Matthew Lewis - a great asset to Cresselly Cricket Club


Around the Boundary’ Feature:


Matthew Lewis (Cresselly all-rounder)Matthew Lewis is the effervescent captain of Cresselly Seconds in cricket and is rightly proud of the fact that he has always been committed to bringing on talented young players to the benefit of the club that is rightly held in such high regard around the county and much further afield.
Matthew certainly hails from a sporting family because his older brother Ryan also plays at Cresselly as well as Matthew’s sons Morgan (19) and Corey (17), who are regulars there.

“Morgan has been playing for the first team as a free-scoring batsman and Corey has joined me in the seconds as an all-rounder, whilst daughter Caitlin (15) used to play until last season but is now fully occupied sports-wise in football as she plays midfield for Johnston Jets and Carmarthenshire Schools. My wife Claire doesn’t play but is our greatest supporter as she organises us all and is always there for us because us fellers take some sorting out!
“Ryan and I used to fight like dogs when we were kids but are very close now and it is also good to see his son Josh playing so well, whilst his daughter Jess plays for the ladies’ team and also scores for the seconds, which is a great help to me as captain.

Started at Cresselly after a call came out of the blue

Matthew started his cricket at Pembroke Dock in the junior section but stopped for some time after not doing as well as he liked at GCSEs and attending Pembrokeshire College, where he met Claire and they eventually moved to Ludchurch- and he played football for a while in what spare time he had.
He played football as a midfielder with Templeton but work commitments made that difficult so he stopped for a while “But then, at 22, I had a call out of the blue on a Saturday morning from Ryan, asking me if I could help the club by playing cricket for the second team under skipper Steve ‘Spongey’ Davies and at first I refused because I hadn’t played for years and didn’t have any kit. They soon solved that problem as kit somehow appeared, though, and after really enjoying myself I was well and truly hooked again!”
And Matthew has been at Cresselly ever since, other than one season at Whitland where he played a mixture of first and second team cricket and took more than his share of wickets in the first division and managed a few runs too.

Vice-captain first and then skipper of the second XI

“But I missed the characters at Cresselly and went back - and in the intervening years I was vice-captain to Rhydian Rees and Julian Arthur and I have captained the seconds on a fairly regular basis, including last season and this campaign with a very young and inexperienced team.
“We’ve had our ups and downs between divisions two and three, and one season in division four before we bounced straight back and I wouldn’t have missed any part of it because there whilst we are competitive the emphasis is always on good fun as well.”
Matthew has often had his leg pulled about his canny slow bowling, even being accused of ‘bowling pies’ by people who ought to know better, like the writer of this article - but the proof is in the eating because he has pouched more than his fair share of scalps in his time.

Wickets galore from ‘the pies’ he bowls  . . .

On one occasion in Whitland a young Tom Arthur took the first wicket and when the opposition was finally shot out cheaply it was Matthew who caused the rest of the damage with a 9 for 32 haul! He’s also had 5, 6 and wicket spells on more than one occasion and one where he took eight wickets.
“Not bad going for someone who ‘bowls pies’,” says Matthew with a typical chuckle whenever I dare to raise the subject!
He then explains that his left-arm deliveries might not spin as much as some players,
“But I vary my pace a lot, alter my line and length, and always try to keep the batsmen guessing!”
His methods clearly work because he has played in five Alec Colley Cup Finals, a couple as captain, and on one occasion just missed out on the man of the match award as he scored a few runs in the lower order and claimed 2 for 10 and 5 for 26.
“I wasn’t bothered by not being picked because we won the match - but I still have the ball at home from the second innings as a nice memento!”

Matthew with sons Morgan and Corey

. . . And scoring his share of runs too!

He’s also a more than useful batsman who certainly isn’t afraid to wield the bat in anger when the occasion demands and he has a top score of 76 against Neyland in 2017, a date he remembers well because it was the first time that a young Morgan joined him in the team!
Throw in his excellent fielding and it is easy to see how he leads by example.

“I try to show the youngsters I can still play a part in the field and still throw myself around after the ball - but there’s no doubt it doesn’t get easier and my aching limbs on a Monday or even Tuesday is proof of that fact!”

Matthew Lewis - superb fielder

Coached for club and county

Outside of his own playing, Matthew has been involved on the coaching front as he has taken the club’s young players through from under nine to under 15s with brother Ryan and Tom Arthur - and also got involved alongside Andrew Miller in the county set-up for a while.
He is also intent on bringing on very young players at Cresselly into the senior fold and at the present time four of the regulars are Ollie Arthur, Iori Thomas, Tyler James and Griff Jenkins, all 14 years of age and holding their own against experienced players in division two of Pembrokeshire Cricket - and although the team battled away at the foot of the table it is worth remembering that they compete against eight opponents who have their first teams in that section.

Matthew sets off for a run at Treleet, Pembroke


Always ready to praise others

Matthew wins a club awardBut it is good to report that Matthew is also keen to highlight the work of others at Cresselly who do a great deal of unsung work in coaching, preparing superb-quality pitches (where the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final is a great example).

“I take my hat off to the likes of Richard Arthur, the club groundsman, Phil ‘Spam’ James, Denis Chiffi, Glyn and Simon Cole, Julian Arthur and Roley Edwards: all of whom have been involved for so long - and the club is very lucky to have them still involved.”
But there is no doubt that Matthew Lewis’s wholehearted involvement in the club is also recognised because Richard ‘Dick the Dog’ Arthur told us,

“Matthew sums up what is good about Cresselly Cricket Club because he never gives less than 100% on the field and is always ready to help off it – and is a shining example of how we look after young players at the club as we bring them on into senior cricket.
“He’s been known to spit out the dummy occasionally,” ‘Dick the Dog’ says in his usual leg-pulling manner, “but he soon comes around and is genuinely regarded with affection and respect by all who know him.”
We could pay no higher compliment than Mr Arthur, other than to add what a pleasure it always is to see Matthew Lewis around the boundary at matches because there is always a smile and a cheery word – and a lot of sense talked by him about local cricket too!