Sporting Tributes - Eifion Powell - cricket and rugby has lost a great man

Pembrokeshire Sport in general and sport in the town of Pembroke has lost three great characters over recent months, all of whom played rugby at Crickmarren and cricket across the road at Treleet, and this site is proud to belatedly place on record it’s esteem for all three, with whom I had the undoubted pleasure of playing the summer sport alongside – and watching their efforts for Pembroke RFC in their younger days.
Keith Hulbert was the first to pass away and there was no greater trier in either sport and he was followed by Eifion Powell, an excellent all-rounder in cricket and a grafter in the front row of rugby before he played a huge administrative role for The Scarlets over a long period.
Johnny ‘J.R. Jones was a very hard-hitting batsman and try-scoring outside half for Pembroke who will undoubtedly be best known for his magnificent work as Pembrokeshire’s representative with the Welsh Rugby Union for an amazing 18 years, something that will never be achieved again now that rules of election have been changed.
We at are proud, albeit belatedly, to provide our own heart-felt tribute to about all three Gentlemen of Sport over the next few days.

Eifion Powell2. Eifion Powell

‘Pow’ passed away at Glangwili Hospital, aged 87, to end a long association with both Pembroke Rugby and Cricket Clubs after he came from Pontarddulais to teach at the old Pembroke Grammar School and quickly earned a reputation that held us in awe of that deep voice and great knowledge of his teaching in Biology.
He was my wife Marilyn’s teacher and I got to know him because by the time I arrived there he was helping Mr Dennis Lloyd with some of the rugby coaching and reffing.
At Crickmarren I watched him propping with a quiet determination that was typical of his no-nonsense approach and by the time that we returned from Cardiff to live in Pembroke he was Hon Secretary of the club for a long time and a real influence in the way that the club was held in huge esteem around the county and beyond.
When the stand was built ‘Pow’ was the driving force and he was meticulous in all he did for The Scarlets, rightly honoured with Life Membership as a result and someone who retained his interest in the club, even in his later years when he managed to watch as much as possible from his home overlooking the ground.
But it was a cricketer with Pembroke at Treleet that I really got to know him because he was certainly one of the best all-round players I ever played with.
He was an excellent early-order left-handed batsman whose judgement of the tempo of play was outstanding and when chasing a score he had that inert ability to pace his innings and often encourage lower-order batsmen to do the same alongside him.
As a slow left-arm bowler he joined forces with another of the same ilk in the late, great George Hulbert in a formidable duo that could tear teams apart, especially if there was a hint of dampness in the wicket where he became a second Derek Underwood!
Before I joined Pembroke, I once played against the pair at Pembroke Dock on a pitch watered by our groundsman - and both had five wickets as they opened the Pembroke attack and they showed their gratitude by bowling us out for 37 runs!
But he more than met his match in another game as he was selected to play for Pembrokeshire in a two-day match against the touring Barbados team that was led by Seymour Nurse and included fiery fast bowler Wes Hall and some other West Indian players.
“I didn’t really see the balls I faced and we were smashed by an innings and plenty,” he told me when I interviewed him for ‘Sports Folio’, “but I have to admit it was an experience!”
‘Pow’s’ knowledge of sport in general was immense and once when I went to visit him, I was so impressed by his awareness of World Sport in general, which he watched avidly on TV and also read about.
His lovely late wife Margaret was also a driving force behind the superb ladies’ committee at Pembroke RFC for almost half a century and my family’s thoughts go out to son Geoff, an outstanding sportsman now in Australia, and daughter Linda, who was also a very good hockey player.
Eifion Powell was a very strong character who didn’t suffer fools gladly but he was a sportsman of the highest calibre and I was proud to call him a friend.

Eifion Powell - 1st left, front row