Daf Bowen does great job at Hook cricket and Llangwm rugby too!

Daf Bowen - Hook 


Around the Boundary Feature:

Daf Bowen is currently playing his cricket at Hook and enjoying his return to the game after an absence through work and other commitments – and doing a good job, not only as a reliable opening bat but also encouraging the very talented young players who abound at the club.
“The club is lucky to have Jamie Phelps and Jonathan Willington as leading figures, on and off the field,” Daf told us, “and I must admit that I have learned a lot from both in terms of commitment, but also in making sure things are done the right way.
It was an ‘elder statesman’ role in the team that Daf completed very successfully as he played regularly for Hook in last Winter’s indoor league season, where he played regularly as the ‘father figure’ of a talented squad which showed its potential in their first campaign indoors.

 Hook indoor team

Daf enjoys his cricket, indoors and out

Daf moved to live in Hook seven years ago after his friend Phil Griffiths got him involved and he was made very welcome from the outset by the likes of great club men like Keith James, Jamie Phelps, Andrew Thomas, Brennan Lay and Evan Martin, the doyen of the club who is looked up to by everyone.
“I have been really happy there ever since and last year I particularly enjoyed the club’s first experience of competing in the Pembrokeshire Indoor League run by Patrick Hannon, even though I was very much the veteran since I was 14 years older than Bradley Flood, who at 27 was the next oldest in a squad that also included the  even-younger Phelps boys and the Miller brothers, all very young and ultra-talented.  


Leg pulled about being an ‘old timer’!

“I had my leg pulled about regularly being described in a local webb site as ‘The old timer’ in the team, which was captained by Aled Phelps, but of course I did plenty of talking in the season where we did really well as we gained in experience – and only just missed out on promotion to division one in a play-off with Burton and eventual winners Pembroke, but aim to be a team to watch at the end of this year!”
The outdoor season was also good in 2022 because Daf batted really well and ended up with a top score of 96 not out against Llanrhian.
“To be honest I should have scored a century but I was so excited I tried to slog the last three balls of the innings – and missed the lot! I also had a couple of scores in the 70s and 80s – and managed to get 50 against Haverfordwest when we were bowled out for 77!”                                                                                                                                                            

Hook celebrating their centenary

A Young Otter as a nipper right through to senior level

On the rugby front Daf played for Narberth from the time he was a nipper through the age groups, into youth and had three seasons in the first team squad. He played alongside players of the calibre of Jason Jennings and Tal Selley as a blind-side flanker in The Otters’ Youth team that beat the ‘old enemy’ Whitland in the Youth Cup Final at Milford Haven – and was proud to captain the county youth team.
His lively play saw him recognised by selection for the Scarlets’ Amateurs U25s when he was 22, playing five games as blind side flanker.
Daf was understandably delighted when he broke into the first team squad after making his back-row debut alongside quality players like Alan ‘Santa’ Reynolds. Gareth Bennett and Simon Davies, whom he would nominate as easily the best captain he played under and one of three very hard men there as team mates.

Nasty injury halted his playing – but he bounced back with The Blues and then coach with the Young Wasps

Daf Bowen - in full action for Haverfordwest caked in mudBut then Daf sustained a nasty calf injury and he was out of action for some time until an old friend in Tim Parry persuaded him to have a few matches helping out at Haverfordwest – and the upshot was the fact that he enjoyed playing for The Blues so much that he played for them for six seasons until his work on a farm limited his spare time at weekends!
“I was captain of Haverfordwest RFC first team at the age of 21 in the 2003 season and it was great playing alongside the likes of Steve Williams, Lewis Wood, Andrew Thicker, Mathew Kelly, Richard Brazell, Gareth Green and Jonathan Whitticombe to name just a few as we only just missed out on promotion to division two.
Then his next involvement in the oval ball game came when Morgan began playing rugby at junior level with Llangwm and after regularly taking him along for training sessions was eventually persuaded to help out with the coaching.
“There was such a great atmosphere amongst players, coaches, parents and supporters at Pill Parks it was impossible to say ‘No’ to Jonathan Whitticombe, Geoff Asson and Adrian Davies, with great help from Jonathan Willington and Joseph Kiff,” admitted Daf, “and in the intervening time the players have grown into a closely-knit youth team that have grown in stature and I can’t tell you how proud we are of them as they played out of their skins to reach the Welsh Youth Bowl Cup at the Principality Stadium.”

The road to playing at The Principality Stadium

The Young Wasps started their adventure with a home win against Waunarlwydd, who were coached by his old Narberth team-mate Simon Daniel and after two more hard-fought wins travelled to Dolgellau for the quarter final.
“There was an amazing atmosphere as we took a huge crowd with us that easily outnumbered and out-shouted the Dolgellau supporters so it was like a home match which we won to move into the last four.
“The semi-final was played at Cefneithin, where we started as underdogs in taken on Bryncoch, who had some Ospreys under 18s in their squad – but again our support was amazing and the boys played out of their skins to take us into the final against Caerphilly at the Principality Stadium.

Will never forget the day at The Principality Stadium

“It was a memorable occasion and it seemed as if the whole of Llangwm had travelled to Cardiff as we played powerful opposition that had under 18s involved with The Dragons and a couple of rugby league internationals.
“We had our chances but eventually lost but I can honestly say that as coach I have never been more proud in my sporting career – and I will never forget the spirit of that very special group and their families!”
Family Matters . . .
Daf’s wife Emily really enjoys keeping fit and was a keen member of Pembrokeshire Harriers as a youngster and played cricket for Hook ladies.
She has also recently completed another sporting challenge that has evaded her hubbie because she took part in the ‘White Collar Boxing’ show in Haverfordwest after completing the seven-week course to ensure she was ready – and came away with a great win as a nervous Mr Bowen cheered her on!
The couple have son Morgan (16), who enjoys badminton, and daughter Mali (12) who loves rugby and plays as a second row for the local boys’ team and at outside half for South Pembs Sharks’ girls’ team.
Outside of his cricket and rugby involvement, Daf also plays darts for Hook Sports and Social Club in the local league, but readily admits he is no Johnny Clayton or Gerwyn Price – but enjoys the Camaraderie alongside a few pints as what he describes as a ‘Social Player’!

Started cricket as a ‘Mountain Man’!

Going back to his cricket, Daf started out playing in the senior game with Maenclochog, who sadly no longer have a team.

“We played up on the hill and enjoying a fantastic view of the disused quarry on the other side of the valley near Llys y Fran Reservoir but when any wind was blowing it soon became gale force up there and it was interesting to see the likes of Kenny Davies bowling into it.
“The club was full of great characters like Rob and Gary Nicholas, Jamie Bohata, Ken and Anthony Davies and Dai Jenkins – and our highlight was winning the Alan Brown Trophy, the lower division’s equivalent of the Harrison-Allen Bowl – and boy did we celebrate as if we had actually won ‘The Bowl’!”

Wife Emily wins her boxing bout

And finally . . .

This season saw Daf batting quite well as he scored 30 not out when Hook were shot out for 77 by Haverfordwest and he maintained this form until he suffered a nastily-pulled calf muscle going for a quick second run and that kept him out until he recently returned against Haverfordwest, where he resisted the temptation to tell this writer that his injury had nothing to do with being an ‘old timer’! He is back in action now, however, and belted a boundary-laden 30+ in the centenary celebration game against the MCC.
And that is what Daf Bowen enjoys about still being involved in cricket and it is always the same whenever we meet around the boundaries of Pembrokeshire Cricket because he has been involved in a great deal of sport and regularly bumps into old opponents who are now good friends!

Daughter Mali on the burst in rugby