Ben Mason

Inside Alder Meadow - An interview with Pontblyddyn ex captain Ben Mason

Pontblyddyn Player : Ben Mason  (We have removed the legend for this interview) 

Next answering questions is former 1st XI Captain Ben Mason. Ben started playing senior cricket in 2006 and has been a regular member ever since. We won’t mention what happened under his Captaincy. Here we look at his memories and best bits playing for Pontblyddyn.

First Memory:
Playing ‘Test Matches’ and ‘One Hand One Bounce’ with my brother Jack in the garden during the Summer Holidays growing up. I didn’t seem to get any runs then either, sign of things to come. Started playing at Pont when I was 13.

Best Game I’ve Played In:
Lucky enough to have played in some belters, so I have picked out two very contrasting games.

2016 v Brymbo – Strange one to pick out, but I did genuinely love playing in this game. Winner stays up and it had everything. Collapse from Pont, rescued by Mossy and James Hughes, which seems to be forgotten due to the drama later on in the game. 70 from one game a season Daff Rhys took Brymbo to the brink of victory before a collapse of their own. Two off the last ball sending us down. Was a brilliant game, one that makes me glad I started playing. Just wish I was under that last ball Mossy ;).  

2010 v Llandudno – Probably my favourite Pont win. We were missing 5 or 6 regulars and Llandudno were a great team and hadn’t lost that season (this was the only game they did lose from memory). A 50 from Hughsey and late runs from myself and Angus made it a respectable first innings total. Glenn then ran through their top order, before Mossy knocked over the last wicket with an over or so to spare. After a few words through the match, my reaction to the Llandudno Pavilion after that last wicket resulted in a few missing handshakes after the game. Great scenes.

Best Personal Performance:
Not been enough to give you one.

Best performance as Captain though - chucking Chris Brookes the ball against Menai Bridge and watching him pick up 3 wickets and bowling Ashley Wood with a slower ball has got to be up there.

Proudest Cricketing Moment:
Would probably have to be the fact that I was able to have played with my Twin Brother Jack through the age groups and senior sides at Pont (Third XI, Second XI and First XI). Looking back its great talking through games we have played in together.

Playing under Jack’s Captaincy resulted in one of my most enjoyable seasons – there’s something extra there when a team wins a game for your brother. Wish he hadn’t moved away due to work and we could have played together more over the last few years.

Favourite Pro:
Marcel Frenzel. He was a great opening bowler and had the ball on a string. From a social side, would have to be Brad Aldous. Heavy summer when he was over.

Favourite Ground:
For beauty, easily Menai Bridge. The hammerings on the pitch are made slightly better when having a pint overlooking the straights.

Favourite Team to Play Against:
From 2008 to about 2013 it has to be Llandudno. Big games at the top of the league. We won our fair share of these games, thanks to Glenn most of the time, but always seemed to lose the most crucial ones unfortunately. I’ve enjoyed playing against Brymbo in recent years, they have been great games to play in and a good bunch of lads as well. Beers have always been shared after those close games.
On a personal note probably Denbigh, always seem to do okay against them.

Most Feared Opponent:
Will Evans (Mochdre).  Best local player in North Wales since I’ve been playing for me. Technically great and whacks it. He used to get well involved whenever I turned my arm over. Hit me for the biggest six back over my head over the scoreboard at Pont one year. Think I actually shouted catch after he hit it – shouldn’t have wasted my breath.

Best Player Played Against :
Locally - Would have to be Will again or David Lloyd (only once in the league I think) before he left for Glamorgan.    
Overseas - Bangor have had some great players, Shane Mott or Francois Mostert in the few balls I faced before getting out stand out for me. Blake Dean as well, he must have been bored of hundreds by the end of that summer.

Best Player Played With:
Local - Glenn Chambers, has everything. Can battle with the bat but also score quickly. Move the ball and always got the best players in the opposition out. Loves a name drop about the players he’s played with though, could talk a glass eye to sleep when he gets going.
Overseas - Charlie Fernando, rapid bowler. Never forget his 8 Wickets against Bethesda. Don’t think he pitched one in their half after a few words when he had been batting.

Best Batsman Played Against: 
Will Evans again from Mochdre.

Best Batsman Played With:
The big man – Phil Davies. Watching him growing up I always thought this opening the batting would be easy, I was wrong. Class player with a beautiful cover drive and solid defence. Scored some of the biggest and best 100s I’ve seen (Glenn level for me, but I couldn’t pick him for everything).

Mention for Ed Jones who is up there with those two as well. Quality aggressive bat, no chance Pont would have played any Div 1 Cricket over the last four years if he hadn’t been pulled away with work. Reckon he’d have been in a few ‘Teams of the Decade’ as well.

Best Bowler Played With:
The Flame Rhys Jones. Accurate and if he can’t get you out he’ll chat rubbish to talk you out. (Glenn a close second again). Proud owner of the worst slower ball in North Wales though.

Best Bowler Played Against:   
Jack Rimmington (Llandudno) – not many bad balls thrown down from Jack. His partnership with Gordon Kerr was too good for a hungover 19 year old to face.
Best in Changing Room

Best in the Changing Room:
Been some great characters down at Pont. Honourable mention for Tim McCarthy, Glenn and Tippy but it has to be the Flame. Always on good form, even after the infamous night shifts. The Nivea Cream always gets a run out.

Longest in the Shower:
Cliffey wins it for me, first in last out.

Best Drinking Partner:
Had great summers with Brad Aldous, Richie Davies, Daz Wilcock, Adam Cliffe, James Birch and when Ryan White was allowed out of the house to see his mates. Rhys though when the rum comes out. Loves a story boring us about how good Pont used to be…

Favorite Drink:
Rum – drink of champions.

Favorite Umpire:
My mate Brian Waring never seems to give me out, even when it hits me on the toe. He must enjoy watching lads scoring scratchy 20s, so probably him. Also Pont’s mate Stan, absolute star in Division 1 he was.

All Time NW XI – No Overseas
This side I have put together based on the influence these players have had in matches against Pont since I started in the 1st Team in 2008.
1.     Will Evans (Mochdre) wk
2.     Tom Ducker (Hawarden)
3.     Duncan Midgley (Llandudno)  
4.     Jordan Kane (Llandudno)
5.     James Claybrook (Brymbo)
6.     David Fox (Connahs Quay)
7.     Robbie Jones (Menai Bridge)
8.     Morgan Murray Williams (Pwllheli)
9.     Dan Parry (Brymbo)
10.     Ashley Wood (Menai Bridge)
11.     Jack Rimmington (Llandudno)    

Pont All Time XI – No Overseas
Again, this team has been picked based on the players I have played with the most over the last 12 Years and the influence they have had in games I have played in.
1.     Phil Davies
2.     Ed Jones
3.     Glenn Chambers
4.     Mark Hughes
5.     Jules
6.     Mark Neath
7.     Ali Roberts
8.     Chris Moss
9.     Tim McCarthy (wk)
10.     James Birch
11.     Rhys Jones
12.     Jack Mason

Advice for Youngsters starting out:
Enjoy every part of the game, especially the wins. Celebrate every one late into the night with your mates.
Play hard and be competitive but don’t take yourself too seriously. Be able to laugh at yourself – it’s only a game.
Try your best and know your strengths. It’s not always the most talented players who score the most runs or take the most wickets. Something I wish I stuck to myself this.