Chris was a cracking player - and great ambassador for Pembrokeshire Cricket

Around The Boundary 

Chris WilliamsFor many years Chris Williams was one of the best all-rounders in local cricket as he played for Lawrenny but would have been welcomed at any other first division club because of his undoubted ability as a free-scoring batsman and wicket-taking medium-pace bowler.
But Chris has always been Lawrenny through and through after being brought up at nearby Cresswell Quay and starting with the club when he was 13 and played for the junior team alongside his pals like Dai ‘Ossie’ Jones, Owen ‘Larter’ Williams, Tony ‘Skerks’ Scourfield and Dai ‘Baldie’ Arthur.
The club only had one senior side in those days but it wasn’t too long before there were a player short for a game in Division Three (South) and he made his debut – and was soon included on a fairly regular basis as a wicket-keeper and middle-order batsman, alongside old-timers like Ernie Scourfield, Howard Jenkins and Derek Hughes, who always said he taught Chris all he knew!

Family matters . . .

Now, 59 years later, Chris is still heavily involved at Lawrenny and supports the first team whenever he can in cup matches but spends most Saturday afternoons as scorer for the seconds because his grandson Noah (15) is playing and he goes along to give support.
Noah’s father is Chris’s son Robert, who has also been a mainstay in the first team for many years as a fast bowler and more than useful batsman, and could have joined any of the other local clubs as a great catch – but loyalty runs deep in the Williams’ family and both have been content to stay with their club and represent Pembrokeshire as well.
Chris would be the first to say that he has also been lucky to have the total support of his wife Rhona, a local lass who still turns out for the ladies’ team when needed, and daughter Alison, who also plays and has sons Taylor (12), another who has played for the seconds, and Toby (in the under 9s team) - so that Chris is now the only non-playing member of the Williams’ clan!

Chris Williams in batting action for Lawrenny

A few injuries on the way

To be fair though, he didn’t miss many matches but there was one unusual break as a young man when he worked on a farm and was run over by a silage tractor and trailer and it was thought he might be out for some time – but within three weeks he was scorer for the seconds and a week later scoring again – but this time with runs on the field!
Chris was one of the early players to wear a helmet after suffering a blow to the mouth from a ‘lifter’ by Carew pace man Tony Matson which required seven stitches and the need for a straw for the post-match drink – and when he tried a helmet he found it comfortable and wore it from then on.

A few hundreds – and a hat-trick too

Ask Chris about personal success and it soon becomes clear that it is not a vital matter for him in what he sees as very much a team game but of the eight or so centuries he scored his first ‘ton’ at home against Fishguard and also had one hat-trick, also at home to Saundersfoot, in the dim and distant past.
He also had the ability to score very quickly and in one early game at Narberth he joined Dai Jones at the crease and was told to have a good look at the bowling for a while, which he did as he played out a maiden over but 26 minutes later he was celebrating 50 as he belted a few sixes into the nearby mart ground!
He was always in contention for the club’s annual batting award but on one occasion he made it a double by also winning the bowling award, to the evident disgust of his old pal ‘Larter’ Williams, who usually collected that trophy!

Robbie and Chris Williams

Missed out on Bowl success – but thrilled when Lawrenny finally won it!

If he had a disappointment it was the fact that he played in three losing Harrison-Allen Bowl semi-finals and so no-one was more delighted than he was when Lawrenny finally won the coveted Bowl in 2001.
“It was a great night at the club,” said Chris with typical under-statement!
He played until he was past 50 but then stopped because of problems with his arm – and he was adamant that he didn’t want to prevent some of the talented youngsters breaking through at Lawrenny and eager to play Saturday cricket when he wasn’t able to give 100%.

And finally . . .

When he stepped down from playing, Chris made sure that he has stayed involved off the field, including some terrific work in cutting the outfield and keeping the place spick and span by working alongside club treasurer Malcom Thomas, another stalwart club member, in painting the clubhouse, inside and out. He is a very long-serving member of the full club committee and remains chairman of the cricket section, where he puts his wealth of experience to good use.
Chris featured in my regular ‘Sports Folio’ series in the old West Wales Guardian in 1990, when we said,
“If everyone played cricket like Chris Williams it would be an even better game than it already is because he is undoubtedly one of the real gentleman of sport . . .”
And that statement is even more appropriate today than it was then, 32 years ago, and it is always a pleasure to still bump into him today on a stroll around the cricket boundaries of the county, often still with his old pals ‘Larter’ Williams, Phil ‘Goochie’ Williams and ‘Ossie’ Jones!

Chris Williams and Taylor