Cresselly Cricket Club – A ‘select XI’:

Stefan Jenkins says it has been a pleasure to be asked by Bill Carne to select a Cresselly CC team of the last 20 years

"Alongside creating this team and developing the player profiles which we launched on our social media pages recently, the lockdown period has been really useful time to reflect on a period that has been really successful for Cresselly CC.

"However, it has not been easy selecting this Cresselly 2000-2020 team because of the wealth of talent that has existed there.  

"I could not do this on my own, however, and in creating this team, I found it necessary to speak to quite a few people from the club including Richard Harris, Neilson Cole, Phil Williams, Simon Cole, Ryan Lewis and Richard Arthur about who would be in their team and it has been interesting to compare and contrast.

"There are couple of notable exceptions – Dan Cherry, Jack Murphy and Dan Sutton. All three players have played at higher levels and could easily have made this team, but as they have only played for two seasons in the first XI during the 20 years I have not selected them in this squad.

"I am sure other people will have different opinions but this is the squad that I have chosen."

1. Richard Harris

Quite simply one of the best cricketers to come from Pembrokeshire and he continues to show his love and passion for the game as he has represented Wales and England at 50’s and 60’s level. He was the first captain I played under, and Richard always led from the front. Richard was always the man to rescue us from a slump or if we lost a few wickets, he would steady the ship. He was unbelievable at accumulating runs but his bowling was also seriously good. In fact, as he got older, his bowling got better and better. He would still be able to play in the firsts now as a bowler and has often been called up to the 1st XI to do a job.

2. Phil Williams
‘Taffy’ signed for us from Hundleton in 2001 and from starting as a lower order batsman he established himself as an opening batsman. He has oozed class at the top of the innings and has scored big runs, often finishing as the top league run scorer in the side. His place has been in jeopardy at times with the arrival of Dan Sutton and Adam Chandler establishing himself at the top of the order, however, he has always come back stronger and continues to show his class with the bat. Phil also captained the 1st XI League winning side of 2011. He was a great captain who always knew how to get the best out of his players and he also had enormous faith in his plans and players.

3. Simon Cole

‘Snowy’ is quite simply the best batsman and cricketer I have seen in a Cresselly shirt. He has been an ever-present in the side throughout the twenty years, bar one season where he represented Gowerton in the South Wales League. Through every success the side has seen, he has been at the face of it. From a Man of the Match-winning performance in the Harrison Allen Final in 2006, to winning the double as captain in 2009. At one point, we held all the major trophies between 2009 and 2010. He also led the side to the Village Cup semi-final in 2009. He set the highest standards as captain and it was his drive that helped us to that success. Simon has won the bowl on 4 occasions during this time period but it may have been more had it not been for injury in 2016 and 2017. Simon’s fielding is on a different level to many but he is also an excellent off spin bowler who has taken a lot of wickets and would have no doubt taken many more if it weren’t for the strength of our slow bowling attack.

4. Adam Chandler

Consistently one of the best batsman the club has had over the last 20 years. Adam has, for the majority of the time played at Cresselly and his runs have been an integral part of the success of the club and he was a mainstay of the team who won the Bowl in 2005, 2006 and 2009 and league titles in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Later on in his career he moved to opening the batting and this move saw him score even more runs on a more consistent basis. He was also part of the team that played in 4 more finals in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.  He has not only topped the runs chart for the club but county as well.

5. Iwan Izzard

‘Izzy’ has established himself as an outstanding batsman for the club, breaking into the 1st XI in 2012. He has risen through the ranks at the club, firstly being part of David Cherry’s first-ever 3rd XI squad, then scoring big runs for the seconds before taking his chances in the 1st XI, and then not looking back. He is extremely dangerous as a batsman and has scored big runs. He was key member of the team that lifted the Harrison Allen Bowl on 2018 with a huge win against local rivals Lawrenny. He has now taken on the mantle of the club captain and I’m sure this responsibility will help him to become an even better player and bring the club more success in the future.

6. Julian Arthur

I had a really tough choice here between picking Julian, brother Damian or Matthew Morgan. Matthew was undoubtedly one of the best young players I have seen come through at Cresselly and if he had continued to play with us, I am in no doubt he would have been in this team. Damian was also key member of our team during some of our biggest moments. However, whilst looking back on our successes between 2000 and 2012, ‘Psycho’ was instrumental in everything we did. He was a very dangerous lower order batsman but it was his move to opening the batting that signalled a more attacking and threatening approach from us and it was this attacking threat that helped to success in the shorter format competitions. He also scored big runs in the league and was ever present in the league title successes.

7. Lyn Richards (Capt)

Without doubt the best captain I played under, Lyn was inspirational as a leader and managed to get the very best out of everyone. Under Lyn, we may not have had the strongest set of individual players, but collectively, we all knew what our role was and what we needed to do. Lyn led the side to victory with a Man of the Match performance against Carew in the Harrison Allen Bowl in 2005 after a 21-year drought and this was the catalyst for winning again in 2006 and then under Simon Cole in 2009. He was a key member of the three title winning sides between 2009 and 2011. Lyn opened the bowling for years from the clubhouse end and could still do a job now with his miserly line and length.

8. Ryan Lewis

When Ryan first joined us in 2001, I must say I was apprehensive at the least about this new character in the club. He was a fast bowler who tried to smash it everywhere and smash it he did! He has scored two of the quickest centuries I have ever seen - 25 balls v Lawrenny and 30 balls v Hook 2nds. It was Ryan as a bowler though that has seen him become one of the most respected players in the county and it was a move from fast bowler to slow bowler that coincided with us winning titles and cups. He has regularly topped the wicket-taking charts but it is ability to stem the flow of runs that was his best asset. His ability to control the ball has seen him opening the bowling in the shorter format of the game. It’s fair to say Ryan can be misunderstood from the outside, but on the inside, there’s no one else you would want fighting for your club.

9. Mike Shaw

Flossy has been an outstanding acquisition for us. Since joining from Sudbrook CC in 2014 he has been integral part of the side and during the 6 years he has been at the club, he has played in 4 Harrison Allen Bowl finals and was part of the team that lifted the cup in 2018. He has taken a stack load of wickets in his time at the club but like Ryan, it has been his ability to stop runs being scored. Mike has often been used as an opening bowler in the shorter format game, but is also a very handy batsman.

10. Neilson Cole (Wicketkeeper)

‘Nelly’ has been the 1st XI wicket keeper now for over 16 years and has been part of every successful side during the 20-year period. In that time he has played in 8 Harrison Allen Finals, winning 4 of them and lifting one as captain in 2018. He has won the league title on 3 occasions and was part of the Village Cup semi-final side. He has been a club captain for many years and led the side to 3 consecutive Bowl finals. He is also an extremely useful batsman but has often struggled to bat himself in a slot to score runs on a regular basis in a side that was full of so many talented batsmen.

11. Huw Neale

I found it very difficult to select the last place in this side, but with the side that I have picked, an opening bowler is needed to spearhead the attack alongside Lyn. There are numerous people that would be worthy of selection – Phil James, myself, Sam Harts, Tom Murphy, Tom Arthur, Sion Jenkins, James Caine, Dan James and Neil Gregory to name a few but I have chosen Huw Neale who opened the bowling for Cresselly for the years between 2000 and 2006. Huw was a fantastic bowler who had good pace and could make things happen with the ball. He took wickets but also was hard to score runs against. He was a very handy batsman too and could score runs at the end of the innings.

12th man: Matthew Morgan

Matthew is really unlucky not to be in this side and if he had played a few more seasons, I’m in no doubt he would have been in it. He was a classy left handed batsman who made scoring runs look effortless. He showed both in the league and shorter formats how you didn’t need to be powerful to accumulate big runs. His ability to find gaps in the field and run quickly between the wickets meant he scored quickly without needing to clear the boundary. We have really missed him since he stopped playing for us. He was also a very useful bowler.