When the summer county fixtures were announced the first matches the Gloucestershire players used to look out for was to see who we were playing at the annual Cheltenham Cricket Festival. one of the great first class cricket festivals still remaining. so many happy memories. I can tell many a tale, enough to fill a Wisden Almanac entirely in fact. including from the corporate marquees where many a good time was had by both spectators and players alike. main sponsors Duraflex’s marquee was legendary. this came to the fore one Sunday fixture against Leicestershire during a rain delay. with the ground looking like a boating lake both sets of players decided that any play that day was out of the question, so they took full advantage of the sponsor’s very generous hospitality. a few hours passed when it was noted that the dark clouds had departed, the sun was out, and more worryingly the umpires were inspecting the pitch. they suddenly declared a 10 over match would be played and the players were hurriedly forced to put on their whites. before a ball had been bowled accidents began to happen. Leicestershire batsman Ian Butcher was an early casualty. his nose was accidentally broken by Gloucestershire’s Paul Romaines, who had laid Ian out while swinging his bat around trying to warm up in the away team’s dressing room. for some reason unexplained to this day, Paul was in the wrong dressing room! many players had to be helped into their whites. i remember many batsmen taking guard and wondering why they had bothered because most of them couldn’t keep their balance on the Cheltenham slope, continually wobbling all over the place. batsmen played and missed with constant regularity. I wonder why? i can assure you from where I was stood the ball wasn’t doing anything!