This week Bill Carne met up with Rodney Kendrick, who loves sport with a passion and is currently playing for Letterston and Pembrokeshire Short Mat Bowls teams, as well as for Fishguard & Goodwick Bowls Club . . .

When the Pembrokeshire Short Mat Bowls team travelled to Hingham recently as the Welsh representatives in the UK Championship there is no doubt that one of the keenest members of the squad was Rodney Kendrick of Letterston Short Mat Bowls Club, because he loves all the sports he has played over 40 years - and shows it!

Rodney is totally involved in bowls now because he also plays indoor bowls for Fishguard and Goodwick but previously he was a founder member of Trecwn Cricket Club, which later morphed into Spittal and then Camrose before sadly became defunct a couple of seasons ago.

But by then he had taken up his interest in short mat bowls after many years as a fringe cricketer where he fitted in when required, scored or umpired, and also did a great job as Hon Secretary.

Not content with that little lot, Rodney also kept the most detailed records of every game the club played so that anyone involved with them knew exactly how many appearances they had made, their number of runs, wickets and catches, as well as a host of other specific details like best performances.

Rodney has every team photograph taken of the club and when he retires from his job as a bus driver he plans to write a book on the history of Trecwn/Spittal/Camrose Cricket Club.

In his younger days Rodney was also a more than useful darts player after starting out with the Trecwn Police Social Club and then playing in the Fishguard & Goodwick Super League squad that won the Pembrokeshire Super League competition at one time.

"It was a really good quality competition and I had a few 180s," said Rod, "as well as learning a lot from players of the calibre of John Brown.

"In the Trecwn Club we once raised money for charity by scoring a combined one million and one score over a very long and tiring weekend - but I must admit it was great fun.

Rodney has always been a football fan since he was a nipper and laughingly says that he had a 100% win record in a short career as a goalkeeper.

"I turned out as a keeper for the Fishguard Sports Junior team run by Ray Pudner in a match at Manorbier which was played on a frozen pitch - where we won 6-1 and I've never been so cold in all my life.

"I thought it might have been the start for me but because of a mix-up in communication I didn't know I was picked for the next game - and eventually my work commitments at that time meant I had little spare time on weekends!"

On the cricket front, Rodney's involvement started when he worked for 22 years in the Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Trecwn and when the possibility of a cricket team was mooted he was one of the first to join up to play on the football field at the depot.

Initially we played in friendlies before we eventually joined the Pembrokeshire League and did quite well to gain promotion to the fourth division.

"We moved to share Letterston's ground to have better facilities but we retained our name as we were joined by players of the calibre of Jerome Merry, Byron Williams, Billy Jones, Dai Isaac, Micky Wright and Robert John.

"There was always plenty of fun when we played and none more so than when big Robert played at Stackpole (where they provided my favourite teas!) and chased a ball to the boundary, but lost the race and ploughed into the electric fence that prevented nearby sheep from coming onto the outfield.

"To say there were sparks flying was an understatement and Rob certainly made sparks fly that day and luckily there was no lasting damage to the bolting sheep!"

Then short mat bowls at Letterston appeared in his life and he was made very welcome by members there by the likes of the late Dai Williams and his wife Shirley, the current club captain,   Selwyn Jenkins and the rest.

"It is a club that is really well run by Jeanette and Lesley, assisted by Shirley, and it wasn't long before I had broken into the ten-man team which has one each of singles, pairs, triples and four man rink for each game.

Rodney has enjoyed his share of success with Letterston as they once went a whole season undefeated, winning the league, cup, the Pauline Thomas Cup and the Letterston Cup, fending off the strong challenge of strong teams like Hook, Merlins Bridge and the rest.

He was first selected for the Pembrokeshire Short Mat Bowls team as long ago as 1999  and is still involved today after learning lots from players of the calibre of Paul Megson, Dai Williams, Marley and Sean Hughes, Martin Davies, Mikey John, Andrew and Alan Evans, Jonathan Gladstone and Carl Simmonds, to name but a few.

Pembrokeshire were holders of the Welsh title after victories over Carmarthenshire and West Glamorganshire, and so it was that Pembrokeshire's 24-player squad was bussed to Highnam for this year's big UK event against Oriel (representing Ireland) and West Midlands (England), with Rodney amongst them.

"We played two games each of singles, pairs, triples and rinks." Rodney told us, "and I thought we looked very smart in our two-tone blue tee-shirts, with the county badge emblazoned on them.

"When they played the national anthem as we marched out at the opening ceremony it was a great moment which I won't forget in a hurry."

As well as the short mat version of the game Rodney has also been playing outdoor bowls for seven years with Fishguard & Goodwick Bowls Club.

"It took me a while to settle to the longer distance but I love it now in matches across the county, where each team has four rinks and the combined totals count.

"Last season we were runners-up to a very good Milford Haven team in the league but won the Brains’ Cup by beating The Mariners on their home green in the Memorial Park at Pembroke Dock.

"There is a great camaraderie at our club which means we battle in all weathers, even if it is cold or pouring with rain. During games there are always plenty of comments and well-meaning advice, which suits Rodney because he loves a bit of banter.

But he also loves just being involved and we think his approach to sport is marvellous - and long may Rodney Kendrick continue to grace the sports in which he is involved!