LIGHT’S OUT . . . the weekly sports column full of wit and wisdom by former Gloucestershire CCC chairman John Light
TWO matches – five goals – but most importantly six points. The Forest Green Rovers march towards the Football League continues.
The wins against Braintree and Gateshead were not easily achieved. Chances were missed, so was a penalty, but this Rovers team has spirit, resilience and a will to win.
You make your own luck in football and this is exactly what is happening at the New Lawn. Not knowing when they are beaten means that this team very seldom are.
With star forward and hat-trick man James Norwood signing a contract extension, and youth team player Saul Williams making a dashing debut as substitute on Saturday, the future is very bright at Nailsworth.
Nowhere was this more obvious than on ‘The One Show’ (Wednesday, February 13). Food critic Jay Rayner gave a favourable appraisal of the food available at the New Lawn but the programme did more. It showed the pitch, stadium – in fact, the whole Rovers set-up to considerable advantage.
Several surprised Cirencester viewers have subsequently pointed this out. It makes my missionary work on behalf of FGR seem worthwhile.
Someone else at the forefront of promoting Rovers is Peter Jubb of South Cerney Golf Club and there were three wise men who play there, at Saturday’s game.
I am told Peter is at times so full of FGR news that fellow golfers have banned him from saying anything about the Nailsworth club. Do not worry Peter -– you may well have the last laugh!
Among all this soccer euphoria, sad news has reached me from Cirencester RFC. Former club captain George Hands has died. George is certainly one of the rocks on which the town club is built. He brought so much to the club, apart from his infectious personality.
Joining after spells with Gloucester and the Gordon League, he brought a competitive ethos to the club. Without any loss of sporting spirit, training improved and there was a more disciplined approach to the game. George also realised the need to make proper use of a proper club bar.
Too often players in search of a post-match drink headed for the Crown or Black Horse. This was something else George changed.
Talking to a valued rugby friend I realised how much had been done by this true leader. He came on to the Cirencester scene in the late 1960s and has been around ever since. Spare a thought as you pass the ground, he deserves it.
Two rugby names were put forward as possible candidates for the title of Cirencester’s leading sportsman. Neil McCarthy became an England international in 1999 and there was, of course, Steve Mills who achieved the same honour in 1981.
I do not know much about McCarthy but certainly do about Mills, or rather his father.
Cirencester Grammarians of a certain age will remember J V Mills, known to everyone as ‘Mucker’. He was head groundsman at the Victoria Road school, protecting his beloved field with a sharp eye and even sharper tongue.
His bark, however, was much worse than his bite and many a time he went the extra mile in service of the school.
An apology must now be offered to any pupils who in 1958-59 received the punishment known as ‘landwork’. This could be dished out by prefects and ‘Mucker’ and I had an arrangement. If any task such as pitch rolling was needed an appropriate number of ‘landworks’ would be inflicted upon unfortunate pupils.
Not all were deserved – sorry! All our school lives are enriched by a variety of characters and that ‘Mucker’ certainly was. He sadly died, driving home from watching son Steve play, but still lives on in so many memories.
Stroud Farmers Market is a good place for memories. My school sporting life took me everywhere between Burford and Bristol and there is always a former opponent or colleague shopping there.
With no danger of being run over and with space to meander and mingle, Stroud offers something Cirencester does not.
After a lively morning there and a FGR win, I benevolently surrendered the TV remote to Mrs Light. Umpteen repeats of Red Dwarf and one of Midsomer Murders were the result. Not one of my better decisions.