Narberth loses a gentleman of sport

Roger PriceThe sporting fraternity of Narberth in particular and his many friends in rugby and cricket across the county were deeply saddened at the untimely passing away of Roger Price at the relatively early age of 65.

He was hugely respected in both sports by colleagues and opponents alike, not only for his play on the pitches of both sports but also his ability afterwards to enjoy others' company in the clubhouses.

High praise from ‘Basher’

On the rugby front he played as an open-side flanker for The Otters and also appeared for Llanelli with his strong tackling, excellent support play and ability to win quality possession.

These were qualities highlighted by team mate Rob 'Basher' Lewis, a playing colleague and lifelong friend, who told us,

"Roger was a key member of the Narberth team which brought success to the Lewis Lloyd Ground in the early 1980s when we claimed the KO Cup and the Pembrokeshire League for the first time.

"If he was playing we always felt we had a chance because of his strength and power as part of arguably the best back row that the county had seen for many years previous and also since then as he played open-side flanker alongside Peter Griffiths and No 8 Richard 'Stag' Jones.

"Despite his power he was never really interested in joining altercations because he just wanted to get on with the game - but if roused then we knew it was time to step back and watch him in action.

"He was a gentleman on and off the field and we are all so sad at his loss."

Early start – and real success

Roger started off as captain of Narberth under 13s, which had been formed by his father Bertie (another hugely respected Narberth former player) and Mr Iorwerth Evans.

He also appeared in a final Welsh Youth trial but missed out on selection, but was a member of the Narberth Youth team which won the popular Milford Haven Youth Sevens.

Roger made his first team debut in 1969/70, playing in the centre, and two years later was a member of The Otters' team which was shaded out by 6-3 to Milford Haven in the KO Cup Final that was held at Whitland - and featured in the club's sevens' team again which beat Pembroke Dock 18-10 on their own patch in the District H Finals.

In 1971/72 he was first team top scorer as he amassed 179 points, including 15 tries, the rest coming from his powerful place kicking, often from long distances and a few seasons later played in his second KO Cup Final, which ended in a 14-9 loss in a replay to Milford Haven at Pembroke after a 12-12 draw.

Narberth RFC 80s

County honours and a spell with Llanelli

It was at this time that Roger began to earn county selection and in 1977/78 he joined Llanelli and toured with them in South Africa and France before returning to The Otters in December 1979 - and playing superbly for the remainder of his career, which included another narrow KO Cup defeat against Haverfordwest - and also played in every round as they finally beat Cardigan - but he got himself injured in midweek prior to the big day.

Roger finally claimed a winners' medal in 1982/83 when The Otters won 6-0 against Haverfordwest at Neyland and completed the double when they won the District H Championship.

Other memorable performances included his representing Pembrokeshire against Japan at Haverfordwest and helping the county win 28-15 as he played alongside No 8 Ninian Davies (Pembroke) and Nigel Merroney (Tenby), as well as playing for Narberth in a narrow 12-9 loss to Ebbw Vale in the old Welsh Cup

In 1985/86 Roger was honoured with the club captaincy and at the end of a distinguished career played in a Narberth Thirds that won in the inaugural Thirds Cup Final!

Narberth RFC 76-77

Very quick bowler – and big hitter too

In cricket he was a very fast bowler who turned into a big-hitting batsman with several centuries to his name after a nasty leg injury - and made his team mates laugh by calling every fast bowler a 'trundler'

On a personal note I can vouch for several matches at Pembroke where I had to fetch the ball from the railway line end after it flew over the trees - and when I faced him as a newcomer to the area at Pembroke Dock he caught me with a fast bouncer that nestled nicely into my ribs.

As I doubled up in pain he smiled and walked back to his mark before firing in a few more ‘lifters’ until I was out. I swear you could see the seam on my ribs but after the match he was straight over to buy me a pint at Imble Lane.

That typified Roger - amongst so many other stories I have heard this week about this lovely sportsman!


High praise from team mates

Richard Howell, a stalwart of Narberth Cricket Club told me that Roger was a terrific example to him when he set out in cricket and everyone looked up to him and what he had to say as a regular member of the Pembroke County Cricket Club team.

Gary Hughes added that Roger was as nice a sportsman as he ever met in cricket and in life.

We could pay Roger Price no higher compliment and our thought at go out to his wife Jenny, son Murray and his other family and friends at this dreadful time.