Excited Cotswolds greets Olympic flame

Stroud News and Journal: John Light John Light

HAS there ever been an afternoon of such jubilation and joy?

On a God-given summers day the Olympic torch was here in the heart of the Cotswolds, and how everyone responded.

Cheerful, cheering crowds were everywhere. You may have been in Cirencester, looking every inch the Cotswolds capital, or perhaps in Stroud, the beating heart of the Five Valleys, or at Painswick – so truly proud.

Wherever you were you would have been enthused by the torch’s progress, reflecting the excitement and anticipation the Olympics are bringing to this summer. Already we are part of it and long may we remain so. The world is coming to London to compete. If the games are as special as when the torch came here last Wednesday they will be a triumph.

There is good news from Bristol. This newspaper last week carried pictures of the cricket ground development plans. They have been warmly received by so many readers who believe the development will add to the atmosphere at the County Ground. More importantly the city planning officers have recommended the council adopt them. I shall be at Bristol (May 30) when the decision is made. Watch this space.

Sunshine lured me to Northampton for some of the four-day County Championship match, which Gloucestershire lost in the penultimate over.

Captain Alex lost the toss on a day perfect for batting and from then on we were up against it.

There were good batting performances from Hamish Marshall, Benny Howell and Ian Saxelby (51 runs in the two innings and only out once), but Alex, Ian Cockbain and Ed Young had poor matches. Ed lost his bowling action and failed twice with the bat.

Jon Batty, however hard he tries (and he does!) cannot score championship runs. A proper fourth-day wicket, properly taking spin was just too much for our young side.

Much pleasure for us all was reading in The Times (Saturday, May 26) these words by Neville Scott. He wrote: “For a young almost novice team of no spectacular talent Gloucestershire have fielded superbly and keeping to their task with conviction, have shown high character in this match.”

Patience please – I am sure it will be rewarded.

Regrettably there was some wretched cricket news from Bristol. In a second XI game, fast bowler David Wade, who is on the Gloucestershire staff, made ‘inappropriate contact’ with a young Glamorgan batsman. He followed this up by throwing the ball at him. Of course, he has been instantly suspended.

This column sets a high store by standards and values. Without them sport is meaningless. I sometimes write in anger, and now, this is coupled with embarrassment. There is no excuse for such behaviour.

I took with me to Northants Brian Hudson, head honcho of the County Cricket League.

At Burford, I asked him about changes to the league, planned for next season. By the time we reached Chipping Sodbury I think I understood them.

In general terms they will result in less travelling for many teams and a chance for the Cotswold and Stroud Leagues to become stronger.

The Cotswold League works pretty well at the moment, but the changes will give other regions a chance to match their standards.

Brian and I had forgotten the relaxing air of the four-day game.

Days can meander on in an unhurried fashion, the game going on at its own pace.

Sometimes this can be as infuriating as a visit to the post office, which seems to operate in the same way. Nonetheless ,I loved it.

Soccer seems, for some, so far away but not for us FGR supporters. In place of the inadequate Uwezu, Henderson and Wright, manager Dave Hockaday has signed four new strikers – Vieira, Marsh, another Wright and Koroma.

Last season we dominated matches but could not score.

There should be little of that next season. The 4-3-3 system used by Rovers puts considerable physical demand on the strikers. I can see match-winning substitutions being made. All have fine goal scoring pedigrees. Luton will be our biggest rivals but let us be confident. Football League here we come.

It would have been here we come to Stowell Park on Friday, June 8 – but I have made a scheduling mistake.

That evening Alex Gidman is holding a summer ball at the perfect venue of Stowell Park – courtesy of Lord Vestey.

Mrs Light, who has been known to swing a nifty shoe, wants to go, but we will be on holiday in Italy.

I have made a wretched double booking. E-mail alexgidmanbenefit 2012.co.uk for details, but please do not tell Mrs Light about it!

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