HAYDN Shapcott has spent about 17 years playing football and cricket for Carew, and always given 100% support in both sports in the south-county village.

And his current batch of younger team mates in both summer and winter sports might be surprised that in his younger days he was a very good roller-blader who competed ‘up the line’ and at 38 he still surfs as often as possible, with some aplomb!

Haydn’s football began at Cosheston Primary School and Pembroke School with friends Gareth Lewis and Tim Pope - and then at Bush Camp after receiving a letter inviting him to play with the late, great Frankie Donovan’s team that also included James Stewart, Wayne Brunton, Marcus Hagley, Andrew Evans and Jason Beynon.

“We then moved to play at Monkton Swifts and from under 11s to under 16s we won every league and cup double on offer, often winning matches by scores of up to 25-0 on the old pitch next to the cemetery at Monkton.

“I did train with Swansea Cygnets at Johnstown, and played a few games but it came to nothing and I returned to Monkton for the rest of the 16s campaign.

“From there I set out in senior football with a few games for Cosheston but I was pretty green and didn’t really enjoy it.”

It was at this time that Haydn focussed on his surfing at Freshwater West and Manorbier as he joined some school friends on regular trips to both beaches.

“I surfed in Cornwall on a number of occasions and also in Portugal, and I still enjoy riding the surf, but only when the Pembrokeshire weather is warm enough in summer,” laughed Haydn!

Another lesser-known sport that occupied much of Haydn’s leisure time at this stage in his life was roller blading, which he started on the roads around his home, with no superb facilities like the one near County Hall available in Haverfordwest then so we used hand rails, walls and home-made ramps to develop our skills.

“We did travel to a smallish skate park near Bridgend and I also competed at places like London, Bristol and Bath, taking the train to these venues, where I won quite a few trophies as reward for many hours of patient practice.”

In his early teens Haydn also played cricket at the Pembroke ground which was close to his home, joining the likes of Ben Woolacott, James White, Tim Pope and Huw Thomas in a team which won their section of the junior league.

“My current team mates at Carew might be surprised that I was regarded as a bowler then and I played for a strong county team which had players of the calibre of Steve Lewis, Cliff Jones, Gareth Lewis and Simon Cole - but then, like football, I took time out to pursue my other interests.”

Haydn restarted his cricket as a 21 year old at Carew after he had begun playing football in the village and they had just formed a third team and were short on a day when the surf wasn’t up to much and agreed to help out.

“My debut came against Cresselly at St Florence and it wasn’t the best of starts as Martin Cole laughed at my fielding as I chased a ball and kicked it over the boundary!

“I took a wicket with my first ball but then bowled seven wides in my first over, scored 25 runs, had a great time - and was well and truly hooked!”

Haydn played in the third team for two seasons where they won the Ken Morris Cup in Narberth and then progressed to the second XI as he worked hard at his batting and it paid off.

“I captained the seconds for a season but found it tough because we had so many inexperienced players in a high division so decided to focus on my own performances and handed the reins over to David Rees, who did a good job.”

In the intervening time he has come within a whisker of a century but just missed out so it gives him something still to aim for.

“I had 98 not out against Pembroke but ran out of time because I didn’t know I was so close and once, an Alec Colley Cup match against Johnston, I reached 99 but was bowled off the last ball of the 20 overs. It was a similar story against Llechryd, when on 98, I went for a six to reach three figures in style - and to my dismay got caught at long off!”

Haydn has played a few times for the first team, with one Village Cup match being memorable, not only for a win in Somerset but because their bus broke down - and the team and supporters had to sleep on it all night!

Back with football, Haydn started with Carew in a team managed by Gerald Hicks and was made welcome by the likes of Brian Hall as he made his first-team debut, scored two goals and promptly found himself picked in the seconds next week!

17 years later he is still playing for the first team and as a concession to being by far the oldest player is installed at left back after many years in midfield.

He had one season away from Carew, where he followed Mike Lewis to Tenby but missed characters like Richard and Paul Bullock, Martin Cole, Jeremy Griffiths, Russell Knox, Brian and Gerald.

A real highlight was playing in the 2005 Senior Cup Final, a great experience at Monkton Lane, but there was no happy ending as they were beaten by St Ishmaels.

Another time to remember came when Carew had been relegated and were struggling in Division Two.

“We had to get a draw to stay up in our last game but were trailing 1-0 with minutes to go when I took a free kick and thumped a left-foot drive into the top corner!

“We stayed up, gradually regrouped and got promoted - and are now still in the top division.”

“It is still great fun to play both sports at Carew and I’ve been lucky to have had so much enjoyment there,” he said - and there is no doubt that he has always contributed 100% in both sports and it is of mutual benefit because Haydn has been a great club servant and is a real gentleman of sport!