Hands off our Cotswold traditions
FAST BOWLING poet Frank Mansell once wrote ‘Oh to be young on Cotswold, under the summer sun’.
Now at last we have some sun there is abundant evidence of what he meant. The rain was getting me down.
Too much cricket at Bristol was washed away, local cricket swamped and my visit to the Gypsy Gathering (formerly Stow Horse Fair) was ruined.
Mrs Light and I love this event. It is colourful, lively, different, perhaps noisy at times, but an integral part of Cotswold life. We used to travel from London to attend.
Apparently Stow councillors want to change its name, indicating it is not a charter fair. This is playing with words and if it is an attempt by the council to distance Stow from the event, they are mistaken.
Journalist A A Gill has been arch and acerbic in his criticism of Stow. If mean spirited was among his condemnations, I agree with him.
Too many Cotswold traditions seem under siege. The thought police have wrecked the cheese rolling. Will the Tetbury Woolsack Races be next, the sacks being too heavy? Perhaps it may be the Cotswold Olympicks, as there is a danger there of your shins being kicked.
This county has produced Mike Teague, Bomber Wells, Terry Biddlecombe, Jack Russell and Laurie Lee’s Uncle Sid. Would they have emerged to delight us in this increasingly anonymous civilisation?
English country life can be robust and noisy and Gloucestershire has always made a rich individual contribution to this. Let it continue, otherwise there is a danger we will turn into Surrey. No one wants that.
Back to the sunshine! It was a delight to finally see Yorkshire – including all-rounder Bresnan – on the field at Bristol. He had a splendid game and to see an England player in full flow was a welcome sight. To make the last day competitive, the two captains (Gale and Gidman) contrived a finish. Declarations and forfeits set Yorkshire 400 to win in 110 overs.
Instead of a last day which would have been little more than a net in the middle, we saw seven hours of high class competitive cricket. Their initiative should have been welcomed by all, it wasn’t.
Yes, Gloucestershire lost, but could so easily have won. If you get the chance Alex, do the same again.
Next day there was no reaction. Our young side routed Leicestershire in the CB 40. Williamson and Howell were outstanding with the bat and four wickets for Dent and three from McCarter helped to destroy Leicestershire.
As exclusively predicted in this column, Dent’s bowling will play a large part in limited over matches this season.
Making the most of Sunday’s sun, I visited Cirencester Bowling Club on their Open Day. Suffice to say the warm welcome made me wish to return. I may even bowl.
The highlight of my morning was a visit to Cirencester Cricket Club. If you are concerned about the future of English cricket go to Cirencester Park on a Sunday morning. You will not be alone.
More than 200 youngsters are playing and being coached.
Throughout my brief visit (special thanks to chairman Nick Price and Brian Woodcock), I heard all about the club’s plans and hopes. Such is their determination they deserve to succeed.
A South African cricketer has been signed to boost first team prospects, an auction of promises is being held to raise money and everywhere was ideas, hopes and optimism.
It is the same at Lechlade, Poulton and Fairford. So many youngsters can, under the summer sun, access the best of games.
David Dunn rang up on Sunday evening, rightly proud that Poulton CC had provided three members of the Gloucestershire U11 side which beat Gwent on Sunday. Harvey Jupp was captain and he was supported by Johnny Gunn and James Newman. This is yet more evidence of how our local clubs are producing able cricketers. Congratulations to all, especially Harvey for being appointed captain.
Do not forget the work behind the scenes, youngsters. This was splendidly symbolised by the picture of Phil Carter in this newspaper last week. To many Phil is a crusty curmudgeon as the photo showed, but this masks a warm heart and hours of work behind the scenes.
Finally, the best part of a busy weekend for Mrs Light and I was attending the Bibury AFC Presentation Evening. To be there was a privilege.