Jack's really showing his skills for The Bluebirds

Super sub Jack Wilson opened the scoring against the Silkmen

There is inevitably an air of excitement surrounding Haverfordwest County’s return to the JD Cymru Premier League and The Bluebirds have significantly boosted their squad strength with some very experienced players from ‘up the line’ but there is no doubt that one of their stars so far has been a nineteen year old local lad who started out with his local club Hakin United and has received rave notices in all three games featured live on ‘Sgorio’!
That talented teenager is Jack Wilson, who has terrific speed, good close skills, a real nose for goals and a willingness to run all day as he puts his top-notch fitness to good effect.

He had previously showed his potential in a very good Hakin United junior team and later as he represented the Welsh Colleges and Welsh Schools on a number of occasions, but more about that later.

Good pre-season pays off in front of TV cameras

Jack started out in Wayne Jones’ squad for this campaign after showing good form and fitness in the pre-season training and after the disappointment of the first match against Flint Town being postponed at short notice came on as a 65th minute substitute against Newton, which was filmed live for ‘Sgorio’ and caught the eye, especially when his inch-perfect cross from the right allowed Danny Williams to secure a point at 2-2.
Mike Jones, the manager of the Welsh Semi-Professional team, was commenting on the game for S4C and afterwards he told me how impressed he had been by Jack’s contribution!
The  cameras show highlights from all games and Jack next caught the eye with a key role in a 2-1 away win against Bala Town that surprised a lot of pundits. He joined the fray in the 69th minute, with the scores tied and as our reporter told everyone . . .

“Wilson cut in from the left, striking a beautifully curled right-footed shot past Ramsay to end an excellent day at the office for Wayne Jones’ ecstatic men.”

Again the goal was recorded on television and was shown again several times in highlights since!
He also gave an important late assist for a Danny Williams equaliser against Caernarvon but perhaps the best performance came in the most recent tussle against New Saints, when Jack started well – and in the 11th minute slid home a slide rule shot under pressure from two big defenders that again had the commentators purring about his potential!

Jack Wilson scored an early opener

Family matters

Family is clearly very important to Jack and there is no doubt that his three main supporters are his parents, Jane and Jock, plus his Auntie Sharon, who all try to watch every game.
It has been tough for them at The Bridge Meadow Stadium this season because they are unable to gain entry to the ground because of the pandemic and so they stand with other parents, all socially distanced, on the bank well outside the ground so that they can see him playing so well.
“I was gutted when I found out they wouldn’t be able to watch,” admitted Jack, “because I hate the thought of them not being there – but they are being very careful and can at least watch from long distance so it is better than nothing!”
His older brother Jordan (25) used to play for Milford United and his granddad Eddie Collins was also a keen footballer, with his cousins Adam Collin, Ryan Wilson and Michael Cooper being some of the best-known local footballers with Hakin and Haverfordwest County.

Other sports

Jack plays cricket for Herbrandston and says he loves bowling but is not so keen on batting.
“I don’t have the patience for a long innings because I tell myself ‘Go big or go home’ and usually get out but bowling is a different matter.

“Last year we were bowled out 56 in one league match before I took 7 for 14 and we bowled them all out for 34 – now that’s my sort of cricket,” says Jack with a chuckle”
In his school days he used his natural speed to good effect as he represented Milford Haven School in the 200 metres in the county championships and went on to achieve third place in the Dyfed Championships but readily admits that he was too busy always kicking a football to take athletics too seriously.
He also played rugby as a winger or full back for Haverfordwest from under 12s to under 16s, with Arthur Daye and Andy Grey as coaches but just didn’t have the time to train or play as football became more and more important to hm.

Jack Wilson scored a dramatic late winner in stoppage time

Early start at The Obs but disappointment with The Swans

Jack made a very early start to his football  life after his family returned to the area from Bath and at five years old he was playing for the under eight Hakin United team coached by Daisy Picton.
“I couldn’t wait to start, and Daisy looked after us really well, being joined by Colin Fawcett as we got a bit older.
“From 9 to 11 I was chosen to play for Swansea City but it was an enormous commitment for my family as we travelled to play the likes of Plymouth, Chelsea, Bristol Rovers and City and I had to leave school early to go to training sessions but the worst thing was that I wasn’t allowed to play with my mates from school and that wasn’t good for me so I stepped down!

Huge successes with Hakin Juniors . . .

“Back at Hakin we had a really strong side by the time we were under 12 and from there on we only lost three times, in four seasons, all to Pennar Robins, as we won the league every year by miles and won the age-group cup three times, only missing out when The Robins beat us one season in the first round!
“But perhaps the best thing we did was to enter the West Wales Cup for our age group three times and we won them all at Stebonheath against the best sides from Swansea and Carmarthen.
“I can still remember that side because we were all so close and the main members of it were Jack Ackerman (in goal), Jack Evans, Jake Merry, Jay Power, Jake Houston, Alex Mason, Lee Davies, Hamish Lydon, Camron Thomas, Ben Fawcett - and me!
“It was a busy time because I was also playing for the Haverfordwest County junior teams coached by Angie Nicholls, Colin Fawcett and Chrissie Lloyd as we played in the Tom Yeomans and McWhirter Cup competitions.

. . . And at senior level too!

"When I was 16 I moved up to play for The Vikings at senior level and had five or six games with Scott Davies in the second team before first team manager Kristan Bennett called me into the first team, which I was thrilled about because it was a very good team.
“At the end of the season we played in the Senior Cup Final when I was still only 16 and must be one of the youngest ever to score a goal as we beat Clarbeston Road 7-1 – and went on to win the League to complete a great season locally.”

Welsh youth and schools’ honours follow

Jacks also played youth football with The Bluebirds for a season at under 19 level and also represented The Welsh Colleges for a season and The Welsh Schools for two years.
“By then I was studying carpentry at Pembrokeshire College and I was recommended for trials by Andrew Thomas, a lecturer who was our coach.
“I had to go to Newtown for a North v South trial and from there I was picked alongside Ben Fawcett for The Welsh Colleges to play in a ‘Roma Caput Mundi Tournament’  in Italy against strong teams from Italy, Romania and England but we didn’t get through the group stages.
“We were disappointed but although I was playing up a year I was then chosen for the Welsh Schools, with Ben Fawcett and Jake Merry also in the squad against England (Cardiff Met) and Ireland (Cefn Druids) as well as away against Scotland and Northern Ireland – and in the next season I was picked again for the ‘Roma Caput Mundi Tournament’ against England, Romania and Afghanistan and we went through the group stages before finally finishing fifth.
“I played 12 times for Wales and was chuffed when team manager Marc Lloyd Williams  (known to us as ‘Jiws’) picked me as player of the season.
“We also played against Swansea Under 18s in another match and afterwards were driven to Newport for a dinner where we received our caps from Swansea players Connor Roberts and Joe Roden – and I have mine framed alongside a Welsh shirt."

Welsh Schools Under 18 trio Alaric Jones, Jack Wilson and Ben Fawcett proudly flying flag for Pembrokeshire.

And finally . . .

So what of the future for Jack? Like all talented young players he would like to take his football as far as he can but at the moment is content to play under Wayne Jones and Mark Murison at Haverfordwest County.
Jack’s manager Wayne Jones told us:
“Jack has become one of our star players in a short time and it is all down to his determination and hard graft in training alongside his natural pace and skill levels.

Sometimes we forget he is still a teenager but I have watched him grow from a boy to a young man over the past 18 months and it is a pleasure to have him in our squad.”
We can only agree with Wayne’s comments and can only add that for us it is a real pleasure to watch a local lad like Jack Wilson doing so well at this top level of Welsh league football!