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Alan Williams: 1936-2012

Thursday, 07-Jun-2012

The following information has been passed onto us about Welsh basketball legend Alan Williams, who sadly passed away last month, aged 76.
 
From Mr John Rubery
 
Alan Williams, 1936-2012
 
Those of us who were around in years now gone by will remember Alan Williams of Newport who died two weeks ago. My own memories of him include seeing him play for Loughborough All Stars in the very early days of the nascent National League and a little later, watching him play for Wales in the Commonwealth Games in the 1970s. Then for years, he was a fixture for Newport in the West of England years and I can still picture the other four Newport players sprinting down court after an opposition shot, safe, in the knowledge that Alan would secure the defensive rebound as the offensive rebounders bounced off him and then speared the ball down the length of the court to one of his team-mates with the power and accuracy of an artillery shell. (If the shot had been successful, it took Alan hardly any linger to send the ball off from behind the end line.)
 
For the main appreciation of Alan's career, I am indebted to Bob van der Meer of the Newport Club, whose appreciation follows.
 
From Mr Bob van der Meer
 
Alan Williams - Wales' greatest basketball player
 
Sadly Alan passed away Friday 18th May aged 76 at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. Alan had suffered a stroke five years ago and was cared for at the Blaen- y - Pant nursing home at Malpas on the outskirts of Newport. The staff were wonderful to him and he was very happy living there these last few years.
 
Alan was an outstanding basketball player, firstly becoming involved in the sport during his National Service in the Army. On completing his service Alan returned home where he became involved with Newport Basketball Club where he quickly established himself and showed how good a player he was. He was awarded his first cap for Wales in 1958 during the Four Country Tournament that was an annual event hosted alternately by the home nations England, Scotland, Ireland and of course Wales. It was at these tournaments that the Great Britain selectors soon realised his potential and he was selected as a reserve for the 1960 Pre-Olympic qualifying tournament. He continued to show his outstanding ability and was selected to represent Great Britain in two other Pre-Olympic qualifying tournaments - 1964 in Sofia, Bulgaria and 1968 Katowice, Poland. During his international career Alan captained his national side and represented Wales on 66 occasions.
 
Alan's first club was Newport but he also played for a number of other clubs during his career, including Pill YMCA, Newport Excelsiors, Newport Royals, Cardiff Clippers and in England, Loughborough All Stars and Vauxhall Motors. He became involved with Vauxhall in 1965 being offered a job on the production line which was quite something in those days. After this he moved to Luton playing in the English National League where playing against the best players in the country, he gained great experience. It wasn't too long before Alan missed playing in those lovely small gymnasiums in the Rhonnda Valley (with their cold water showers) and the green, green grass of home and he returned to Newport  to continue playing for Pill YMCA and Newport in the South Wales Coast League, Welsh National League, West of England League and numerous tournaments around the country and abroad. Alan finished his basketball career playing for Cardiff Clippers in the Welsh National League and English National League.
 
Something not known by many people was that Alan was also a very accomplished football player playing centre forward for Butlins United. With his great physical presence on the field, he scored many goals with his ability to raise above the defence and head the ball home.  He also took great pleasure in looking after his team mates should there be a need.
 
Alan was also very well known around town, working as a doorman at many locations throughout Newport. Probably his last appearances before retiring were at that very popular night club in Clarence Place called TJ's, where he entertained many young ladies with his great sense of humour and charm whilst they queued to get in. He was a true gentleman and will be greatly missed by all of his family, his friends and all of the sportsmen he played with and against.