Martin Cole - Carew Cricket and Football Clubs

Martin Cole todayWe were delighted to bump into Martin Cole recently and as well these recent snippets below we are delighted to repeat his ‘Sports Folio’ we wrote as long ago as 1984, when he was rightly regarded as one of the county’s top all-rounders in terms of football and cricket.
After a very long and distinguished football career Martin Cole finally retired at 49, when he was still using his experience to good effect at the back for The Rooks’ second team – and told us his reason for finishing in typical style:
“We were playing at Prendergast Villa and it was going OK until I went in for a tackle against a 16 year old and he was just that split second too quick for me and also left his foot in so that although it looked innocent enough I knew he had done me good and proper in the same way as I used to do when I was younger.

Knew when to finish playing and in management

“I managed to limp through to the finish but told the boys afterwards it was time for me to finish – and that was my last game!”
Martin then took on a managerial role at the club and took over the first team reins for five or six seasons – but again showed his typically forthright way of looking at sport.
“Things had gone well from the outset and we had our fair share of success but gradually I felt I wasn’t having the same effect on the players at half-time or at the finish so I went into the changing room, sat them all down and said,
“I know now that my words are just bouncing off the walls so it is time I packed this job in – and I did!
“I do go and watch games from time to time but certainly not every Saturday, like I used too!”

Still played cricket at 65

On the cricket front, Martin watched a lot of games in 2021 with his old playing pal Gerald Hicks, who has not been in the best of health, and enjoyed it a great deal.

“I’m 68 now but played up until three years ago, helping out the club’s third team when they were short up on the Castle Ground – and I was chuffed when I took a good catch in an Alec Colley Cup tie.
“In my time I was very lucky to play in a very good Carew side which won  the first division 10 times in 12 seasons and took part in ten Harrison-Allen Bowl Finals, five of which we won.
“I also played for Pembrokeshire a number of times after I started out with a debut as a teenager ‘up the line’ alongside such characters as Maurice Cole, Billy Purser and Dai Morris – and once I got involved on a regular basis I was lucky to play with some outstanding characters who were also very good players.”

Martin Cole’s ‘Sports Folio’

Martins Sports Folio from 1984At only five feet six inches and weighing 10 stone Martin Cole is certainly not one of the biggest sportsmen in Pembrokeshire but it would be difficult to find a more competitive footballer or cricketer in the county than the Carew man who has played football for the village and Pembroke Borough, and cricket for a Carew team which has virtually made the first division title its own.
Since 1967 he has been a first team regular as a stroke-playing batsman and deceptively quick swing bowler who can be relied upon to bowl tight spells – and is a good fielder in a team that prides itself on its prowess in this important area.

Lots of silverware success in cricket

In the intervening years since that debut 17 years ago Carew have won the league silverware 12 times, as well as three victories in the Harrison-Allen Bowl and several successes in the Duggie Morris Cup.
Known to all as ‘Coley’ he was also involved last season in the Carew team which reached the latter rounds of both the Welsh Cricket Cup and the Whitbread Village Cup competitions.
He is a regular in the Pembroke County team and proud of his county cap – an honour which does not come easily!

Four centuries so far and an unusual first ‘ton’

He is proud too of his four ‘tons’ – especially the two he gained in successive league matches at Hook and then seven days later at home to Neyland. Batsmen will tell you the first hundred is the hardest to achieve but Martin’s came in unusual circumstances after he was by a fast delivery from Narberth pace man Roger Price and after an overnight stop in hospital he had a week off work.
Whilst recuperating he was invited to work his way back into cricket playing for Narberth in a friendly match against Carmarthen Wanderers – and was soon into his stride and achieved a century for the team which had just recently caused him so much discomfort.
“Now that’s cricket for you!” ‘Coley’ would say with a typical chuckle1

Success in youth rugby – and football finals as well

His brother Clive also plays for Carew and another brother, Terry’ has been a Lamphey stalwart for many years. Martin went to Greenhill School, Tenby, and played centre or full back in rugby – and after leaving school he played on the wing for Narberth Youth which won the Youth Cup against Haverfordwest.
He says that was a long time ago and few people would remember his prowess with the oval ball since he is such a highly-respected player in local football circles – and skippered Carew to victory last season in the Senior Cup Final against Goodwick United. He plays at sweeper and on the pitch can be heard for miles around cajoling every last ounce of effort from his team-mates!

Loved playing for Des at London Road – and a special Senior Cup goal in vain

Prior to this he had a spell with Pembroke Borough when they were very successful in the Welsh League and came second ahead of some very good clubs under the management of Des Shanklin, who he says is one of the nicest gentlemen he has ever met in sport.
In his football he’d rate his cup appearances as a highlight and vividly recalls one season when Carew almost had the league title wrapped up by Christmas, one of two occasions he has won the league title. His best goal came in a Senior Cup Final against Fishguard Sports when he drove the ball home from outside the area to level matters. But, as Martin said, “We still ended up losing, which shows, you can’t win them all!”

And finally . . .

Martin enjoys gold and tennis as well as listing Gardening and do-it-yourself as hobbies – but we somehow his smashing wife Helen might not necessarily agree on the last two ways of his spending some leisure time.
Martin is now 31 years of age but keeps himself very fit and feels he has several good years left in his chosen sports – and when he does eventually step down he looks to serve Carew in some other ways because he does not intend spending Saturdays on shopping trips.
Whatever Martin Cole does do, however, will be approached cheerfully and with the high degree of competitiveness that marks his current commitment to football and cricket – and there’s one thing for sure, he might be smallish in stature but you could never ignore him because you will certainly know that he is there!

Martin playing football for with old pal Graham Jenkins