INSIDE THE PAVILION UPDATE: Cheltenham fans get much-needed lift from classy Dent

Standard Columnist John Light and his wife Penny at the Cheltenham Festival

Standard Columnist John Light and his wife Penny at the Cheltenham Festival

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

CHRIS DENT has proved the old adage – class is permanent, form temporary – to be totally true in the NatWest T20 match against league leaders Essex at the Cheltenham Festival.

In a fine display of clean hitting he ensured a thrilling last-over victory.

Cheered back to the pavilion by a near-capacity crowd, Chris had found his form with a vengeance. Five sixes sailed many a mile as experienced Essex bowlers Graham Napier and Ravi Bopara could not contain the flow of runs.

Earlier Benny Howell had taken four wickets – what a good limited overs player he is – but the Essex total of 183-7 looked too much for Gloucestershire.

Captain Klinger and Alex Gidman gave us a good start but the innings was stuttering until man-of-the-match Chris got to work. He made scoring 12 off the last over look easy.

This was just the tonic the Cheltenham crowd needed. The two previous matches could and should have been won, but with so many injuries to our bowlers the Gloucestershire attack was not strong enough to gain the wins our batting deserved.

The Cheltenham crowd enjoyed their first sight of Will Tavare. His first-innings century against Derbyshire was outstanding.

Initially the wicket was lively but Will came through and his cover driving showed his class. Splendidly guided through the season and saved solely for the county championship, Will looks like being the first of our batsmen to score 1,000 runs. Even better news is that he has just signed a new three-year contract. This shows how determined we are to keep our best young players.

Derbyshire have one or two! Tom Taylor, 19, looked a superb quick bowler. He was playing only his fourth first class match but worried everyone he bowled to. If the England development squad leave him alone, he, and Craig Miles, could be the successors to Anderson and Broad.

Thankfully, Miles returned from injury to take four wickets on the first day of the match against Worcestershire, a county who deserve every congratulation for their success this season.

Captain Daryl Mitchell is one of my heroes of the season. Leading from the front he has taken his unfancied side to the top of the table. They will prove a stern test.

Sunday (July 27) sees the first 50-over Royal London Cup tie of the season. After Sunday’s excitement there is sure to be a demand for tickets. The start is 10.30am. Get there early!

The 10/10 tournament on Friday looks interesting. Administration supremo Carolyn Prosser promises a host of big names. One certainly appearing will be the first gentleman of Gloucestershire cricket, Mark Alleyne. It will be worth the £5 admission just to see Mark.

The social side at the Festival is as good as ever. Mrs Light and I have been wined and dined splendidly. The Golden Heart of Nettleton Bottom has brought Cotswold quality to the catering on the ground and the tents are buzzing. One worrying matter is I have yet to encounter my good friend, the Gravel Grandee. If you read this, Roger, I hope to see you before the week is out.

I have seen those two local sporting veterans Gordon Stratford and Johnny Tugwell, both former pupils of Cirencester Grammar School. I still feel concern for Gordon. Selected to play for the county schools team, he and goalkeeper Golly Sollis were forbidden to play by headmaster Douglas Whiting who deemed the school team must come first. What utter tosh!

The lovely picture of Gordon (Wilts & Glos Standard, Thursday, July 17), plus that of Tony Truman getting his refereeing award showed that in local sport the good guys can come out on top. Well done, South Cerney FC for paying just tribute to the worthy Mr Stratford.

As I write our national cricket team is in a sorry state.

I fear for Captain Cook, a thoroughly decent man, but out of form, out of luck and needing a spell out of the team.

It seems we cannot even produce decent pitches and may be penalised for the dreadful one at Trent Bridge.

That will anger me just as much as the penalties dished out by parking wardens in Cirencester on Sunday mornings.

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