John Laugharne continues 60-year association with Neyland Sport

Mike Brace and John Laugharne

Cricket Scorers’ Feature:

At 80 years young John Laugharne can lay claim to be the oldest cricket scorer in the county but it is his record of appearances in the Harrison-Allen Bowl and Duggie Morris Finals when he was a regular in the very successful Neyland team of his era which perhaps we should be focussing on far more.

He has been involved in Neyland sport for over 60 years and is the first to recognise the immense support he has received from his wife Jennifer – and the family tradition is continuing because their son Martin also used to play cricket and grandson Sam is the current captain of Neyland Thirds. 

John LaugharneRegular Bowl appearances

Amazingly, John played in no fewer than SIX Bowl finals and admits he has lost count of successes in the DR Morris Cup – and also has a league champion’s medal from 1967!

He could also lay claim to success on the adjoining rugby field with Pembrokeshire’s version of The All Blacks and refereed all across South Wales for over a decade when he retired – and is still Hon Secretary of Neyland RFC after 35 years – but more of that later!

John had played golf with the Neyland Golf Society and at Milford Haven Golf Club for a number of years and reduced his handicap to 16 but he was watching Neyland play cricket some eight years ago without a regular scorer – so he volunteered for the job and has been there ever since.

Great times with Neyland scoring

It coincides with the most successful time in the club’s history as teams captained by Andrew Miller, Gregg Miller and now Sean Hannon have become regarded as one of the top teams in the county and even further afield as they reached the final of the Welsh Cup at Sophia Gardens a couple of seasons ago and only just missed out against Welsh Premier League side Ammanford.

“We lost to Cresselly but then won The Bowl in 2015, 15 and 17 – and won the first division title in 2013, 14, 18 and 19 – but it is the DR Morris Cup where we have dominated with six wins in the last seven seasons.

“They have also provided amazing memories against Haverfordwest, like when Paddy Bellerby smashed a six off the last ball and in a semi-final we needed an impossible eight runs of the last ball but they bowled a ball which gave is five wides and then Patrick Hannon and Henry Durrant ran three off the extra ball to a misfield – it was manic!

Rugby memories

Paul Webb, Selwyn Cole and John LaugharneMoving on to the rugby for a moment, John was a flanker with Neyland rugby club but it is typical of his willingness to help that he actually played in every position for the club.

“My best memory came when we won the Pembrokeshire Knock Out Cup against Llangwm after we drew 5-5 in the first game at Haverfordwest – but won the replay at Milford Haven 8-5.

“Billy Hier scored the only try (worth only three points in those days) and Mike James kicked the conversion and a penalty.

“Then I started reffing with junior union teams in the county for two years and then progressed on to the Welsh Districts list, where I had to travel from Blaina and Bedwas in the east to Milford and Llangwm in the west!”

Early start with Neyland CC

John started out with Neyland Cricket Club as a nipper and played in his first Harrison-Allen Bowl Final as long ago as 1959 when they lost to Narberth.

“But we beat them in 1962 and went back the next year to beat Llanrhian but then lost three years in a row from 1966 against Llangwm (twice) and Cresselly. Then there was a win against Carew – and in each there are great memories of some fantastic players in a team like Colin Davies, Billy Lloyd, Alec Banner, Stuart Watts, Roy Griffiths, Owain Picton, Ken Edwards and Derek Charles.”

County scorer – and some high praise!

Scorers - Jayne Cole and John LaugharneBack on the cricket scoring front, John has also been the scorer for the Pembroke County Cricket Club’s senior team over the last six years and enjoys the company of what he describes as ‘a good crowd of boys’ as they play several times a season.

But it is Neyland who occupy much of his spare time and he is very much appreciated there – and skipper Sean Hannon told us,

“I can remember the day when John said he wanted to score for us and in the time in between he has been ultra-reliable for us, and if we have important Sunday matches he will even rearrange his visit to the local chapel, which is also very much part of his life.

“He was recently made a life vice-president of Neyland Cricket Club as reward for being very much part of our match-day team and we hope he continues for years to come.”

High praise indeed and a comment we couldn’t hope to beat – but we still simply say.

“Well done John Laugharne for all you’ve done for sport in Neyland which is typified by your excellent scoring in local cricket!”