This week Bill Carne journeyed to Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn to watch Whitland RFC train and afterwards we spoke to talented teenage back row player Cyle Weatherall about his earlier play at Pembroke Youth and now as a senior squad player with the Borderers . . .

At 19 years of age Cyle Weatherall has successfully made the transition from youth rugby at Pembroke to being an ever-present so far in the Whitland RFC first team squad – no mean feat since the Borderers play their rugby in Division One (West) of the National League set-up.

Cyle has been in the starting formation for every match as he has slotted into Richard Jones’s team as a blind-side flanker alongside back-five players of vast experience like New Zealander Raff Williams, Dai Ebsworth and Jack Mason.

Cyle has worked tremendously hard at developing his upper-body strength and general fitness – and his hard work showed up when the Borderers gained their first win in four starts against Amman United as he marked that much-needed success with his first try in the green and white hooped shirts!

Cyle used to play football for a Monkton Swifts outfit at under 16 level, with well-known referee Chris Stapleton in charge but fixtures often clashed and he chose the oval ball game in favour of football.

Although Cyle plays cricket as something of an all-rounder for Lamphey 2nds (six wickets in one match and a top score of 29), and has dabbled in field sports with his father Haydn, it is rugby that has always been his first sporting love as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather (the late Freddie Weatherall), who played for Pembroke for many years.

Kyle’s dad Haydn takes him to play for the Borderers and enjoys the matches, with Cyle’s mum Donna also a fan of rugby because she is a niece of Pembroke Dock Quins ‘legends’ Roy and Lennie Scourfield. His brothers Luke, Stuart, Christopher and Stephen have all played the game at some time or other and sister Rebecca is keen on hockey and football so it is perhaps only natural that as the youngest in a sports-minded family he should be so involved.

Cyle started out as an 11 year old under the watchful eye of games teacher Mr Gareth Thomas at Pembroke Comprehensive School and played for Pembrokeshire Schools at every level from then until he left school. He also played for Pembroke RFC at the same time and went through all the age groups in their junior section at Crickmarren.

He wasn’t very big in those days and set out as a hooker but in recent seasons he has shot up to 6’ 1” tall and weighing in at over 15 stone so the move from the front row to the back row, via a spell in the ‘engine room’ of the second row, was perhaps inevitable because he is also a good ball carrier as well as strong tackler.

Last season saw him play at No 8 for Pembroke Youth in a good team, coached by Clive ‘Tosh’ Rowlands, which included the likes of Rob Hearne, Gianluca Tremarco, Jim Brace, Craig Dow and Gus Norman. His performances with Pembroke earned him selection for the Pembrokeshire Youth squad and he played in a winning team against the likes of Carmarthen West in the early stages and then Rhondda in the semi-final at Swansea.

This led to a cup final appearance against a very strong Gwent side in the final, played at the Millennium Stadium.

“We were really shattered to lose but the consolation was the fact that we played at the home of Welsh Rugby and I will never forget running out onto the pitch at the Millennium Stadium – it was amazing!”

In that game he played alongside Mark Greenish, who plays for Whitland and told Cyle he ought to try his luck in senior rugby with the Borderers.

After a great deal of thought, because Cyle really did enjoy playing for the young Scarlets, he decided he would give it a try at getting into Whitland’s squad for the Welsh League Division One (West) and was soon in the thick of pre-season training. Rob Hearne also signed for Whitland but he is currently studying at Chester so hasn’t been involved yet.

“It was harder than I was used to before,” admitted Cyle, “but I soon adapted to the extra pace and increased power at this much higher level, thanks to the help and advice I have received from coach Richard ‘Stag’ Jones and Arwyn Thomas, who had seen me play for Pembroke Youth and recommended me to ‘Stag’.”

Cyle trained hard pre-season, with fitness under Richard Jones on Mondays and skills, allied to game plans, on Thursday.

“It was very intense,” admitted Cyle, “but I was delighted to be picked to start as blind side flanker for both pre-season friendlies at Llanybydder and home to Dunvant, with my first try for the club at Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn against Amman United as the icing on the cake!”

Richard Jones told us,

“Cyle is a very good young player who still has a way to go but has already shown that he is ready to give total commitment to our club in terms of hard work in training and following our game plan in matches.

“He tackles well, covers tirelessly and soaks up advice like a sponge so we are delighted he decided to join us.

“If he maintains his current rate of progress he is going to be a real asset for Whitland RFC.

It is high praise from someone not known for doling out too much praise since he likes to keep his players’ feet firmly on the ground.

Ask Cyle about future hopes and he would be quick to say that he would like to take his rugby as far it will go, hopefully to gaining a living from the game if things go to plan – and we wish this modest, but talented, young rugby player much future success..