FGR's first-half display was the best I have seen
TWO high spots in one week! First football at Forest Green. I have never seen them play as well as they did in the first half against Ebbsfleet.
Four goals came in half an hour as Rovers, using the width of the pitch, attacked constantly. Ebbsfleet floundered and FGR took advantage.
For the first time this season we saw the team’s firepower. We now know they can destroy.
Liam Daish, the visiting manager, denied his team the comforts of the dressing room at half-time and they stood self consciously on the pitch. Suitably chastened they were much more determined in the second half, and despite having several chances Rovers did not add to their score.
It had been a brilliant night at the New Lawn with a lively band augmenting an increasingly noisy crowd and contributing to a rousing atmosphere.
Now it’s Alfreton on Saturday. They deserve a big thank you for beating league favourites Luton 3-0 but not until they themselves have been beaten.
Mrs Light and I are sponsoring the match which gives us two opportunities. The first is to put something back into the club we love so much, the second means that Penny can meet one of her favourite Olympians, rower Peter Reed, the former Deer Park pupil who is coming to the ground after a celebration in Nailsworth. It should be a great day for sport in Gloucestershire.
The next day saw me heading for cricket at Bristol, but first driving round Tetbury twice admiring the flowers (the best hanging baskets adorn the Close Hotel). This experience almost makes up for living in the floral desert that is Cirencester.
Gloucestershire played some of the best cricket of the summer in defeating Northants. Young pace bowlers James Fuller and Liam Norwell are improving all the time. They took 14 of the 20 wickets to fall. With Ian Saxelby, David Payne and Will Gidman they will prove a real handful next season. Graham McArter, Matt Taylor and Craig Miles will provide back up. Soldier David Wade has moved on and I expect Paul Muchall to follow at the end of the season, but that does not mean an automatic place for Anthony Ireland. He tried hard against Northants but was the least effective bowler on view.
Ian Cockbain was pick of the batsmen. His knock of 99 was outstanding. He received plenty of support but it was his attractive innings that took the game away from Northants.
There is wicket keeping news. Jon Batty will not be offered another contract. His innings of 55 when Gloucestershire were in trouble on the first day put us in a winning position and he was undefeated on 31 in the second innings and took four catches in the match, so he had a good final game at Bristol.
Apart from Richard Coughtrie, three young batsmen/keepers are waiting in the wings. The diminutive Cameron Herring was in the squad for the game but just missed selection.
He is from Tredegar and a graduate of the fine County academy. There is also Sam Bracey, who moved this year to Frocester from Thornbury as well as youngster Gareth Roderick from Cheltenham who has scored good second XI runs. Coach Bracewell wants a wicket keeper who can bat. Watch this space.
My colleague who writes the Town Flier column was spot-on in his comments about Paulo De Canio at Swindon. You should never harangue your players in public. This is subjecting them to unnecessary humiliation and will alienate the whole squad.
Paulo has done much at Swindon and impressed so many by playing 90 minutes in a recent Fairford charity match, but all will be undone if he continues in his current vein. His chairman must rein him in now, but I fear it might be too late.
My sporting education is far from over. I have encountered people who ‘hash’ and ‘straggle’. This means they run considerable distances across the Gloucestershire countryside.
Apparently those who hash follow a pre-set trail while the stragglers, who hail from South Cerney, follow a human hare. This is often done at nights. They wear headlights.
The stragglers use splendid pubs as a base for their runs and their latest t-shirt reads like a guide to the good pubs of Gloucestershire. Your columnist has met them in the Red Lion, proving that despite the incomprehensible joys of their sport, they have got something correct.
PS: Several members of CDCA champions Adlestrop CC have been in contact with regard to my recent remarks and I shall return to the topic next week.