CRICKET: Inside the Pavilion with Gloucestershire CCC President John Light
A STUNNING win at Leicester, a dramatic T20 Blast success at Sussex, a fine batting performance against Glamorgan and a remarkable rearguard action against Surrey – I picked the wrong time to go on holiday!
What a triumph for Captain Klinger at Leicestershire!
Rain seemed to have wrecked the game, but our skipper abhors fourth days that are little more than a net in the middle. You do not get championship points that way.
Leicester set a challenging total and Gloucestershire had to score at seven runs an over to win, but the captain led from the front (120 not out), the batting order was tweaked and in winning just one wicket was lost.
In order for Leicester to declare I expect Glos had to agree to chase the target however many wickets they lost. This is part of the deal in many such challenges.
As well as runs and overs being agreed the total-chasing captain agrees to keep going until ‘7 down’ or ‘8 down’ for example. It is to the game's credit that these deals are not reneged on.
Then to Hove for a thrilling T20 Blast fixture. The batting finally fired with Ian Cockbain in fine form, but drama was saved for the final over.
Sussex needed 10 runs to win with three wickets in hand. Graeme McCarter was the bowler. He dismissed all three batsmen for five runs but the real hero was long-off fielder Dan Housego. He caught all three, not an easy task for a boundary fielder under the Hove floodlights. My spy at the game asked Dan if any catch was easy. His reply was swift and short – No!
Rain saved Glamorgan two days later when Gloucestershire topped 200 for the first time this season in the T20 and were in the driving seat. Cockbain was in form again, but the match was abandoned – frustration all round.
It was frustration for Surrey in the county championship game that followed. For once, Captain Klinger batted first. Never do that at Bristol, the wicket gets easier and easier. The first three days saw Surrey dominate.
On the last one Gloucestershire had to bat all day to save the game – with only five wickets in hand. Thanks to Cockbain (151 not out) and bowler Tom Smith (80) they did it. The five points for a draw saved the ignominy of the home team being totally pointless for the first time since 1975.
There was other news from Bristol. Ian Saxelby has been forced to retire following persistent injury. Respected for all the right reasons he deserves all our good wishes.
So does Sue Drinkwater, awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Starting her scoring career at Chedworth, Sue is respected throughout the scoring world, smashing the glass ceiling that prevented women reaching the top. Sporting honours worry me, but not this one.
Sue teaches other scorers with an easy grace and cheerful good humour. I am sure the news brought cheers in Chedworth.
Mrs Light has, I am sure, also received cheers for her selfless service to the Italian fashion industry, during our recent holiday. It gave me the chance of a coffee with four sporting gentlemen, all from other countries, and of course the World Cup dominated conversation.
England’s chances? They all smiled sympathetically. Gerrard? He was respected. Rooney? I think they stopped just short of ridicule.
Then one gentleman of a certain age leapt from his seat, clasped his hands, crouched and kicked an imaginary rugby ball over nearby houses. He sat down as we all exclaimed 'Jonny!' You know who I mean. His true fame is universal.
On returning I joined a select few old Grammarians at the splendid Sherborne Arms, Aldsworth. Our number included Bob Spackman and Bill Cole (Cirencester RFC) and Dick Ponting who also played cricket for Cirencester and Ampney Crucis.
Dick is now free of his moustache, a 1970s venture that can best be described as unwise. We discussed our school PE teachers. Maurice Milner clad in track suit, sweaters and scarf would say to us 'Vest and shorts – cross country course, lads – see you back here'. He would then retire to the pavilion.
Alan Gibbon spoke in a distant Northern tongue and then came Derek Quant, a good communicator who encouraged everyone of whatever ability. No one knew what happened to him – can any reader oblige?
Saturday saw me in Cirencester Park watching a positive Sheepscombe side win a cheerfully competitive game by five wickets. I was pleased to be invited to join the players for tea but this would have meant sitting at a table reserved for 'Old Gits'. Surely not! They must have been mistaken.
I close on a good day for Cotswold cricket, Frocester, Cirencester, Lechlade, newcomers Langford and my beloved Sheepscombe are all challenging at the top of their respective leagues.
If our county team beat Worcester and Derbyshire at Cheltenham, they will be in a similar position. In the interests of accuracy, I must inform you that Mrs Light is more sceptical.
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