Whitland sport loses Dai, a top player and administrator

Dai John and daughter Louise


Dai JohnMembers of Whitland Cricket and Rugby Clubs were saddened this week to learn of the passing of Dai John, who played such an important role in both sports before moving out of the area, but always retaining his links there.

Like Dai, I loved keeping wicket and we both enjoyed a ‘friendly chat’ with any batsman daft enough to engage with us so when we met on the pitch there was plenty of close-range chatter twice in every match!

I also got to know about his immense work with Whitland RFC when he spent so much time in improving their status, on and off the field - and came to enjoy his wicked sense of humour when I called in to his office for a cuppa whenever I was passing through Hendy Gwyn.

Dai John was one of sports’ genuine characters and my deepest condolences are extended to his smashing wife Jackie, his daughters Louise, Vicki, Becky and Jess, his mum Annie and the rest of his family.

I am extremely grateful to Trefor Evans and Colin John, two highly-respected life members of Whitland Cricket Club, for their moving tribute below about a dear friend they held in the highest regard.

It was extremely sad recently to hear of the untimely death of David (Dai) John, someone who had contributed immensely for a number of years to both the cricket and rugby clubs in Whitland.

Dai John watching cricket from the boundaryDai started his sporting career as a scrum half for Carmarthen Quins. However, it was football that soon took over and he played with distinction for Carmarthen Town and Newcastle Emlyn before finishing by playing for St Clears.  He was renowned for his hard tackling, with no prisoners taken, and despite his lack of inches was very good in the air.

After moving away from the area for a number of years because of work he returned to settle in Llanddewi Velfrey, and It was at this time that he first became involved with Whitland Cricket Club. He soon established himself as the first team wicket keeper as well as being a hard-hitting batsman in the middle order.

Standing up to most bowlers Dai was not averse to some sledging which made some batsmen very uncomfortable! Batting with Dai could be a problem at times as his calls for a run were either go or no with his partner unsure what the call had been’ which caused some confusion!

Dai John - Whitland wicket keeperAs well as playing for the club, Dai also became involved with the administration of the club contributing greatly to its development off the field. This was especially the case in the building of the new clubhouse which was opened in 1999. Dai was to the fore in the planning of how the new building would look as well as ensuring temporary changing rooms while the new club was being built. The clubhouse continues to meet the needs of the club which is great testimony to the work that Dai did for Whitland Cricket Club.

Dai finished his cricket career by playing for Llanddewi Velfrey, using his experience and know-how to help to get them established.  

Dai also joined the committee of Whitland Rugby Club. This was at a time when the club was not enjoying the best of times on or off the field. He soon became fully involved in the recruiting of players and bringing the administration of the club under control.

Despite the challenges involved he pushed on and was certainly hugely instrumental in changing the fortunes of the club. Under his shrewd leadership it became more financially secure and fielded a very competitive team. He worked tirelessly for the club during these years and earned a great deal of respect and gratitude for all that he did.

Unfortunately, ill health started to limit his involvement and then resulted in him having to move away from the area. Although he had several spells in hospital over the last few years he always battled back, as was his way, but regrettably he was unable to recover from his most recent setback.

Sincere condolences are sent to Jackie and the rest of the family in their sad loss.

Dai’s funeral will be held at Parc Gwyn Crematorium on Friday 15 March at 2.30pm.