THE last year has been amazing for 75 year old Nick Evans, who has done so much in local cricket and whose total absorption in the summer sport has seen him elected as President of the Pembroke County Cricket Club for the next five years.

This five-year term of office is fitting reward for 60 years of taking part as a player right up until now, spending almost 30 years as a member of the executive committee of local cricket, being a founder member of both the Pembrokeshire Association of Cricket Coaches, where he is also President, and the initiator of women’s cricket on a formal basis in our county and indeed in Wales.

But as well as this appointment as the figurehead of Pembrokeshire Cricket he has also received honours aplenty in Wales and the UK for his participation.

Last August he received a letter telling him he'd been chosen as the winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Cricket Wales’ and was one of six coaches to receive a certificate on the pitch from the chairman of the Welsh Cricket Board at lunch-time in a match between Glamorgan and Gloucester. There was a very nice lunch provided and it was a memorable day for Nick.

This was followed by another letter, in September, this time from the English Cricket Board, which governs cricket in the UK, inviting him to their ‘Coach Awards Recognition Day’ at Edgbaston during an England versus Pakistan test match, so that he could collect his coaching long service award.

“My award was presented to me during lunch by former England captain Nasser Hussain and my name was announced over the speakers and my photograph appeared on the giant screen- and there was plenty of cheering because some of the players from Lawrenny and Cresselly were there and let me know!”

As if this wasn’t enough, Nick received an invite to the ‘Cricket Oscars’ awards at Lord’s in late September, where long-service in coaching was recognised - and he was chosen as a Welsh representative.

“We met at a building near the Nursery End of the world-famous ground and then had a guided tour which of the Long Room, changing rooms and pitch, and during a long lunch Jonathan Agnew interviewed James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Marcus Trescothick before Mike Gatting also spoke.”

Then Nick was proposed for the ‘Unsung Hero’ award with Sport Pembrokeshire at Folly Farm and was chosen as the winner for 2016!
On November 29 it was off to London again for Mr Evans, as one of three nominations for the ‘Lifetime Achievement in Sport’ section of the UK Coaching Awards, held at the Holiday Inn in Wembley.

“It was a swish occasion and I was astonished when I saw the superb programme where my picture and pen portrait were alongside Jurgen Grobler, who has coached Great Britain’s Olympic rowers to medals in seven Olympic Games, and Eddie McClusky, a cracking Scotsman who has coached swimming for 40 years and included four Paralympians, so I was delighted to be runner up to Mr Grobler!

“We were introduced to Princess Ann, who asked me where I was from, how long I'd been coaching and to keep up the good work - in the programme it said it was ‘a golden celebration of coaching’ and that was right!”

Then came December 6 and another Cardiff trip, this time for the ‘Wales Sport’ Awards after he had received a call telling him he had been nominated for their ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and chosen as winner.

They did an impromptu interview with him for the radio and on the night, another black tie evening at the Millennium Centre, his success was announced by Jason Mohammed and during the evening he spoke to a number of sportsmen, including Sir Gareth Edwards.

And to round off an amazing six months Nick was invited by Cllr Tony Brinsden, the chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, to a reception in County Hall in recognition of his achievements, with Nick’s family and close friends also there.

“I regarded it as another honour,” said Nick, “and with the County Club AGM following soon afterwards I will never forget this time.”

It must seem a long way from almost 60 years ago when he started in cricket, and in the intervening half century played for Pembrokeshire more than 100 times as an off-spinner after his debut against Glamorgan 2nds at Pontarddulais in 1960.

Nick has also appeared in about 12 Harrison-Allen Bowl Finals, with the rare claim to fame that they took place for three separate clubs, starting with Narberth in 1959 and continuing with Kilgetty and Cresselly.

He still plays for Narberth Seconds and already this season he has taken more than his share of wickets, as he did when he travelled to Sri Lanka in November with the Welsh Over 50s and just beat fellow Pembrokeshire all-rounder Richard Harris to the best wicket-taker tag!

In other areas Nick has also been a leading light, none more so than in coaching after joining the inaugural course run by Tom Cartwright and is still serving as President of the Pembrokeshire Association of Cricket Coaches, and regional manager of the selection process.

Nick will continue as assistant secretary of county cricket for the short term and will visit every club as often as he can, dressed smartly in his blazer once he acquires a county club badge to have sewn on it.

“I am hoping for plenty of exciting games with a competitive spirit, but always with the emphasis on respect for umpires, opponents and the ethos of sportsmanship.

“It is awful when anyone crosses the red line in terms of indiscipline and it is to be hoped the game is always played in the correct spirit.”

Nick can speak from experience in this matter, having played all around the world - and we wish him a splendid term of office as he is a real ambassador for the game!