Tim’s still active in sport – and enjoying his equine interest!

Tim enjoying a day at the racesA whole range of racing enthusiasts made their regular pilgrimage to the Cheltenham Racing Festival to cheer on local seven year old gelding 'Tobefair', which is half-owned by Lawrenny farmer Michael Cole, with the other 50% shared by 17 local supporters of racing and eager to see if their horse could make it eight wins in a row.
Sadly it was not to be because although 'Tobefair' looked in with a chance of winning the £95,000 Pertemps Hurdle for much of the race it tailed off on the run-in, but it will soon be back in the winners' enclosure and continue the adventure for its co-owners, centred on its steeple-chasing ability.

Bitter-sweet day for Parry Family

One such enthusiast is Tim Parry, who runs the Dyrham Service Station and shop in Robeston Wathan, alongside his brother Charlie, a solicitor in Cardiff, and both went with their mother Gill for a special day out that included hospitality and the chance to join a bus load who were up at 6am to make the journey to Cheltenham.
"It was a bitter-sweet day for us as a family," admitted Tim, "because it was exactly a year to the day since my father Richard, who was known to all as Dickie,  had passed away - but we went in the knowledge that he would have wanted us to have a good day.
"Dad was a good sportsman in his own right and a genuine character who sponsored local sport and was hugely respected in the sporting fraternity."
As to the race itself, Tim echoed the sentiments of all those involved as he told us,
"Naturally we had hoped for a win but in the final analysis all we wanted was for him to get home safe with such daunting fences - and he did just that!"

Following in dad’s footsteps

Tim certainly followed his dad because he was a useful hooker with Llangwm and Haverfordwest, was a good coach, as well as playing football and cricket in his younger days.
Now a young-looking 41, Tim has enjoyed horse-racing for years so when Michael Cole turned up to buy petrol and mentioned he had acquired a promising race horse and was looking for others to share the experience, Tim jumped at the chance.
"Charlie also took up an option, as did my old pal John Tennick, who played rugby and cricket at Neyland, and we joined 14 others from the Lawrenny/Cresselly area and based on the Cresselly Arms at Cresswell Quay.

Watching ‘Tobefair’ grow in stature

Tobefair ready to race"Our horse was initially well trained by Lucy Jones and more recently by Paul and Deborah Hamer at Nantycaws - and it would be fair to say that 'Tobefair' didn't exactly set the world alight.
"As a five year old it didn't look the quality racehorse it is now but then it suddenly strung five wins together on the trot at Chepstow and Worcester (both twice) and Ffos Las.
"That provided an encouragement for this year and 'Tobefair' was a 10 to 1 winner at Warwick and then won at 4-1 at Newbury, with respective winning margins of one and a half lengths and one length."
That nicely set up Tim and Co for Cheltenham on the Thursday and the Pertemps Chase at 2.10pm but others in the high-class field passed him at a vital time - and they will never forget such a memorable day.

Enjoyed his rugby involvement from an early age

Away from the race track, Tim's other major sporting involvement over a much longer time is rugby, having set out at Narberth under the watchful eye of Bobby Simons and taking to it straight away.
Growing up in Robeston Wathen with my Charlie we used to pair up with Wayne (Narberth cricket and football) and Adrian Howells, playing cricket & football non-stop, even under the petrol station canopy lights.
"I also played rugby for Tasker Milward School where Richard and Huw Jones were terrific coaches of talented players like Darren John, Danny Field, Lee Dalton and Richard Hay. “I once broke my nose and eye socket badly during a school 1st xv rugby match; my mother was crying when she saw me afterwards and didn't want me to ever play again (but I refused to have the operation and wear a brace they recommend afterwards - hence why I speak like a dalek,” said
Tim with a chuckle! 

Loved playing at Pill Parks . . . and with Pembrokeshire Youth too

Tim with brohter Charlie and late dad DickieTim played for The Otters until he was 16 but then they didn't have a team in his age group so he joined his school pals at Llangwm.
"There was a terrific camaraderie at Pill Parks and I captained a very good Wasps Youth team that included Daniel Bower, George Thomas and Steve McInally - and played for two seasons for the county youth team in which Karl Clash, Andrew Williams, Colin Picton, Steve Hamer and Eifion Gwynne were good players.
“I played in the Pembrokeshire Youth cup final and captained Llangwm in the Griffiths Cup final and great people involved at Llangwm included Peter Roberts, Keith Lawrence, Mike Hardwick, John Griffiths, Alan McClelland and Richard Scriven, who was a pest and a character in his younger days but has gone on to be a very important cog in Llangwm and still going today with his typical passion for the club.
"We did well to reach the Welsh Counties Youth Cup Final against a Llanelli team in which Craig Quinnell was a star, and although we lost we certainly did well in the match played at The Gnoll in Neath.
"When I went in to the Llangwm first team I was well looked after by real characters by Ian and Chris Thomas, John Nutting, Michael John and Alan Masters, who all looked after this cheeky little hooker very well indeed!
"I played for Llangwm for five seasons and I was chosen to be vice-captain to Lee Davies but he dislocated his shoulder in the first game and so I led the team for the whole season and enjoyed it once I had got used to the idea!

. . . And with Haverfordwest RFC as well

Tim was approached by Haverfordwest and Narberth to play at a higher level and although he was very reluctant to leave The Wasps he decided to try his luck with The Blues - and was also made hugely welcome there as he played alongside outstanding players like Andrew Morgan, Johnnie Griffiths, Andrew Thicker, Peter Hughes, Steve Barnett, Nigel Griffiths, Phil Stoddart, Nigel Hancock,  Paul and Mark Busch.
They were coached by Randal Evans and won the National League divisional silverware but lost in the KO Cup semi-final against hot favourites Tenby, for whom Gavin Scotcher kicked the last-ditch penalty to dump out a very disappointed Blues' team.
"I really enjoyed the physical side of the game in the front row but I paid the price when I had to have three knee operations as well as having a nastily broken nose - so decided it was time to do some coaching, took my badges and started out with Haverfordwest Youth.

Cracking players at Pembroke Road

Tim with Anthony Joshua"We had some cracking players like current Welsh prop Rob Evans, Sam Parry, Carwyn and Llewellyn Jones, Adam and Matthew Clark, plus Ollie Reyland - and I've stayed good pals with all of them - especially my regular coffee-mate Rob Evans!
"That team won the league, beating our old rivals Whitland, but lost to them in the cup, with James 'Cub' Davies playing an influential role for the Borderers.
"I also got involved with the first team for a while but because of work in the family business I had to step down - but I still go to cheer on The Blues and The Wasps whenever I can."

And finally . . .

Outside of his rugby, Tim also played cricket for Narberth, Haverfordwest and Llangwm at different times, having a top score of 70+ and playing alongside Dan Field and Iain Williams in a Town team that won the Ormond Cup.
In schools' cricket, organised by Hugh Nicklin, he kept wicket in a side that included George Thomas, Ross Martin, Darren Brick - and went on to win a Welsh Schools' title.
He also loved table tennis and played a bit of football for Narberth as a full back with a propensity for careless tackles!
But it was always rugby that Tim loved best and now horse-racing has captured his imagination - and although 'Tobefair' missed out at Cheltenham he will be back in action next season - and no one will be more eager than Tim Parry, who will show the same enthusiasm that he has brought to all his sporting activities!