12:00pm Saturday 31st August 2013
By John Light
BANK Holiday Monday at Bristol was special.
The new pavilion was opened, there was a huge crowd who watched a fine game. A Somerset side, more streetwise than Gloucestershire, won narrowly. The difference between the two sides was the number of extras conceded. Somerset gave away 18, but Gloucestershire 34. The winning margin was just 12. Those figures speak for themselves.
The visit to Kent, and of course cricket at Canterbury, was a delight. Captain Klinger was true to his word, and with the co-operation of the home team management set up a third day that gave either side a fair chance of winning the game before a deluge, correctly forecast for the final day on Saturday.
Mrs Light and I took our seats following a morning of sun, sea and sand. An early start meant we could visit Herne Bay, Margate and Broadstairs with the highlight being a stop at the marvellous Morelli’s ice cream parlour. We were in time to see the start of the Gloucestershire run-chase. The Kent bowlers had other ideas. Bowling with fire and accuracy they soon had us in trouble. Captain Klinger failed for once and we were soon 13-3, then 40-4.
At that stage wicket keeper Gareth Roderick walked to the wicket and Penny was planning a visit to Choral Evensong at the Cathedral. Gareth had not enjoyed a good match behind the stumps, but he made amends by playing one of the best innings I have seen from a young Gloucestershire player.
Playing shots all round the wicket off both front and back foot he scored 152 not out, saving the game and earning us a draw. There was a stand of 110 with spin bowler Tom Smith and after two wickets had fallen to the new ball another of 67 with fast bowler Craig Miles. Kent claimed the extra half-hour to no avail. Gareth stood firm and left the field to generous applause from a knowledgeable Kent ground, and a standing ovation from all of us from Gloucestershire.
As I enjoyed my fish and chip supper and Mrs Light consumed Whitstable Oysters and Lobster Thermidor a warm glow enveloped us. We knew that on a warm Kent afternoon a new star had been born. We also had experienced a fine day of county cricket with both sides trying to win.
There was a chance on Sunday to look at the Oval Test. Wretched regulations denied us all a fine finish. No blame for the umpires however as they had to enforce the letter of the law. The exciting finish masked the fact that both sides had, at times, slowed the over rate down to 11 an hour. This is unacceptable and cheats us all of cricket. At Canterbury, Kent had bowled at 18 overs an hour in their attempt to win. Sort out slow over rates please administrators – financial penalties may do the job. Something must.
Back to Bristol. The opening of the pavilion was very much a chance to look forward. On the balcony were young Gloucestershire cricketers who play for the age range sides. The exciting developments are for them. Veterans of the past mentioned splintery floors and constant salad lunches. It is all so different now and the youngsters are emerging to take advantage of this.
Meeting the talented and gracious Jupp family (Poulton CC and much more) afterwards showed that within our area we have both the talent and ambition.
Following the fortunes of the Cirencester Cricket Club shows how much the Jamieson-Black brothers are contributing to the team’s recent success, and of course at county level. More will be heard of them.
Last word on Bristol. Captain Klinger was given out caught. We saw during the Ashes tests how easy it is to make a mistake. This was another.
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