Ryan just loves cricket
12:00am Sunday 24th February 2013 in Sport
There is no doubt that Ryan Lewis is one of the best known characters in division one of the Nicholas Insurance Pembrokeshire Cricket League Ryan Lewis.
The Cresselly all-rounder combines his big hitting exploits with some canny slow bowling that bamboozles opponents.
Ryan previously played at Pembroke Dock, starting out as a ten-year-old, followed by short stints at Stackpole and Pembroke before joining Cresselly 11 years ago. Now 36, he has played in seven Harrison-Allen Bowl finals with Cresselly and said he will stay there until it is time for him to stand down from the first division, and then plans to give a couple of seasons back at The Dock.
His first game at Imble Lane, where he regu l a r l y watched his dad Keith, came in 1986 as the 2nds were a man short a g a i n s t B u r t o n 3rds and he scored three runs.
But as he g r e w stronger so the runs flowed and w i ck e t s came. As a 15-year-old he played against Burton 2nds in an Alec Colley Cup match and took 4 for 17 as the opposition were shot out for 56-and then smashed 51 not out, including a six to win the game, as the Dock reached their 57 target in double-quick time!
He joined Stackpole for a short while and scored his share of runs.
He then joined Pembroke and had his first taste of cup finals with Nigel Phillips, Spencer Harries, Kevin Jenkins, Mark Fraser and Gwyn Griffiths in a Duggie Morris Cup Final at Burton. Ryan scored 43 but The Dock lost to a strong Carew side.
But then his work took him to East Park in Jeffreyston. It was in the village that he bumped into Cresselly player Damian Arthur, who said he would be welcome at Cresselly-and joined them at the same time that current skipper Phil W i l l i a m s arrived from Hundleton.
“I was made very welcome, ”
“Although it took a while to get used to the jokers.
After one match I carried my kit bag from the changi n g room across to the clubhouse and later discovered there was a concrete block hidden inside by Hugh Griffiths!”
As well as the laughter, however, there have also been dramatic moments - none more so than when son Josh was three months old and Ryan’s wife Michelle was walking him around the boundary against Lawrenny and a ball hit for six flew straight into the baby buggy and hit Josh on the head!
Ryan took Josh to hospital with the mark of the ball on his forehead - but luckily there was no lasting damage and today Josh is nine and playing for Cresselly.
Michelle still gives Ryan every support and daughter Jessica (6) plays football in school. There is a further family connection at Cresselly because Ryan’s younger brother Matthew is also an allrounder and will captain the club’s second team in 2013.
On the bowling front, Ryan started out trying to bowl quickly but damaged his hip-and it was veteran Richard Harris who suggested he tried slow bowling. He adapted quickly and has been bagging wickets ever since. He has often been Cresselly’s top wickettaker and in two seasons was runner- up in the ‘most wickets’ tables for the first division. His best performance was a 7 for 16 haul against Hook and there have been plenty of five-wicket hauls.
But it is his big-hitting that has often caught the eye, like the time when he played against Hook 2nds in the Alec Colley Cup. Cresselly scored more than 200 in their allotted overs and Ryan hit 113 of them before he was out in the final over, trying to add to his tally of ten sixes. He also rapped eight fours as he reached 50 in 12 balls, went to three figures from 30 deliveries and was out on the 34th ball faced!
Ryan’s seven Harrison-Allen Bowl finals have seen three wins so far: “There is nothing like the excitement of playing in the Bowl final at Cresselly,” admitted Ryan.
“There is a great atmosphere all day and I wouldn’t mind a couple more finals yet.”
Personal final highlights include taking eight wickets in the two innings against Carew and taking six wickets and hitting 42 off 17 balls against Neyland.
He also showed his commitment to the club during their excellent run in the National Village Cup competition where they earned a match against eventual winners Glynde Beddingham, down in Somerset. Ryan and his family were camping in Dorset the week before and the day of the match they were up at 6am and on the road to the ground, played the game (and lost) and then had a sixhour drive home afterwards!
He is now putting something back into the club, joining Nick Davies, Sion Jenkins and Rhydian Rees as the level two ECB coaches there. He started out with the under-9s team (now coached by brother Matthew) and has now taken charge of the Cresselly boys’ and girls’ teams at under-10.
“It is very satisfying to see our kids develop,” said Ryan.
“Especially with regard to more girls taking an interest.”
He coaches every Thursday evening during the season and also has two junior matches each weekend as well, so he certainly keeps busy off the pitch.
He was a keen junior player as he joined Ian Capon in the county team up to under-16 level and they opened the bowling and batting together. He played football for Monkton Swifts juniors as a winger-and in one season The Swifts took the league and cup double. They scored 106 goals while conceding just three. Ryan only scored once but it was a vital one as they edged home 1-0 against arch rivals Hakin United. He also played pool for the Jeffreyston Inn in the Narberth A League .
But now it is cricket that occupies much of his spare time and he still enjoys being at Cresselly.
“We won the league in 2011 and even last season, which was a poor one for us, we stuck together, with characters like Julian Arthur making sure we had some laughs as well as playing every match to win. I can’t wait for the new season and we will be going full out to improve, that’s for sure,” he said.
It is obvious Ryan Lewis enjoys his cricket and Cresselly Cricket Club is in safe hands with players like him getting involved, as he typifies the good spirit at the club.