Around The Touchline Feature - Jack Dudley

Jack Dudley on the charge


Big Jack’s a giant in St Davids! (by Bill Carne)

Jack DudleyJack Dudley is a great example of club loyalty to you talented young players in St Davids and across the county because he has been a Saints’ stalwart for over 40 years, on and off the field – other than one half season at Llanelli and one game for Haverfordwest when they were a forward short and he helped them out!

He is still working hard for The Saints in readiness for next season and both Gordon Thomas and I really enjoy a chat with the big feller whenever we see him around the touchlines of our county.

Jack is St Davids born and bred and he started out in rugby at St Davids Grammar School under Dai Davies as well as for the city’s youth team, before going straight into the first XV where he learned so much from players of the calibre of Dai Bennett and Martin Walsh, who went on to play for Pembrokeshire along with real talents like Les Owen, John James, Gareth Price and, best of all, Gus Cartwright.

A scarlet for a while

“One of my highlights at St Davids was reaching the semi-final of the Pembrokeshire KO Cup against Pembroke Dock Quins but it was also my major disappointment because we drew at home and lost narrowly in the replay at Bierspool, the closest we ever came in the KO Cup.”

 Another highlight was the fact that Jack had his time as a prop with The Scarlets (simply called Llanelli in those days) after impressing one of their players, Welsh centre Roy Bergiers, after playing for the Pembrokeshire Schools senior team against Carmarthenshire in the Welsh Inter-Counties Cup Final and impressing Roy, a teacher,  so much that almost two years later he had a call from Gareth Jenkins and Alun Lewis, the coaches at Llanelli, inviting him to training.

Jack Dudley - is proud of his St Davids rootsSent off – after falling in a pool of water!

“It was twice a week and I didn’t drive but my dad and Les Owen took me – and Peter Morgan was great as the British Lion used to give me a lift from Haverfordwest – and in my first match I got sent off as the referee thought I had kicked him but it was a pure accident as I fell in a huge pool of muddy water on the pitch and I stuck my leg out to save my head going right under.

“I was mortified but I was given other chances as I played against Cardiff, Maesteg, Pontypool and Bridgend – and the ref apologised years later when he reffed us in St Davids and said he had reacted too hastily!”

And finally . . .

Jack played as a regular in the Pembrokeshire Senior team and was twice honoured with the captaincy before eventually being awarded his county blazer badge in recognition of his services over a number of years, something of which he is rightly proud.

His final appearance for The Saints came at the ridiculous age of 56, when they were a man short and no-one else was available and by then he was also helping with the coaching and lots of other jobs – like he is today as team manager with Morgan Griffiths as head of a talented coaching staff – and still enjoying his involvement as much as ever!

Jack Dudley and Chris Morgan