Around the Boundary - David Lee - Whitland cricketer through and through


‘Around the boundary feature’:


Dai  LeeEvery club needs its unsung heroes and Whitland CC is no exception, but is lucky to have several former players who continue to serve them long after their playing days are over - and David Lee is certainly one of them because he has been on the management committee for the best part of 30 years, has been fixture secretary for almost as long and coaches the club’s under 11 team with support from other players and parents.
He says he is also aware of the great work done on behalf of the club by the likes of the late Hilliard Davies and Barry Webb. Brian Cook, Trevor Evans, Colin and Dai John, Gwyn Phillips, Paul Webb and the younger generation including brother Mark, but there is no doubt that he can certainly be well on the way to achieving unofficial membership of such an elite club because on top of everything else he does he also takes his turn behind the bar when his name comes up on the rota for times when cricket has been booked for the club’s splendid ground.

Early start with Whitland CC

Known to all as ‘Dai’ he started out his playing days around 15 year of age, much older than youngsters might do today, and was still playing regularly up until a couple of seasons ago, all these years later.
Dai Lee raises the Alec Colley Cup aloft as Whitland 2nds  skipperIn that time he was a regular opening bat in the first team, known for his reliability and excellent fielding skills until a mixture of dodgy knees and his work commitments as a police officer caused him to step down - but in the intervening years as scored his share of half centuries, scored a first-division hundred against neighbours Narberth, played in a winning Whitland team that beat Carew in a Harrison-Allen Bowl Final in 2012 – and Dai was captain of the winning Alec Colley side in 1995 against Lawrenny .
He was also part of a highly successful Dyfed Powys Police team that has won the British Regional title nine times, including five on the trot! “I was fortunate to play in the finals on county grounds including The Rose Bowl, Scarborough, Bristol and Derbyshire,” Dai told us.
When he set out in junior cricket the team was coached by Dr Allen where we played the odd game in the Ormond Youth Cup.

“James Owen was our star player but we rarely won a game because we had too many players like me who were there virtually making the numbers up,” Dai told us with typical honesty and a chuckle!

Dai Lee scores a century

Opened with ‘Webby’ but not in the Bowl victory

“Then I played for the seconds in teams captained by Peter Mycroft and Barry Webb, both great club men, and I eventually gained a first team spot in my early 20s - and was immediately thrust in to open with Paul Webb without ever having managed even a 50 when I was in the seconds!
“But Paul was a great help and like my brother Mark I played in the firsts for most of my playing days, with the highlight undoubtedly being the 2012 Harrison-Allen Bowl Final, where we caused a bit of a shock by beating Carew under young skipper Matthew ‘Titch’ Davies.
“By this time in my career I was well down the batting order in the short format of the game, so didn’t bat in either innings, but made a small contribution in the field with an important catch to get rid of Carew’s quick-scoring Rhys Davies as I was fielding on the boundary near the clubhouse and sprinted around the rope almost to the changing rooms to take the catch off Mark’s bowling!
“I was dead chuffed to get rid of Rhys as he was a dangerous batsman when he got going, who is now a work colleague of mine. I didn’t like to talk about it, but Rhys always insisted in bringing it up - and it looks even better as I’ve got older because it can still be seen by typing ‘Dai Lee Harrison Allen’ on ‘You Tube”!
Dai didn’t get any runs on that occasion but he certainly played a part in Whitland’s development because he had his share of 50s alongside his century against Narberth, which he readily admits was great because of the close rivalry between the neighbours.

Mark and  Dai Lee parade the Harrison-Allen Bowl


Other Sports, including football for the Welsh Police team:

Outside of his cricket, Dai would say he played a bit of rugby in the backs division at under 11 level he also loved football in the winter and started out in school at under 14 level with Wayne Howells, whose father Anthony ‘Puddler’ Howells used to pick him and Shane Davies (Laugharne) up to play for Narberth Juniors - and Wayne’s mum Beryl used to feed the hungry trio as a bonus before the match!
“I then played for Llanboidy in the Ceredigion League for four seasons of senior football. I remember playing at Llangrannog and they had a tin bath and cold-water hose for showering. My brother and I then joined Narberth, Mark had a very successful spell as the first team goalkeeper.
“I started in the second team and we won a few second division cup finals with talented players like Raff Barnett and Ian Morris coming through the system but I eventually made it into the firsts where Paul Phillips and Nigel Williams were the star players and in that time, we reached four Senior Cup Finals but only managed to win one of them, which was against Saundersfoot.”
Dai also played for the Dyfed-Powys police team along with International matches for Welsh Police Football teams in their annual matches against their counterparts from England and Scotland.
“For Wales, we used to play most of our home games at Penydarren Park in Merthyr and we played England at venues like Leeke Town, Scotland on the pitches of Scottish League Clubs like Kilmarnock, Airdrie and Dunfermline.

Nice shot Dai LeeFamily Matters

His family have always given Dai good support and wife Calie has been a regular alongside him at Whitland when events are organised - and his daughter Jess (17) is a very gifted athlete who will soon be jetting off to Trinidad to compete in the 2023 Youth Commonwealth Games as reward for all her hard work with Carmarthen Harriers as a youngster.
“Jess has worked so hard since she was a little girl in junior school and showed such promise that she was invited to join Carmarthenshire Harriers as a nine year old and after starting out in longer distances she has now settled in the sprints and long jump.
 “We are all so proud of her fantastic attitude that has been linked to natural ability and both Calie and I are really looking forward to travelling out to support her - accompanied by our son Ryan (19), who is not as keen as I am at sport but fancies a holiday in the sun!”

And finally . . .

Going back to his cricketing days with the Dyfed Powys Police his modesty is again evident as he says his main role in the squad was as the bus driver but one former player in Huw Evans (Ammanford) told us Dai played a part in their huge success alongside players of the calibre of Mark Davies and Mark Williams (Ynysygerwyn), Simon Cole and Richard Evans (Cresselly), Gary Phillips (Ammanford), Richard and Gareth Grant (Neath), Gary Williams (Gowerton).
So he has lots of great memories and having played so much sport in Pembrokeshire he has made so many friends - and we at count ourselves in that number.
He has been a great example in his playing and organisation of sport for a very long time - and we even forgive him now for a typically sharp catch he took on the mid-wicket boundary at Whitland that stopped this writer perhaps grabbing his best-ever score on one of the best wickets in the county - and we always look forward to a chat when we visit Whitland because Dai Lee is a credit to his club in particular and our county in general sporting terms!