Steve Holmes - Sports Folio's first-ever victim by Bill Carne

Steve Holmes as he looks today Friday 17th February 1984 saw my first-ever article published by the old ‘West Wales Guardian’ newspaper which was based in Market Street, in Haverfordwest, after Colin Kaijaks, with whom I shared a few useful batting partnerships at Pembroke Cricket Club, got a new job as sports editor at the weekly newspaper and because I taught English at Milford Haven Central School he roped me in to write a few match reports.
It was the start of almost 40 years of writing about sport in that paper and then the Western Telegraph, alongside the ‘Western Mail’, ‘Wales on Sunday’,  several magazines and lots of local radio work – and still goes on unabated on this site which is run in conjunction with my old pal Gordon Thomas, who was then working in Market Street.

“See how it goes for four weeks,” said editor Voyle

The first game for Colin and I was at Milford Haven Rugby Club, who lost 7-6 to Narberth, whose points came from full back Geraint Bowen, who became someone I regard as a very good friend, and for The Mariners veteran Steve Holmes was playing second row alongside his old pal Barry Kingston in a very strong Mariners’ team.
I had previously spoken to Dilwyn Voyle, the editor of the old ‘Guardian’, about writing a weekly column about characters right across the local sporting spectrum and he said to give it a try for a month and see how it goes – and I ended up writing over one thousand!

Asked Steve to be No 1 – and we were off with his story

Steve and I were colleagues at the old Central School and on the Monday I asked him about writing an article - and at the end of the week I was delighted to see it in print. Steve and I still chat about it sometimes and I tease him that he was No 1 simply because I needed a quick ‘victim’ but he knows the huge respect I have always had for him, on and off the field as he is still involved at The Obs as the club’s president and my unofficial press officer – and still serving on the committee of Pembrokeshire Rugby.
Steve actually attended Milford Central and then started an apprenticeship as a draughtsman in Llanelli, where he had a season with The Scarlets, before a spell in the Royal Navy as a lieutenant – but after attending a teacher training college in Dudley (where he captained the Universities Athletic Union),  before starting his new career in Exmouth.
When news came of the chance of teaching back home, he jumped at the chance under headmaster Glyn Morgan (Llangwm RFC and Pembroke County) and John King (Milford United AFC) and was soon a regular in The Mariners’ first XV.

Steve also competed in other sports as well as his successes in rugby.

His big build denies the fact that he also took an active part in other sports and was a useful basketball player and excellent swimmer who represented his college and The Midlands.  He was also county champion in the shot, javelin and discus, where his county record is still on existence 50 years later, and he also broke the national record.

The first Sports Folio article which appeared in the West Wales Guardian newspaper nearly 38 years agoHe has also been a keen sailor alongside his friend Barry Kingston, who has sadly passed away – and this sizeable pair was also to be found on the ski slopes in The Alps, where it is alleged that they were compared to The Yeti and a Sherman tank!
Back on the rugby front, Steve is still rightly proud of the fact that he represented Devon and Cornwall against the touring Fijians and his 30+ Pembrokeshire caps, where he helped the county win the Welsh Counties’ Cup twice- and was involved when Pembrokeshire beat Japan – but since he was a selector couldn’t consider himself for selection!
Another proud moment came when The Mariners beat Narberth in a KO Cup Final replay at Pembroke that saw them win the silverware for the first time.
We had terrific backs like Keith Fletcher, Peter Mitchell and Peter Griffiths alongside a strong pack that included not only himself and Barry Kingston as locks but a back row of Kenny Wonnacott, Bob Prior and skipper Paul Fletcher.

And finally . . .

But now Steve really enjoys the part he plays at The Observatory Field and is honoured to be a trustee of the club and a long-serving former chairman
He is also chairman of District H in the Welsh Rugby Union, the organising body which runs the Pembrokeshire Knock Out Cup and has two more years at the helm there.
“Rugby has given me so much pleasure that it is nice to still be involved off the field,” Steve told us, “ and with full support from my wife Janet we watch as many games, home and away, as we can – and providing details for ‘’ to use!”