Styche makes the difference for FGR
A TRAVELLING week. Football at Telford and Gateshead and finally cricket at Bristol, astonishingly all in sunshine!
Forest Green brought back four points from their travels. Last year the two same matches were sad defeats. This is play-off form but the school report on the season's start would read, 'Marks improving, but can still do better'.
My Wilts & Glos columnist card worked wonders at Telford. Mention of the Stroud News and Journal drew a blank but the WGS name brought forth smiles. ‘Someone from the Cotswolds - come this way sir, here is your programme’.
It was me smiling at the end of the game as successful defending of a 2-0 half-time lead saw Rovers deserving winners. Reece Styche was back to his forceful, speedy best and should have been credited with the second FGR goal as a fierce goalbound shot simply grazed centre half Blackburn who is named as scorer of an own goal.
An own goal of a different type was avoided by Radio Gloucestershire and the FGR website. Co-commentator with Bob Hunt we were next to our Shropshire radio colleagues who made reference to the death of Mrs Thatcher. Not having had official confirmation of this, we did not. A rumour spread on Twitter, whatever that is, was the only evidence of the sad event. Our caution was correct.
Gateshead on Saturday was a very different experience. They play their home fixtures at the Gateshead International Athletics Stadium. The view from the press box is splendid if you want to see the finish of the 100 metres or the long jump. In the middle distance, a football match was being played.
It was another game FGR should have won, but the inability to defend free kicks cost them dear. A final cavalry charge and a switch to a 4-2-4 formation rattled the home side and when the man of the match, Styche, was wrestled to the ground, a penalty resulted.
Does the team have the killer instinct? Can it stick in the knife and then twist it? All successful teams can. When FGR, with their smaller but stronger squad can, there is no limit to what they will achieve, and if Woking are beaten at the New Lawn on Saturday, Rovers will be in a play-off position. I am sure they can stay there.
Sunday sunshine tempted Mrs Light and I to cricket. On the way to Bristol there was a chance to admire the floral delights of Tetbury. They put Cirencester to shame, and surely make all Tetbury proud.
The sunny day and quality opposition brought about Bristol's biggest crowd of the year. County champions Lancashire have become a very good one-day side. They should have been beaten, however, but Gloucestershire varied from brilliant to just plain bad.
Wretched shot selection saw the top four batsmen contribute just 12 runs between them and much as the lower order tried, the modest Lancashire total was out of reach.
The improving James Fuller was top scorer and aided by Ed Young looked like winning the game. Veteran Lancashire captain, Glen Chapple thought so, too, and reintroduced himself into the attack. Game over! He took 5-29, a true match-winning performance.
It was good to see left arm spinner Ed Young (3-25) back to form and being the best spinner on view. Yet again the evidence pointed to the success of one-day cricket on a Sunday. Many families were present and a tight game kept everyone entertained.
A ‘Mangos’ fan approached me during the game, making unprintable comments about Cirencester Town footballer Jamie Reid.
However, he concluded his remarks by saying, "Mind you - I wish he played for us.” Jamie has remained loyal to relegated Cirencester and I am sure will be a driving force all season. His screaming shot brought a deserved away win on Saturday.
Last week this newspaper carried the news of the death of Norman Whereat and paid tribute to his many achievements. Norman was a soccer referee and subsequently an instructor of referees, and in his quiet, helpful fashion supported them as they took up the whistle.
At the Parish Church (September 1, 2.30pm) we can all pay tribute to Norman. For him the final whistle has blown, but his life's results will live on.