AGM Reminder

Just a quick reminder that Hook Cricket Club AGM is just a few days away now. Could all members make every effort to attend please.

Our AGM is the most important meeting of the year, with a lot of crucial decisions being made for the season ahead so your attendance and your vote really do matter.

We hope to see you all at the club Thursday 20th February at 7.00 pm

Under the Spotlight

Welcome to the next in the series of IN THE SPOTLIGHT articles looking in a bit more depth at the characters involved in Hook Cricket Club. This article sees

CALLUM JAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Every club across the country has that one irrepressible character that is seemingly ever present and ever positive. Hook has the one and only Callum James, known to his mates, sports reporters and others as Callum or Clive or Connor or to most now as ‘The Goat’. Much amusement has been created by Callum constantly being misnamed in the local press – I smell a conspiracy!

So he took the matter into his own hands and very humbly nicknamed himself The Goat. Most remained perplexed for a few weeks until Callum revealed that he was indeed the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ aka The Goat! And the name seems to have stuck.

If there is something happening at the club, be it cricket, pool, darts and especially a party, you can pretty much guarantee that Callum will be there sporting that permanent smile and ready with a few comical barbs for anyone and everyone. But don’t be fooled; hiding behind that jokey, act the fool exterior there is a complete idiot!

Callum is a Hook boy through and through, born and bred, living in the village, working as a labourer, sorry, apprentice with a local plumbing firm and of course playing cricket for Hook. It is no surprise that he plays cricket, dad Keith being a stalwart of the club for many years and a very fine cricketer in his day. Mum Joy is central to the functioning of the club as a whole and regularly scores for the senior teams.

Callum has been at the club forever, starting out on the boundary as a little baby in his pushchair whilst Keith played and Joy made the teas. Hard to believe now looking at the skinny little runt, but as a baby he was a right little bubble of fat. Clearly he had an immediate love of cricket, constantly nagging mum and dad about when the season would be starting again. “After the Easter Bunny has been my little darling”, mum would tell him.

Nowadays Callum is a first team regular, despite constantly being threatened with being dropped by the skipper. In fact it would be fair to say the banter between Callum and skipper Jamie Phelps is becoming legendary. Facebook has now become a regular arena for this banter in the lead up to each Saturday fixture. The banter is top class and wonderfully personal. It would be fair to say that Callum has developed an innate ability to wind Phelpsy up (and he loves it), recently leading to him being blocked by the skipper for a period.

In recent weeks following a few decent knocks it would be fair to say that the Goat has been quick to publicise his success. In fact he normally gets some bullshit onto Facebook before the match has even finished, this without fail attracting a barrage of abuse. It’s brilliant stuff and in no small part is responsible for the fabulous buzz that currently exists within the club and upon which Callum himself thrives.

Callum started out in cricket at the age of seven, playing for Hook under 11s when they were short and the under 9s when that age group started up. He represented Pembrokeshire from the age of ten, playing in every junior age group under coach Ian Poole. He played with some very good cricketers in his age group including Toby Poole, Liam Cullen, Tom Murphy, Phil Llewellyn and Kieran Griffiths. His first senior game came at the age of thirteen amidst a very busy season, playing under 13s and 15s, senior and county cricket. There is no doubt that Callum had a love of cricket, even playing for one season with Llangwm at under 15s when Hook didn’t have a team!

Callum had one particularly successful season when his unsuspecting grandmother offered him £10 for every wicket he took! Unsurprisingly she retracted the offer the following season as it turned out to be an expensive year for her.

Callum clearly loves cricket but it would be fair to say he loves partying too. As much as he tries to ensure he turns up fit for duty on a Saturday, sometimes, much to the disgust of Phelpsy, he just can’t help but go out and get absolutely trolleyed on a Friday! Recently when opening the bowling in a home match, Callum remarked at the end of his sixth over that his hangover was finally wearing off. His seventh over was shocking so clearly he hadn’t drunk enough the night before!

But the truth is that the Goat, when you look past all the comedy, is clearly a talented cricketer. His opening stint in Whitland this season was superb and was deserving of a bag full of wickets. Despite his self-deprecation he can bat as well. He may be unorthodox but who cares. With more self-belief he could easily bat at number 10 each week! He is no mean fielder either; quick across the ground, a tremendous arm and catches at least one of every ten chances that come his way. It is this talent that saw Callum as a key member of the Cleddau Crusaders T20 team, winning the honour of playing in the Welsh finals at the Swalec Stadium last season and with the delayed Welsh Final coming up next month.

Despite constantly winding everyone up, I don’t think anyone could imagine Hook taking the field without the Goat. He is one of the heartbeats of the team and, whilst being competitive, cannot help but bring constant smiles to the faces of everyone, making cricket fun. It’s a safe bet that the Goat will be at the heart of the team and the club for many years to come. God help us all!

In The Spotlight

Welcome to the next in the series of IN THE SPOTLIGHT articles looking in a bit more depth at the characters involved in Hook Cricket Club. This article sees
PHIL GRIFFITHS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

When it comes to grassroots sport, any club in any sport anywhere has a lynchpin, a person who is at the centre of making things happen, making a club tick; that indispensable person who often goes unnoticed; the person without whom you wonder whether the clock would continue to tick. Hook CC has the ever popular and ubiquitous Phil Griffiths. 

‘Griff’ is never far from the centre of anything and everything that happens at the club. Club Chair, groundsman, player, scorer, fund raiser, lottery organiser, All Stars leader……I would go on but would use up the word count! You get the picture. Emphasising the humble person that Griff is, he seeks no personal kudos for all of his work. In fact he consciously avoids it. Last season again he refused to be considered for Clubman of the Year, dodging what would surely have been a landslide victory in the polls. 
Griff hails from a cricketing background, cricket being in the family blood. Burton blood that is, the Griffiths family being synonymous with Burton CC for as long as anyone can remember. Father Brian, after a long playing career, is the groundsman up the road at Hill Mountain, with brother Rob and nephew Niall regulars for Burton Seconds, Niall playing his junior cricket in Hook. 
From a very young age Griff would turn up at the Postage Stamp with his kit, hoping someone didn’t turn up so he could get a game with the old man. And so he played for years, other than defecting to Johnston for a few seasons. No mean guy with the bat in his day, whilst never reaching three figures he came damned close. Playing in Laugharne he was caught on the boundary on an agonising 97, this out of an opening partnership of 104! 
Griff met his wife Shan and moved to Hook 16 years ago. Joining the club he hit 70 to help the club beat Llangwm in the Harrison Allen. The cricketing gods had clearly had enough of Griff as he has conspired to give the scorers an easy life ever since. He then joined the committee a few years back. Despite his experience, a couple of years ago he made the cardinal error of going to the men’s room during the club AGM. On his return he found himself as club Chairman. Down there for dancing Griff!!
And of course, lest not forget his contribution in the clubhouse itself. One of the things Griff loves most about the club is the atmosphere after games and at events, especially the banter and spirit – at an all-time high he would say – and of course an Evan Martin sing song. Walk in and see a pint of Guinness on the bar, Griff won’t be far away. Albeit he would admit that he tries to stay as far away from Tootsie and Stavvy as possible to ensure he makes the end of the night. Luckily Griff tells me, his big buddies Andrew and Keith are just as shite at drinking as him! Holding court at the bar or trooping out for a smoke like the ‘Three Dwarves’ (Hi ho hi ho it’s off to smoke we go) this trio are seldom seen apart on a Saturday night.
 When asked about positive changes at the club, Griff points to the success of the junior section. The club has invested in the juniors for a number of years now and continues to reap the rewards. Seeing so many juniors making senior debuts this season is a real plus for Griff as is Hook being seen by some of the county’s bigger clubs as a role model for junior cricket. 

Back to the man himself and ask yourself a question. When was the last time you had some involvement with the club and Griff didn’t have a hand in it? If you turned up to play, Griff will have prepared the wicket and cut the outfield. Griff may well have been playing with you. If he wasn’t then he may have been scoring. If you read a post on the revamped club website, Griff probably posted it. If you checked your club lottery status, Griff will have updated it. And on it goes. It seems that Griff is never happier than when he is riding his mower or playing with his tools in the bottom garage. Stop being smutty you lot. No innuendo intended! 
Griff would be the first to point out, and rightly so, that many other people contribute to the success of the club. Every one of those people also does an amazing job and this is not to detract from any of them. 
Experience in grassroots sport suggests that many clubs take people like Griff for granted. It is sometimes comfortable to think that ‘The Elves’ turn up at midnight to do all the jobs. I don’t think Griff feels taken for granted and I don’t think he is. He does what he does because he loves it and long may this continue. No doubt he will remain the heartbeat of the club for years to come.

Under the Spotlight 2

Welcome to the second under the spotlight, delving a bit deeper into some of the characters involved with the cricket club. Bit of serious stuff, bit of fun, which hopefully you will enjoy reading. This article provides a…..

FOCUS ON THE BOWEN FAMILY

Village cricket clubs all have a strong element of family. Hook is no different with several generations of many families at the heart of the clubs history, present and future. One of the more recent families to join that list is the Bowens; Dafydd, Emily, Morgan and Mali. And a lovely family they are too.

Dafydd plays in the 2nd XI; Emily plays for Hook Ladies; Morgan plays for our Under 11s and Mali, hopefully a future cricketer herself is always around and about to support. More than that, these guys have immersed themselves into the heart of the club and village and are great supporters of the club.

Contrary to popular belief, Dafydd is not now a pig farmer from Rosebush. Along with Emily they run the very successful Moby Dicks food outlet (chippy to us commoners) in Merlins Bridge. And whilst we are at scotching nasty rumours, neither did Dafydd have an affair with a particularly attractive sheep in his younger days when living in the mountains. So can we all please move on!

But Dafydd, in his prime at 36, does hail from Rosebush in the hills of North Pembrokeshire. Best known in sporting circles for a successful rugby career, he notably played as part of an excellent Narberth side with the likes of ex-international and Swansea RFC legend Alan ‘Santa’ Reynolds and with Haverfordwest RFC. Dafydd played for Narberth from the age of 8 through to the senior team winning a host of trophies.

He captained the County team in all age groups and also made the Scarlets under 25 development side two years running, happily remembering turning over the Ospreys (get in there).

He now uses that experience as a very popular coach of Llangwm U13s, doing a great job having guided his young charges to the county cup semi-final last season.

After a brief flirtation with cricket in his teens at Maenclochog, Dafydd returned to the game with Hook and is a very popular member of the senior squad. With true determination Dafydd has turned himself into a handy cricketer, making his maiden 50 for the club last season and pouching a few wickets.

Current 1st XI skipper Jamie Phelps probably best summed up Dafydd’s involvement in cricket. Jamie said, “Dafydd epitomises what you can achieve in cricket with limited natural ability but steely determination to succeed – very little”.

Jamie didn’t actually say that, not aloud at least. That is just made up to get a cheap laugh!

Dafydd was also well known for showing cattle. In his younger days he very successfully competed in leading cattle around a field. “This is why I felt well qualified to stand for 2nd XI vice-captain” Dafydd says with a smile.

Emily also hails from Pembrokeshire and has immersed herself in club life. Along with her best friend Charlotte Neil, she is well known for running Rika Shake classes with a Hitleresque discipline. Her name is often taken in vain as her subjects stagger back home bathed in sweat at 7am after an early class. Emily herself is very active on the fitness front enjoying cycling, running and swimming. She also sits on the Community Council, further evidence of how the family has immersed itself in Hook life.

Emily plays for Hook ladies as a popular member of the squad. On turning up for a first practice to ‘give it a go’, Emily uncovered a talent for throwing a cricket ball. Akin to Lindsay Wagner (for those of you old enough to remember the bionic woman) she launched a throw of the like unseen in ladies cricket. They are still looking for that ball! She played a central role in 2017 when the Hook Ladies swept all before them in an amazing season.

10 year old Morgan, a pupil at Ysgol Glan Cleddau, is a great, popular young guy. As well as playing rugby for Llangwm, he is a key member of Hook under 11s. He loves his cricket and as with everything this lad does, he puts his heart and soul into every game. He was a member of the squad which reached the county final last season only to lose out to a very talented and deserving Lawrenny team. The highlight last season was a superb spell of bowling against Neyland, snapping up 3 wickets including the prize wicket of county player Charlie Malloy.

Typically understated, Morgan perhaps does not realise how good he could be but there is no doubt his talent will show through. The fact that he has already swum a mile, burning off a few older ones, shows his determination.

On the village and cricket club, Dafydd said, “We moved to Hook as we love the village environment and wanted our kids to be brought up in a safe and happy place. Hook has given us all of that and more. The community feel is great and everybody looks out for each other. Being part of the cricket club is an honour and we all thoroughly enjoy it, it’s one of the heartbeats of the village bringing people together.

It would be fair to say that this ever popular family are at the heart of the club. Let’s hope they remain there for many years to come. Think about it. If Dafydd wasn’t there who would we take the piss out of ?