A FINE week on the cricket field. A 50-over win against Worcestershire that takes us into the quarter finals of the Royal London Cup and Gloucestershire’s best championship performance of the season with the league leaders (Worcestershire again) being despatched in three days.
The lacklustre Cheltenham Festival displays seem months away. There is now a spirit and confidence in the side that must be maintained.
If this happens the loss of Will Gidman can be overcome. Firstly good luck and thanks to Will. An all-round good guy, Will gave his all to Gloucestershire.
We could, and should have signed him six years before we eventually did. We would not make this mistake now as our recruiting is in better order, thank goodness.
I fully understand Will’s reasons for moving on. He has received a huge offer from Nottingham, but there are other reasons as well. Like all sportsmen he wishes to play at the highest level and there are family reasons too. We will all miss that shy grin, warm heart and all those runs and wickets.
Four Gidman wickets pegged Worcester back in the 50-over Cup and 44 Gidman runs helped us to reach the winning target. Ian Cockbain with 98 not out was a revelation. A little more consistency please, Ian, then there is no limit to your achievements.
The team carried their fine attacking cricket into the four-day game at Worcester. Alex Gidman captained the side in the absence of captain Klinger and brother Will who was suffering from several niggles.
Surely a depleted side would perish. No such thing. Alex led from the front. One hundred and ninety one runs across the two innings demonstrated a welcome return to form. Purton’s Craig Miles took valuable wickets and Gareth Roderick in only his second match of the season looked a real star both behind the stumps and when batting.
I asked a knowledgeable gathering what other Gloucestershire batsman could hit the ball through the offside as Gareth was doing. I received three answers: Tom Graveney, Zaheer Abbas and Mike Proctor. The answer speaks for itself. With Will going could it be a case of ‘The king is dead, long live the princes’?
Speaking to Bob Hunt of BBC Radio Gloucestershire, director of cricket John Bracewell thought that could certainly be the case, but he added a cautionary note. His cricket budget is being cut for next season and as he said this he called for the club to look at its priorities.
Gloucestershire must be able to keep its best young cricketers. John flagged this up at this year’s annual meeting and he is exactly right.
A quirky ambition has been achieved by your columnist. I have met a golfer who has holed in one, and happily it is a genuine grass roots player. To hear Tom McLean of the South Cerney Club modestly telling an attentive Red Lion audience was a joy. There was no arrogance, just genuine wonder at accomplishing something remarkable.
Something remarkable occurred at Coates’ cricket ground on Sunday. To those who often accuse me of name dropping – here comes another chance.
Ian Wright hit hard, high and handsome; Tony Adams took a remarkable slip catch but his bowling was much less distinguished, and Lee Dixon is not a confident wicket keeper.
The occasion which brought these former Arsenal legends together was a match between the staff of The Rajdoot restaurant in Ciren, augmented by their colleagues from the Indian Rasoi in town and a Tony Adams XI.
It was a cheerful and charming occasion. Lunch was a splendid Rajdoot curry and tea and cakes were provided by Tony. A closely-contested game was won by the restaurant team who scored the 146 needed for victory with nine wickets down.
Exciting affairs are happening at Fairford CC – a true community club. A junior presentation evening takes place on Bank Holiday Monday at 5.30pm and on August 31 there is the Presidential match. I hope to attend both functions, even if it means skipping away early from the ODI between England and India at Bristol.