LIGHT'S OUT: The weekly column full of wit and wisdom by former Gloucestershire CCC chairman John Light
THE signing of Aussie all-rounder Dan Christian for this season’s T20 competition is great news.
Gloucestershire clearly mean business. Dan has played in the IPL, the Australian ‘Big Bash’ and has represented his country in 27 limited-over matches.
A gifted all-rounder, he will be involved in all phases of the game. In the last two years, Muralitharan bowled his four overs and that was it.
Dan will be in the thick of things throughout the game, supporting captain Klinger and enthusing the young county players around him. The prospect is thrilling.
Cheltenham’s Sunday T20 games on July 14 and July 21 will draw huge crowds.
Gloucestershire have always been too genteel in 20-over cricket and to overcome this, a specialist hitting coach has been engaged to take our young batsmen forward. He is not full-time, but the need to pep up of young cricketers has been spotted and hopefully remedied.
The cash to hire Christian and specialist coach Julian Wood is available because ground development is going ahead. If you did not realise how important that was, you do now.
Our evening last week at O’Neill’s Bar in Cheltenham was especially exciting. Irish dancing, singing and the joy of enthusiastic sporting companionship may not be for the fainthearted, but Mrs Light, Guinness in hand, loved it.
Those who know her from other contexts may be surprised to read this, but I assure you it is true.
One of the other contexts is occasionally taking the Hospital Service in Cirencester. When she does this there is always the opportunity to talk to organist George Field.
George had, after the war, a distinguished career in aviation, flying supplies to Christmas Island when the ‘A’ bomb was tested there, and ending up as a flight engineer when Concorde was tested.
Before the war, however, he was a goalkeeper for Arsenal, playing and training with the pre-war greats such as Alex James and cricketer Denis Compton.
When the war ended, George was married to Dorothy and serving on the Isle of Man.
He was 26 years old and took the decision not to return to professional football but to remain in aviation. He kept goal for the island team for many years often touring this country.
“As they run up, look at their legs below the knees, then guess and go.” That is how George was coached regarding saving penalties.
One of nature’s gentlemen he is a delight to talk to about pre-war pro football and must be one of the few left who played it.
There was a surprising encounter with some all-conquering darts players this week.
Some furniture for the Sue Ryder shop was collected from the Light-house by two members of the all-conquering Twelve Bells ‘B’ team, one being former Cirencester individual champion David Laight.
They were as skilful at removing a heavy load as they undoubtedly are at playing darts.
Weather permitting, we shall be off to the races on Saturday, for the VWH point-to-point at Siddington. This was the first race meeting I ever attended and as a small boy was totally in awe of the occasion, marvelling at the size of the horses, the crowd and the noise of horses’ hooves.
If I can stop Mrs Light from betting on every grey in sight we should have a good afternoon.
A strong Cirencester contingent saw Forest Green lose at home to league leaders Mansfield, a large physically strong side. I felt like Gulliver watching Lilliput play Brobdingnag.
It was Red Nose Day and in charitable spirit Rovers gifted Mansfield two goals. Playing the better football in the second half they could only pull one goal back.
At the match we were entertained by the ‘Rock’ choir. It would have been appropriate if they had sung ‘Don’t Be Cruel’.
Swindon and Cheltenham are still in with a real shout of the play-offs and therefore a lifeline for promotion. It now seems too late for FGR and Cirencester.
If the unlikely happens and Rovers are successful I shall invoke the words of that sombre sage Leonard Cohen and “ring all the bells that still can ring”.
In addition there will be a drink for all the Monday regulars at The Red Lion. I can think of no better way of celebrating.