This week Bill Carne welcomes home 15 year old Kieran Griffiths, who is doing really well on a sports scholarship at Millfield School but is currently back home and scoring heaps of runs for Haverfordwest Cricket Club . . .

WHEN Haverfordwest Cricket Club’s 2nd XI gained a surprise win over division two leaders Johnston in a recent league match their batting was led in reaching a massive total of 250 runs to win by Kieran Griffiths, with 109 not out.

It was a superb innings that included no fewer than 15 fours and three sixes and was all the more remarkable because Kieran is only 15 years old and playing a with a maturity well beyond his age as he shared an opening partnership of 152 with local head teacher David Haynes (61) and then an unbroken stand of 99 with Kashif Ijaz (74)

It was only Kieran’s third innings of the season for The Town, following on from previous scores of 20 in wet conditions at Pembroke and 65 not out against Carew 2nds on The Racecourse as he has just returned from his first of a two-year sports’ scholarship at Millfield School in which he has excelled in cricket and rugby.

He was awarded the scholarship on the basis of his performances at both sports, and came about when his father Adrian, a former captain of the Welsh Cricket team in the Minor Counties, was watching Kieran’s step-brother David play first-class cricket at Hampshire and bumped in to Mark Garaway, who helps organise cricket at Millfield.

Mark mentioned that he would be interested in offering Kieran one of the highly-sought scholarships at the famous school, which is renowned for its sporting facilities and actually has five senior teams and another three at under 16 level.

After much family discussion with dad Adrian and mum Sharon, who have been brilliant with their support, about Kieran going away to be educated, he attended training sessions for both sports.

The rugby fitness tests and training session were organised by John Mallett, the former England prop who now runs rugby at the school, and the cricket by Richard Ellison, the ex-Kent and England all-rounder.

There were also English, Maths and ICT tests to master and it is to the school’s credit that they can help Kieran with his form of dyslexia as they confirmed his acceptance.

“I was very nervous about going away,” admitted Kieran, “but a few days before the term started I went on tour with the school’s under 16 squad to the Reading area and got to know the rest of the players.

“Some of them having been at Millfield for a few years before me and I roomed with Milo Lakin, who plays on the wing and can run 100 metres in 11 seconds dead!

“I was delighted to be in the Under 16 A team and in the year we won 12 of our 14 matches as we scored 435 points and conceded 145.

Kieran played in the centre for the whole season and they reached the seventh round of the NatWest Cup for his age group. As well as such good results in the 15 a-side matches he was also a regular in the Sevens’ squad that won four out of five competitions, including the Hampshire, London and Wimbledon Sevens – and was captain or vice-captain for all of them.

It has been a similar story in cricket as Kieran has been part of the first team for his age category, and was chosen as vice-captain at the start of the campaign.

“We play 40-over matches against local schools and other public schools like Wellington, Sherbourne, Kings and Taunton School,” he told us, “and we won our section of the 20/20 cup before missing out in the final of the English Schools Trophy.

“I had a couple of 80s in the 20/20 and had 99 not out in a longer game where I didn’t realise I was on 96 with two balls left, hit a two and ran an overthrow so I wasn’t facing the last ball,” he explained with a chuckle!

Unfortunately, Kieran hasn’t been able to bowl because he has suffered from back spasms but he has one-on-one sessions with Mark Garaway, sometimes being allowed to miss an ICT lesson as part of his training routine before important matches.

But it is not only sport that keeps Kieran busy because there is so much else expected of the students. His room, which he shares with two other students, is at King Weston House, run by a house master and with 53 students from 13 to 18, and breakfast is at 8pm so he can travel the short distance to school for a 9.15 start.

There are five lessons a day and a compulsory prep/homework time of one hour each night, which is non-negotiable, as a teacher sits in at this study time before supper is served just before 7pm.

Monday sees a rugby fitness training session at 7am (which means a taxi into school) and a shorter session during lunch time on Tuesdays. Games against other schools in the area are played on Wednesday afternoons and if there are no games then it is more skills training – small wonder that Millfield do so well.

When he goes back he faces the challenge of GCSE exams, amongst them English, Maths, all the Sciences, PE, Food and Nutrition, plus the chance to get back into the rugby action.

Since being at Millfield he has gone from strength to strength in both sports; and he can also enjoy a whole range of other sports like kayaking, swimming, golf (there is an eight-hole course in school!), squash and canoeing, if he can find any spare time, that is.

Ask Kieran about help he has received and he would mention dad Adrian, mum Sharon, sister Nina and step-brother David as great supporters, alongside the other players at Haverfordwest Cricket Club, who have all welcomed his return.

There is no doubt that Kieran Griffiths is a very committed and likeable young man who loves being involved in sport and there is no doubt that we will be hearing a great deal more of his exploits in the future at Millfield School!