I MAKE no apologies for writing about cricketer Michael Klinger in a sports free zone.

His contribution to the county cricket club that so many of us love (and at times despair of!) has been outstanding.

There will be no statistics here as Michael, or Maky as he is known has made a contribution beyond his matching run scoring.

He has shown leadership, character, determination and judgement both on and off the field, being both hero and example. Michael is leaving us with two memorials.

Firstly his personal performance as batsman and captain in the thrilling defeat of Somerset (Friday, August 23).

The county ground at Bristol stood in his honour. Secondly look at the T20 table or that of the county championship table. Gloucestershire are in second place in both.

Since arriving in England at the start of the Cheltenham Festival our fortunes have blossomed. This is consistent with the influence Michael has within the club. Respected by everyone for all the right reasons he has helped both individual and team performances.

One of the many joys of watching cricket at Cheltenham has been seeing the Klinger family grow up. Michael’s gracious wife, happy children and occasional glimpses of his father show him to be a true family man.

Playing sport reveals true character whether in victory or defeat.

Those who simply value victory miss so much.

Look beyond the headlines and you can learn much about life and humanity itself.

Never has this been truer than in the seven seasons Michael Klinger has played for us.

He will always be welcome back. So many of us are honoured to have known him. I am proud he has played for our county. We still have on field battles to fight. Winning them would be the final memorial.