Every rugby club needs a press officer - Part 1

In 40 years of reporting on local sport, especially rugby in Pembrokeshire, it has been very clear to me how much the press depend on support from clubs, and nowhere more so than with PembrokeshireSport.co.uk because it is just the great Gordon Thomas and I who for well over a decade have made it our aim to provide not only the best possible results service but to have all the scorers alongside them – plus quality match reports the next day.
Some of our club reporters, as we call them, have been involved for a number of years and take pride in giving us every assistance so that we have all the scores, including those from the opposition,  in a sequence, provide team sheets so that every player gets a mention.
For others, though, it is a real sacrifice because they want to watch their beloved clubs play and enjoy a pint afterwards with their old pals – and I suspect we are a bit of a pin in the back of some old rugby shorts!
But they do it because they want to see their club receive good press coverage and we are eternally grateful to everyone involved and thought it was high time we gave some of them mention and huge pat on the back.
The only danger is, like a dad’s speech at a wedding – you miss someone out – and to anyone who suffers that indignity we apologise in advance and will strive to put it right in the very near future!

Min and Paul Walsh

Ladies first – with Min and Suzanne

Suzanne DaviesPerhaps we should make it ladies first because one shining example of doing a great job is Meinir ‘Min’ Walsh, who not only has done the job for a number of years with Fishguard & Goodwick RFC but keeps me up to date of any changes in mid-week finds time, to contact me with scores at half time and I receive a call with both teams’ scorers and anything else of interest within five minutes of the final whistle. If she is tied up with first-aid duties than it is her hubbie Paul who is delegated to contact me – now that is a family effort I love!
In the past I have also had help from The Moors off coach Huw Evans and former player Meirion Williams, plus the late Ieuan Davies, the calmest man I ever met in a phone conversation but Min has been elected as president of The Seagulls for her work – and boy is that a deserved honour!
Suzanne Davies has done so much work for Whitland RFC, especially with regard to women’s rugby and also The Scarlets, but now she is also heavily involved in the men’s rugby and able to help us, despite the pressure of work on match days.

If she can’t speak I get a text with the scorers – and then I have a quick chat with coach Gareth Bennett.
In the past I have received great help from one of my rugby heroes in this county in Tony Bowen, Rob Benjamin and Arwyn Thomas – plus the likes of Paul Kirk and Kristian Richards before Mrs D took over the reporting reins!

Delyth and Dolly – what a pair for The Blues!

Delyth SummonsHaverfordwest have a cracking duo of support for news hounds in club treasurer Delyth Summons and club secretary Graham ‘Dolly’ Dalton, both whom have also served their club and county for so many years.
Delyth stepped in when Charles Davies stepped down after so many years with his beloved club and if she wasn’t available in the past she collared husband John, another club stalwart, or Glan Studley to help me out – but now she has roped in another willing helper in Dolly because she is always so busy in the bar on home match days.
He is another who has really come up with the goods because as well as providing me with all the necessary details from both teams and also texts me the team on the eve of the games – and we’ll have more about Graham next time.
So thanks for all your help Mrs S – and well done for choosing an excellent replacement – but sadly not with your good looks!

Steve’s taken over the reins at Narberth

Steve ThomasOne gets spoilt when there is a good person on the case and they are really missed when they step down, as was the case at the Lewis Lloyd Ground when David Gibbs and then Peter Spacey did a great job despite being well into pensionable age and it took a while to get such comprehensive coverage again because although director of coaching Sean Gale and chairman Rob ‘Basher’ Lewis tried I needed the great help of one of my favourite players in Nick Gale, who never once refused to help me.
But now into the breach has stepped Steve Thomas, who is a keen member of the Otters’ supporters club and he really goes out of his way to help me as he texts me the squad on a Friday and then lets me know both team’s scorers at half and full time!
Nothing is too much trouble and boy am I grateful that I again have a great contact with The Otters!

Adrian’s a star man at Parc Lloyd Thomas

Adrian HowellsAdrian Howells is one of my longest-serving helpers and he is Crymych RFC through and through, and although he has threatened to step down a few times because of the immense amount of work he does for The Preseli Men – but fortunately he has retained his unofficial role, with Iwan James as team manager also ready to help if needed.
Adrian trebles up on first-aid of video reporting of matches and I know as soon as he answers my calls if they have won or lost, just by the tone of his voice. Current coach Elgan Vittle once told me,
“Every club needs an Adrian Howells,” and Elgan is absolutely right!
Prior to Adrian taking on the role I used to speak to another former coach in the late Glyndwr Richards and I used to love our chats because he was such a lovely man – although the talks lasted ages because he insisted I give him the results of all the other clubs around the county too!

Dilwyn and Darrell – a strong combination at Crickmarren

Darrell WillingtonDillwyn WilliamsFor many years Eifion Powell was the man who looked after me for Pembroke but in recent years I did have some difficulty until current head coach Geraint Lewis took over the reins and again was able to give me super details of his team’s scores.
But, like most coaches, he wasn’t always able to provide me with details from the opposition camp and wasn’t so easy to reach if the Scarlets lost – although skipper Scott Powell always tried to help out whilst having a pint at the bar!
However, The Scarlets now have club president Dilwyn Williams ready and willing to help out and he provides me with team details the day before the game and manfully tries to find out who scored against his team – and club chairman Darrell Willington is the appointee to describe things on the club’s web site and he’s also a good 16th man so thangs are not too bad at Crickmarren this campaign!