LIGHT'S OUT: Shining light Styche inspires six-goal display

Reece Styche of Forest Green Rovers

Reece Styche of Forest Green Rovers

First published in Sport
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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: John Light by

NEVER has this column been so aptly named, as that is exactly what happened at Forest Green on Tuesday evening. The floodlights failed. The match was finally abandoned and Grimsby fans had a long journey home after seeing just 30 minutes of football.

It was an unsatisfactory evening for three wise men from the east, or to be precise Poulton Cricket Club. They had chosen the New Lawn as a birthday celebration venue which was sadly cut short, with the game’s swift conclusion.

The brief encounter with Grimsby promised so much. Two good teams played open football at a high tempo and the game could have been a thriller.

Forest Green were especially impressive in midfield and this was carried forward for Saturday’s game at Hyde.

Hyde’s season had sprung to life with a draw and a win in their last two matches, but they could not cope with a Rovers team moving the ball quickly and decisively.

Reece Styche was a revelation. He provided the speed and bite the Rovers attack needed. Making two goals and scoring one he was my man of the match.

There was no personal celebration when he scored his goal. Instead he ran to the Rovers bench, shaking hands with the men who had helped him regain full fitness after a career-threatening injury. The travelling FGR fans danced on the terraces as six goals were scored – away from home!

It was not great fun reading the suggestion of Lord MacLaurin that the number of counties in English county cricket be reduced from 18 to 12. MacLaurin is yesterday’s man, holding no office in the game whatsoever.

English county cricket has done so much to help Team England. Two divisions have been introduced, matches now last four days and with the introduction of central contracts players are lost to the county game when they become established in the England side.

The current ECB management are totally committed to 18 counties, realising all have a part to play in the fabric of the county game. This battle was won when I was chairman of the county. Mrs Light, who as a child bride will outlive me, has been instructed to have the following inscription on my tombstone: “He fought, helped by Yorkshire and Sussex, to maintain a county championship of 18 teams.”

If he wished to be helpful MacLaurin should have accused the England XI of being populated by too many South Africans. When one outsider, Ben Stokes, broke into the side he instantly achieved, proving there are fine cricketers waiting to break into the team.

Mention of javelin thrower Bob Warren (January 16) caused readers to remind me he could use a 7lb pound sledge hammer one-handed, and with it drive in fencing posts. Other memories are of him at the Fairford Steam Rally supporting umpteen rubber tyres in a bid to win a year’s supply of petrol. My informant thinks he was successful in this attempt but is not certain. Can any reader confirm what happened?

The dispute between Swindon Town FC and the Swindon Advertiser is ridiculous and mean-spirited. The football club should realise the newspaper is a vital conduit to the fans, especially fringe ones like Mrs Light and myself.

Our occasional visits to matches are inspired by the coverage the paper gives to the club. If we cannot read about it these visits will cease.
I was once refused permission to enter the Forest Green press box for an FA Cup tie. The reason I was given was: “FA regulations state one representative per club.”

My protests that I wrote columns for two papers (this one plus the SNJ) were ignored. I had just enough cash to pay at the turnstile and arrived at the press box minus my usual pasty and programme. There I met three representatives of the Northampton Chronicle.

y arch, acid and acerbic comments that appeared the following week ensured it never happened again. I now get free parking as well!

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