TIME to be reflective and look back at the last year, which is a splendid reason for not dwelling too long on Forest Green losing at home in the FA Trophy or Cirencester conceding six goals at home to Bridgwater.
Despite wretched weather there are some fine cricket memories. Perhaps the best was drinking beer with Paul Godding and his Lechlade team as they celebrated promotion in front of the pavilion.
Taking advantage of promotion every time they win it Lechlade are a fine example for other clubs to follow.
With chairman Paul Rowley in charge there is no limit to what they can achieve, while Alan Heath, who does so much for youth cricket in Lechlade and beyond, deserves a special mention.
Godding is my captain of the year. My decision is perhaps influenced by listening to Paul pay tribute to his father at the latter’s funeral. I accept that could be said to be nothing to do with captaincy and Lechlade, but I disagree. Warmth, sensitivity, strength, understanding and tolerance are all captaincy qualities. Paul showed them that day.
Chairman of the Year goes to Paul Baker of Cheltenham Town. In partnership with manager Mark Yates, he has taken Cheltenham forward. They have a small squad and small budget but always punch above their weight, fully deserving the financial bonus the Everton Cup tie would bring.
Chairman of the Year was a keenly contested title. Dale Vince of Forest Green could have won. Sandy Mace of Cotswold Gymnastics nearly vaulted over all the others and Rex Body of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club was a strong contender.
I hope to make the award to Dale next year, and Rex has the consolation of guiding ground development towards fruition.
New Arrival and New Signing of the Year come from the cricket world.
The arrival is the Stow Cricket Museum. Not only is it a well-presented cornucopia of goodies, the brunch is pretty good also. New Signing of the Year is Carolyn Prosser who is now responsible for PR at the County Cricket Ground and acts as Tom Richardson’s PA.
Possessed of both glamour and gumption in abundance, Carolyn is expert at keeping everyone informed at what happens at Bristol – look at the website and you will see what I mean.
I have one challenge for her. My greatest achievement as chairman was restoring caramel slices to the lunch bag given to journalists.
The national cricket press rose as one in acclaim. I was mentioned in ECB dispatches. They have been withdrawn again to the dismay of the press. You know what you have to do, Carolyn.
Mrs Light and I make a joint award. It is to Bibury Football Club. We attended their presentation dinner and loved it. Within the Tardis-like clubhouse we received a warm welcome and good food. It is good to see Bibury making a big Cheltenham League impact.
Mentioning Cheltenham brings back memories of the lowest moment of the year.
Gloucestershire’s promotion push was still possible but a run chase against Leicestershire was mismanaged. Forty-seven runs needed, six wickets in hand, ten overs left. It should have been easy. I hope lessons were learned.
I have learned two things this year. My own sporting life has developed, so much so I occasionally act as co-commentator for Radio Gloucestershire as they broadcast FGR’s matches on line. I did not find this difficult and became over confident, not researching enough.
This was shown in a home match against Gateshead when I was informed three minutes before kick-off that Radio Newcastle wished to carry the commentary. Knowing little about the Gateshead team, I am sure I was an embarrassment.
Wearing my supporter’s heart on my sleeve, coping with Kipling’s twin imposters ‘Triumph and Disaster’ is sometimes not easy, but I have found a remedy – it is one I can recommend. It is visit the Red Lion.
It gives one a splendid sense of perspective. A cricket loss or soccer defeat instantly seem the trivia they are.
A story of a Red Lion rarity ends this column. A drink was spilt, by a lady of much grace and elegance, over my left foot. The presence of such a lady was not the rarity. That was the spilling of the drink. We all cherish the quality of our tipple so much this is never done.