Cricket column by former Gloucestershire chairman John Light

First published in Gloucestershire Sport

NOT A good start!

Defeat by an innings at Chelmsford showed how tough this cricket season is going to be.

Following the game on the ECB site was not a life enhancing experience. Torture may be a better word.

First there was the news that David Payne had a knee injury, then our bowlers were giving away at least six runs an over and Essex grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

James Fuller’s first seven overs went for 45. New signing Muchall bowled 11 overs for 67. Fortunately Ed Young bowled a long containing spell of 23 overs and Fuller finally found his range, but by then it was too late.

Captain Alex had put Essex in. He deserved better, as the ball moved all day, but too many loose deliveries gave Essex total control.

Their bowlers did their job and apart from Dent and Housego, our batsmen achieved very little. Double failures by the captain and vice-captain Hamish put too much pressure on the others.

I am afraid it will not be any easier at the Rose Bowl against Hampshire. The only consolation was Yorkshire’s wretched display against Kent. Rain prevented them being beaten by an innings. The good news is we have to play them twice!

It has largely been a sedentary week in the Light household as we followed the Test series on radio and TV. Test Match Special is truly outstanding.

The burblings of Blofeld have happily been banished, Boycott is positively benevolent and listening to Agnew and his team from 5.30pm on is a delight.

An Alexcars Bedford Duple Coach was very much of my early sporting life.

Twice a year during the cricket season it would arrive at Rodmarton. Cyril Townsend would be driving and out would clamber the Beeches cricket team.

Les Crook, John Dyde, Wally Sollis and the Page twins are names I remember but most of all I recall Stan Ponting. He would play in a black cap, his sleeves would be buttoned at the wrist and he would field at mid off.

He made worthwhile contributions with both bat and ball. I would also encounter Stan, or Mr Ponting as I properly called him, at the parents match at the Grammar School. His son Richard was in the first XI with me and we enjoyed doing battle with our respective parents.

I am mentioning Stan for two reasons. He was one of the people who were the foundations of my sporting life. From him I learned being a cricketer was much more than turning up and playing a few flashy shots. Being a team player meant responsibilities and included respect for the game and also opponents. Today I can thank Stan and also wish him and Edna well on their 70th wedding anniversary. To do both is a delight.

Do you agree with John? Have your say below.

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