One of the highlights of the local sporting calendar, the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2022 were held at Folly Farm.
Celebrating the outstanding achievements of sportspeople, coaches and volunteers, the ceremony last Friday recognised 13 award-winners in a variety of categories, the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award – plus the School Award.
The ceremony was organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, and sponsored by Valero, the Western Telegraph, Pure West Radio, Folly Farm and Pembrokeshire County Council. It was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cris Tomos.
The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was dual code international rugby player and coach Rowland Phillips.
A native of St Davids, Rowland played in the backrow for the legendary Neath pack and won ten caps for Wales between 1987-1990 before moving to rugby league and signing for Warrington.
He also played for Rochdale, Oldham and Workington; won the Regal Trophy and represented Wales and Great Britain.
His coaching career was equally impressive. In 2003, he returned to his beloved Neath and led them to four successive Premiership titles and three Cup Final victories.
He undertook top roles home and abroad with among others the Ospreys, London Welsh and Wales Under-18s.
He has also been coach of the Wales Women’s national side, with his daughter, Carys achieving international success too, in her dad’s footsteps.
“Rowland has achieved international success but remained close to his family and community. He’s a real role model,” said Geoff Williams, retired Head of BBC Sport Wales, who presented him with the award.
The winner of the Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr Pat Davies, was Brian Griffiths of Burton Cricket Club – an active member of the club for 72 years.
Brian played his debut as an 11 year old when he turned up to score but was asked to play when the team found itself with only ten men!
As well as playing a huge number of games for club and county he was also an excellent coach for over 40 years, initially with Burton and later on in the Pembrokeshire coaching set-up.
In recent years, Brian also umpired the club’s second team but his major contribution has been as the groundsman at Oatfield Park.
Burton all-rounder Steve Jones said: “Brian Griffiths has always typified the very best of cricket, on and off the field.
“He has been an excellent player over such a long period and worked tirelessly as a coach and groundsman. But above all that he really is a gentleman of the sport.”
In addition to the worthy finalists and winners, Sport Pembrokeshire also recognised Johnston CP School for its commitment to health and wellbeing.
Sponsored by Pembrokeshire County Council, the School Award was presented by Steven Richards-Downes, Director of Education.
Johnston school has developed their provision of inclusive sport with 12 after-school clubs every week, introduced a Special Visitor Programme to introduce learners to professional athletes and interesting speakers from all walks of life, offers a huge range of opportunities in dynamic PE sessions, and promotes outdoor learning with the Outdoor Schools programme.
Matthew Freeman, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all nominees, finalists and winners.
“Once again we’ve heard about some truly inspirational achievements, and outstanding examples of teamwork behind the scenes,” he said. “Well done to everyone.”
The winners are as follows:
Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement: Gracie Griffiths
Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement: Oscar Willington
Club of the Year: Cresselly Cricket Club
Junior Disability Sport Award: Ben Stanton
Disability Sport Award: Lily Rice
Young Volunteer of the Year: Lucy Kerrison
Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year: Neyland Pirates U14s 2021/22
Unsung Hero: Kevin Jenkins
Team Achievement of the Year: Wiseman’s Bridge Women’s Coxed Squad
Male Sporting Achievement: Ioan Croft
Female Sporting Achievement: Heather Lewis
Club Organiser of the Year: Wendy Bradshaw
Coach of the Year: Guy Croft.