Good side emerging on Bracewell's watch
I WRITE consumed with joy and full of emotion. Gloucestershire County Cricket Club have qualified for the quarter-finals of the T20 competition. Now for Sussex!
You may have sat in front of your TV screen watching another contest. Not for me the wide bat and softball sideshow of SW19. I listened to the Radio Gloucestershire website commentary of Northants v Gloucestershire.
Two fine wins – the smashing of Somerset and the walloping of Worcestershire – had given us an outside chance of going through to T20 quarter-finals.
Magnificent bowling reduced Northants to 31-4 – then disaster – it rained. Whatever happened next was in the lap of the gods, known to all cricket fans as Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis. For once, they smiled on us, setting a target of 23 runs in five overs.
Our earlier bowling, both accurate and penetrative, had set up a winning position. A farcical situation really, but we deserved some luck, and we made the most of it.
I know this team. Many were signed on my watch. Like all young sides they are inconsistent, but on their day they can really play. Expected to be the whipping boys in every competition, they are proving everyone wrong.
John Bracewell and his coaching team are producing young cricketers who can do so much for this county. There is every reason for pride and optimism.
The cricket ended early enough for me to hear Andy Murray being gracious in defeat. I warmed to him.
Now its Cheltenham – and what an important festival it will be. Spectators will see a team that is surprising us all. They will have bad days, but more good ones. Next week we will know if championship promotion or CB40 qualification are still possible. I fervently hope the weather will relent and these matters will be decided on the cricket field.
The cautious Mrs Light tells me she has three outfits ready – hot, cold and monsoon. I suspect she will need all three, perhaps in the same day.
One of our favourite pubs is playing a large part in the festival catering. The Golden Heart (Nettleton Bottom, Birdlip) is taking the large marquee previously used by the Montpellier Wine Bar. First class pub grub at the college ground must be a good thing.
Coach Bracewell keeps an eye on what the players eat. When he first came to the county in the 1990s he was shocked to see the preparation for Sunday league games was as follows: 1) A few pints on Saturday evening; 2) A lie in on Sunday morning; 3) Full English breakfast; 4) A notional warm-up.
Now you know why we had such a poor record. JB changed all this. A proper fitness/diet regime was introduced. Some players fell by the wayside, but soon a competitive unit emerged. One-day matches were won, as were trophies. I think the same thing is happening now.
We are on the way to success – perhaps not this year but very soon. New signing Benny Howell has been told to sort out his diet so runs will surely flow from his bat.
In between the floods, the Cirencester U13 side has reached the county final where they will play Bristol-based Stoke Bishop. This is the best news emerging from the town club where abandoned fixtures are ruining the season. The first XI have played only three matches in the county league.
I hope it is dry on July 24, because Charlotte Edwards, captain of the England Ladies XI, will be at Lechlade to coach the girls. Fairford and Cirencester girls will be there as well. This is a real bonus for local cricket, which for too long seemed to exist in isolation. Go along and have a look.
I regret the seemingly mean-spirited decision of Swindon Town not to play a pre-season friendly at Cirencester Town. I hope it is remembered when bad weather causes them to ask if the arena is available.
There is some consolation for Ciren fans as on July 17, the strengthened Forest Green Rovers team comes to the Corinium Stadium for a friendly. Watch out for the new strikers.
Never have hopes been higher at the New Lawn than this season.
A real push is to be made to bring League football to Nailsworth. It may not succeed but it is going to be great fun finding out. There will be much pressure on David Hockaday if results are poor but he knows, as we all do, that football is a results game. He is a genuine man who deserves to succeed.
So does Callum Henry, who lives in Cirencester but has just left FGR. Callum has enrolled at Liverpool University and signed for Vauxhall Motors. He has the ability and skill to succeed academically and on the football field. We should all wish this decent young man well.