Brymbo Legends Interviews
I was probably introduced to the game from my first year, as my Dad played for the club. From hitting a ball around the ground thrown by my Dad, before senior games started and after they had finished with a cut to size bat, I progressed through the superb youth team age groups led by Geoff Lloyd.
If I remember correctly, I made my debut for the seconds at about 13 and played my first season for the firsts, a year or two later.
At about this time, I got selected to represent Wales schools and Welsh cricket association teams through to U19’s. The end of the age related cricket coincided with Wales entering the minor counties set up, where I played for a further five or six years.
At 15 years and X number of days John Newcombe (county chairman at the time) asked if I would like to make my debut for Denbighshire – no prizes for guessing the answer! It was reported by Frank in the local press at the time, that I was the youngest player to debut for the county at that time, though this was challenged by someone in the press following week.
I also represented North Wales and Worcester 2nd’s on and off for a couple of years.
Best player ever played with and against:
With: Nige Roberts – Nige was the most complete cricketer that I’ve seen in the amateur game. I genuinely believe that Glamorgan in particular, and county cricket in general missed out on an absolute gem in Nige. Who knows how far he could have progressed, had he been exposed to a higher level in his later teens.
Against: Steve Wundke – A top all rounder who played for Marchwiel in the eighties, also played state cricket in Australia.
My Dad by a distance – Not only a cricketing scholar and great captain, who adored mulling over games and opposition players on the way to and from away games - he was also a great man manager, who was comfortable dealing with any dressing room unrest, making difficult selection decisions, batting order/bowling changes, and was quite happy to shut the dressing room door after a game and dish out a few home truths when we let ourselves down with a poor team performance.
I never played with another captain who possessed his energy, wherewithal, or was interested enough to go into the detail he did, whether he was leading Brymbo or Denbighshire in a cup final or just friendly game.
With: Nigel Owen – Nige was the most accurate seam bowler that I played with, who hit the seam with the majority of balls bowled. I am led to believe he was also rapid in his younger years.
Against: Nigel Morris, Rhys Jones, Mike Scrutton, Phil Snell, Roy Foster, Arwel Morris, Steve Birkhill, amongst others were all excellent opposition.
With: Dilwyn Roberts – Another extremely accurate bowler who consistently swung an old or new ball at will. Decent pace too in his younger years.
Against: Glyn Gibbons and Gareth Davies were very consistent and accurate swing bowlers, who provided stiff opposition on any type of wicket.
With: My Dad – Allied with his knowledge of opposing batsmen, field placings and ability to consistently bowl it in the right areas he just edges Nige in my opinion.
Against: Rene gets my vote – My Dad always said, you’ve got to play Rene off the back foot or you’ll run past one eventually – similar bowlers see - Needless to say, after a quick look and a few runs - confident I could get down to him he would get his Googly working…..I could see Dad shaking his head outside the pavilion as I walked off on that occasion.
With: David Williams was lightning before he left us for Glamorgan and unfortunately sustained a stress fracture in his back. I don’t think he ever got back to where he once was in terms of Pace.
Shaun was right up there and generated serious pace when he could tear himself off the opposition.
Against: I’ll have to go outside the locality for this one, and select Ricky Ellcock, who was later selected to tour the West Indies with England to fight ‘fire with fire’ as they put it at the time. He also suffered a stress fracture of the back in a warm up game and was never heard of again.
Another fierce fast bowler and intense competitor, was Keith Arnold who played for Oxfordshire.
With: Nige Roberts – Nige won many games for Brymbo, Denbighshire and a few for Wales single-handedly. I fondly remember a minor counties game at Colwyn Bay, where we were chasing a fourth innings total to win the game. Their opening bowler was kicking himself off the bank starting his run up and was sharp to say the least.
When Nige came in, we were not many runs for two wickets and it was quite dark – after a short period of adjustment, Nige pulled him flat against the houses at the Bay…..which quite obviously upset him a little, and spurred him to run in faster and more aggressively. This contest only went on for two or three more overs, by which time Nige hit him OVER the houses and also into the nets on a number of occasions, before their captain decided his bowler wasn’t going to win this one! We won the game and Nige scored a hundred.
Nige was the cleanest striker of a cricket ball that I’ve ever seen.
I’ve also got to mention my partner in crime too. Stewart Williams was a model cricketer in every sense and a top batsman. One of the very best timers of the ball I have seen.
Stewart and I spent many very happy hours in the middle and had a definite telepathy while running between the wickets.
Against: Andy Puddle is my choice – Pudds was very quick to pick up length due to his fleet of foot. He was equally adept off front or back foot, and I was always of the opinion that he placed the ball better than most too.
With: I could easily pick Phil or Robbie, both were top keepers standing up or back – Rob had exceptionally good hands standing up when it went down the leg side. If I was picking a team I’d take Lloydy due to his batting qualities.
Against: Again, choose any one from two….Brian Williams or Chris Edwards, both top keepers, and would get in the majority of the teams as batsmen alone.
The Big Hitter:
It’s Nige for me, when he hit it, it stayed hit and it went a long way if he gave it air.
Lloydy, Stewart, and Nige Owen are my choice…..The three of them travelled uncomplainingly for years and gave great service to the club.
Nobody dropped many, Ross, Russell, Lloydy, Stewart, Shaun amongst others.
Ross had the best arm off the boundary and Russell when fielding in the inner circle. Others with good arms were Lloydy, Shaun, Stewart amongst others.
I rated fielders in three categories, close to the bat, 30 yds from the bat and boundary fielders who could catch and had good arms – with that in my mind I will mention, JMB, Dai Thomas, Lloydy and Stewart as good slip catchers. Russell Penrhyn, Andy Puddle, David Jones and Dad in his younger years. Ross, Shaun, Stewart and Russell as boundary fielders. Apologies for any obvious commissions.
Best No 11:
Nige Owen was a very reluctant batsman.
Ross for his brutality and I always admired Nige Owens on field sarcasm.
Keith Arnold of Oxfordshire was always a handful when opening the batting.
My Dad always had the right words at the right time, whether I needed picking up or taking down a step or two.
Proudest Cricketing Achievement:
Scoring the winning runs in a 50 odd not out against Cheshire at Neston with my Mum and Dad in attendance.
And for many years playing in a successful Brymbo team with many good mates, who would run through brick walls for each other. That’s where I was really at home.
Best Innings (most memorable):
Any of the hundreds I scored in winning causes, against Marchwiel, or in Welsh cup semi finals at the Crick.
Favourite Bowling Spell:
I once got a hat trick against Pontblyddyn, but generally any that contributed to a win.
170 odd against Flintshire
Stand Out Memories:
Seeing the joy in Dads eyes when we won the Welsh cup under his captaincy.
I haven’t played for about 16 years, so I don’t know them.
Three most important qualities that make a cricketer stand out:
A good work ethic, needs to be a good listener and able to dissect and act on sound advice, be able to enjoy the game regardless of personal success or failure.