LIGHT'S OUT: Bristol Badgers debate at least stirred up some interest

Gloucestershire CCC Chief Executive Will Brown at the County Ground

Gloucestershire CCC Chief Executive Will Brown at the County Ground

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

RADIO Gloucestershire phoned last Thursday asking if I could be interviewed about the idea of changing the name of our T20 team from Gloucestershire Gladiators to Bristol Badgers.

After being revived by the ever attentive Mrs Light, I did some research.

In a long interview with the Bristol Post, chief executive Will Brown had light heartedly mentioned this possibility. Will has the same problem to face that all of us connected with managing the club have faced – how to raise the profile of the club?

Many in Bristol are unaware the county club plays well within the city boundaries, while far too many of us write off Bristol as being too remote and distant. It takes the Cheltenham Festival to bring us together.

The name ‘Bristol Badgers’ might awaken parts of the city we have yet to reach, said Will. He has already succeeded in doing that, prompting a debate that will have just one outcome – no change!

Who will head for the Cheltenham College ground in July to cheer on the Bristol Badgers? The thought is outrageous. Those who heard my interview are in no doubt about my presidential feelings. If that was to happen I would resign, and I suggest I would not be alone.

Full marks to Will, however. He has done exactly what he wanted, creating both awareness of and interest in our county cricket club.

Forest Green Rovers are experiencing both as they push for the play-offs. A fine win over Grimsby was followed by a frustrating draw against Welling. Four points from the two games does at least keep us there or thereabouts.

A large party from Farmor's School, Fairford attended the Grimsby game and must have been impressed. The New Lawn has much to offer football fans of all ages and is well set up for league football – if the club can get there. First of all they have to deal with the curse of the cameras. Rovers do not play well when on TV. This season they gained just one point from the two TV games against a moderate Hereford side.

On Thursday, cameras and Forest Green arrive at Southport for a match BT Sport are covering. Although this means me returning well past my bedtime I shall be there. In making the long journey the ‘Alley-Alley-Oh’ has to be crossed. There is a pint for the first person who can tell me what and where the A-A-O is. One clue is offered – the playwright Shelagh Delaney.

I enjoyed a chance meeting in the week with one of the most exciting local footballers I ever saw – Harry Parker of Cirencester Town.

With players of the class of Harry, Eric Barclay and Henry Archer, Cirencester joined the Glos Northern Senior League, winning the second division and being promoted to the first where such giants of the 1950s such as Brimscombe, Forest Green and Lydbrook played.

Talking of his love of the game Harry was still sad about the motorcycle crash that brought about the end of his career. He had wanted to play forever.

If Harry was currently in the present Ciren team the championship would be a foregone conclusion. As an inside right, with a fierce shot and the ability to make defence-splitting passes he would have been more than a match for any defence.

Another encounter of last week was with a senior member of one of the Cotswolds most famous sporting families, the Partridges of Birdlip.

Martin, father of county cricketer David, played not only cricket but table tennis, and I think he is still playing. The village hall at Sheepscombe names him frequently on the honours board and he has done much to keep the club going. He and I were visiting The Five Mile House pub. I was scared to go in as the name of Ivy Ruck is still above the pub door. Ivy was a landlady of long standing, respected for all the right reasons, and a person who a youngster in his early teens, drinking illegally, was in awe. You can be assured that the cooking at the FMH is better than ever.

I hoped county bowler Ian Saxelby would be but he could not complete his third over in the friendly against Glamorgan. I'm told he was taken off as a precaution. Watch this space!

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