There was sport galore at this time in 1995!

Sporting Memories - March 1995:

 

Sports players and supporters across our county are currently reeling from the enforced absence of our favourite sports because of the coronavirus that is making life a misery for a large number of people.

In stark contrast, exactly 25 years ago as we took a 'Walk Down Memory Lane' at the local records office in Haverfordwest, which provides a terrific free service, we were able to see what was happening on the sporting front in our quick look at  sport here in 1995.

Football, rugby, indoor cricket, women’s' hockey, boxing, car rallying, darts and bowls were all being mentioned in the Western Telegraph of the eighth and 15th of March.

 

Battles galore in football before Bridge snatch the silverware

On the football front the Pembrokeshire League was heading towards an interesting finish as Hakin United sat proudly atop division one, ahead of Merlins Bridge and Goodwick United, the Vikings looking favourites, with 17 wins and a draw - whilst The Wizards were  well adrift but had games in hand which they used to good effect in eventually taking the silverware.

At the other end of the table, Kilgetty and Johnston had only three points each - and were already certs for the 'Dreaded Drop' whilst Monkton Swifts, Solva, Angle and Fishguard Sports were battling hard to replace them from the second division.

Clarbeston Road were favourites to grab a place in Division Two, with Prendergast Villa and Tenby hoping to be the ones to join them from the third division - and in those dim and distant days there were also two reserve divisions - with Carew reserves and Hakin United Seconds chasing the former title and Crundale Seconds the latter.

 

Merlins Bridge Cup Final 1979
 

Roden strikes for The Blues – whilst Hewer bravely battled on with a broken draw!

In the Welsh League Division One Haverfordwest grabbed a 1-1 draw at Llanwern thanks to a goal by Chris Roden from a Mark Hopkins cross - and in Division Two there was a disappointing 2-0 home defeat for Milford United against Goytre United, despite the efforts of keeper Nicky John, centre half Richard Bland, striker Matthew Price and skipper Rob Hewer, who deserved praise for staying on the pitch for the full 90 minutes despite clearly having broken his jaw!

Welsh National League rugby games aplenty

Local rugby had been changed for ever by the formation of the National Leagues, with teams involved from division two to division seven playing all over South Wales - and leading the way in the second division were Tenby United as they gained a massive 22-10 win at Heywood Lane against former top-class club Maesteg with Mike Evans, Colwyn Harts, Johnny Richards and Carl Evans catching the eye up front. Narberth were the other county high fliers but they travelled to Waterton Cross and lost 35-10 to a very powerful South Wales Police.

Whitland were in division four and two tries apiece from wingers Michael Holding and Steve Hartland helped them to a 22-7 success against Oakdale, whilst Pembroke found themselves in division five and beat Llandybie thanks to tries by Gavin Scotcher, Chris Hughes and Sandy 'Clunes' Allen.

Interesting results in lower divisions – and Pembs crash in the Welsh Counties Cup!

In division six Lee Rogers bagged 20 points in Pembroke Dock Harlequins' 36-0 win over Llandeilo and Haverfordwest lost 11-6 at home to Loughor, despite two penalties from Nigel Hearne, who is now domiciled in the USA.

Fishguard skipper Peter 'Rocket' Evans held the Seagulls' Cup aloft after their 24-15 victory at St Davids, for whom Gus Evans and Richard Morris played well - and in division seven Gowerton slammed Milford Haven 27-3 as Nathan Young landed the sole penalty for The Mariners.

Things weren't going so well at inter-County level as Pembrokeshire were also hammered 48-3 in the Welsh Counties’ Cup by a very strong Monmouthshire team packed with top players. Phil Sutton landed a penalty for the county and there were good performances in defeat from Andrew Phillips, Franco Setaro, Simon Edwards, Dean Hadley, Phil Stoddart and Steve Gerrard in defeat.



John Isaac and Cyril Venables

Indoor Cricket in a healthy state – and deserved recognition for gentleman John

A measure of the popularity of indoor cricket can be gauged from the fact that there were two divisions as Cresselly were top of the seven teams in the first division (chased by previous winners Haverfordwest) - with current Welsh champs Neyland in sixth place after losing three of their four games. In the second division, Whitland were first of the eight teams as Paul Davies, Dai and Mark Lee were key players.

Still with cricket, the late John Isaac was deservedly elected president of the Pembroke County Cricket Club in recognition of his long service, with the late Cyril Venables starting his final year as chairman, alongside other key officers in Phil Thomas (Treasurer) and Billy Marchant (Secretary).

Peter HowellsJayne WheelerPeter plays bowls at a high level and Jane grabs a hockey hat-trick

At The Meads Leisure Centre the first and second rounds in indoor bowls of the Welsh National Indoor Singles were played, with top performers of the calibre of John Price and Robert Weale, both of whom became top UK pro champions - but joining them from our county in the quarter finals was the late, great bowls' Haverfordwest player Peter Howells!

Ladies' Hockey was also very popular and although Pembroke lost 7-0 to Carmarthen they beat Crymych 5-0 as Jane Hall (now Wheeler and the mum of talented teenager Ollie and long suffering wife of Bernie) claimed a hat-trick alongside others by Julie Hansford and Shirley Cole, whilst Milford Haven beat Carmarthen 2-1 as Sharon Grunday and Linda Bryant scored their goals. Honours were even with Fishguard and Narberth, who shared four goals.



Dai Llewellin - At the wheel in his   days as a rally driver)

Dai drives an Astra – and Malcolm leads Wales to UK win

In 1995 Dai Llewellin was still making headlines in the Rally of Wales as it was announced that he was to drive a new Vauxhall Astra in Formula 2 with Ian Grinstead as co-driver. The effervescent Dai, now farming in Rudbaxton, was seeking a treble with Tommi Makkinen as the main challenger in a Nissan whilst Narberth's Julian Reynolds was also involved with Paul Spooner (Raglan) as his co-driver.


Malcolm HawkinsMalcolm Hawkins (Milford Haven) was still darts supremo of the Welsh team taking part in the UK champions and his team beat Scotland 13-8 in the semi-final and then England by the same score as World champ Ritchie Burnett and Eric Burden were the mainstays of Malcolm's team.

A huge crowd attended The Town Hall in Pembroke to watch a high-quality amateur boxing show organised by coach Ralph Gammer where his son Scott (who later became British heavyweight professional champ) featured alongside current Merlins Bridge head coach Graham Brockway, plus other local Welsh internationals like Henry Jones, Nathan Probert and Stuart Morris, whose father Mike had over 100 pro bouts.

Scott was presented with a special vest and perpetual shield to mark his success and other deserved local winners were John Gullam and Alex Hay from Pembroke, plus  Mark John and Stuart Phillips from  Whitland, whose trainer Mike Haines was understandably delighted.

The official in charge was Ray Allen (Wales’ top administrator from Swansea) with John Phillips (Narberth) as the top referee - and with yours truly as MC!

Scott and Ralph Gammer

. . . And another one in the street!

And finally there was some fighting with a difference mentioned on the front page as Vernon Scott, that doyen of local reporters, linked an interesting story to the Wales versus Scotland Rugby match played on that weekend.

It related to a punch-up outside the town hall in Pembroke between some local lads and some members of the Royal Scots' Dragoon Guard who were on a three-week training camp at Castlemartin. Three of the soldiers had to attend hospital and one local went as well - and the Scots Dragoons were banned by their commanding officer from any more excursions into Pembroke!