INSIDE THE PAVILION: Gatt says all the right things at Sheepscombe

Two presidents together - Mike Gatting of the MCC and Standard columnist John Light also of Gloucestershire CCC

Two presidents together - Mike Gatting of the MCC and Standard columnist John Light also of Gloucestershire CCC

First published in Sport Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: John Light by

AT LAST! A thrilling home victory in the T20 Blast. The win against Kent was just the tonic the Bristol crowd needed.

With the senior batsmen not firing much is needed from the lower order, and how well they are responding. Benny Howell, with his ability to bowl economically and then to bash boundaries, is one of the best 20-over cricketers in the country, and Jack Taylor can hit hard and handsomely.

However, it was wicketkeeper Adam Rouse who masterminded the final push for victory. A happy and noisy crowd saw 15 runs come from the last over, and set the scene for Friday’s home game with Sussex.

The previous evening at Lord’s had been most unsatisfactory. A poor pitch defeated our batsmen (Benny H excepted) and a total of 106 may not have been enough. Then it rained. The pitch was such that our players thought they had a real chance but all that was left for us all was a wet drive home.

Captaincy is a big topic at the moment. I thought the Glamorgan captain got matters completely wrong in the drawn county championship game. He had three opportunities to press for a win and took none of them. He could have declared and invited a run chase. With the Gloucestershire attack as weak as it currently is that was his best chance of victory.

He did not take it, nor did he declare on the evening of the third day, having a ‘pop’ at tired Gloucestershire batsmen. He compounded this mistake by batting on the final morning, giving his bowlers little time to bowl us out. A tame draw resulted.

As captain you have to push for victory and that worries me about Alastair Cook. He is far too cautious. The Lord’s declaration was far too late and at Headingley his tactics were sterile and repetitive. We need Alastair scoring runs at the top of the order but I have severe doubts about him as captain.

Sheepscombe CC on Sunday was a delight as they held a match to commemorate the centenary of Laurie Lee’s birth.

Laurie’s wife Kathy and daughter Jessy were as fresh and fair as the sunny June day. Among genuine cricket people, guest of honour.MCC president Mike Gatting was in his element, perceptively praising groundsman Piers Risely-Pritchard and chairwoman Elizabeth Skinner.

The sight of Gatting and myself together prompted Mrs Light to utter ‘two portly presidents’. I hope Gatt did not hear.

The whole valley attended, village veterans and newcomers mixing happily in what was a hilltop garden party.

Mike also correctly praised the village club for organising coaching for youngsters and being rooted four square in the community. Elizabeth responded eloquently, speaking for generations past and present. A sumptuous tea was available for all and, of course, a cricket match took place as well.

With help from the ECB and so many villagers the club now own the ground. This fine fund-raising feat could have been celebrated in no better way.

The previous evening I had taken Mrs Light to a concert – after all it is an even numbered year. It was Johnny Coppin paying tribute to Laurie Lee in words and music. It was an enchanting evening, the Stroud Subscription Rooms ringing with Cotswold sounds, both pure and true.

The soccer world rightly recoiled at the Suarez incident and his subsequent punishment is appropriate. I believe that the England rugby team includes a player found guilty of biting, eye-gouging and being abusive to referees. Do we treat rugby misdemeanours more lightly, or is it because he is one of ours? We must avoid double standards.

I am sure a rugby veteran who adds much wit and wisdom to Monday nights at The Red Lion will put me right. Mickey Sharp played for Cirencester some years ago and is remembered for his tough tackling.

Rumours have reached me that cycling home one evening he fell into a water-filled ditch. I am assured he was completely sober – a freak accident.

One of Mickey’s memories of Cirencester rugby is an away fixture with Chicago. The match took place in 1964. If anyone else reading this was playing I would love to hear more about the match and tour.

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