from their illustrious careers but as an interviewer who knows them both a little, the prospect of keeping them in line terrifies me.

“My plan is to embarrass them into submission or die trying. It should be quite a night!”

World Cup winning half-back Matt – ‘Daws’ to his mates – says: “Chatting with Tuffers for a couple of hours about all the good and the bad that has happened in our careers doesn’t sound too bad does it?

“Mind you, from what I have heard he has got up to, compared to my angelic past, he might make me blush!

“Actually, I reckon I will be able to hold my own with some of my stories so hold on to your hats as this could get interesting!”

Tuffers is also relishing the sparring match.

“I cant wait to get up on stage with my old mucker Daws,” says the former Middlesex slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler.

“A Lock In gives us the chance to chat about many of our past experiences across sport, dancing (Oh, and he beat me in Strictly too!) a few of our escapades and much more.

“Come and join us, there will be a few surprises; it’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Hancock, who cut his teeth with the Cambridge Footlights and also did a stint as presenter of Room 101, admits to relishing the banter.

“Matt is a like a shark,” he says. “He likes to explore new territory is up for a challenge and constantly wants to do new things like a stage show.

“Phil would say ‘what show?’ Where Matt is a shark, Phil is like a goldfish; every day to him is like a surprise party. If you want to see a shark devour a goldfish on stage then come and see this show.”

Tuffers, however takes issue.

“A goldfish? I am not some timid little ginger fish! And I am certainly not going to get ‘eaten’ by Matt ‘the Shark’ Dawson! No way José!

“I have a fair few things up my sleeve that might just surprise Mr D and put him on the spot, then we will see who comes out on top!”

Daws shrugs the challenge off though. “Blah blah blah Philip,” he says with a shrug.

“Give me all you have got. But just remember who got furthest on Strictly and who actually won something in Australia – and I mean something meaningful not I’m a Celebrity!”

Producer Simon Fielder from Simon Fielder Productions says the chemistry between the sporting titans made them the ideal choice for a live theatre show.

“I have worked with Tuffers on our successful Evenings With Aggers shows and it just made sense to bring him and Matt together on stage,” he says. “So I’m delighted to welcome world cup hero and Lions legend Daws on board as well as the brilliant, quick-witted Nick Hancock.

“I used to regularly tune in to They Think It’s All Over and loved Nick’s ability to deal with some pretty big personalities, from the likes of Jonathan Ross, Gary Lineker, David Gower to Lee Hurst, among many others.

“Nick is the perfect foil for Tuffers and Daws and I’m really looking forward to seeing them all on stage.”

  • A Lock In With Tuffers and Dawson is at the New Theatre Oxford on Wednesday. tickets from