“A STEP BACK IN TIME”
(By Percy Jones)
NEATH XV DEFEATED
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
Carmarthen Quins 8 – Neath Nil:
Before a large crowd at Carmarthen Park on Thursday evening 29th April a Neath XV, sponsored by the Rector of Neath (Rev. T. A. Roberts) and Mr. Glyn Stephens, J. P., and captained by Rees Stephens, the well- known Welsh international forward, was defeated by Carmarthen by a converted goal and a try (8 pts) to nil. The game was delightfully open from start to finish and Carmarthen rose nobly to the occasion, their achievement being an excellent one considering the fact that the visitors comprised most of the Neath team and included four Welsh internationals. Thanks to a distinct superiority in the set scrums, the visiting backs threw the ball about freely, but Carmarthen put up a stout defence and were ever ready to take full advantage of mistakes in handling by the fast-moving opposition. Neath ought to have made the issue safe in the first half but to their credit, they played they played in sporting fashion and indulged in passing movements even when they were desperately defending their own line. Had they so elected, they could have worn down the Carmarthen pack by kicks to touch but instead preferred to give a model exhibition of the handling code. To them the result was of secondary importance and in giving the onlookers a spectacular treat, they fulfilled all expectations.
In saying this we do not wish to rob Carmarthen of any kudos rightly due to them. The forwards merit the highest praise for a grand display, especially in the second half, when they virtually took charge of operations with their lively rushes. They tore into their heavier opponents with terrier-like ferocity and if beaten in the tight and the line-out – merely because of inferior weight and height – they claimed all the honours in the loose. Under such circumstances the home backs did not see much of the ball for purposes of attack but the contributions they made in following up a virile pack and also in defensive work, were valuable aids towards a well merited victory.
At the base of the scrum, Percy Jones had the thankless task behind a losing pack, but he quite held his own against Handel Greville the Welsh international. Moelwyn Jones at outside-half saw little of the ball in the orthodox manner, yet, thanks to superb opportunism, he had the privilege of scoring Carmarthen’s two tries, the first being a really thrilling effort. The home third line did all that was asked of them, with young Brynmor Roberts showing much promise. He exploits a neat cut-through but should learn thereafter to go straight ahead for his objective for he possesses the necessary speed. Jim Davies covered himself with distinction at full-back, playing one of the best games of his career. He won high praise from the visiting team and supporters. Although frequently called upon, he cleared in masterly style every time and was barely tackled in possession throughout the whole match.
Carmarthen attacked at the outset and brought pressure to bear on the Neath line for the first five minutes but were driven back. A neat burst by Brynmor Roberts put the home side again on the aggressive. The visiting backs then took up the running and a brilliant passing movement ended unsuccessfully in the Vicarage corner when Peter Rees (right wing) failed to take an awkward pass. Carwyn James, at outside-half for the visitors, opened out repeatedly after receiving long, raking transfers from Handel Greville, but the passing was none too sure. During one of these movements, Moelwyn Jones intercepted smartly and made tracks for the line at top speed. He grounded the ball after a 25-yard dash amid the tumultuous cheers of the crowd and Jim Davies crowned the effort with a beautiful kick. Several exciting moments followed with Neath entertaining spectators to some splendid open play in which the forwards, particularly Morlais Thomas (winger) were prominent. Carmarthen were leading by five points to nil at half-time.
The home side restarted confidently and the forwards, bubbling over with exuberance and vitality, were prone to get offside. As a result, they were frequently penalised. Vivian Evans, the Neath full-back, tried to drop a goal but was off the target. Bob Evans, a Carmarthen skirmisher, claimed the touch down after beating Vivian Evans in a rush for possession, but there was no score. Carmarthen were now definitely in the ascendancy and Reggie Jones (centre-three-quarter), fielding a loose ball, went right through the middle and gave to Moelwyn Jones, who outpaced the opposition and got his second try. Jim Davies failed with the goal kick. A little later Moelwyn Jones made an abortive attempt to drop a goal. Soon afterwards one of the best incidents of the match was seen with some interpassing between Walford Davies (Neath right-centre) and Peter Rees. They covered over half the length of the field and Rees looked all over a scorer when Reggie Jones brought off a magnificent tackle, bundling the Welsh international headlong into touch. The home side ended up on a high note and once Reggie Jones nearly crossed. The final whistle blew with the score: – Carmarthen, one converted goal, one try (8 points); Neath XV, Nil.
The teams were: –
Vivian Evans (Neath and Welsh Trials); three-quarters – Peter Rees (Llanelly and Wales), Walford Davies (Neath), Bryn Phillips (Abercynnon), R. Ley (Neath), Carwyn James (Welsh Secondary Schools and Llanelly) and H. Greville (Wales and Llanelly); J. Arbolt (Crynant), Les Davies (Neath and Welsh Trials), W. Ballard (Skewen), Roy John (Neath), D. T. P. Meredith (Neath), Rees Stephens (Wales, Barbarians and Neath Capt.), Morlais Thomas (Wales and Neath), Tom James (Neath).
Carmarthen XV: –
Jim Davies, D. A. P. Jones, Brynmor Roberts, Reg. Jones and Gwynfor Davies, Moelwyn Jones and Percy Jones, Freddie Evans, G. Brown, G. Thomas, L. Williams, Jack Burgess, Harry Yeo, Glyn Davies (Capt.) and Bob Evans.
The referee was Mr. J. M. Bowen W.R.U., Gowerton and the touch judges Messrs C. Challoner (Wales and Neath) and D. O. H. Davies, W.R.U. Carmarthen.
SUPPORTERS CLUB FUNCTION – NEATH SPORTSMEN TRIBUTE
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
Carmarthen Supporters Club entertained the Neath XV and members of the committee to supper at the Williams Café, Carmarthen after the match on Thursday evening 29th April, where many tributes were paid to the standard of rugby witnessed earlier in the evening.
Mr. D. H. Davies, chairman of the Supporters Club introduced the principal guests who included the Mayor of Carmarthen, Ald. Enoch Davies, the Rev. T. A. Roberts, rector of Neath, Glyn Stephens, J.P., Neath; Councillor Morgans, president of Carmarthen Rugby Football Club; Capt. Walter E. Rees J.P., Neath (retiring secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union), Capt. W. Davies W.R.U., Carmarthen and Mr T. Jenkins J.P., (vice-president of the Carmarthen Supporters Club).
The mayor welcomed the visitors to Carmarthen in felicitous terms and congratulated both teams on their excellent display. Counc. J. O. Morgans joined in the welcome and said the team sponsored by the Rector of Neath and Mr Glyn Stephens had shown them how football should be played. The match had been a financial experiment for Carmarthen and had been played in a truly sporting fashion. The Rector of Neath was one of the foundation players of the old Carmarthen Harlequins and Carmarthen was very proud of him. (Applause). Ruggerites of Neath and Carmarthen had a friendship which went back 50 years and Carmarthen had provided Neath with many a valuable player. One such person was Mr Theo Davies, now treasurer of the Neath club, whom they were pleased to see with them that evening. (Applause).
On rising to respond, the Rector of Neath was greeted with musical cheers. The Rev. T. A. Roberts said the game had been delightful to watch and he was very proud of his old side. “Although you have changed your name, I hope you will not change the principle upon which you have played all along the years and the rev. gentleman who proceeded me called ourselves ‘Harlequins’ by which we wished to model our play on the famous London Harlequins. I know that, although from henceforth you will be known as ‘Carmarthen’ you will still maintain your reputation for playing an open game. The standard of rugby in Carmarthen is an example to many clubs and we in Neath shall do our best to encourage you by giving you an annual fixture. (Applause). The game today shows you are worthy of it., and we hope that next time we shall perhaps get the better of you. (Laughter). Mr. Roberts concluded by paying tribute to Counc. J. O. Morgans and Mr. T. H. Jenkins for all they had done for the cause of rugby football in Carmarthen.
TRIAL MATCH PROSPECT
Mr. Glyn Stephens, J. P., congratulated the Carmarthen team on their superb display. “They gave us a hard game and thoroughly deserved to win” he declared. “ Captain Davies has asked for support for his plea that Carmarthen be the venue of a Welsh trial game this season. Captain Walter Rees and myself will give him every support and if you do not get a trial match this season you will surely get one the season after. You in the west certainly merit the support we can give you.
FIFTY YEARS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
Captain Walter Rees told the gathering he was retiring on June 30th from the post of W. R. U. secretary which he has held for 52 years. He had had an enjoyable tenure of office and everyone had been most kind to him. He felt that leaving the clubs in the union was the best possible feeling – that was the best compliment they could pay him. Captain Rees congratulated Carmarthen on their victory; they had shown how rugby football should be played and he sincerely hoped it would not be the last occasion this Neath team would come to Carmarthen. He had been associated with the Carmarthen club’s president (Mr. J. O. Morgans) for 50 years. “A finer man for the welfare of rugby football it is impossible to find and may he live long to keep his honoured position” concluded the speaker amid applause.
Captain W. Davies said that one of the objects of the game, according to W. R. U. rules was to promote sociable and good fellowship and they had had a classic example of the rule that evening. The speaker paid tribute to Captain Walter Rees who had been a great help to him during the 12 years he had been a member of the W. R. U., and wished him a happy retirement.
Mr Glyn Davies (captain of the Carmarthen team), Mr. W. Ormond (Chairman of Carmarthen R.F.C.), Mr. R. Stephens (captain of the Neath XV) and Mr. Theo Davies also spoke. The home captain thanked the Supporters Club for entertaining the gathering and for the interest they took in the welfare of the team. It was a source of great encouragement to the players. The chairman of the club endorsed these remarks and said it was hoped to maintain the traditions of the old “Carmarthen Harlequins”** referred to by the Rector of Neath. Mr Theo Davies said he learned his football at Carmarthen, a town which produced all-round sportsmen and he would support the Carmarthen club’s efforts to get a regular fixture with Neath.
During the evening solos were sung by Messrs. Gwilym Rees and J. Jenkins with Mr. G. Thomas at the piano. The success of the function reflected great credit on the organisers.
** The club changed its name the previous season (1946/47) from Carmarthen Harlequins to Carmarthen RFC.