Jack Mason

Inside Alder Meadow - An interview with Pontblyddyn Legend Jack Mason

Pontblyddyn Legend : Jack Mason

Introduction
Next up is Jack Mason. Jack joined Pontblyddyn at 13 and was a key member of a very successful period for both senior sides at Pont. In his last season in 2013, Jack Captained the Pont 2nd XI to a very respectable mid-table finish in Division 1, beating a number of 1st Teams along the way that summer. Although he moved away in 2014 due to work and now plays his Cricket in Leeds, Jack stays close to the Club and is always keen to share in the results and individual performances. Here we look back at Jacks best memories from his time down the Bont.

I joined Pontblyddyn as a 13 year old with my brother Ben. Playing junior cricket, before becoming a regular 2nd 11 player as a 14/15 year old. In my first season in the 2s we were relegated to Division 4, but in the next 6 years we won Division 4, Division 3 and Division 2 titles in North Wales under the captaincy of Nige Neath and Mark Hughes, and in my final year we finished 8th in Division 1 as the highest ranked 2nd XI in North Wales whilst I was captain. No mean feat with strong first teams like Llay, Pwllheli, Bangor, Bethesda and Gresford in Division 1 at that time.

I continue to play in Leeds, having spent 2 seasons in London, but I have fond memories of playing at the Pont with some of my best friends and still get welcomed back like family any time I’m visiting. When you leave and play elsewhere you gain an appreciation of what an amazing club it is, even though I was never quite good enough to break the 1st team.
 
First Memory
I remember watching England play test cricket in the late 90’s on Channel 5 when test cricket was free to air. One test series against New Zealand stands out and this was probably the first time I started to understand what cricket was about and the laws of the game. I loved watching Andy Caddick and Darren Gough bowling, it was like watching me and Ben.
 
After that it was cricket playing test matches in the garden. The good thing about having a twin brother is that there’s always someone to play with. Unfortunately mine is considerably better than me at all aspects of the game, meaning I got used to long afternoon in the field at an early age…
 
I regret not joining Pont at this time. We must have been 8/9 years old and the junior coaching offered to youngsters of that age now is brilliant. It was another 4 or 5 years before we started to go to Friday night nets.
 
Best Game
The Division 2 title winning game in 2011 against Corwen. With Marchwiel being rained off, we had the chance to win the league with a game to spare. Amazingly I was able to score 83 in the first innings to set a good total and Richie Davies got 7-for in the second innings to win the match. Ended up with us all jumping in the river having secured promotion to Division 1 for the 1st time in the clubs 2nd XI history.
 
Best personal performance
Probably the knock in the Corwen game for the importance. We’d lost early wickets and me and Jonathan Mountford put on 100 in the middle order to steady the ship.
 
Favourite Ground
  • Alder Meadow or Menai Bridge in North Wales.
  • Datchet in London, on the grounds of Windsor castle – amazing ground.
  • The Homestead at North Leeds, easily the best club facility I have ever seen.
Favourite team to play against
The 2s played Gwersyllt many times over that 6 year period. Some great tussles, usually competing for league titles.
 
Most Feared Opponent
I don’t ever remember fearing anyone.
 
Best Player Played Against
Jason Biddulph – Saffer for Hawarden when they were in Div 1. Scored loads of runs and took loads of wickets. Never looked like getting out. Loved the sesh as well - key in a good overseas.
 
Best Player Played With
Charlie Fernando – only played a handful of games with him. Bowled rapid and whacked it miles.
 
Best Batsman Played Against
Ian Pearson – Premier Division quality player playing in Divisions 4, 3 and 2 he was always going to stand out. We played against Gwersyllt a lot in that period and he always scored runs against us. I was an average at best pie chucker, but I did OK against Pearson. I always said he was my bunny.
 
Best Batsman Played With
Mark Hughes – Quality bat! Knew his game inside out and never gave his wicket away. Solid fielder even into his 40s, but above all the best captain the club has ever had. He re-joined the club when I was 16 and immediately improved me as a player.
Had the worst stash of gear at the club though. Spikes from 1960, his original Pont cap and a proper old fashioned jock strap box, absolutely hanging.
 
Best Bowler Played With
Nige Neath – There were arguably better bowlers like Matt Edwards, Charlie, Glen and Marcel who I played with in one-off 1st team games, but Nige was the best 2nd 11 bowler I played with over a long period of time. Probably wasted in the 2’s and should have been playing in the 1s at this time. Was massive in turning around the fortunes of the 2nd 11 when he took over captain in Division 4. Could bat a bit as well.
 
Best Bowler Played Against
Ben Roberts – Brymbo. Only played a few games against him when he was young, but you could tell he was good.
 
Best in the Changing room
Rhys, Snelly, Tippy and Tim Mc take some beating in the ones. Poor Mossy took the brunt of it…
Tom Dawson for the 2’s
 
Longest in the Shower
Hoss
 
Best Drinking Partner
Ben Mason, Richie Davies and Tom Dawson
 
Favourite Drink
Rum. You’ll notice a pattern with the other interviews here…
 
Favourite Umpire
Didn’t get league umpires until Div 1 and I didn’t bat for long enough to work out who was good or not.
 
All Time Pont 11- No Pro’s
I picked players that I played with for at least a full season in the 2’s.
1.     Phil Davies
2.     Ed Jones
3.     Ben Mason
4.     Mark Hughes ©
5.     Jon Stanforth
6.     Lewis Davies
7.     Tom Dawson
8.     Jimmy Griff (wk)
9.     Nige Neath
10.     Richie Davies
11.     Ryan White
 
All Time North Wales 11
We played against some very good teams and players in Division 1. There were some long days in the field against this lot….
1.     Tom Ducker - Hawarden
2.     Alex Elwood – Gresford
3.     Matt Jackson - Bodedern
4.     Ian Pearson – Gwersyllt
5.     Chris Elwood – Gresford
6.     Nick Flack - Chirk
7.     Matthew Cree – Gresford (wk)
8.     Campbell Marr - Hawarden
9.     Morgan Murray - Pwllheli
10.     Dan Parry – Llay
11.     Wilson – Hawarden
 
Advice to youngsters
Start as early as you can and hide your socks.