THREE Friends Life T20 matches will be played at Cheltenham next year! An exciting Festival fixture list also shows Sunday matches against Warwickshire and Glamorgan and the bonus of a Tuesday game against Northampton.
Fans of the four-day game will be delighted that the two matches are against the attractive Kent side and neighbours Worcester.
Gloucestershire have for many years wished to make Friends Life T20 accessible to all in the county and next summer’s fixtures do just that.
Four-day cricket midweek and one-day cricket at the weekends makes sense and Gloucestershire have achieved this.
The fast outfield, short boundaries and big crowds will make Cheltenham the ideal T20 venue.
“It will be something special,” said Alex Gidman.
Brother Will was more succinct, simply saying “Phew!”
These fixtures are not arrived at by accident – they have to be fought for. Chief Executive Tom Richardson has done a great job. The festival looks the most exciting for years.
Dates: July 10 – Kent 4 days (CC); July 14 – Warwickshire (T20); July 16 – Northampton (T20); July 17 – Worcestershire 4 days (CC); July 21 Glamorgan (T20).
Now on to football. Cheltenham FC have conceded eight goals and Swindon have been scoreless during my sojourn in the South West.
FGR, however, move on in the FA Trophy. More importantly, they are competing with the likes of Wrexham, Luton and Grimsby for places in the all-important play-off positions.
The progress made under Dale Vince has been astonishing. Chairman Dale believes in consistency – sticking with manager Hockaday and offering proper contracts to the players.
He uses Manchester United and Arsenal as examples and in his calm, measured approach is the exact opposite of Abramovich at Chelsea.
Sadly, while in Cornwall, soccer violence nearly flared.
I was wearing an FGR scarf which, being green and black, was mistaken for that of Plymouth Argyle.
A group of youths approached. Their leader shouted: “I hate that club.”
The frightened reply was “It is not an Argyle scarf.”
This had no effect. Mrs Light, in school assembly mode, intervened, saying: “It is a Forest Green scarf and we are both very proud of them.” The mob withdrew – abashed.
For the first time in a lengthy and varied soccer-watching life I was genuinely frightened. Fifty miles from the nearest soccer club and on the quay at Padstow, the behaviour of these young men stunned me.
Thank goodness Mrs L was more than equal to the occasion. Not for the first time her presence reassured me.
Perhaps I can offer readers some reassurance.
Before leaving for the South West I snatched a glance at these pages (November 15) and saw a picture of David Dunn.
To say it did not do him justice is an understatement. Many readers know David. He is a successful local businessman and has played rugby with distinction for Cirencester Town.
He is a living legend at Poulton Cricket Club and is one of the nicest men in England.
None of this was evident from the photograph supplied by the Gloucestershire County Cricket Board, who have appointed David as one of their coaching co-ordinators, serving the Cotswolds. David, whose enthusiasm knows no bounds, is just the person for this post.
So many local cricket clubs will benefit if they take advantage of David’s appointment – just ignore the photograph!
Reading the local papers in Cornwall it reminded me of how limited local sport is in that county.
These pages are always burgeoning with stories of youngsters achieving great things and in such a number of sports.
Adult participation is considerable and of a high standard.
In no way am I belittling the people working hard to keep sports going in the South West, especially cricket. The board’s development officer is Joe Skinner who learned all he knew in this county, but the level of participation is not there.
It is in sailing, however. Visiting Rock Sailing Club I noticed so many honours boards. If you know Rock you will not be surprised. The area is affluent in the extreme. The luxurious sailing club received grants from such bodies as The Sports’ Council, Foundation for Sports and the Arts and Sport Foundation.
I am far from sure this is how these bodies should spend their money.
As an inner-city veteran, and observer of the Cotswold scene, I have some better ideas.