Chris Walters was a powerhouse in sport

Chris WaltersChris was a powerhouse in sport – and as well as scoring goals galore with Johnston scored 12 tries in one school match – and played two try-scoring seasons for Wales’ Schools!
Chris Walters was comfortably the best all-round sportsman that I ever saw in school after I was form teacher of 4H1 at Milford Haven Central School when I started there in 1973 – and I travelled to rugby trials with him, older brother John and his games’ teacher Ronnie James.
He would inadvertently spoil games lessons because he was so good at football, accidentally almost crippled me on Freshwater East beach with a tackle as strong as I had ever encountered – and remains a good fried even today, 49 years on.
I could write a book about his rugby, football and cricket, where he became a useful wicketkeeper/batsman with Steve James and Co at Johnston – and they could regale you with stories about his strength, commitment and huge skill levels in the latter two sports.
His ‘Sports Folio’ (Number 16) appeared in March 1984 – and as usual he had me in fits of laughter as he played down his part in local sport!

Chris Walters’ ‘Sports Folio’ – No 16

Chris Walters - Sports FolioThere is only one Pembrokeshire Footballer who can proudly boast that he played six times for the Welsh Schools in rugby and scored a try at the old Cardiff Arms Park and scored a try in a comfortable win over Scotland and the winning try against England at Twickenham – and that player is Chris Walters, the Johnston and Pembrokeshire goal grabber.
By scoring 28 goals already this season Chris is a leading contender for the ‘West Wales Guardian Cup’ for players in the first division but as a teenager football took a back seat as he took local schools’ rugby by storm.
In one game against Greenhill School, Tenby, at under 15 level he scored an amazing TWELVE tries and there was always a danger that he could ruin a match with his sheer pace and high skill levels, allied to power beyond his years.
But in junior school it was football that was his main interest but when he moved to secondary school there was no football available and so he settled into the oval ball game like a duck to water.

Chris article - too big to get with his pic on one pageForced himself into Welsh Schools’ team

At under 15 level he played regularly for Pembrokeshire at outside half and progressed to being first choice for West Wales in the centre.
As the Welsh trials started, Chris found himself out on the wing for some unaccountable reason because selectors were pushing for their own midfield players but in the two final trials he played so well and scored tries that he deservedly gained selection for Wales against Scotland.
Although a newcomer to playing out wide he still made an electric debut by scoring Wales’ first try  and such was his popularity with staff and other pupils that over 300 youngsters travelled to Cardiff to cheer him on as he intercepted in his own half and raced 60 metres to the posts to help set up a 28-3 win.
Not content with that feat, Chris then travelled to Twickenham and scored the winning try in a 9-3 win over England, cheered on by hordes of kids from school, with some of them and their teachers even having to travel on a double decker bus!

More caps – and tries

That set the seal on an astonishing season and the next year he increased his cap tally to six and then scored another try against England, to the delight of his games’  teacher Ronnie James, form tutor Bill Carne and headmaster Glyn Morgan. Ronnie plays his rugby for Llangwm and since moved to become head of games at Sir Thomas Picton School in Haverfordwest – and would tell you that Chris is the most able sporting all-rounder he has ever taught.
When Chris left school, Mr Morgan  held him in such high regard that he worked closely with the legendary coach Carwyn James to secure a job as an apprentice mechanic in Llanelli so that Chris could play for The Scarlets’ youth team. After two years, though, Chris became very homesick and returned to Milford Haven and joined the staff at the Cleddau Bridge Garage at Honeyborough, where he is now service manager.

Chris (front row 2nd left) with Johnston Cricket Club

Three years out then back with a bang in football

For three years Chris played no sport but then decided to join Johnston AFC, where he soon made his mark as a talented midfield player – and Johnston’s gain was certainly rugby’s loss because since then he has represented Pembrokeshire and won lots of trophies with a Tigers’ team that has shot to the fore in local rugby circles.
His links with Johnston began during his school days, when he lived in Milford Haven but played at Glebelands alongside several school pals like Richard James, John Codd and Colin Thorpe in reaching the Wiltshire Cup Final, where they played against a very strong Monkton Swift youth team that soon got on top to lead 2-0 as John Hay was to the fore. But Chris broke out of the Swifts’ shackles to score a great hat-trick as The Tigers won 5-2.
Then he went back into senior football with Johnston and his goals helped them win the first division in 1980/81, 1981/2 and 1982/3 as well as success in the Senior Cup and a West Wales Cup runners-up medal, which was pretty good going for someone who hadn’t played any sport for the previous three seasons!

Athletics a diversion – where he kept winning!

Whilst in school, Chris also shone at athletics and stories about him there are legend because he was equally adept at the 100 or 1,500 metres, could do the high and long jumps and really enjoyed field sports like shot, discus and javelin.
Competitors could only enter in three events in the county sports and one year Ronnie entered him for the shot, discus and javelin – and was busy as a marshal until a delighted Chris showed up to tell him he’d won the shot and discuss.
“What about the javelin?” asked Mr James.

“I didn’t know I was in that,” answered his eager student, “but I won the high jump!”
Later that day, master and pupil were enjoying a stroll together and the hammer throwing was in action and Chris asked if he could give it a try. So Ronnie asked the man in charge if it was ok and without any previous training Chris gave the hammer an almighty thrown and sent it 20 feet past the mark of the ultimate winner. Of course his throw couldn’t be recorded but showed Chris’s capabilities.

Chris (front row 5th left) in a very successful Johnston football team

And finally . . .

Ask Chris for his most memorable moment and he would be bound to nominate those heady days when he played rugby for Wales and scored those epic tries in Cardiff and at Twickenham – and he still has his caps, programmes and photographs as reminders.
He has few ambitions left in sport, except to go on playing as long as he can stay fit. He has recently taken up the more sedentary game of snooker and is really keen to improve his ability at a completely new sport which requires a different approach from his usual robust, bustling style of play.
If his previous attempts in sport are anything to go by then we will soon be hearing of Chris Walters in a new sporting pastime – and he is sure to grace it in the same cheerful committed, good-humoured way that he has always approached his sport!