Great veterans’ rugby for a wonderful cause

Both teams are pictured after the charity game

Veterans’ Charity Rugby Match:


Llangwm Veterans 38 - Presidents’ Veterans’ XV 41

The rugby gods shone on Pill Parks on Good Friday for a very special match between a Llangwm Veterans’ side and an old timers’ team with players from almost every club in Pembrokeshire brought together by The Wasps’ president Michael John and managed by former Wales and British Lion star Peter Morgan.

At the end of a thoroughly entertaining tussle, played in quite lovely weather, it was the president’s side which won 41-38 but far more important was the fact that the large crowd in attendance helped raise a magnificent sum to boost the Eliza’s SDR Journey Fund.

Eliza in attendance

Four year old Eliza was in attendance throughout the afternoon alongside her family and charmed everyone, as usual, as they took another vital step in raising the massive £60,000 needed for an operation to help her walk, with grandfather Richard Scriven organising this special match.

‘Big Scriv’ received amazing support from rugby clubs around the county and much further afield as lots in the open-air auction superbly conducted by Nigel Griffiths, who had previously played the whole of the game and scored a try which he also converted, came from the WRU, Australia and New Zealand!

Good rugby action from both sides

Llangwm RFC also played an integral part in the day’s huge success with yeoman work by the club’s members, whilst first aider Phil Cooper deserves a mention for looking after both teams – and Keith Lawrence was touch judge, as he’s done for so many years for The Wasps.

Also playing a key role was referee Tony Pratt, who not only officiated well but became the only one in the pitch to be treated for an injury as he unluckily came into contact with Phil Stoddart and Scott Gregory at the same time – and nicely rounded off proceedings as he converted Will Scale’s final try to show his kicking skills!

Age no obstacle – ask Mike

The game itself was played at a considerable pace in view of the players’ ages as there several on both sides nearing 60 and with Mike Hamilton (Neyland) playing for the president’s team at almost 70! There were also a number who are larger than life characters; like Llangwm’s Scott Gregory, Hamish Nicholls, Tony Roberts and Andrew Harries or Jack Dudley, Scott Walters, Dai Ebsworth, Gary Howells and especially Phil Stoddart, who someone had forgotten to tell that this was only a friendly!

Llangwm Veterans

Skills galore on offer . . .

Then there were those who still have that immense skill from their younger days, even if their legs don’t quite match their eye for a gap, like Andrew Williams, who was outstanding at full back for the presidents alongside Graham Richards, Nigel Griffiths, Bruce Evans and especially Robbie Neill, who had somehow been smuggled out of the Llangwm changing room by Mike John and repaid this treachery by the president as he sped through for a hat-trick of tries alongside others from Griffiths, Williams, Dean Aldred and Jan Evans.

It was a similar story for The Wasps, for whom John Whitticombe and Mike Venable shone and had support from Will Scale as he and Venables grabbed a try brace apiece alongside Will Scriven (what a dummy and run to the line), whilst Ackie Harries called the shots well at No 10 for a while.

. . . plus graft galore!

Throw in real graft from old warriors like Nick Bevan, Gareth Jones, Danny Chesmer and Roy Venables for The Wasps as Steve Brown Jamie Picton , Dean Aldred, Gethin Bateman, Andrew Morrillo and the rest revelled in the chance to have a run out in the sun.

It all added up to a day to remember for those who turned out for a great game and a few pints – and what a result it was for Eliza and her smashing family!

President Veterans

Richard Scriven:

“My family and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped make a very special day which raised well over £5,000 for Eliza’s Fund.

We are eternally grateful to Llangwm RFC, all those who turned out to support: the players, referee Tony Pratt, auctioneer Nigel Griffiths, MC Bill Carne, supporters, sponsors and many others too numerous to mention.

I was too moved to speak on the day but if I could I would shake hands personally with everyone who helped us raise such an amazing amount!”


Llangwm Veterans’ XV (from): Will Scriven; John Whitticombe; Mike Venables; Scott Gregory; Hamish Nicholls, Will Scale; Nick Bevan; Andrew Harries;  Danny Chesmer;  Roy Venables; Darren Brick; Simon Preddy; Martin Thomas; Gareth Jones; Henry Thomas; Tony Roberts; John Phillips; Nick Phillips; Marc Griffiths; Graham Elliot; James Griffiths; Dave Somerville.

Presidents Veterans’ XV (from): Graham Richards; Nigel Griffiths; Andrew Williams; Robbie Neill; Bruce Evans; Steve Hamer; Phil Stoddart; Dai Ebsworth;  Scott Walters; Jack Dudley; Steve Brown;  Gary Howells; Dean Aldred; Andrew Morrillo; Gethin Bateman; Jamie Picton;  Mike Hamilton; Gerwyn Davies; Nathan Morgan; Jan Evans; Paul Rees; Andrew Meddings.

Respect at the end of game