This week Bill Carne caught up with Kurtis Marsh after the talented young cricketing all-rounder had helped Kilgetty first XI win the Alan Brown Cup and then be part of the youth team that has reached the Ormond Cup for the first time in exactly 50 years . . .

KURTIS Marsh is only 16 years of age but is already playing regular senior cricket at Kilgetty, played a part in their winning of the Alan Brown Cup for the second year in succession under the captaincy of Ian Poole – and has helped them into a promotion spot in the division three table.

Last season was a very good time for Kurtis because he was also involved in the Pembroke County junior team which became the first one representing Pembrokeshire to win a Welsh Regions Cup Final, but more of that later.

Kurtis certainly hails from a cricket-orientated family because joining him in the Kilgetty first team are older brothers Jake (23) and Kyle (19). Jake has already scored a few centuries for the club as a powerful stroke maker but missed the Alan Brown Cup Final because he had just gone off to HMS Raleigh in pursuit of a naval career. Kyle played in the final alongside Kurtis whilst parents Micky and Kathryn were at Whitland, cheering their sons and the rest of the team to victory over Camrose.

Micky used to play when he was younger in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, as a seam bowler and No 4 batsman who had a top score of 80-plus. He was also a useful footballer there, and now plays table tennis in the Carmarthenshire Premier League, whilst Kathryn was a good swimmer in her younger days.

“It was inevitable that Kurtis should play cricket,” Micky told us, “because we were always playing with a bat and ball in the garden – and him and his mates were always down at Kingsmoor Cricket Ground, practising in the nets.”

Kurtis readily admits to being ‘cricket mad’ but also plays football and has been goalkeeper for a few seasons with a Tenby AFC team well coached by Lloyd Goforth. He might be the smallest in the team but he makes up with a determination and commitment that allows him to command his penalty area and be a good shot stopper.

It is a similar competitive spirit that also serves him well in other sports like pool and darts, where he and brother Kyle play in the Kilgetty Darts League and are currently the doubles champions – and surely the youngest-ever winners in the league’s history.

Kurtis started out in Kwik Kricket at Stepaside School and moved smoothly through the Dragon Awards before joining Kilgetty Juniors when Louise Waters established a team at Kingsmoor.

When Kurtis set out with Kilgetty under 11s he always opened the batting and has had a couple of half centuries to his name, as well as his first century for Greenhill School in a Lord’s Taverners’ Cup match. He picked up leg-spin bowling almost by instinct and has had his share of wickets from his canny slow stuff. Travelling to train at the indoor school in Neath has been a commitment for Kurtis and his family but it has been a great help, not least with the development of his leg spin.

He clearly had potential because Martin Jones soon roped him to play at county level and Micky helped Martin with the coaching of an excellent team which had wonderful support from all the parents.

Last season saw them lose to Gwent in the early ‘round-robin’ section of the inter-regional championship but they played well elsewhere – and their team play really got off the ground when they went away on tour to Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, and won all their matches.

It really boosted their confidence and when they faced Gwent, who included several Welsh players, their belied their underdog status at Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd to win well.

They overcame the damp conditions much better than their opponents, played some great cricket and have their names written in Pembrokeshire Cricket history for their success.

Included in that team alongside Kurtis were the likes of Scott Jones, Geraint Jones, Tom Pritchard, Jack Parkinson, Jacob Knox, Daf Bevan, Tom Lewis, Gregg Thompson, - and they celebrated in true style as Micky did a barbecue for them at Kilgetty Cricket Club!

Kurtis has played senior cricket with Kilgetty over the past couple of seasons under the guidance of Ian Poole, as one of six teenagers who have broken into the first team and likely to form the backbone of the club’s team for the next few years. Ian has also taken him to have extra coaching with former Glamorgan bowler Darren Thomas, which was also a great help.

He plays alongside senior players like Ross Hardy, Anthony Bevan and Geoff Marsh with a maturity beyond his years and skipper Poole was quick to praise the contribution Kurtis has made to the team’s rise to promotion-seeking status in Division Three.

Ask Kurtis about ambitions and he would be likely to tell you that he just wants to carry on enjoying his cricket at Kilgetty. At the moment he is also part of the club’s Ormond Youth Cup team which has reached the final after beating a strong Neyland team, scoring 13 runs and claiming 2 for 18, and then Carew in a high-scoring semi-final match where he again grabbed two wickets.

His form for Kilgetty first XI has also been impressive because despite playing against mainly much older players his statistics have been impressive. He claimed 2 for 0 against Pembroke Dock and 2 for 16 against promotion rivals Camrose.

His best performance came against Lamphey, where he mesmerised the opposition in a 6 for 23 spell before easing his side home on 16 not – and was also undefeated on 29 against Neyland whilst picking up 2 for 21 when he bowled.

It all adds up to a talented young player beginning to emerge as a very useful cricketer and with full family support, plus Ian Poole and the rest of the Kilgetty contingent backing that up, we are sure to hear a great deal more about 16 year old Kurtis Marsh in the future!