CHIPPING Sodbury are preparing to welcome the historic Gloucestershire Gipsies to The Ridings on Friday August 9 (1pm), writes Steve Hill.

The county’s most famous guest side were established almost 100 years ago in January 1922. And this is the thought to be their first visit to Sodbury who are proud to roll out the welcome mat for what it is hoped will be a match to remember.

Jamie Rendell has the honour of captaining the Gipsies in their renowned old gold and maroon colours against his home club of Sodbury.

The spinner said: “I’ve been lucky enough to have been asked to play for the Gipsies for many seasons and it’s great to now be planning for a game at The Ridings.”

Mike Smith, the former Gloucestershire left-armer who also made one Test appearance for England, is set to take his place in the Gipsies’ line-up alongside ex-county wicketkeeper Steve Pope.

And the visitors’ bowling attack is also set to feature the experienced Danny Chard, formerly of Knowle and Stapleton but now at Midsomer Norton, and leg-spinner Pete Geddes.

Membership qualification for the Gipsies, incidentally, was originally based on being born or permanent residence in the county of Gloucestershire while “Cricketers should also be, at the same time, acceptable guests in the average country house”!

The club has moved with the times and enjoys close links with many senior clubs in the county, leading schools and Gloucestershire CCC itself.

The Gipsies play more than 50 fixtures each year including a cricket week at Stowell Park, the private ground of the Club President, Lord Vestey.

Sodbury, meanwhile, will be fielding a club side drawn from across their membership.

It’s a busy couple of days for Sodbury as the club are staging a reunion for ex-players on August 10 (1pm).

An open invitation has been extended for former players to pop along to The Ridings to catch up with old team-mates and friends, and enjoy watching the two home matches planned for that day.

The 2nds are due to host Frampton-on-Severn in a Division Three Gloucestershire County League clash while on an adjacent pitch, Sodbury 4ths will be entertaining Hanham 3rds in Division 15 of the Bristol & District League.