Gwyn French still involved in rugby - and he loved playing cricket

Gwyn French


Behind the boundary ropes

Gwyn French now makes rare visits to local cricket grounds but has fond memories of his time as a founder member of the Quarterdeck Cricket Club which had morphed into being from Milford Haven Petroleum Cricket Club as they started out on the pitch at the old Esso Playing Fields opposite Milford Haven Golf Club, where a large housing estate now stands.
At that time it had the reputation of having one of the best batting surfaces in West Wales, so much so that it hosted a two-day match between Pembrokeshire and a touring Barbados team which had several West Indies players.
Gwyn, who is known to all as ‘Guinea’, readily admits that he wasn’t the best cricketer to play for The Quarterdeck but enjoyed the social side, not least the excellent teas provided at half time and a few welcome pints afterwards!

Football start – and a switch to rugby

Gwyn French relaxing with his dogHis other sports had already included football and rugby, where he played with far greater intensity.
“I started out as a goalkeeper at Hakin United and played alongside real characters like Jimmy Yeomans, Roy Dawes and Spike Jones until I was about 30.
“But then one day we were winning easily at The Obs and I had hardly touched the ball – and I was looking across at the nearby rugby match where there was plenty of noise from a big crowd.
I was already good pals with a lot of The Mariners’ players and after attending a training session I was roped in to play at tight-head prop – and carried on playing until I was 46 and had my last match at The Clicketts in Tenby.
“I had played rugby at Milford Central School and Mr Derek Price started me off at outside half and I gradually moved through to the front row – and I’m still involved with The Mariners now and enjoy watching on match days after doing anything that needs helping with.

Not the best batsman in the world – but loved playing

Gwyn French at a black tie event“I started my cricketing days because rugby friends like Alan McClelland, Nigel Gough and Paul Nicholas were there alongside other good footballers like Colin Fawcett – and to describe me as a batsman was pushing things a bit far
“I think we were regarded as a bit of a ‘beer and skittles’ side and this was reinforced when we were drawn against Pembroke away in the first round of the Harrison Bowl and were bowled out for ELEVEN RUNS!
“My old friend Mr Bill Carne was in the Pembroke team and he never fails to remind me about a match that started at 6pm and was all over by 6.35pm!
“Still we all enjoyed a few pints in the rugby club but it was hardly my finest hour – although I did manage to reach double figures a few times with some cross-bat slogging.
“I have to say that cricket is a great game and I enjoyed my small part – but readily admit that it is far easier watching outside the boundary ropes, rather than being too involved in the middle!
“In both sports one of the best things about matches on a Saturday now is meeting up with old friends, like Mr Carne, and we certainly talked a lot when we bumped into each other at a cricket match recently!"