Kevin loves his work as groundsman at The Bridge Meadow

Groundsman - Kevin Craig

In his younger days Kevin Craig as a more than useful participant in squash at Fishguard and golf at Newport (Pembs) and Priskilly but nowadays he has a different involvement in sport because he is one of the two groundsmen charged with keeping the playing surface at The Bridge Meadow Stadium in immaculate condition in readiness for the JD Cymru Premier League matches that Haverfordwest County play there.
He assists Kevin Haldane in a range of duties that keep the stadium in good order and is also responsible for maintenance of the wide-open spaces on the lower field, where the training goes ahead for junior teams.

Learning by trying

He works 16 hours a week and as well as his groundsman’s expertise gained at Newport (Pembs) and Priskilly Golf Clubs he also helps maintain the machinery for any random work that helps keep the costs of calling in outside firms to a reasonable level.
“It is just something I’ve picked up as I’ve gone on,” Kevin told us, “as I did when I was younger and worked as a plasterer with my father and brother – and when I used to tinker with machinery at the local golf clubs when I was still a schoolboy but spent all my summer holidays helping out on the fairways and learning from the overall expertise of Mr Ron Dietrich.

Nice to be asked to work at The Bridge Meadow Stadium

“I was still doing some work on local golf courses at times when I received a phone call from Mr David Hughes, then the chairman at Haverfordwest County, asking me if I was interested in working for them because Rob Summons had decided to leave.
“Of course I readily agreed and enjoyed a week with Rob as he showed me the ropes and all that was needed, and then I was in at the deep end and determined to repay Mr Hughes’ faith in me.
Since then Kevin Haldane has joined me and we are able to work well together, although I have to admit I sometimes have difficulty in understanding what he says because of his broad Scottish accent!”

Kevins - Craig and Haldane

Other sports 1

Kevin played squash at the courts in Goodwick after he had gone down to try his luck and took to it so well that he was soon playing for Fishguard Squash Club as a member of one of their three teams in the West Wales League that included The Meads (Milford Haven), Carmarthen, Newcastle Emlyn and Haverfordwest.
“I played for 14 years at that level and although I’m not quite as competitive as I was I still go whenever I can and I’m proud of the fact that I my picture is on the wall in the clubhouse and I have great memories of being involved with some good team mates.”
Kevin won his share of trophies on the local front and was described to us as someone who was very fast about the court and chased down every ball to keep the pressure on opponents.
“I once played in the Welsh Open Championships, just for the experience and the courts in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, were amazing. It was the first time I had played with a glass-backed court and I had my leg pulled when I couldn’t find the small latch that opened the door when I had lost my first game!
“It was a different world in terms of talent but I enjoyed the experience and it was wonderful to watch the then-world No 1 Jahangir Khan showing what a great player he was.

Other sports 2

“Squash at any good level tends to be a young man’s game and eventually it was time to look for another sport and decided to go back to golf at Newport (Pembs) Club, where I had spent loads of time helping out looking after the course with Mr Ron Dietrich and had got down to a 16 handicap by the time I was 16 because I could pop out there any time I wanted.
When I returned to the game I joined the Senior Section and have really enjoyed the short tours which have taken all over South Wales and further afield and it is a great game because you can’t rely on anyone else, like with team sports.
“I’ve won a few trophies since I returned to the game which are a bit different from the normal medals and I have a smashing Schaeffer special pen in a presentation box and a jumbo bottle of Penderyn whisky which is likely to stay put where it is because I don’t drink alcohol!”

Kevin Craig ready to work

Work goes ahead all the time

“We are both committed to keeping both grounds in tip-top condition and at the moment we have to cut them whenever the weather allows and putting down the markings, which needs a steady hand, as well as making sure that everything else, like surrounds, are kept in good order.
“During games we go out on the pitch at half time to repair any bad divots and the next day make sure that everything on the pitch is in ship-shape order – and there is always lots do as well on the lower pitch because the juniors also deserve the best of playing surfaces.
“Out of season there is important preparatory work like having the pitches scarified, drilled and reseeded by Jonathan Boot, who does a good job, and then sand is applied to plug the holes and then we water carefully for a few weeks afterwards.

The Bridge Meadow Stadium looks a picture

And finally . . .

“Off the field we make sure that all the paths are cleaned of moss, weeds are removed and we clean all the stands, helped by the terrific volunteers that are led by Alan Thomas, because high standards are needed for teams in the JD Cymru Premier League.”
So Kevin is now able to look back on ten years of work at The Bridge Meadow Stadium, where he has made so many good friends, and he can say that he has always given 100% in his work and is quick to praise chairman Rob Edwards and the rest of those involved with Haverfordwest County.
He clearly knows his stuff and we can say with certainty that he is already to do anything that is needed there – and we wish Kevin Craig continued success as a groundsman with The Bluebirds!