John is doing a great job as player and coach in football and cricket!
John Harris certainly believes in putting something back into his sport because as well as playing football for Carew and cricket at Kilgetty he also helps out at both clubs by coaching young players eager to make a good start themselves.
John is only 22 years old so his willingness to help is all the more refreshing because he is the assistant coach of the talented under 14 players at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium with Haverfordwest County.
Started out as a nipper at Carew
He hails from the village of Carew so it is perhaps only natural that he should enjoy both sports since the recreational ground where they are played happens to be little more than a cricket ball's throw from the family home.
John went along to a football training session when he was about ten with the club coach Gerald Hicks and he played for Carew from under 10s until the end of his junior days as an under 16 player.
"I played alongside the likes of Joe Worley, Martin Carroll and Thomas Grimwood until all three departed to play at Tenby - but the early star of our team was Hannah Lewis, who was brilliant as she played until she reached the maximum age allowed for mixed football.
"We went to play in a tournament in Rhyl where we took on teams from all over England and Wales - and we came third in the first season and then second a year later, with Joe Worley spotted there by a professional football scout."
Starting out in senior football – and enjoying a spell with Saundersfoot
John had already started to train with the senior side with Carew and although the switch to adult football at 17 wasn't the easiest thing he has done he still enjoyed taking part with Barry Evans, Adam Hughes and now Rob Scourfield as team managers who have been a help to him.
In the intervening six years John spent an enjoyable couple of seasons at Saundersfoot, with Jason Bridges as manager.
"I learned a lot from Jason and probably played some of my best football there as a central midfielder or striker, sometimes in the first team but more regularly in the seconds where I scored 17 goals to help them gain promotion from the fourth to the third division and as well as being top scorer I won the 'Manager's Player' and 'Players' Player' awards.
Returning to his roots and setting out as a coach
But John admits that travelling wasn't easy and so he went back to Carew, where he doesn't mind playing for the first or second team, where he has found the net 11 times so far this campaign, netting with either foot and a few headers as well.
John then took up his football coaching when Carew decided to start up an under 12 team and he was asked by several players and parents if he would be prepared to take on the role - and after taking his leader's coaching badge had three enjoyable seasons with a nice bunch of youngsters who always gave 100%.
Made welcome by The Bluebirds
Then this season he joined the coaching staff at Haverfordwest County and was made very welcome by youth director of coaching, Steve Batty, who has been a great help in widening John's experience alongside Wayne McGuinness as coach.
But Wayne is currently sidelined having sustained a nasty leg injury when he slipped over during a training session and so Steve and others like Jamie Bessant (Kilgetty) are giving John a hand.
"John is a very promising young coach," Steve told us, "and eventually I want him to take his C Licence as the next stage in his coaching career. We train on Friday evenings and play on Sundays as far afield as Merthyr, Port Talbot, Carmarthen and Aberystwyth and he is doing a good job with talented young players from Tenby, Clarbeston Road, Narberth, Milford Haven and Camrose.”
Coaching cricket at Kilgetty . . .
It is a similar story in cricket because John plays regularly for Kilgetty and coaches players from under nine to under 11 years of age on Monday evenings alongside Trevor Badham and his wife Becky, with Ian Poole ever-ready to help out.
"I had to undertake a CRB check and passed my leader's badge - and we have a smashing bunch of youngsters who couldn't be any keener," said John.
. . . And setting out as a player with Carew
He started out with Carew as a ten year old and played right through until he was 20, with two winning appearances in the Ormond Youth Cup Final alongside one final defeat as Ceri Brace and Tom Scourfield were amongst useful young captains at that level.
Then it was on to senior cricket with the club's third and then second teams where he received terrific support from Haydn Shapcott, Dai Rees and club legend Martin Cole at the end of his career.
"My best score came when I played for the third team on the Tony Scourfield Pitch looking down on the castle, where I had plenty of fours and sixes in my 90+ before I went for one big hit too many and was caught at 'cow corner', I think by Toby Poole, who I now play alongside at Kilgetty!”
Cricket at Kingsmoor
John joined Kilgetty and enjoyed playing for them as they won the second division, taking on the role of first-change bowler and lower middle order batsman.
"Kurtis Marsh has helped me with my batting," said John, "whilst former skipper Ian Poole and current captain Ross Hardy have also been a great help.
"We have a great team spirit and we are looking forward to gaining more experience when we play in the first division in May."
And finally . . .
In both sports it is very evident that John Harris really enjoys his involvement as he clearly enjoys his own participation but is already gaining immense satisfaction from coaching younger players and trying to develop their skills and confidence levels.
He is a great ambassador for all three clubs where he is involved and long may he continue to be so heavily committed at Carew, Kilgetty and with Haverfordwest County!