Colwyn Bay cricket great Sion Morris pays tribute to the legendary Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins (right) with fellow Colwyn Bay legends Sion Morris and Debasis Mohanty

Colwyn Bay spin bowler Paul Jenkins reached a major milestone on Saturday when he took his 1,000th wicket in the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition.

The left-arm magician made it to four figures with his second victim in a typical miserly spell of 4-18 as the Bay defeated Old Xaverians by eight wickets at Penrhyn Avenue.

Former Wales Minor Counties bowler Paul joined Northop Hall at the age of 26 in 1998 and took 154 wickets before moving to Colwyn Bay in 2003.

Having pocketed 844 wickets for the Bay, he went into Saturday’s match on 998 in total. That massive tally is now 1,002…….

It is a fantastic feat for the 49-year-old and who better to pay tribute to him than the man who has played in so many matches alongside him, former Bay captain and Wales Minor Counties international Sion Morris, who has amassed more than 13,000 league runs for the club.

Morris on Jenks….

On Saturday 3rd July, 2002, at Penrhyn Avenue, the people who were fortunate to be in attendance either playing or watching, probably witnessed a sight in North Wales cricket that will never be witnessed again.

Paul Jenkins’ feat of taking 1,000 wickets in the Liverpool Competition spanning a career across Northop Hall and Colwyn Bay is one that I simply cannot believe will be bettered.

Paul Jenkins is applauded off the field after passing 1,000 Liverpool Competition wickets on Saturday, July 3, 2021

To take one thousand wickets at any standard of cricket is a hell of an achievement, to do it in arguably one of the best leagues in the country is simply fantastic especially considering he has played half of his games on one of the most un-spinner friendly pitches on the circuit but more of his cricketing exploits later.

When I made the initial phone call to Paul back in 2002 about the possibility of moving over from Northop Hall to Colwyn Bay, I didn’t envisage I’d be getting one of the strongest sporting characters I’ve ever had the privilege of playing with…

I’d played against him a few times without realising the depth of his passion for competing and winning and if I was to pick out one of his best traits in all of the ones I’ve seen over the years then it’d be his unwavering aggression for winning, not giving up and competing for the whole length of a match.

When he joined, and eventually took over as club captain, I’d go as far as saying he single-handedly turned Colwyn Bay CC from a team that had a weak underbelly to one that competed and refused to be beaten until the last ball had been bowled in any game.

On Saturday night, whilst having a post-match beer in the changing rooms, the congratulations messages started flooding in and when a person of Debasis Mohanty’s standing in the game (current Indian selector, played over 50 ODI’s and Test matches for India) sends a message to say that whilst he played for CBCC back in the 2000’s he learnt a huge amount from Jenks, then you know what sort of character we’re talking about.

The colourfulness of his character is something that anyone who will have played with him or listened to him post match reeling off his stories will tell you how funny a person he actually is…

The stories of nightclub visits in Australia where half of the nightclub were wearing his shirts or when he was chased around a pool by a man with a rake have folklore status at CBCC as well as stories of the time he played with Mushtaq Ahmed at Northop Hall!

To have to hold his head forwards whilst he puked for the 10th time on the bus on the way home from our Welsh Cup win in 2015 will also bring tears to the eyes of everyone who was on the bus that night.

That’s not to say that he can’t be a nightmare at times… If you happen to walk round the ground with him whilst we’re in the middle of a batting collapse (of which there are plenty!) or a Sunday morning de-brief after a particularly heavy defeat then your ears will be bleeding and I can assure all the readers that is something you’d never want to experience.

I wouldn’t change that for the world though and it makes him the winner that he really is. I know that the petrol is running a little low in his tank by now BUT he gets some wickets on his name only these days and that is the mark of greatness for any bowler in my opinion.

I hope he carries on playing for a while yet for CBCC’s sake and his beautiful wife’s sake because without cricket he’ll be a nightmare (even though he says he’d rather be fishing I don’t believe him).

Knowing a little about the history of CBCC and whilst I’ve only been around the club since 1990, I fail to believe that a better bowler has ever played for the club.

He’s been known as the handbrake for years around the Comp, his control as well as his ability to pick up wickets at crucial times let alone winning us games single-handedly, but it’s not just the games he influences.

The great man himself

I’d pick Andy Puddle as the captain of any team I’ve ever played with for his cricketing brain but Jenko is not far behind him. His ability to improve players is something that we’ll struggle to emulate when he finally finishes playing.

There are players in the first team now who are approaching CBCC stalwart status… Zak Gidlow, Ryan Holtby…

The reason they are in that position is because they have a hell of a lot of talent, but their character and attitude as players have been learnt/formed from the wily old left arm spinner.

Patrick Leach is another player who developed hugely under Jenks and if it wasn’t for the fact he played professional rugby then I’m convinced he would have played professional cricket, something that Jenks could take a lot of credit for as he was the one that made him open the batting and gave him his head.

Jenks’ contribution to Colwyn Bay has been massive. I know for a fact that he refused bags of cash to go elsewhere like a lot of amateurs do these days and I like that… loyalty is a very rare occurrence in sport these days but you get rewarded for loyalty and he’ll go down as one of the biggest legends our club has ever seen.

I know that means more to him than anything else.

Viva Paul Jenkins!

Footnote

How nice that Paul Jenkins reached his landmark in the same week that England’s greatest bowler, James Anderson, also took his 1,000th first class wicket in Lancashire’s County Championship match against Kent at Old Trafford.

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