MANAGER Mark Cooper and I are in total agreement. Forest Green Rovers recent form is far from that of a relegation side. Played 7 won 4, drawn 2 and lost 1, if maintained over a season would ensure a comfortable play-off place.

The prophets of doom think otherwise. Have they not looked at the League 2 form table recently? Rovers are far from perfect; indeed they are far from the finished product, but the recent run of results gives every reason for genuine hope.

They were far from their best against Cheltenham but still gained a point. Against a physical determined side Rovers never really settled. Their talented players have to earn the right to play and at a chilly New Lawn did not do that.

Drissa Traore, Keanu Marsh-Brown and Reece Brown allowed themselves to be hustled out of the game. Isaiah Osbourne set an example that these three could not follow and when injury took its toll and he was substituted Cheltenham took control. That they did not win was partly due to a brave performance by Brad Collins in the Rovers goal.

The game was disappointing. Local Derby nerves dominated and there was little measured play. The most worrying moment, however, came at the end. Jack Fitzwater sustained an obvious head injury and was eventually stretchered off. The referee allowed play to continue for far too long before stopping play to allow the injured player to receive treatment. He has been pilloried for this and must take some blame, but players of both sides had the opportunity to boot the ball out of play and yet none of them did so. It was an altogether unsavoury incident.

Now for Rovers but of course not Cheltenham it is back to the FA Cup with Exeter City visiting The New Lawn on Saturday. The prospect of an exciting third round draw is motivating.

So is one other contest. Mark Cooper has impressed us all with his touchline garb this season (the wonderful grey shoes were back on Saturday). Exeter manager Paul Tisdale is another natty dresser, being an ambassador for Ted Baker who, I am told, sell fashionable gents clothing.

On Mark’s form this season he should win, and so should his team. Exeter’s recent away form has been inconsistent. It will be an occasion to savour for those of us who value and relish the FA Cup. It still has its magic, for Penn and I anyway.

I am grateful to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club chairman Roger Cooke for bringing me up to speed with progress in the move to amalgamation with the County Recreational Board. Roger tells me a working party is beavering away, making good and amicable progress towards a mutually acceptable solution. A letter will be sent to members shortly outlining progress. This is very good news and is exactly what should be happening. Thank you for the steer Roger.

All of us Old Grammarians are truly proud of “Atta girl” Joy Lofthouse. Joy a lifelong lawn tennis fan will have learned the game on the Grammar School courts which were to be found on the Victoria Road playing field. Situated between the pavilion and the railway embankment, they were in my day in constant use. Jane Faulkner from Poulton was probably the best female player and when males were allowed on John Tucker of Colesbourne was the star. We had to drag him away to open the bowling for the first XI cricket team.

What impressed me about Joy was she thought her ferrying of probably 16 types of airplane was nothing special, regarding it as just a job that had to be done. In that she was typical of many of her generation and sex. Many cycled out from Cirencester to Kemble to work on aircraft or went even further, going down the hill to Brockworth to work at the aircraft factory.

Theirs was a generation who realised all sorts of jobs needed doing and without complaint got on with doing them. The best thing we can do today is to follow their example.