Sporting Snippets - Part 20

Gordon Thomas and Bill Carne 

Watching most of the five days of cricket as England hold out at Sophia gardens

Gordon Thomas and I were lucky enough to watch three of the five absorbing days of cricket in the test match in Cardiff in July 2009 and it was made memorable by the fact that FOUR Australian batsmen made centuries in their single massive innings and a brave rearguard action by the last two English tail-enders forced a remarkable draw and prevented an innings defeat.

Simon Katich (122), Ricky Pontin (150 not out), Marcus North (125 not out) and Brad Haddin (121) were the Aussie centurions and the unlikely pairing of James Anderson and Monty Panesar held out for almost all the final session in an incredible atmosphere.

What was also memorable was the large number of cricketers from Pembrokeshire who made the journey to support England against the old enemy – and here are our thoughts on some of them we met . . .


Classy outfits from Whitland

Looking resplendent in their classy fancy dress outfits were Matthew ‘Titch’ Davies and Scott Newton, both of Whitland, who spent the final day cheering England on, with Titch dressed as Sylvester the Cat and Dan showing off his muscles as Fred Flintstone.
Dan had a natty club as part of his outfit, useful in case Titch needed defending with his cat-like behaviour, whilst young Mr Davies did remove the rather hot Sylvester head-gear to cool himself down and slake his thirst. When we asked why they had dressed up so specifically for the day they said that it had just seemed a good idea at the time!

Matthew Titch Davies and Scott Newton


Steve Williams

Classy travelling

Undoubtedly the classiest travel mode award would go to Hundleton Cricket Club because they took some of their junior players, as guests of sponsors npower, in a stretch limousine on the 240-mile round trip.

It actually proved cheaper than hiring a bus and the whole day was a great experience for the kids, who were well looked after by Jonathan Williams, Mark Williams and Morgan Allen.

Steve Williams was also heavily involved but as the oldest player at the day out he enjoyed himself in npower’s hospitality box – well done Steve, you carried the club’s flag with some distinction!


Classy headgear

No doubt about the nattiest head-gear at the test match – that award would go to Mervyn John, the former Hundleton and Stackpole cricketer who is still doing a good job as an umpire, his long-suffering wife Barbara, son Carl and daughter-in-law Sabrina. 

On the last day Mervyn wore a multi-coloured parrot hat, his missus had a red lobster sitting atop her head, son wore a different parrot hat and daughter-in-law looked very smart in her small golden ring-master’s headwear. Most importantly of all, though, all four cheered England from start to finish and just about summed up the festive side of a cracking test match.

Mervyn John and family


Carew well-represented (1) . . .

Carew were certainly well represented through their older fans like Gethin Evans and Gerald Hicks, who was apparently sitting next to Frank Skinner in the crowd and the pair enjoyed a good chat. I also saw Ian Sefton and Brian Hall there, and the latter was making jokes about Frank Skinner having plenty of material for a show afterwards!


. . . Carew well represented (2)

Nick ScourfieldWe also bumped into Carew brothers Nicky, Rob and Martin Scourfield and naturally congratulated Nicky on his being chosen as the second Antur Insurance ‘Player of the Month’ for his recent performances for The Rooks as their opening batsman, which I felt was no more than he deserved. 

There were blank looks from his younger brothers and Nicky told me that only Ceri Brace, the youngster in the Carew side, had congratulated him, whilst the others were pretending they didn’t know anything about it. They are a naughty lot, Nicky, but you and we  know how well you batted to achieve your success – and they do appreciate what you do for the team!

Unsteady but happy!
Our award for the most unsteady cricketer on his feet must go to veteran opening batsman Adi Harries, who played for Carew and now Lawrenny and  certainly seemed to have enjoyed himself on a long day in the sun.

We bumped into the character simply known as Harris in cricketing circles on more than one occasion and every time we did he told us how brilliant we were and how much he loved us.

Cheers Adi – we were very flattered, even if the compliments flew a little under the influence!


Village sides unite

Two others who had a rattling good time on the final day were Martyn Inward (Llangwm) and Mark Williams (Hundleton), who travelled with a group of pals from Chevron and one ‘outsider’ who regularly saved Martyn’s bacon because every time he went to the loo the Llangwm character lost his bearings and had to be called to his seat by the non-Chevron chappie. 

Mark was a little more steady but it would be interesting to know how they got on later in the evening because both were staying overnight in the capital city after a day of cider gliding at the match.

Mark Williams and Martyn Inward

Jonathan ThomasJohnny joins Steve and Gareth in the sun

Jonathan Thomas is best known as a Welsh international rugby player but he was also a very talented young cricketer with Stackpole before he had to concentrate on the oval ball game - and he was there, soaking up the sun and enjoying the cricket with other Welsh rugby stars Steve Jones and Gareth Cooper. 

I did tease him about whether he might be leaving the Ospreys and moving west to join Steve Jones at the Scarlets but no luck – but it was a real treat to see one of our favourite rugby players again as he walked around the ground talking to all and sundry who recognised him – and he actually jumped over several barriers to say hello to us as we were comfortably ensconced in a hospitality suite!


‘Minksie’ is a superhero!

It is often said that Ian ‘Minksie’ Milsom is a bit of a superhero at Neyland Cricket Club and there’s no doubt that the chip shop owner from Milford Haven does a great job in skippering the third team and looking after the pitch and anything else that is needed.

But he also loves dressing up, as he has often done at Harrison-Allen Bowl finals – and on this occasion he was clearly enjoying himself in his striking ‘Superhero’ costume – even if he did look a bit hot and bothered on such a hot day amongst such a big crowd.

But knowing this cheeky chappie from his school days I’m sure he would have a terrific time, with his usual big smile on his face!

Superhero Ian Minksie Milsom

Herbie there in strength

Bill C and Herbie BoysIt was also nice to bump into a group of footballers from Herbrandston who all attended Milford Haven Comprehensive and now live close together in Cardiff and play for the same team in the Cardiff Sunday League.

They met old pal Scott John, the Neyland cricketing all-rounder, and had a cracking fun day out, although a couple of them were a little the worse for wear at the finish and might not remember they had been to the test match – and we feature a little more about their footballing exploits in a forthcoming ‘Where are they now?’ article.

They really impressed those sitting near us as they kept calling me ‘Sir’ after I had taught them at Milford Haven School!


Umpires take in the atmosphere

There were quite a few local umpires there as well, with Whitland’s quartet of Richard Merriman, Trefor Evans, Hilliard and Huw Davies all there and highly impressed by the organisation. 

“It was superb,” said Mr M, the chairman of the Pembrokeshire Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers, “everyone involved in Welsh Cricket should give themselves a pat on the back.” 

Here, hear, says – and well done to all for flying the county’s flag at such a big event!