“We are the Glorious Gloucester’s famed for our attack
In Korea and Alexandria back to back
When we have served our country and answered the trumpets call.
Take us back to Gloucestershire, most glorious land of all.”
THIS is the chorus of the song of the Gloucestershire Regiment and is sung by our county cricketers whenever they win a game. County cricket is about pride, loyalty, tradition and love of the special part of England where you live and play.
It is a special moment for our players when they sing this song. No chairman or president is allowed in – it is a private dressing-room moment and so it should be. Listen close to the dressing room and you will hear a sound, scarcely melodic, but immensely moving. If you think our cricketers are a casual, uncaring bunch, listen to the joy with which the song is sung, and of course there is no mention of a badger anywhere.
How often will this song be sung this season? It was obvious at Press Day that our young men are growing up fast. One of them, Chris Dent, is vice captain. His pre-season form has been awesome. Not since Craig Spearman have we had an opening batsman who can bully opening attacks. Chris can now do this – watch this space! As vice captain he will learn much from Michael Klinger.
The choice of Dent may surprise some but we must look to the future. Cameron Herring may be a key part of that future. He was the regular keeper at the start of last season, but lost his place through injury. With Gareth Roderick requiring surgery Cameron will prove an able deputy with both gloves and bat.
Craig Miles is part of the England development programme this term. Currently with a back niggle, he will soon be available and with Ian Saxelby just missing out in the current game we have fine bowlers ready to boost the attack.
Will Tavare is certainly boosting the batting. Showing typical family caution (Chris is his uncle) he took a degree before becoming a full-time professional. He is of course another of ‘Dawkin’s Ducklings’ and has been on the county scene for some time. Now a mature 24-year-old he is ready to claim a first team place and look how he is doing it!
Put in to bat against Hampshire on Sunday we lost an early wicket and to the crease came the championship debutant. Just after tea he went to his century! Undeterred by the failure of Dent, Gidman and Marshall, Will in partnership with captain Klinger, took the game away from Hampshire. He is just one of the real reasons for genuine optimism regarding our county’s fortunes.
Forest Green Rovers’ season is stuttering to an end, but not without incident. There were remarkable scenes at the end of the game against Kidderminster. The referee made an astonishing mistake, allowing a ‘goal’ scored by a double-fisted volley ball shot. Forest Green players protested in vigorous fashion and the referee changed his mind. The linesman supported him in giving the goal but after a lengthy conversation they back-tracked. The right result was achieved, but not in the right way. The message now is kick up a fuss and the ref may change his decision.
Just occasionally one comes across an unctuous rugby fan (most are first rate), I did so after Tuesday’s game.
“Those scenes would never have happened in rugby,” he uttered. I refer him to the Gloucester-Bath match at Kingsholm. The words 'dark and shameful day' says it all.
Cirencester Town and Merthyr Town are slogging it out for Southern League leadership. The Centurions beat Cinderford on Saturday but the most exciting part of the afternoon was listening to the scores coming through from the game in Wales where Merthyr and Yate drew 3-3.
There is a crucial game at Cirencester on Easter Monday when the lively Shortwood are the visitors. My Nailsworth sources tell me many FGR fans are coming to cheer on the other team in Nailsworth, Rovers being away to Luton. Hopefully, the gate will top 300.
I close by passing on a message. Ian Saxelby and Ian Cockbain were the two cricketers assigned to Cirencester CC on Nat West Cricket Force Day. I was asked to thank Brian Woodcock for being such a good host and congratulate him on being such a good club man. This, I happily do.