Football joy but cricket displeasure
I AM in disgrace. At approximately 4.50pm on Saturday Press Box etiquette was forgotten. Where neutrality should prevail, I was on my feet cheering Forest Green’s winning goal.
One-nil down at half time, FGR hit back in style against Woking to win 3-1. Joy was unconfined. The dam of expectancy had been burst.
So much was hoped for this season. Could the team deliver? They were tense, so were we. Not now!
The second half display was certainly play-off form. Playing at a much quicker tempo, Rovers killed off a plucky Woking side.
Danger man James Norwood stuck the knife in and late substitute Matty Taylor twisted it with two goals.
Dave Hockaday applauded his team and then turned to applaud the crowd. A crowd that had finally found its voice. Your columnist shrank back into his seat hoping his spontaneous joy had not been noticed. It had, but fortunately the travelling Woking journalists were cheerfully tolerant.
“Judge me on my team”, said manager Hockaday some time ago. Now we can. A fine squad has been assembled and a strong starting XI is supported by a strong substitutes’ bench.
Anyone can come on and make a difference as Forbes, Marsh and Taylor did on Saturday.
The Ecotricity ownership have ensured the existence of the club, but are doing so much more. They are giving it a future that can take the club anywhere. It is going to be fun finding out where the journey will take everyone.
Football joy took over from cricket displeasure.
Why did Gloucestershire include Ravi Bopara in the team for the 50-over match against South Africa? His inclusion meant a county player had to stand down.
Chris Dent is still recovering from a serious hand injury but perhaps could have played, if not Benny Howell. This match was a chance for our developing players to show what they can do, as Dan Housego (132) so splendidly did. It was no place for guest players.
The return of Anthony Ireland, who is now on loan from Middlesex, is a different matter.
Although I did not agree with his reasons for leaving us I could both understand and respect them. Conversations this season and last with Anthony showed he still has Gloucestershire in his heart.
Perhaps two quick bowlers will leave the club at the end of the season and now Anthony has a real chance of proving he is good enough to return. If he is we should all welcome him back.
We should do exactly that with Aussie Ed, now surely an honorary Cotswold lad, having with his wife, thrown himself into life in Bibury.
He is, of course, Ed Cowan, captain of Australia A and scorer of a century at Cheltenham. There is still a pint waiting for you at the Red Lion (any Monday after 8pm).
I have been giving much thought to the county wicket-keeping situation. Jon Batty has kept well and is, I think, the fastest Gloucestershire keeper to reach 100 victims, but has not scored many runs.
I expected Richard Coughtrie to be number one this season but this has not happened. Batty is out of contract at the end of this campaign and will have an idea of his own worth, so we may not see him again.
He is a likeable character and a valuable senior player and I would welcome him back for another season, hoping Richard would ultimately take over.
Suggestions that Adshead or Snell could return are wide of the mark. Both were released because they were not good enough. If either returned it would be a retrograde step. I anticipate Jack Russell’s advice being asked and taken. There is no one better.
Rain has all but ruined this season. Cirencester have played only seven first team matches (out of 18). Lechlade escaped the weather on Saturday. They were playing in the Southern Hemisphere (otherwise known as Wiltshire) and won a magnificent victory (see pages 47 and 48).
This go-ahead club deserves promotion and if they gain it Mrs Light and I will share a bottle of champagne with neighbour, Lechlade chairman Paul Rowley. Whatever happens they are my Club of the Year.
Good news of two other Cotswold clubs. North Cerney and Bibury could well be returning to the Cotswold League. They will add much to it both having fine grounds. We must remember Ed Cowans is eligible to play for Bibury – watch this space.
STOP PRESS: Kidderminster Harriers 0 FGR 1. Top of the table here we come!