LIGHT'S OUT: My Sportsman of the Year is Tony Truman

DESPITE the saddest Ashes series known to man, your columnist is determined to spread peace and goodwill to all men, even Geoffrey Boycott.

He wins my Commentator of the Year award because no-one else can sum up the enigma that is Kevin Pieterson as can my fellow county cricket club chairman. I had problems with Boycott the player, but as a cricket broadcaster he is supreme.

Cricketer of the Year is someone who never scored a run or took a wicket – namely Ian Saxelby. Laid low by injury, Ian was seconded to the cricket club office where he worked in catering, hospitality, marketing and public relations. He also found time to study for an Open University degree. An injury-free 2014 is something that he truly deserves.

Cricket Occasion of the Year is won jointly, there being two memorable runners. The first was the England/Australia charity match in Cirencester Park. It gave us all an opportunity to realise that Aussies are not always ogres.

Then came the opening of the Bristol Pavilion. This handsome building represents the best of what is happening at the county cricket club. The ground has been described as drab and dull. It is that no longer.

Residential development (nearly complete) and the rebuilt Mound Stand will make the ground an exciting arena. Judge it for yourselves when England play India. If you cannot get a ticket the TV pictures will be thrilling.

Four young cricketers from this area deserve a special mention. Eve Alder and Jono Jamieson-Black of Cirencester CC are among an elite squad of young cricketers selected for advanced coaching.

In a younger age group are Jonnie Gunn and Harvey Jupp of Poulton CC. Well done to those four and those who came so close to selection. Youth cricket prospers in this area.

Manager of the Year is Brian Hughes of Cirencester Town. He can make bricks without straw.

Chairman of the Year is Dale Vince of Forest Green Rovers. He has a true vision for the club and can take us all to unimagined heights, but it will take time. The appointment procedure for David Hockaday’s replacement was carried out in a proper fashion. The club maintained a total news blackout until everything was sorted out, and until Slimbridge had finished their cup run. Well done, Dale.

My award of Sportsman of the Year goes to Tony Truman of Ampney Crucis. A true veteran of local pitches, skittle alleys, cribbage and darts boards as well as the scourge of generations of bookmakers. Tony is still going strong – in mind if not in body. When encountering him in The Red Lion he has never complained and is always good value, remaining both impish and at the same time possessed of considerable Cotswold common sense. The drinks are on me next time, Tony.

The final award comes to me. It is for being the worst football tipster ever. No more forecasts will be forthcoming. Forest Green to beat Chorley easily was my last – defeat in a penalty shoot-out was the result.

The performance was uniformly grim. New manager Ady Pennock was both rueful and realistic, saying: “Recent victories have papered over the cracks – there is a lot of work to be done.”
Indeed there is. The squad is large in number but thin in quality. A few years ago, under Jim Harvey, we had Clist, Beesley, Hardiker, Fleetwood, D Jones and Lawless. Few, if any of the current squad can match them. Those who saw the marvellous Swindon cup tie will, I am sure, agree.

The result at Halifax on Saturday was not what we needed or expected, either.
There was no reaction to the Chorley defeat, Old faults resurfaced, a corner was poorly defended, and goals have dried up.

What we need to boost our sagging morale is a resounding win on Boxing Day and the effervescent Reech Styche back to full fitness.

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