Chelmsford loss proves it will be a tough season
NOT A good start for Gloucestershire CCC! Defeat by an innings at Chelmsford showed how tough this cricket season is going to be.
Following the game on the ECB website was not a life-enhancing experience. Torture may be a better word.
First there was the news that David Payne had a knee injury, then our bowlers were giving away at least six runs an over and Essex grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
James Fuller’s first seven overs went for 45. New signing Muchall bowled 11 overs for 67. Fortunately Ed Young bowled a long containing spell of 23 overs and Fuller finally found his range, but by then it was too late.
Captain Alex Gidman had put Essex in. He deserved better, as the ball moved all day, but too many loose deliveries gave Essex total control.
Their bowlers did their job and apart from Dent and Housego, our batsmen achieved little. Double failures by the captain and vice captain Hamish Marshall put too much pressure on the others. The only consolation was Yorkshire’s wretched display against Kent. Rain prevented them being beaten by an innings. The good news is we have to play them twice!
It has largely been a sedentary week in the Light household as we followed the Test series on radio and TV. Test Match Special is truly outstanding. The burblings of Blofield have happily been banished, Boycott is positively benevolent and listening to Agnew and his team is a delight.
There was also an abundance of magical golf to watch from Augusta. Mrs Light abandoned all Poirots and Miss Marples in favour of the Masters. Yet again there is indisputable evidence I married the right wife.
I did stray from Toad Cottage on two occasions. Firstly to see Forest Green beat Ebbsfleet 3-0. It was a good open contest and very much enjoyed by guest Jim Nunn. He rapidly realised FGR were playing better than Swindon did at Wembley. The total Rovers experience impressed him and we happily shared tea and cake after the game.
The highlight was a goal by substitute Reece Styche. Not yet match fit, Reece played for only 15 minutes, but what a difference he made! His goal had me on my feet cheering. This does not happen very often!
Back in defence, Reece headed a corner clear and found the speedy Thompson in space. He and full back Stokes raced down the left, Styche sped from one penalty spot to the other and drove home the inevitable pass with aplomb.
I am going to settle for just two words to describe it. Star quality. This is what Reece Styche brings to my footballing life. He has the capacity to thrill. Another goal at Bath on Monday proves my point. He has been missed, but I am so delighted he is back.
Whether Cirencester Town will be back in the Southern League is debatable. Some realistic thinking has to be done. This column has no answers to their predicament I am afraid unless my six numbers are the right ones.
In my teenage years, when I had a pushbike and minimal cash, I watched Ciren Town a lot. They are very much part of my early sporting life.
So was an Alexcars Bedford Duple coach. Twice a year during the cricket season it would arrive at Rodmarton. Cyril Townsend would be driving and out would clamber The Beeches cricket team. Les Crook, John Dyde, Wally Sollis and the Page twins are names I remember but most of all I recall Stan Ponting.
He would play in a black cap, his sleeves would be buttoned at the wrist and he would field at mid off. He made worthwhile contributions with both bat and ball. I would also encounter Stan, or Mr Ponting as I properly called him, at the parents’ match at the Grammar School. His son Richard was in the first XI with me and we enjoyed doing battle with our parents.
I am mentioning Stan for two reasons. He was one of the people who were the foundations of my sporting life. From him I learned being a cricketer was much more than turning up and playing a few flashy shots.
Being a team player meant responsibilities and included respect for the game and also opponents. Today, I can thank Stan and also wish him and Edna well on their 70th Wedding Anniversary.