Sporting Snippets - Part 39

Real characters at Trecoed


 Willie MylesWillie is ‘Mr Trecoed’ and a top bloke as well!

One of the things I have always loved about going to the point-to-point races at Trecoed, apart from the warm welcome, excellent course and top-class is racing, is the number of genuine characters you can meet there, including the man whose land the races take place who answers to the name of Willie Myles.

Willie not only farms Trecoed and organises the course each year, but keeps horses himself, is an excellent who is an excellent singer and is much sought-after in local male voice choirs – and used to play rugby as a tough-as-teak prop with Fishguard and Goodwick RFC.

He was rightly renowned as a terrific scrummager and a grafter about the field but his playing regularly was all the more remarkable because he only has one eye after losing the other one as a child.

When I interviewed Willie for an article and asked how he managed in what is essentially a handling game he let out a huge chuckle and told me, “My handling skills would have been non-existent anyway because all I wanted to do was get stuck in – and there was nothing better than a real forward-orientated battle."

Willie Myles was hugely respected with The Seagulls but also with other front rowers around the county and chat to other props about the players they thought did a great job and a lot of them included Mr Myles as one of their top opponents!


Phil Mathias and Vernon – another pair of born characters

A few years back I popped up to watch the racing at Trecoed, easily my favourite venue, when I had a double dose of laughter when who should I get involved with over a cup of coffee but Phil Mathias and Vernon Beynon.

Both are well-known as former riders in their youth (many years ago now) and excellent breeders of racehorses and also played other sports, with Phil as a useful forward with Pembroke RFC and Vernon as a cricketer for Crymych.

When I first visited Philip at his dad Freddie’s Norchard Farm it was to interview him for a ‘Sports Folio’ article and I had a lovely hour there before he invited me out to the stable yard to see a new white Irish stallion that he had just bought.

He wouldn’t have known that I am a bit scared of horses, even Shetland ponies, but he must have guessed because I made sure that he stood as a shield for me throughout – and I politely refused his offer to give it a smooth.  Then he told me that he had to pop in to the house and I have a feeling he might have stood behind the curtains, having a chuckle about my discomfort. This came up in the conversation and he flatly denied my suspicions – but the glint in his eye still leaves me unsure!

Vernon, who lives outside Llandissilio, was a real competitor on the cricket field, even if his batting was a bit agricultural and as a bowler he had a pretty loud appeal – and after games I discussed with him his shouts for lbw, even if it had hit my bat first.

His horses were an even greater love, however, and they included several winners on the point to point circuit, and in National Hunt too!

Phil Mathias and Vernon Beynon


Dennis did a double act!

Mr Dennis ReedArguably the best-known ‘gentleman’ at Trecoed was Mr Dennis Reed, who lives on his lovely Trevayne Farm which overlooks Saundersfoot Bay and where he has successfully bred a number of top racehorses, amongst them being Norman case, which was for some time one of the best in our county.

Dennis was another great character whom I interviewed for my ‘Sports Folio’ column and whenever we bumped into each other at Trecoed it reminded me of a trick he played on me one special evening when I was attending a celebratory dinner at the Pembrokeshire College in recognition of the fact that our beloved county had officially separated from Dyfed and again stood in magnificent isolation.

He was with his pal Paul Jones and they told me that they were just on my way back home from a trip to Aberystwyth – and when we chatted Dennis seemed nicely interested in my past, interests and work; a point commented on by my wife, who had never met him before.

Then we sat down to enjoy the cabaret and discovered that one act was a couple of local yokels, dressed in their farming gear, who proceeded to poke fun in great detail, using their Pembrokeshire vernacular, about this hopeless teacher and sports writer Bill Carne!

It was hilarious and both Mrs Carne and I had tears rolling down our cheeks – and we still wish it had been videoed to show our family how I had been well and truly duped.

Mr Reed still denies it was him but I later discovered that the duo brought the house down wherever they went, talking about some dope in the audience who had given them all the ammo they needed!


Cynthia is such a lovely lady in horse racing circles

Mrs Cynthia HiggonNo doubts about the nicest lady I have come across at Trecoed and that is Mrs Cynthia Higgon, whom I have always teased about being ‘posh’ but is as charming as anyone in sport I have ever met.

She also likes a bit of fun and when I asked her if she would like one of this web’s sites ‘Good Sports’ tee-shirts she modelled it for me in front of the other nice ladies in the hospitality marquee!

Cynthia has always been a very good horse woman and for an amazing 47 years she has been totally committed to promoting point to point across the country, with 45 years as the Hon Secretary for the West Wales area.

For ten years she was awarded with the honour of being the national chairman for point to point, travelling across the country to promote it – but still loved taking on the role of steward at venues like Trecoed.

I bumped into her recently at the garage we share and gently reminded her about needing to wear a mask – and she hooted with laughter, as usual when we met up somewhere.

Point to point has been lucky to have such a terrific lady worker in Mrs H!


John grabbed a six-timer, as cool as you like!

John Mathias and Lydstep PointJohn Mathias was undoubtedly the best jockey I ever watched at Trecoed before he retired at 26 with hip problems after a nasty injury when ‘Rosie’s Peacock’ reared up and landed on him.

Ironically, it was a great horse which gave him 24 successes out of a massive 215 wins; 196 in point to point and 19 under National Hunt rules and he is the only jockey ever to ride SIX winners in an afternoon – a amazing feat he achieved TWICE!

One of those was with the Tivyside Hunt races at Kilwendeg, where rode Lydstep Hills, Pathian Prince, Rosie’s Peacock, Barleric Star, Saint Peray and Banagher – and the only race he didn’t win was the Ladies Race!

John always had time, even if it was during the short period between races, to have a chat with me and he showed his sense of humour when he was interviewed live on our radio show by Ben Stone and I.
Ever the optimist, Ben asked John if he could supply him with a good tip and quick as a flash the top jockey replied, “Sure can Ben – never eat yellow snow!”

It took a moment for the penny to drop and I still chuckle whenever I think back to that magic moment!