Nigel Roberts

Brymbo Legends Interviews

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I’ve played cricket since I was five years old at Brymbo Cricket Club where my Dad, Dilwyn, played his cricket over many years. I made my debut at the age of 8 when Brymbo’s Sunday team were short and I just happened to have my kit handy. Now at 62, I play the odd game when the seconds are short, but not too often as I hurt a lot for the following week!!

I’ve also represented Wales; Wales Minor Counties; North Wales; Denbighshire; Glamorgan Second XI and have also had spells playing for Audley; Wem; Llanelli and Newton Heath.

I played for Brymbo in the North Wales Competition and North Wales Cricket League for many years and was a member of Brymbo’s Welsh Cup winning teams of 1987, 1988 and 1992 which, even now, are some of my proudest memories.

Brymbo Cricket Club is, and always has been, my number one Club. A true family affair, with my Dad playing, my brother, Ross, playing for them as long as me and still playing; and my son, Gareth, now enjoying playing for the Club.

I’ve been invited to answer a number of questions about my cricket career. A lot of youngsters probably won’t know many cricketers I’ve had the pleasure to play with, but hopefully for some of the older ones amongst us these names might stir a memory.

Answering some of these questions has been really difficult for me as I have the worst memory for cricket – well, for anything really! Phil Lloyd, where are you when I need you?

Anyway, here goes …..


Best player ever played with and against:
• With: Mark Jones (Wales Minor Counties, Denbighshire & Brymbo): Mark is a great all-round player, with a brilliant knowledge of the game. He would be number one for me on any team sheet.
• Against: Steve Wundke (Marchwiel): This was a player who could do everything – bat; bowl-quick; bowl-spin; lightening in the field, with a brilliant arm - and a great fella!


Best Captain:
Alan Jones (Brymbo): Alan was the most astute captain, who understood every situation of every game, and always seemed to make the right decisions at the right time. I’ve played with some ex-professional captains but none come even close to Alan.


Seam Bowler:
• With: My Dad, Dilwyn Roberts (Brymbo): He could make the ball talk, leaving batsmen shaking their heads on the way back to the pavilion. Matthew Maynard would testify to this!!
• Against: Rhys Jones (Pontblythyn): Needed a lot of concentration when playing against Rhys. Not the best run up ever but could zip it around with the best and never short of a comment or ten!!
• Also against: Arwel Morris (Wales Minor Counties, Denbighshire, Marchwiel): Arry was deceptively quick off a short run up, also got a bit of extra bounce. A very tricky customer.


Swing Bowler:
• With: Glyn Gibbons (Denbighshire & Colwyn Bay): One of the most laid-back people you could ever meet, Gibbo could swing that ball and seam it at will.
• Against: John Newcombe (Marchwiel): Needed a lot of concentration when playing against John, immaculate line and length.


Spin Bowler:
• With: Iqbal Sikander (North Wales &Prestatyn): Leg spinner who turned the ball square both ways; bowled an unreadable googly with perfect length and line.
• Against: John Dyson (Middlesex & Cheshire Minor Counties): A leg spinner, who bowled perfect line and length, turned it a lot … but at 75 mph!!


Quick Bowler:
• With: David Williams (Brymbo & Gresford): Rapid!! And an excellent batter too.
• Against: Curtly Ambrose (West Indies): The scariest sight on a pitch even without a ball in his hand. Terrifying with!! If he smiled … duck!!


Best batter:
• With: Mark Jones (Wales Minor Counties, Denbighshire & Brymbo): Always took the pressure off me!! Spent a lot of time at the crease with Mark. Great to watch.
• Against: Brian Lara (West Indies): He definitely had potential!


Best Wicket Keeper:
• With: Mike Davies (Wales, Wales Minor Counties & Llanelli): Played a lot over the years with Mike. Fantastic wicket keeper and motivator.
Club-wise, both Phil Lloyd (Wales, Denbighshire & Brymbo) & Robbie Blackwell (Denbighshire & Brymbo), were the stand out keepers for Brymbo for many years. Phil was also a very accomplished batsman and cricket encyclopaedia. Robbie was the best legside keeper around. Either of these two behind the stumps when I was bowling, always filled me with confidence.
• Against: Brian Williams (Flintshire & Mold): Lightening with the gloves, plus an excellent batsman.


The Big Hitter:
Ross Roberts – my little bro! (Denbighshire & Brymbo): No hesitation - massive hitter!!! Even one-handed! I’ve seen lots of top standard bowlers suddenly develop a bad back as soon as they saw Ross walking out to the wicket.


Mr Consistent:
John Shone (Denbighshire & Brymbo): John was as tough as old boots and took the knocks. You could always rely on John to give you the performance which the state of the game demanded.


Best Catcher:
Russell Penrhyn-Jones (Denbighshire & Brymbo): Safe hands, great fielder and as mad as a hatter!


Best Arm:
David Jones (Wales, Denbighshire & Marchwiel): Always picked the ball up cleanly and invariably returned it flat, straight over the top of the stumps.


Top Fielder:
Andy Puddle (Wales, Wales Minor Counties, Denbighshire & Colwyn Bay): Great fielder, great player.


Best Number 11:
Nigel Owen (Wales, Denbighshire & Brymbo): Fortunately, I only remember Nigel having to bat on a couple of occasions, but when he did, he went out there begrudgingly, keeping us all amused!!


Biggest Joker:
• Goes without saying – Ross Roberts! With him, there’s never a dull moment before, during or after a game. He always keeps you entertained with jokes observations and home brew!! Doesn’t take much seriously - but when he does, he’s one of the best players of the game I have ever known.


Toughest Opponent:
Stuart Mason (Shropshire, Marchwiel & Brymbo): The most gutsy, hard, aggressive opponent I ever played against and the best wind up merchant around. I also played with him for Brymbo in the 80s/90s. I remember him opening the batting at Mold in a midweek KO and getting his top front teeth knocked out when he was on about 70. He carried on as though nothing had happened; scored a 100 and even fielded the second innings. TOUGH!!


Inspiration:
• The people who have inspired me the most in the game are few and far between. Obviously, my dad, Dilwyn Roberts, was my greatest coach and calming influence in the early years.
• As I grew into the game, a certain Clive Lloyd (ex-West Indies Captain), became the symbol of the way I wanted to play the game. He was an aggressive batsman, brilliant cover fielder and bowled a mean bit of seam. I suppose 1 out of 3 ain’t bad!!
• I must add this though, the person who taught me the most about the game of cricket is Alan Jones (Mark Jones’ dad). Without doubt the best cricketing brain I have ever known. He could read a game at least 5 overs ahead of everyone else. An invariably consistent winner!!


Proudest cricketing achievement:
• Representing Wales at International (25 caps) and Minor Counties (35 caps) levels from 1978 to 1991, which included playing against the West Indies twice.


Best innings:
• Playing for Brymbo against Gowerton in the Welsh Cup final at Swansea in 1992. I scored 103. It was a fantastic feeling to win the cup for the third time and to do my bit as part of such a brilliant team. This really was one of those games where it was a team effort and every one of us played our part.


Favourite bowling spell:
• All of them!!


Highest innings:
• 218 for Brymbo against Colwyn Bay in the League in 1986.


Best bowling spell:
• 9 for 11 for Brymbo Youth, versus Denbigh Youth (approx. 1972).


Stand out memories:
• Ask Phil Lloyd!! He’ll tell you loads – I can listen to him reminiscing for hours, as he reminds me of games I’ve totally forgotten about and brings back some fantastic memories.
• 1982 - Haynes Formstone (one of the key figures in Brymbo, Denbighshire & North Wales cricket for over 50 years) knocking on my door at 10.00 am to tell me that I needed to be at Marchwiel Cricket Ground in half an hour as I was playing for a 3-day game for Wales against Denmark.


Biggest regret:
• In my career I’ve scored 91 centuries and my biggest regret is not reaching 100. Still, it’s not a bad record and it’s one that I’m still pretty proud of.


Promising youngster:
Connor Davies (Brymbo): Absolutely fantastic to see Connor back at Brymbo and hoping for great things to come from this superb young all-rounder.


The three most important qualities that make a cricketer stand out:
• For me, the three most important qualities are:
• Consistency
• Concentration
• Belief