Brymbo Legends Interviews
Firstly, I would like to say I am gobsmacked that Brymbo asked me to do one of these, mainly because I do not see myself as a Brymbo Legend. Mainly because I’m no legend and I only signed for the club in 2015. There is no way I am anywhere near the calibre of the Roberts brothers (Nige and Ross), Robbie Blackwell, John Walter Lloyd just to name a few.
Anyway, I first started playing cricket at the age of 10/11 (year 6 in school) for Llay Welfare CC Junior section, a year later I made my second team debut away to Bethesda and thus being the 4th generation of Parry’s to play for the club. I’m pretty sure there was a picture and write up of this in the leader with me donning the “in” hair cut back then – Blonde Highlights!!!
After a successful season in 2011, Llay were promoted to the promised land of the North Wales Premier League! My first season in the prem was a successful one on a personal level, after which, I was awarded with a place in the North Wales Squad to face Glamorgan. Unfortunately, I missed out on the 11 being named 12th man, even though I was the leading wicket taker in the warm up game against the North Wales Pros. I’m not bitter or competitive for that matter! Having progressed through the ranks at Llay Welfare CC, I was given the opportunity to captain the first team at the age of 19, I wasn’t going to say NO! after two relatively successful seasons, with a third-place finish in the league in the first season and a Welsh Cup semi-final in the second. Having decided it was time to move on I moved to Brymbo CC, and in doing so followed in both my dad’s and grandad’s footsteps playing for both Llay and Brymbo cricket clubs. My Grandad was previously the head grounds man at the Crick too.
Best player ever played with and against:
With: For all round cricketing ability with both bat and ball, although now features more as just a batsman, it would have to be, James Claybrook. Although he still manages to get me out in the nets with his angled bowling action. James has played at a very high level all the way through junior cricket and has become a very good player in the North Wales league, no one can argue that!
Against: As a junior, the best player I ever played against was, hands down; David Lloyd for obvious reasons. I mean, look what he’s achieved and still achieving!
Dave Phennah (Llay Welfare CC). What a player, he could bat, bowl and field anywhere and he was someone who I looked up to when I first started playing senior cricket at Llay. I’m sure Chippy (John Lloyd) made a song about Dave Phen, unfortunately it contains too many expletives to share on here! Very tactically minded, however black was black and white was white- no messing around! Hence the nickname ‘The General’!
With: Phil Snell (Llay Welfare, Pontblyddyn) Only played with Snelly for a season but what a lad and what a great player. A very clever bowler and someone who helped Llay to reach the Premier League with both bat and ball.
Against: Jack Rimmington (Llandudno) He’s won numerous team accolades, Welsh Cups and North Wales Premier league medals. As well as this he is a very difficult player to face and has taken loads of wickets over the years.
With: The best swing bowler I played with is Damian Bryan, he helped me a lot when I first came into the first team at Llay. He was often a calming influence when I was bowling, something I still need now. Hahaha
Against: Lucas Carey (Pontarddulais CC) – I played against him in the Welsh Cup Semi Final (2014), at the time I think he was playing for Glamorgan twos. He could swing the ball both ways and you could never tell which way it was going. He’s now made a name for himself playing for Glamorgan in all formats.
With: I’ve been lucky to play with some very good spinners, Jamie Beale and Dave Phennah at Llay, Connor Davies, Gareth Boys and Mohammed Jayman at Brymbo. But the best spinner I have played with would have to be Harrison Jones (Denbigh, Denbighshire and North Wales). As well as being a very good spinner ‘H’ is a very dangerous batsman and a top fielder. Combine those skills with being a decent man and Denbigh are on to a winner with their captain!
Against: I would love to say former England Test bowler, Robert Croft. But when I played against him, he didn’t bowl and just ran the show setting fields etc, one thing he did do was drop a catch! However, in the same game I faced the best spinner I’ve ever played against. Owen Morgan (Pontarddulais CC) is a left arm off spinner but he turned it square and he, in fact, was the one that got me out!
With: Ben Roberts- Mad as a box of frogs, excuse his tantrums but nobody can deny his bowling ability and pace. The picketing fence is safe now he’s over in Oswestry, however this is a loss for both Brymbo and North Wales.
Against: Liam Hurt (Clifton, Lancashire) Jesus this lad bowled wheels. We played against him in a T20 after beating a team from the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire league at Neston CC. Great day but I definitely didn’t enjoy facing him with a new ball!
With: Jordan Evans (Northop, Denbighshire Colts & Seniors)
A great player who dominates attacks when he gets going. Loved watching him bat when he was playing on the same team as me, different story when you play against him.
Against: David Fox (Connah’s Quay) What a quality batsman don’t think I’ve played against a player that has so much time. I’ve got the honour of saying I got Foxy out twice in one year. Unfortunately, it was after he had scored two fantastic 100’s!
With: Easiest question of the lot- Greg King.
The lad is a FREAK! He makes it look so easy and natural. My fondest memory is playing in the T20 cup for Brymbo, representing North Wales against Cheshire. With Ben steaming in, Greg called for his helmet and went to stand up to the stumps, taking the ball cleanly as if it was no effort for him, even the watching crowd were gobsmacked! I remember one of them saying, ‘he’s taking the P*ss!’
He’s certainly a massive loss to Brymbo CC.
Against: The best wicket keeper I’ve played against has to be Robbie Marshall (Bangor CC)- All round nice guy. Don’t know how he finds the time to play with all those kids but he does and does it well. All jokes aside, over numerous years he’s proved how good of a batsman and keeper he is. A Special mention has to go to Will Evans (Mochdre and Neston CC) luckily for me I’ve only had to play against Will a few times but you can tell he’s an awesome player!
The Big Hitter:
Sorry, there’s two people that’ll have to share this one! Dave Blackwell and Jayman.
Both are exceptional hitters of a cricket ball. When its hit, it stays hit. I fear my own safety when I’m bowling at this pair in the nets. I often think, ‘if this comes back at me now, I’m dead!’
Boysy - Week in, week out Mr Boys delivers with the ball. You can always rely on Boysy to bowl economically and not always for the recognition he deserves. Often at the end of play, you go and check the score book, he won’t have gone for more than 20.
I’ve seen some fantastic catches whilst playing cricket and with this in mind I can’t decide who exactly would be my safest pair of hands. Two people come to mind when I think about catching, one of them I have played with for a few years now, Jayman, and the other is someone I have only played one game with and a lot against, Martin Burger. Jayman is fantastic behind the wicket from Keeper to gully I don’t think there are many better! As for Burger he is an exceptional fielder, especially in his position at short extra cover. This position he has made his own over the years. Special mention to a good friend of mine Mr Gareth Boys great pair of hand, but sorry Boysy I would say you but you’ve dropped too many off my bowling!
I’ve heard stories of years gone by where Ross, Nige and others would have throwing competitions and could throw from one side of the Crick to the other!!! The only lad who has anywhere near as strong an arm as that is Connor Davies (Brymbo, North Wales), genuinely has a bullet for an arm and he can throw with both hands.
Mr CJ Craven- although he can also be the club’s biggest joker, he does it all- any sport, any time, any place. He’s just annoyingly, a natural athlete.
On the cricket field, he can be seen buzzing around the outfield or infield or even behind the stumps. I would hate to be a batsman listening to him chunnering on!
Best No 11:
Tough one no one likes to be the no. 11. Whilst I’ve been at Brymbo we’ve had stages where players 1 -11 have scored 50’s in the Prem! The only lad I know who used to happily go 11 was Ben Roberts, mainly because he couldn’t be bothered batting and was too busy getting himself angry to bowl so batting would have just been a chore.
At ‘The Crick’, the biggest joker has to be the legend himself, Mr Ross Roberts.
Always the life and soul of the party. You better look out if he’s brought his home brew- that stuff is like rocket fuel!
He’s the one who is always cracking a dreadful joke but still seems to make everyone laugh. Funnily enough, it just so happens that Ross and I have the same ‘un-official’ spot in the dressing room. I’ll let you guess which one of us moves!
Two players spring to mind:
1. Francois Mostert (Bangor CC) Yes, he was an overseas player but he was definitely the best overseas player I’ve played against. Opened the bowling, bowled at the end and took a shed full of wickets in his 3 seasons in North Wales. Add to that a top score of 202* and you’ve got one hell of a player!
2. Jamie Griffiths, besides being a bloody good cricketer, Jamie is very good at getting under people’s skin and for this reason he has to be seen as a tough opponent, someone who can challenge you with bat and ball but also challenge your ticker!
Proudest Cricketing Achievement:
Having not played any regional cricket as a junior but still being selected to represent North Wales against Glamorgan at the age of 19.
Best Innings (most memorable):
Welsh Cup Quarter Final 2014 vs Mochdre. I top scored with 60* and had the very satisfying feeling of hitting the winning runs with one of my best friends at the other end, Tom “Smig” Davies, running towards me! I’ll never forget what he said to me as I was running down the wicket.
Favourite Bowling Spell:
Easy! Let me set the scene… it’s a boiling hot day on the coast, it’s holiday season, the majority of senior players of Llay Welfare CC are on holiday. At 18, I am asked to captain the side. We had title-chasing Menai Bridge 15-3, I’ve got all 3 wickets at this point, just removing the pro for his first ball. The ball is swinging everywhere, in walks Robbie Jones. I manage to get him to knick the ball to second slip only for Jamie Beale to drop a dolly! Sorry Jamie but that should have been caught in your sleep! We lost the game but I still managed to bag 6 Wickets.
This memory has stayed with me for two reasons. Number 1, the first time I had captained the first team, hence the stupid decision of winning the toss and then electing to bowl! And the second reason, I recall the wise words of encouragement of the late David Alun Williams. Until we disagreed when he told me that I had to take myself out of the bowling attack because I was too young and had bowled my allocated overs for that spell.
105 not out vs Chirk CC
Best Bowling Spell:
7 – 61 vs Hawarden
Stand Out Memories:
1. Playing alongside my dad, grandad and cousin for Llay, unfortunately not in the same game.
2. My dad taking a catch off my bowling at short leg. Haven’t got a clue why he was even fielding there at his age, but a big dive later and the batsman was on his way!
3. Representing North Wales Cricket League.
4. Coaching North East Wales Juniors.
5. Captaining Llay Welfare CC in a Welsh Cup Semi-final.
6. Winning two t20 cups inside a week North Wales T20 – getting a 50* in the final and the Flintshire KO – scoring 68 in one of the finals.
There are a few at Brymbo at the minute with the likes of, Sam Aplin, Charlie Boys and Tanvee. But in the next year or two we have some very talented lads in Henry Lunn, Dan Monk and Ioan Craven-Jones. One of my stand out memories of last year comes from a game I missed. Pont at home, a must win! I was watching the scores online and as the game got tight, I face timed CJ and I got to watch Dan Monk and Henry Lunn get us over the line. This show serious character under pressure!
Away from Brymbo, I was lucky to coach a good bunch of players for North East Wales, who are now all turning 16. I would have to say out of that squad of players I’m looking forward to seeing how Joe Howell will go at Llay Welfare CC. He was my captain for that squad of players. He’s got a very bright future, he’s represented Wales at junior level and has been selected in the Glamorgan u18’s development squad, he’s only 16!
There are only really two that I would say are regrets at this moment in time. The first one is not going to play cricket overseas and the other one is not being able to get over the line and win the North Wales Premier League. Since I’ve been at Brymbo we’ve had two great seasons which nearly got there, but nearly isn’t good enough!
Three most important qualities that make a cricketer stand out: