Tenby United - a team of many talents - and some real characters!

Head of Rugby Will CrockfordWhen we decided to invite Tenby United to feature next in our ‘Pick a Select XV’ from the club we contacted Keith Walker and as someone who does a tremendous amount of work at Heywood Lane he passed the challenge on to the club’s chairman Harry Bolton and Head of Rugby Will Crockford, both of whom have been players for most of that time.

But as the club’s statistician Keith was involved in his own inimitable way by producing a spread sheet to assist them in their choices (Thanks Mr W!).

All three recognise that this choice is just one of many XVs that could have been chosen by other club players, officials and supporters – and we hope you enjoy a good read and perhaps even think of your own selection as a Seasiders’ Supporter!

Keith also gave a lot of thought to his analysis of his general thinking which included the following interesting observations:

“The enormity of the task trying to select a ‘best’ team from players that represented Tenby United from 2000 to the present season is highlighted and impacted by several factors:-

“The period covered follows hard on a previous 10 year period when the club enjoyed an existence in the high echelons of Heineken Leagues and undoubtedly were the prime club in the region

The playing class and strength was very impressive from numbers 1 through to 15

During 1980 to end 1990’s TURFC had won 10 Pembrokeshire Cups. For period 2000-2020 they won 4

The club had gone through a long period where the Committee had been in place for some time with the situation taking a complete about turn during the end of last 5 years of 1990

During 2000 to 2020 period the games played were in the region of 500. Average 25 games a season times 20 seasons and during that period the club called on 373 players, while narrowing it down to players who played 35 games or more in that period, the club only called on 81 players.

The 2000/2020 period saw the club fluctuate with ups and downs in the newly introduced leagues, with what can best be described as a bit of a roller coaster ride - with one season ending with no wins in the league:”


Tough trio in the front row – and loads of good replacements too!

Nicky Guymer“Rob Clark gets our vote for the loose head prop’s position after being with the club for a long time, playing 179 games and never letting the side down with his strong scrummaging and ability to support other players. We think he is something of an underrated player because he’s always there and he’s a great lineout support man as a bonus.

“We had to think long and hard about the hooker because there are plenty of contenders – but we went for Nicky Guymer because as captain he led by example and always gave encouragement to others. He played 193 matches and was a good man to have in any physical confrontations and had the ability to get around the field, almost like an extra flanker, in open play.

“We were pleased to pick Rob Luly at tight head because his improvement over the past two seasons has been immense. He has trained hard and set his target high and already reached almost 100 games - and the end product is a very good scrummager and support player around the fringes. Perhaps surprising as a front rower he is a great student of the game and his definitely on his way up!

“Outside of this tough trio we chose Lee Tucker as replacement loose head and a great character in Scott Payne on the other side of the scrum – and as hooker we also had Richard Rossiter (who has also been a more than capable back rower) and Mike ‘Penfold’ Lewis, whose small size fooled some opponents before they got a bit of a shock!

Ball-handling second rows who could also get about the pitch

Chris Cone James“Perhaps Chris ‘Cone’ James had his best days when he joined Narberth but he was a very useful second row with us as a slim lineout man in his younger days and a powerful leader when he finally returned as a powerhouse player who had so much to give us on the field and then as coach. He still played 90 times and certainly had the respect of all the players at Heywood Lane and it was a great boost to us that he had his last playing days with us.

“Our other second row would be Gareth Edwards, who featured for so long in the linesout but offered us so much more because he was a terrific scrummager but like an extra flanker in the loose. He was very fit and his support play earned him more than his fair share of tries, with 16 from 127 starts.  He also loved the close exchanges and as a very good club man.

“Paul Broaders was another who could fit into the second row after joining us from St Davids. He  was another fit player who got about the pitch as a support player – but still made sure that his lineout play ensured a steady stream of possession, whilst current skipper Luke Dedman is another who only just missed out on selection

Quality back rowers with a terrific range of talents . . .

Nicky AllenAnthony Griffiths“Tenby has always managed to turn out quality back rows and we would nominate Nicky Allen, not only as a flanker but an excellent captain who read the game so well. He was really class with his pre-match talk (a typical teacher!), hugely respected and had the ability to encourage others, especially younger players, even in some of the tough times we had, He was big and strong – and very direct in terms of his own play during 126 appearances.

“Andrew Dennis was a class act for us and he showed how good he was by representing the Navy in inter-service matches. We rate him as the best in the county of his time because he had everything; pace, power, good hands and was a cleaver reader of situations. We would love to have someone like him today!

Wyndham WilliamsHarry Bolton crashes over for a try“No hesitation for us at No 8 – it would have to be Anthony Griffiths, who joined us from Narberth towards the latter part of his rugby days and was fantastic in the 75 games played.

“He was a strong character and showed total commitment in his play, which was always very good. But it was his mental strength that provided us with another aspect because he never took a backward step, even against the top sides – and inspired others to do the same.

“Unlucky to miss out here because of that quality trio were Roy Osborne (17 tries in 81 matches), Jason Ronowitz (who was so fit he could still be playing), Sam Smith, who could score tries for fun when he was at his best (including eight tries from two games in one week!) and Wyndham Williams, now having played 206 times as the measure of a great club man who will play anywhere to help out.

Andrew DennisThen there’s our old friend Harry Bolton, who is still playing and giving 100% to the cause, as he has done for almost the whole of the two decades. As someone (who shall be nameless) told us, “Harry is 35, looks 50 but plays as if he’s 25!”


. . . And quality at half back too!

“Toby Smith was another brilliant points gatherer at outside half before moving to Pembroke and we would love to have him back because as well as his immaculate place kicking he was a prolific try scorer (75 in 110 matches and a points tally of 521!) with the ability to change the course of a match with one sharp-eyed moment of magic.

“Will Crockford has played at least once in every one of the last 19 seasons in his 177 matches since coming out of youth and it was his consistency and commitment, as well as high skill levels, that caused us to make the No 9 selection and give him the nod. He was able to get the ball away well with both hands under pressure but also loved to take opposing back rows on with close-range snipes.

“Our replacement at scrum half would be current incumbent Matthew Morgan, who is following the family footsteps as a very fine player. He is a very sharp passer, is dangerous around the fringes, has an eye for any half chance and an excellent link between forwards and backs. If he maintains his current form he is going to be a real asset for a number of years.

“Scott Mcloughlin joined us from the local football club and has the natural ball skills you would expect in his kicking – but with added bonuses of very sharp hands and the eye for the smallest opening. He was very much his own man in terms of decision-making; never afraid to go for the half chance out of defence – but sadly it was injury that called a halt to such a promising player.

Wingers with different builds – and styles!

“We chose wingers with totally different styles in Mark Haywood and Dai Merrick, another footballer who joined us at Tenby and showed from the outset what a good player he could be.

“Hayward was very powerful as a centre but was also an accomplished try scoring winger in his 142 games, with 53 tries.

 “Dai was only about 11 stone soaking wet but surprised us a little at the outset as he showed total commitment and was never afraid to tackle onrushing opponents in defence. In attack he was a silky mover with a stride that ate up the ground – and his all-round skills were good too in scoring 30 tries from 125 games.

“On our subs’ bench Jordan Asparassa was also smaller but was like a snake in the way that he could wriggle out of tackles and make something of the smallest spaces. He had a winger’s nose for tries, as he is still proving at Pembroke Dock Quins.”

Arthur Maulio-Martino slices  through


A classy New Zealander and a real club man in the centre – and a fine full back

Neil Truman“Arthur Maulio-Marino was a welcome acquisition that came about when he rolled up at the club and asked for a game, having met a local girl. He was a typical New Zealand centre: strong in defence, really skilful in attack and with the best pair of hands we had seen for ages. He was not only a useful try scorer but was excellent at making the half break and setting up scores for supporting players with the timing of his passes.

“Neil Truman was a wonderful clubman who played on when a lot of his contemporaries stepped down from action – and his little bandy legs belied his very high skill levels! ‘Tattie’ was a strong tackler in defence and never stopped talking as the schoolmaster in him was used to calling out orders. He had a good side-step and a real feel for the game – and was rightly held in huge regard by his team-mates.

Gavin Brace and Paul Luger are others who came into contention

 “Our full back would be Dan Colley, another talented player who left for Pembroke but showed real class for us as he came through so well at youth level. Dan wasn’t the fastest No 15 we had but he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time as a great reader of the action. He is still a natural ball player and showed this by being able to play right across the back division.


Good coaches – and a lively team management combo!


Gareth DaviesEmori Katalau“Our choice of coach would be the late Gareth Davies; a great all round bloke who took the time to work on specific skills with individual players to get the most out of them. Ahead of his time in that he coached structure and appreciated the Tenby style of play. He bounced off Emori Katalau, who brought his experience in playing 51 times for Fiji and made a huge difference to lineouts.

“Gareth Thomas has been a fantastic coach and Tenby through and through, brought nearly a whole successful youth team into senior rugby in early 2000’. His sidekick was Ossie Boswell and both have had three spells at Heywood Lane. Ossie has been reborn under Jonathan  Evans, who totally understands local amateur rugby He’s built the link with Greenhill school and has the confidence to use so many youngsters as well as getting the very best out of those who are not so young!

“As team manager it would have to be the redoubtable Peter ‘Toe’ James because he did the job for so long and  has also taken on a range of other jobs with Tenby United – and Russell Millns and Mike Brace could be his assistants – now that would be a lively combination!