Neil loves his football and cricket - and perhaps Iron Man one day

When Cresselly lost to Neyland in this season's Harrison-Allen Bowl Final there was huge disappointment for Neil Gregory, not only because his team lost but the left-arm fast bowler wasn't able to play after failing a last-minute fitness test on his groin.
Neil GregoryNeil has been in good form for Cresselly this campaign but has had a bit of a groin niggle throughout this campaign, but it had worsened recently and so he did he decent thing by phoning skipper Neilson Cole to tell him of his problem and withdrawing.

Tough watching

"It was very tough watching from the boundary because I felt very nervous for the boys - and I know how disappointing defeat was, even though they had taken part in an epic final, but at least we could hold our heads high because we battled until the very end.
"I've had more than my share of wickets this season after rejoining the club from neighbours Carew, so it is a bit sickening," admitted Neil, "but I'm determined to battle on because we are still in with a shout of the league title if Carew slip up."

Started football early

This comment shows Neil's will to win, which is also evident in football, where he has been involved with several football managers at Carew, as well a short stint at St Florence, playing in the main as a strong-tackling left back.
Neil began playing football at Carew as a nipper and played from under 10 to under 16 with Barry Neil as manager and also took part in the Wiltshire Cup alongside talented players like Adam Chandler, Tim Hicks, Ian Sefton, Simon 'Chief' Cole, Haydn Shapcott and Sam Goodwin but they lost after extra time and penalties to an equally strong Tenby team.

Moving through the ranks

He continued with Carew senior football as a left back in a seconds team run by Jeremy 'Carrot' Griffiths which had real characters like Eddie Beynon, Dai Lewis and Steve Keaton, who was known to all as 'Cheesie'.
"I made my first team debut when Barry Evans and Mackie Harts ran the show, with Gareth Lewis and Haydn Shapcott as captain and vice-captain - and we reached the semi-final of the Senior Cup but lost at Bush Camp, again after extra time and penalties.
"I finished playing for a while because of family commitments but then had three good years with St Florence, where we played in the fourth division final but lost 2-1 to Milford United at Monkton Lane.
"I knew I’d finish my football back home at Carew and I enjoyed another four seasons there with Barry Evans, although I was struggling with a hamstring.”

Other sports

Outside of his two main sports, Neil has also enjoyed swimming, cycling and running at different times and at some stage will aim to take on the Iron Man Wales challenge in Tenby.
"I've done a couple of half marathons and had a best time of 1 hour 50 minutes in Cardiff and also ran in the 2013 Long Course weekend in Tenby, cycled 75 miles in the Tour of Pembrokeshire (around six hours) and the ‘Carten’ ride from Cardiff to Tenby, which was 100 miles but easier because there weren't so many hills. I also cycled from Pembroke Dock to the Heath in Cardiff, again for charity.
"On the swimming front I have done a bit of open-water swimming, with 1.5 miles between Saundersfoot and Coppett Hall as my favourite, so I have made a bit of a start to my eventual planned involvement in Iron Man!"

Good standard of junior cricket . . .

"Going back to cricket, we had Tony Scourfield as an excellent junior coach and with the likes of Tim Hicks, Adam Chandler, Huw Neil, Ian Sefton and Martin Scourfield involved we rarely lost matches locally but went down against Dafen and Pontarddulais up the line.
"I also joined Michael Scale and Dan Sutton in the Dyfed Schools' team which meant a lot of travel for my parents Sheila and my late dad Norman, who gave me total support, as I try to do now with my son Charlie, who at 13 is going to be a better player than his father.
"My wife Kara is also brilliant and we have smashing children in Josh (2) and Isla, who was born this May."

. . . And early senior success

"I started playing cricket with Carew 2nds when I was 16, playing our matches in Manorbier until our new second pitch overlooking the castle was opened and as well as taking plenty of wickets I also scored a few 30s and 40s as we gained promotion from division seven to six.
"Then Ceri Davies called me into the second team for my debut at Llanrhian and I was delighted to pick up four wickets
"In 2003 I joined Cresselly for the first time and a season later we reached the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final but even with the likes of Richard Harris, Lyn Richards, Taffy' Williams, Ryan Lewis, 'Snowy' Cole, Neilson Cole, Adam Chandler and Stefan Jenkins we lost to Haverfordwest.
"We also came runners up in the league and my only consolation was the fact that I had 24 wickets, with 6 for 18 against St Ishmaels, before I pulled a muscle in my side and had to miss part of the season.

Carew wickets galore . . .

"That kept me out for a while but eventually Dai Rees asked me to join him at Carew 2nds and we created a bit of history by winning Division Two but couldn't go up because our first XI was already there.
"I moved into the first team when Rhys Davies took over as captain and enjoyed two very good years with 'Harpo' in charge, taking more than my share of wickets - like the match against Haverfordwest where I grabbed four wickets in an over, all adjudged LBW by a very good umpire named Dave Brandon.
"I had 4 for 15 against Whitland in the first year, where my figures stood at 8 overs, eight maidens, four wickets for no runs at one stage; and then last season I had 5 for 22 for Carew against St Ishmaels."

. . . Back again at Cresselly

At the start of this campaign Neil was persuaded by old pals Neilson Cole and Adam Chandler to move the mile up the hill to Cresselly, and has really enjoyed being involved there again, despite the recent injury
"I'll see how the rest of the season pans out," Neil told us, "but I'd like to think I could play until I'm 40."
That means he has plenty of time to achieve his ambition of a winners' medal in the Harrison-Allen Bowl and we wish Neil Gregory continued enjoyment in his cricket - and good luck with his Iron Man ambitions - because he is a true gentleman of local sport!