Back-to-back wins lift my FA Cup gloom

IT IS BACK to the winning trail for Swindon and Forest Green Rovers. Cheltenham have never left it and continue to impress.

I’m liking what I hear about the new Swindon chairman. I hope a good working relationship can be achieved with the impetuous Paolo. Perhaps the effusive, effervescent manager can add patience to his many qualities.

At Forest Green, my FA Cup gloom has almost gone. Two wins and the resulting six points have done the trick – almost.

Firstly the win last Tuesday at high-flying Dartford. Coming so close to the dispiriting Cup defeat I expected little. However, a determined, dogged display brought a single-goal victory. It is by winning such matches that you win promotion, especially if you follow it up with dishing out a thrashing as happened next.

That is what Stockport received on Saturday. Rovers had learned from their Cup defeat. Straight from the kick- off they tore into Stockport. Three goals were scored in the first 30 minutes. Everywhere was energy and enthusiasm.

Quick movement and inventive passing entertained us all. On this form, who knows, anything can happen.

The past has shown me to be too quick in making assumptions. Necessary caution is the order of the day.

Good news from the soccer world was matched by similar from within cricket. Three county youngsters are in the England youth representative squads.

Tom Shrewsbury from Cornwall, who bowls off spin, is with the U19s and another off- spinner Miles Hammond from Oxford is with the U17s. He is joined there by Kieran Smith from Stroud, who bowls chinamen. This is a type of bowling rarely seen but John Bracewell tells me Kieran has the ability to dismiss good batsmen on good wickets.

JB is a great rugby man, but did not know that Kieran’s grandfather (one of the nicest men in Gloucestershire) was a rugby international and became president of the Rugby Union.

‘JV’, as he is known by everyone, is rightly proud of Kieran and all Cotswold sportsmen should be proud of the past, and I am sure future, contributions of the sporting Smith family.

Mrs Light and I were privileged to attend the presentation dinner for the County League. This was held in Cheltenham at the catering centre for Gloucestershire College. We were splendidly looked after. Mrs Light was especially taken with the bread and butter pudding and wants to dine there more often as the public are able to do. I shall not dissuade her.

A posse of Cirencester veterans were there and I was proud to present the Division 4 Champions Cup to the town club’s Second XI.

The County League currently boasts nine divisions of ten teams. That is 990 cricketers playing each week. Local associations have their leagues as well (CDCA has three divisions) so after rough calculations, I reckon more than 2,000 play regular adult cricket in this county.

Good news for those in this area is the new sports hall to be built at Cirencester College which will have first class cricket facilities, available to all local clubs. Let new secretary (CDCA) Gerald Wilkinson know what use you can make of it throughout the year is my message to all clubs. He is waiting to hear from you.

Peter Gilchreist of Cirencester CC was at the presentation. I have never looked at Peter as a fashion icon but he was wearing a fine leather jacket. Peter, could you please tell Mrs Light all about it. Christmas is coming!

I close by referring to last weekend when the massive human sacrifices made by so many in the service of this county were remembered.

None could have been more moving than that which took place before the kick-off on Saturday at Forest Green.

The excellent Nailsworth Silver Band paved the way. A splendidly representative party accompanied British Legion banners on to the field where the players lined up.

The familiar words rang out, as pure and true as the bugler’s notes. Fans of both sides observed the silence impeccably, united in much more than football.

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