NEYLAND Cricket Club celebrated 125 years with a special anniversary dinner on Saturday, enjoyed by around 90 current and past players, supporters and committee members.
After the dinner at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel, former England and Glamorgan spinner Robert Croft entertained the crowd with hilarious stories of his time with both the Welsh side and as part of the England team, including playing with legends such as Sir Viv Richards.
The off-spinner presented one of Neyland’s rising stars, Scott Jones (a leg-spinner) with his county cap during the evening’s celebrations.
Also among the guests was Tony Scourfield, the recently-elected Chairman of the Pembroke County Cricket Club and his wife Janice.
Mr Scourfield thanked the club for his invitation and said that he felt a strong Neyland team was essential to, and indicative of, the health of cricket in Pembrokeshire.
The evening looked back over 125 years of cricket in Neyland and came at a time when the club is enjoying the most successful period in its long history.
A table proudly showed off the clean sweep of the First XI’s league championship, Duggie Morris and Harrison-Allen Bowl silverware, alongside the now traditional indoor league trophy, plus the Second XI’s Division 4 title.
And the evening came just a week after the all-conquering indoor team won through to Lord’s to battle it out to become the top indoor team in the UK that will take place this Sunday.
Indoor cricket captain Sean Hannon said: “We’re representing the Midlands in the final and also carrying the flag for Pembrokeshire and Wales.
“We’re really excited at the prospect of playing at Lord’s. We are going to soak it all up and take each game as it comes.”
Chairman Andrew Smith spoke well about the traditions and history of the club, which has had good and bad times, but it was an emotional speech by immediate past secretary Martyn Rees, that earned a standing ovation.
Then it was over to Robert Croft who told of facing legendary South African pace bowler Allan Donald (95mph) and his Ashes experience of famous Aussie quick Glenn McGrath “bowling bouncers at me for two months”.
Croft spoke for around 40 minutes and had the crowd laughing from the first minute to the last.
The dinner, organised by Yvonne Jones, Jenny Seaton and Jason Milne, was the first in what is hoped to be a series of events to mark the 125th year of the club.