'Jenks' has been a wonderful ambassador for Pembrokeshire sport!

Graham and Rose Jenkins with Sir Garfield Sobers


Graham JenkinsWe recently were delighted to highlight the considerable footballing ability of Graham ‘Jenks’ Jenkins over many years of scoring huge numbers of goals every season he played – and this week it is a pleasure to tell you about his prowess in cricket – with a passing reference to his participation in golf, too!
Jenks’ cricket career started as a 12 year old at Greenhill School, where he was playing for the first team at the age of 12 alongside superb players like Brian Diment and Hugh John.

“I was a bit overawed at first,” admitted Jenks, “but I really enjoyed being involved and in my last season I won the awards for scoring most runs and grabbing most wickets and the teacher told me I was the first player ever to do that.”
But when he left school at 15 Jenks stopped playing the game because he found other interests and worked in a hotel on weekend – and only returned after Kilgetty had reformed and he heard they were looking for players.

Welcomed back by Wallace

“So I popped down to the ground one evening and Wallace Poole was there tending the wicket as usual, and asked me what I was doing there.
“I told him I was due to meet someone who was bringing a bat and balls but hadn’t turned up and without another word Wallace put the mower away, got a bat and some balls and bowled for almost an hour to me in the nets.
“It was a typical action from a great club man for whom I always had the highest respect and it was the restart of my cricket as I helped Kilgetty move back through the divisions into the top level of Pembrokeshire cricket.”

Leading Kilgetty’s come back by example

Cricketer Graham JenkinsJenks was captain for six years and in the climb back up the pecking order he smashed at least ten centuries, including one interesting victory at Herbrandston.

“Everyone in the division knew that if I won the toss I batted first but when we got there the wicket was wet, although it had been a dry couple of days.
“They said it must have been a heavy dew the night before but I still batted first as we only managed one run in the first five overs – but as the wicket dried out we rattled up a score of 240+ - and I belted 12 sixes in an innings of 159 not out in a very big win!”
“We had a very strong side which included players of the calibre of Barry Wood, Paul Mansbridge, Adge John, Billy Evans, Teddy George as wicketkeeper, Phil Ridgeway, Graham Lewis, Billy Scale and the Wood boys as youngsters and we climbed up the sections back into the first division – and had further top players with the arrival of Adrian Griffiths and Nicky Evans.
“We had a real purple patch in the mid-90s when we won the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final three times in four years as we beat Haverfordwest in 1994 and 1995 and then Lawrenny in 1997 – and it was a very proud time for all at the club.

Huge hits – and near misses!

As well as a string of centuries to his name, Jenks also had some near misses with his big hitting, none more so than in a match at Llangwm where he had belted nine sixes over the short boundary ropes to stand on 99 not out with four balls left.

“I heard them say on the boundary that I only wanted one run and the canny Llangwm bowler, I think it was Martin Inward, bowled all four down the leg side and I didn’t lay a bat on any of them to miss out by a single run!
“On another occasion at Cresselly we stood at five wickets down with only one run on the board when I went in and I was last out on 95 when we were 125 all out. My old pal Wallace Poole was at the other end and was 0 not out from 43 balls as we put on 40 for the final wicket until I decided to go for a maximum and gave a catch on the boundary. Wallace, competitor that he was, was hopping mad with me for giving my wicket away!
And I once batted really well at home to Pembroke when Bill Carne was playing for them alongside the likes of Kevin Jenkins, Stewart Longhurst, Jeff Powell and Keith Johnson and I went so well that I was on 96 without realising it – but watched in horror as my straight drive flew into the hands of a fielder on the boundary; and it was made worse at tea when Bill told me that the catcher was a second-teamer who was only helping out on the day and wasn’t well-known for his catching ability!”

Graham Jenkins and Liam Cullen

Offending grandson Liam – and fantastic tours to Barbados

One of his nice memories is a match just before he retired where he was joined in the second team by his grandson Liam, then in a 12 year old and now a professional footballer with Swansea City, and scored 38 not out.

“I was captain and managed to score 38 not out in a narrow win – but Liam was in a real strop because I didn’t give him a chance to bat!”
But it is obvious in our chat with Graham that some of his best memories revolve around the trips to Barbados that he made with his wife Rose, including the extra-special one in 1992 when Kilgetty toured there for the first time and they got married on the test match pitch there.
“It was a great tour and although we lost all four of our matches, walking under an archway of cricket bats held aloft by my team mates is one that Rose and I could never forget!
“We were also there in 1997 with Brenda and Barry Wood to watch England and in 2007 for the World Cup – and in between we had more amazing trips to renew old friendships in 2003 and 2005

Stepping down on the field – but looking after it in between matches

When Jenks decided it was time to retire he was determined to stay involved and has done so ever since – and his main role is with regard to the ground, where the outfield is cut regularly by Trevor Badham and Graham prepares the pitch after it has been squared up pre-season by Steve Flook.
“In the early days we struggled to make a real impact in the league because the drainage on our pitch wasn’t good enough but now it’s much better and I love getting on with some work down at Kingsmoor because it is very satisfying to see matches being played on good wickets.”

Graham and Rose Jenkins with Everton Weekes


Enjoyed his golf – and just missed out on a cracking trip abroad!

Graham also started playing golf when he was 23 and with his massive hitting ability and growing expertise around the greens he managed to reduce his handicap to four in only seven years at Tenby Golf Club, playing alongside other players in Barry Smith, Steve Finch and Ian Bates.

“I won my share of monthly medals and one year gained entry to the finals of the Ford Golf competition, qualifying at Tenby with a gross 72, nett 68, earning myself a nice all-expenses paid weekend at Ashburnham Golf Club.
“I played really well but missed out on a trip to Majorca for the next stage by a single shot – and my reward was 12 golf balls and a bottle of whisky!
"Since I had my heart operation I have played a couple of rounds, one at Celtic Manor with Ian Poole, Keith Dolman and Geoff Marsh, and the other with Liam and his pal Richard Cope – but they kept taking the micky out of me because I needed a buggy!”

And finally . . .

Then there was his football goal-scoring prowess, which we have already chronicled, and there is no doubt that Graham Jenkins was undoubtedly an excellent player in his three sports – but perhaps more importantly he played them in the right way.
‘Jenks’ was hugely competitive when play was going on but the first afterwards to shake hands with the opposition, win or lose, and enjoy a chat over a pint at the bar.
We have spoken to a number of his colleagues and opponents and the considered view is that he was a great ambassador for sport and we can pay him no higher tribute.
He has battled back from injury and we can only wish him well for the future because we at PembrokeshireSport.co.uk are proud to list him as a good friend!