Milford Haven stalwart Mark Wonnacott picks his best XV

Mark WonnacottMilford Haven’s ‘Mr Rugby’ picks the best players he has encountered in a very long playing career at The Obs
Mark Wonnacott is rightly regarded as a terrific back row forward over many years at Milford Haven RFC and it was typical of his modesty that when we asked him to feature in our ‘Players’ Select XVs’ he wondered if he had done enough to justify us asking him!
But ask him we did because no-one at the club has been currently involved as long as he has so he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the local players to have crossed The Mariners’ path over the past two decades.
He did, however, admit that it had been far harder than he thought possible and wished he could nominate a lot more players – but we clamped down on him in the nicest possible manner and would like to thank this gentleman of local rugby for agreeing to make his choices!

Martyn DawesEvans DaviesFront row:

I picked Martyn Dawes (Neyland) because he was a typical modern day prop; hard and uncompromising. He never took a backward step and was also a useful carrier, something that is needed more and more these days.

Evan Davis (Fishguard) was a great all-round hooker who was a pest to play against but good for a chat in the bar afterwards. He was a ball-winning hooker who could have been a flanker in a different era!

Romeo Colella

Romeo Colella (Fishguard and Whitland) could be equally at home in the front row, back row or on the wing but I would have in my team because he was naturally hard as nails and everyone hated to play against him because you never knew where he would pop up!

There were loads of other front row possibles like the late Johnny James (Llangwm), Simon Lepetit, Neil ‘Spud’ Phillips and Gareth Green (all Haverfordwest).


Gareth PhillipsChris BusbySecond Row:

Gareth Phillips (Haverfordwest) was very fit and you could pick ‘Savage’ anywhere in the back five of the pack because he was a good lineout man, very mobile with good hands so he could also play at No 8.

Against us he never seemed to have a bad game. As a Milford Haven boy it was a pity he became a ‘Blue’.

Chris Busby (Neyland) was hugely influential on the  field as a marauding player who was immensely strong in the mauls and always plated with the pace and quick hands befitting a No 8. He was also a great bloke off the field and can still play a big part when required.

Again I could have picked loads of other lineout men and possibles would include Mike Scourfield (Pembroke Dock Quins) and Jason Jennings (Narberth) both very good at their job and also very mobile.

Lewis WoodJon MasonBack Row:

Lewis Woods (Narberth) has always been a very strong runner, tackles like a demon, is very strong and a genuine athlete who is great with ball in hand.

Jon Mason (Haverfordwest) is a fantastic defensive No 7 in the tackle and his pace ensures he features in attack as well – and his ability to snatch possession in the turnover makes him a nightmare to play against!

Sam Smith

Sam Smith (Pembroke)  is a huge man who is super strong and is so powerful going forward from set pieces with ball in hand that he always seems to score tries. There’s one thing for sure, he is extremely difficult to defend against!

Others who came close to selection were other powerhouse players like Colin Davis (Cardigan), Simon James (Fishguard) and Gareth Scourfield (Pembroke Dock Quins.

Mathew WilliamsScrum half:

Mathew Williams (Neyland) is my clear choice as an outstanding rugby player. He was hard as nails, was always totally involved and committed and for The All Blacks it must have been like having an extra back row forward.

My possible other selection would have to be Graham Davies, of Fishguard, another superb scrum half who always caused us immense problems with his powerful play and total commitment. A real hard man in the best possible sense!

Tom Turbo LewisOutside half:

My first choice would be Tom ‘Turbo’ Lewis (Tenby and Pembroke Dock Quins) because we have been kicked to death many times by Tom as a huge kicker of the ball. He was also very good at taking the right options and so made an excellent No10 or 12.

Other possible No 10s who I think are really good in that role are Huw Evans (Fishguard), and Steve Williams (Haverfordwest).

Toby SmithJack PriceCentres:

Toby Smith - equally good at 10 or 12 also big guy with great hands and vision.
Jack Price - Typical  centre very strong great at getting sides over the gain line
Possibles - Adam Collins, Mark Riley, Darren Gibby.

Lee ScourfieldSteve MartinWings:

Lee Scourfield, very fast, very physical, horrible to defend. Steve Martyn, probably the best brain and rugby IQ I’ve ever played with or against never seen him make a mistake could pick him anywhere.

Possibles - Jon Whitticombe, Delme Bateman, Fraser Watson.

Craig Barnett

Full back:

Craig Barnett a creative player who loves the ball in his hands, very fast great feet typical match winner at home playing anywhere from 10-15.