In a very limited cricket playing career (both in time and ability) I only ever signed for two clubs – Conwy and Rhewl.
So last year it was upsetting seeing Rhewl struggle so badly near the bottom of North Wales League Division Four, but what stood out was they never gave in and eventually got that elusive first win to avoid finishing in last place.
It was great to hear from captain DYFAN PARRY recently that things are looking up for the 2020 season.
Although representing a village between Denbigh and Ruthin, Rhewl actually ground-share with Corwen with the majority of their players coming from the Wrexham area.
Dyfan spoke to Grassroots North Wales about his hopes for the season ahead.
Grassroots North Wales: Rhewl have a good history in North Wales cricket, but the last few years have been a massive struggle. Tell us about some of the difficulties you have faced
Dyfan Parry: The last four to five years have been a massive struggle for the club having lost a few players who went to play at a higher level.
The club was on the brink of folding, but with some help from players who had never played we kept going. Then about 2 years ago we had to leave our home of 20 years at Ruthin School. So at the end of the 2018 season we just about had a team but no home.
But thanks to people such as Aled Edwards, Dave Bell, Rob Eccles and Jim Hughes, who helped keep us going over that period, we managed to secure a home and ground share with Corwen CC.
GNW: This year, there are signs you may be turning a corner….please tell us about some of the things which are happening
DP: This year we have managed to secure sponsorships from local companies Dragon Drilling and Liam’s Driver Training to provide us with a new kit.
During the winter we have had the help of a local cricket coach Jamie’s Cricket Academy who has helped us massively.
We also have 2 players going to do their Level 1 ECB coaching course which means then we will be able to get All Stars going and eventually a youth team set up. This year we have a number of new players coming into the team, which is fantastic.
GNW: Last season you struggled to get a win until you did so right at the end of the summer. How did that feel? Did it give you a hint that better times could be forthcoming?
DP: Our aim last season was to complete our fixtures and get 11 players out every week. We put in some good performances last season. The way the team played in the last game was fantastic; everything clicked – bowling, batting and fielding. It was a relief more than anything. The signs were there last season but we needed a good winter nets to help us develop.
GNW: What do you think of the standard of cricket you have been playing in for the past few seasons? Do you feel you can get together a team to become much stronger at this level than you have been?
DP: The standard last season in North Wales League Division Four was good.
You had Caernarfon and Conwy who were fantastic teams. I think as a team we haven’t been anywhere near these clubs but as I said our aim last year was to fulfill fixtures and hopefully push on this season.
I think as a team we have improved over the winter, all the lads are working really hard to improve and it’s great to see. I’d like to think this season coming we can compete to a higher standard.
GNW: How much will youth development play in the future of the club?
DP: For me personally youth development is crucial for the survival of clubs. It is a lot of work and we won’t see results for a few years, but it’s all about creating that pathway from a young age to playing on a Saturday afternoon.
GNW: With you being from a village in between Denbigh and Ruthin – two towns with strong clubs – do you feel this puts you at a disadvantage in regards to attracting players. Do you ever feel you are in the shadow of these two clubs?
DP: You see what the 2 clubs are doing with youth teams and both their 1st and 2nd teams doing well and it’s hard because we want to be on par with Ruthin and Denbigh. I think because we aren’t based in Rhewl any more our catchment area has changed. A lot of our players now come from the Wrexham area.
GNW: What keeps Rhewl CC going? I guess it would be easy for you to fold, but something must inspire you to carry on….is it a strong community spirit?
DP: When I first arrived at the club 6 years ago, immediately I realised how much the club meant to the players and how proud they were to play for Rhewl.
As you said it was easier to fold than carry on. When we had to leave our home at Ruthin School in 2018 we had a meeting and it was discussed whether we should call it a day but a few of us thought of our past chairman Dilwyn (Hughes) who sadly passed away a few years ago; he always wanted the best for the club so we agreed to try and find somewhere to play.
Luckily we found Corwen and they have been so generous to let us ground share with them. Hopefully now we can kick on and challenge for promotion.
GNW: Finally, a month away from the new season, what would you be looking to achieve. By the end of summer 2020, what would make the season a good one for Rhewl?
DP: We have had long discussions as a team and we are feeling very optimistic about the new season.
Last year was all about fulfilling fixtures – now we want to push on.
I think personally we can give it a go this season and why not push for promotion?
A good season if we were looking back would be to see progress from last year and push to finish as high as we can.