History - The Club’s History since its foundation in the 19th century

The Club’s History since its foundation

Llandovery was one of the founder members of the WRU in 1881. This page charts the Club’s progress from the 19th century through to the present day.

Click on the Read!! links to move straight to particular sections.

Read!! Early days - The influence of the drovers and of the College
Read!! 1877 and 1878 - some of the first reported games
Read!! 1881 - A founder member of the WRU
Read!! The 1880s - Llandovery represented in the first Wales internationals
Read!! The Club through the 1880s
Read!! Turn of the Century - affiliation to the WRU, and pre-First World War
Read!! The 1920s and 1930s - the Club restarted
Read!! The post-War formation of the Club in 1948, and the 1950s
Read!! 1956 - membership of the WRU, and 1965 - admittance to the West Wales Rugby Union
Read!! The 1970s
Read!! The 1980s

VARIOUS HEADLINES TO BE CONSTRUCTED FROM THIS POINT, RELATED TO SUBSEQUENT HISTORY
Read!! Llandovery players in first-class rugby
Read!! The Club as a local benefactor

Early days – The influence of the drovers and of the College

The history of the Welsh Rugby Union will show that Rugby Football in Wales was first played at Llandovery well over a hundred years ago.

Controversy exists as to how rugby was first brought to the borough - some say that the strong links established between Oxford and Cambridge resulted in the game being brought West, whilst others suggest that the drovers were responsible. Both suggestions seem plausible.

Since the 'College' had established strong academic links with the Oxbridge Universities in as much as many masters obtained their degrees there, it is easy to accept the notion that they introduced the game to the town.

Similarly, Llandovery was an important stopping point on the drovers routes which took in such notable early centres of Rugby Football as Blackheath and indeed Rugby itself, where the legendary William Webb Ellis who, 'with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game in 1823'.

One old resident used to recall how a drover gave vivid descriptions of the game as it was played at Blackheath. These drovers were engaged in moving cattle from all parts of West Wales during the middle of the nineteenth century, and Llandovery was the rendezvous for collecting cattle from the surrounding districts as well as much of the west of Wales. It is possible therefore that the drovers did bring the game to the town, but it is likely that the origin of the game in Llandovery will remain as much of a mystery as the origin of the game of Rugby itself.

It is clear, however, that the game was not welcomed with wholehearted enthusiasm - a strong Puritan element within the town objected to this 'barbaric pastime'. So as not to offend the town inhabitants, the game was often played in moonlight in 'Cae Glas y Bwci' - a field adjoining the town.

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1877 and 1878 – some of the first reported games

Unfortunately the early club records were lost in the flood of 1926 and, since the Welsh Rugby Union do not have records of the pre-1892 period, some controversy has been evident with regard to the exact time when rugby was first of all played by the local residents. "The Welshman" dated 23 March 1877 carries one of the first reports of a game involving local citizens. The report was of a game played between Carmarthenshire Rovers and Llandovery College. The report shows that the 'Rovers’ were a combined side comprising players from Carmarthen, Llandeilo, LIanelli and Llandovery. The Llandovery men were: A. Rees, W. Morgan, D. Jones, H. Williams and G. Thomas. While this is not a specific reference to a Llandovery Town Side, it indicates that at least five individuals were positively identified as Llandovery Town players. It is also reasonable to assume that the Llandovery men had been invited to play on the basis of their known playing experience with the local side. Surely if they had gained their experience playing further afield, they would have been listed as from those clubs.

The "Carmarthen Journal" of Friday, 22 February 1878 carries a report of the tie between Llandovery and Newport Clubs played at Brecon on Saturday, 16 February. This was the semi-final of the South Wales Challenge Cup and Newport went on to win the Cup in its first year. On that Saturday of 16 February 1878, Llandovery lost by two goals to nil.

Some claims have been made that this was an exclusively 'College' side but consideration of all available evidence does not substantiate this.

Examination of newspaper reports of the time almost invariably make specific reference to the 'School' or 'College' when they were involved. The report in the "Carmarthen Journal" of 22 February 1878 however, refers to 'Llandovery' and not 'Llandovery School' or 'College'. Similarly in the Newport R.F.C. records of the time, reference is made to the game versus 'Llandovery'. Teams from both Lampeter and Monmouth also participated but it is worthwhile noting that both were designated as school teams (that is Lampeter College and Monmouth Grammar School). On 15 November 1877 Newport beat Monmouth Grammar School by two goals and four tries to nil, while on 19 December 1878 Newport were again successful defeating Lampeter College by three goals and four tries to nil. It would appear then that when school sides were involved, they were referred to as school or college sides in the fixture list.

The playing of rugby in the schools appeared to have arisen because the middle classes of the mid-nineteenth century wanted their sons to play a rather different game to that played in the major public schools (i.e. soccer). In consequence the minor and aspiring independent schools of the time provided rugby as an alternative - a game that was seen both as a team game and character building.

This is not to suggest that the 'College' did not contribute substantially to the game in the town. Indeed since a number of the pupils came from the town or its vicinity and continued to reside in the neighbourhood, later a substantially wider circle of players was available when the need arose. Similarly, Newport recognises the contribution of Monmouth Grammar School at that time - mainly through a master at the school who was a Newport player.

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1881 – A founder member of the WRU

Sufficient interest was evident in the locality for Llandovery to be represented at the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union held at the Castle Hotel, Neath on 12 March 1881.

The town that evening was represented by C. P. Lewis, being one of the 'gentry' families of the locality and having strong links with the tow. Charles Prytherch Lewis was born on 20 August 1853 and was during this period a master at the Llandovery College, having obtained his M.A. degree at Jesus College, Oxford. The records show he did not play for the College in the School game against Brecon during this time.

The clubs represented on that historic occasion were Bangor, Brecon, Cardiff, Lampeter, Llanelli, Llandovery, Llandeilo, Merthyr, Newport, Pontypool and Swansea. These teams have become regarded as the founder members of the Welsh Rugby Union and were honoured in 1981 by the presentation of plaques from the W.R.U. commemorating the occasion.

Any doubts regarding whom C. P. Lewis represented on that historic day in Neath were finally resolved when Herbert Michael wrote from Devon. Mr Michael had previously been in touch with the Welsh Rugby Union and his letter to us was in response to some press coverage of the centenary celebrations in 1981. Herbert Michael pointed out in his letter that he was C. P. Lewis' godson - 'C.P.' being a lifelong friend of his father. Mr Michael is (and here I quote from his letter) . . . "certain in my own mind that he (C. P. Lewis) represented the town in the first place with, of course the interests of Llandovery College resulting therefrom'. Indeed Herbert Michael believes that his father travelled to Neath with C. P. Lewis but is unsure as to whether his father attended the meeting.

It seems reasonable, then, to conclude that local residents were involved in the game well before 1881 and that the town in the person of C. P. Lewis was represented at Neath on 12 March 1881 when the W.R.U. was formed.

As stated previously, this fact was recognised initially in 1977 when the Welsh Rugby Union recognised Llandovery R.F.C. as a founder member and presented the club with a commemorative plaque.

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The 1880s - Llandovery represented in the first Wales internationals

Returning to C. P. Lewis - he was to represent Wales in the second match they played and indeed was a member of the first Welsh winning side in 1882. The first ever international was against England on 19 February 1881 on Mr Richardson's field, Blackheath, when Wales suffered what was referred to as the 'disgraceful defeat' by seven goals, one dropped goal and six tries to nil. One Llandoverian was included in that side as one of the six backs - he was E. J. Lewis, but after such a defeat he was never picked again. Wales' first win was against Ireland, at Lansdowne Road, Dublin and the side showed eleven changes with C. P. Lewis selected as captain. Wales won by two goals and two tries to nil, but the reports of the game have certain similarities to present day games since 'sundry disputes' took place.
The Irish team finished with eleven men - some Irish having been injured and others apparently walked off. C. P. Lewis kept his place and in all played five times for Wales between 1882 and 1884, at full back - a position that was later (in 1885) to be occupied by the legendary Arthur Gould who captained Wales 18 times. Lewis, a triple blue, also played cricket with W. G. Grace.

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The Club through the 1880s

The first recorded Annual General Meeting of the club was held at the King's Head on 17 September 1885 and records show that the officials selected were:

President:

C. P. Lewis

Captain:

D. I. M. Jones

Treasurer:

D. R. Jones

Secretary:

Dan Davies

Committee:

Sinnett, Watkins, Barratt, C. Oxenham & I. P. Oxenham


Although C. P. Lewis captained Wales, he apparently did not captain the town side in that year - the 1885 team that played Llanelli Tuesdays was: D.I. Jones, C. P. Lewis, W. H. Thomas, Cobner, K. Davies, W. Roderick, D. L. Davies (Captain), D. Price, D. Jones, W. Lloyd, S. Barrett, T. Landor, Sinnett, D. Jenkins, I. P. Oxenham.

It is interesting to note that of the 1877-8 side, C. P. Lewis continued to play although now a solicitor in Llandovery, Watkins and Sinnett were members of the committee and L. Davies was the elected captain.

The town's rivals on the rugby field during these early years were the nearby towns of Llandeilo and Lampeter. Transport to the latter town was by means of horse-drawn coaches and the journey took several hours. Llandeilo presented no difficulty from the travelling point of view since the Great Western Railway constructed in the late nineteenth century provided a convenient and speedy mode of transport.

The town team was a frequent contender in the competition for the Welsh Cup during this time. The Llandovery Rugby team appeared at both St Helen's and Neath in games against such opponents as Newport and Swansea. The records show the town as reaching the semi-finals on more than one occasion. So despite its geographical position, the town did manage to play fixtures against such clubs as Llanelli and Bridgend as well as the local club sides of Brecon, Llandybie and Saron.

Turn of the Century – affiliation to the WRU, and pre-First World War

In 1894, Llandovery was one of ten clubs who became affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union, but the strong religious revival in the district led to the town club giving up this status in 1910. And so the puritanical element which was evident in the town in the 1860s became important again.

Around the turn of the century, Llandovery produced two notable players - Harry Watkins and Guy Morgan who between them won 14 caps from the Llanelli and Cambridge University Clubs after learning the rudiments of the game with the Town XV.

Harry Watkins emigrated to British Columbia where he was instrumental with others in establishing the game in Canada. Guy Morgan, a nephew of the legendary Teddy Morgan (who scored that most disputed of all tries against New Zealand in 1905) was the son of a local practitioner, Dr H. Morgan, and rendered years of service to the cause of the game in Llandovery.

The rugby club of Llandovery has also been connected with another outstanding footballer who won fame over the border via Gloucester and England. He was, of course, the late D. R. Gent, who appeared for Llandovery as a full back. He played several games for Llanelli before moving to Gloucester and only the wizard Dicky Owen stopped him appearing in a Welsh jersey. Vivian Jenkins, a former Llandovery Collegian who appeared for Wales during the thirties, succeeded D. R. Gent as the Sunday Times rugby correspondent.

It is worth mentioning the fact that when Llandovery Town played rugby, they made every endeavour to play an open game. During the early 1900's and even up to the outbreak of the First World War, Llandovery continued to produce some impressive performances and, in 1904, six club members played for Llanelli in Mac Nicholls, Jack Cole, J. C. Jones, D. J. Davies (a cousin of D. R. Gent), Harry Watkins and Edgar Evans, who also appeared for Wales on the hockey field. After returning from Llanelli, Edgar continued playing for Llandovery before calling it a day in the 1931 season.

There were other players who also rendered yeoman service until the outbreak of that War, players such as George Jeffreys, Will Richards, Tom Lewis, Will Williams, George Davies, LIew Williams and Raymond Jones.

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The 1920s and 1930s – the Club restarted

From 1914 to 1919, no rugby was played in the town. But in 1920 rugby was restarted with such players as Ben and Jack Jackson, Edgar Evans, D. J. Davies and Tom Lewis who had returned from the battlefields of France.

The 1920's were hard times with the General Strike of 1926 making it difficult for players to find work. But Llandovery survived and players such as Dai Preston, M. Driscoll, Bertie Jones, Mozart Thomas, W. Basey, Bill Clements, A. Glyn Jones, Bill Rees, A. P. N. Roberts, Tudor Evans, Ted Thomas, Gomer Davies and Will Buckland saw that the rugby banner was kept flying. During this era, a successful Thursday XV was launched following an appeal by apprentices in the hostelry and other trades in the town.

Two leading players during this period were the enthusiastic secretary, A. Glyn Jones, and D. T. Davies, who later played a major role in Llandovery's re-admittance as Welsh Rugby Union members.

From 1931 to 1935, the Club functioned successfully but the only record of this time is the fixture card for the Season 1933-34. The fixture list shows the wide range of fixtures played during that time and the results summarised as follows:

Games

Points

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

For

Against

30

11

3

16

211

165


Due to inability to obtain fixtures because they were not affiliated to a Union, the club ceased to function in 1935.

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The post-War formation of the Club in 1948, and the 1950s

No rugby was played during and immediately after the Second World War, but in November 1948 a club was officially formed under the secretary, T. R. Bebb. To obtain fixtures and overcome one of the problems encountered by the pre-war fixture secretary, the club was affiliated to the Llanelli and District Junior Welsh Rugby Union.

Under the captaincy of Douglas Rees, the club soon became established as a considerable force in the area. Also involved at this time were Glyn Jones, Granville Evans, Idris Perrier, Fred Manning, Ernie Prosser, Maurice Weaver and J. D. Lewis. A special mention should be made of Ernie Prosser who has been active in the club since and was made a Life Member in the club’s centenary year. Doug Rees served the club in a number of official capacities including being the club captain on three separate occasions and club chairma. On demobilisation from the Armed Forces in 1946, he first played for Llandybie before returning to captain Llandovery in I948.

Records for the first two post-war seasons are not available but the season 1949-50 saw Douglas Rees as captain and I. Perrier as secretary. The results can be summarised as follows:

Games

Points

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

For

Against

27

14

5

8

159

118


The season 1952-53 saw Llandovery R.F.C. reaching the semi-final of two competitions. The Town XV lost to Penygroes by a penalty goal to nil in the League Open Cup Competition, and in the District League President's Cup Competition they were beaten by a single point (12 -11) by Trimsaran. During the latter part of the season, another landmark was established when Llandovery R.F.C. embarked on a club tour to Northumberland. They played three games, losing to Ashington (6 - 11) and North Durham (3 - 6) but beating Seghill (6 - 0). This was the beginning of a close relationship between the club and Seghill and it was fitting that they participated in Llandovery’s centenary celebrations.

The tour must have had an invigorating effect on Llandovery because in the following season the club won their first honours when they won the Llanelli and District League President's Cup under the captaincy of Des Clarke who later was to become the club secretary for many years. Llandovery beat Penygroes 9 - 3 in the final, having disposed of Bettws in the semi-final. They narrowly failed to collect the double having been narrowly beaten in the championship play-off. During the season (1953-54), Llandovery won 23 games, lost 5 and drew 5, scoring 321 points and conceding only 91.

The team was selected from: Des Clarke (captain), John Davies, Les Adams, Ken Evans, John Williams, Jeff Morgan, Colin Doonan, Eric Penlan, Dennis Evans, Len John, Doug Rees, Bernard Jones, Chris Hughes, George Adams, Alan Blatchford, Tony Morgan and D. G. Davies.

Llandovery had now moved their club headquarters to the White Hall and in 1956 the Town's Improvement Committee purchased 'Barlow's Field' which was levelled and reseeded. In the subsequent two years, improvements included the building of changing rooms.

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1956 – membership of the WRU, and 1965 - admittance to the West Wales Rugby Union

It was also in 1956 that another milestone was reached in the history of the club. The decision was made to seek membership of the Welsh Rugby Union once again. The club was proposed by Pontardulais R.F.C. and seconded by Llanelli and District Welsh Rugby Union, and in 1956 the Welsh Rugby Union decided to admit five new members who would serve a three year period of probation before being awarded full membership. The other four clubs were Aberavon Harlequins, Pentyrch, Pontypool United and Tonyrefail. J. B. G. Thomas in the Western Mail wrote of Llandovery's proud record of service to the game. So Llandovery began the 1957-58 season as members of the Welsh Rugby Union under the captaincy of T. G. Jones.

On Friday, 29 November 1957, a celebration dinner was held at the Castle Hotel, Llandovery, to celebrate the admission of the club to the Welsh Rugby Union. The guest list shows the impressive list of personnel present.

After being granted the status of a W.R.U. club again in 1957, the next important milestone in the history of the club was admittance to the West Wales Rugby Union in 1965, which meant that Llandovery was now committed to playing "League" rugby at a much higher level. Our entry brought the number of clubs in the competition to 36 but in those days it was rather a strange league in that clubs did not play every other club in the League, hence one's result in the League Table at the end of the season could depend very largely on one's fixture list. (The top four at the end of the season used to play-off for the League Championship.)

Although not unanimously acclaimed as such by all members of the committee at the time, this was a vital step forward in the development of rugby in Llandovery. Some viewed the step with trepidation, but indeed it turned out that we were not going to be one of the "chopping blocks" for some of the more famous clubs to run up high points totals. Far from it, as one of the top clubs of that era, Pontardulais, found out. In our first season in the League, they beat us 12 - 0 away and they won by a whisker at Llandovery after a very close and tense contest which was decided by a penalty for a "trip" in mid-field on the Pontardulais scrum-half! A very close shave indeed for the League champions.

Similarly in January 1967, the top team at that time, Seven Sisters, just managed to beat us 5 - 0, and in addition there were some memorable victories which helped keep Llandovery generally in a very respectable position in the League.

So we surprised more than a few people with our play in those early years - in fact the papers referred to us as the Draw experts in our first season. The team was captained by T. G. (Twm) Jones and included towards the end of the season a number of school boys, many of whom moved away from the area - Don Llewellyn and Colin Evans (both then at Trinity College), Colin and Clifford Basey, Michael Davies and Adrian Lloyd - in addition to other players who stayed with the club and who were to make their mark on the W.W.R.U. scene for many years to come.

The 1968-9 season saw the Club finishing 9th in the West Wales league – the best performance up to that date. Not all seasons were as successful by any means, as a glance at some of the other league positions will show!. In season 1970-71 four more clubs were admitted to the Union, making the number 40.

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The 1970s

In 1974-5 the whole Championship system was changed - four sections of 10 teams each were formed, by means of a draw, with promotion and relegation (4 up - 4 down, an arrangement which it was thought could later be simplified).

In 1978-9 ten more clubs were admitted making 5 sections, A, B, C, D and E and the idea of "4 up - 4 down" was extended for a further period. Some argued that this made for more interest right up to the very end of the season; this was certainly true, for in 1978-9 Llandovery were relegated with the high figure of 17 points from 18 matches - in fact the fate of 5 clubs out of the 10 in Section C in that year hung in the balance until the very final League Saturday of the season; two of the five teams were promoted to Section B, two stayed in Section C and Llandovery was relegated to Section D after being beaten by Bynea (away) - such a thin line between relegation to D and promotion to B!

In the mid-1970s Llandovery were alternately promoted and relegated at frequent intervals, as the table below shows.

 

 

 

 

 

Pts

 

Lge 

Tries

 

 

 

Season  
P
W
D
L
For
Ag
Pts Posn
     

1965/6

17

2

7

8

58

81

11

26th

 

 

 

1966/7

17

3

2

12

60

184

8

30th

 

 

 

1967/8

17

4

0

13

51

166

8

29th

 

 

 

1968/9

18

11

1

6

193

116

23

9th

 

 

 

1969/70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1970/1

15

4

2

9

79

120

10

24th

 

 

 

1971/2

18

3

0

15

112

251

6

37th

 

 

 

1972/3

18

6

1

11

139

292

13

28th

Tries

 

 

1973/4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For

Ag

 

1974/5C

18

4

1

13

124

220

9

8th

16

28

Rel

1975/6D

18

11

2

5

172

109

24

4th

21

12

Pro

1976/7C

18

4

1

13

113

304

9

9th

15

44

Re

1977/8D

18

12

0

6

275

107

24

3rd

48

10

Pro

1978/9C

18

8

1

9

157

155

17

7th

21

15

Rel

1979/80D

18

12

2

4

215

132

26

3rd

29

16

Pro

In 1974, another milestone was reached when Llandovery were in a situation to obtain their own clubhouse. For over twenty years, the search had gone on until they acquired the Great North Western Hotel on lease from the Felinfoel Brewery. The Club set about immediately renovating the old building and carrying out alterations so that it would meet the requirements of the club.

The first floor was turned into a large lounge with bar facilities and a dance floor at one end. It seats about 100 people comfortably. Downstairs there were bar and lounge facilities as well as a pool room and dining room.

With the club continuing to prosper, it became increasingly obvious that it needed its own playing fields. Excellent facilities still existed at the Castle Fields but with more than one side playing at home, the club had to look elsewhere for suitable playing facilities. It was in 1979 that the club was able to purchase two fields within the close proximity of the town. The purchasing of this property was an important milestone in the history of the club.

The purchase was facilitated through a loan from the Welsh Rugby Union and a 50% grant from the Sports Council for Wales. The club is obviously greatly indebted to both these organisations.

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The 1980s

Roland Griffiths picks up the story:

In season 1980-81, Llandovery topped Section C of the West Wales League. In 1981-82 they consolidated their position in ”B”, and for the next eight years it was UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN - like a yo-yo; in divisions of ten clubs it was 4 up and 4 down!! It certainly made life interesting but not good for those with a “dicky ticker” !!

However this brought us to the end of season 1989-90, in the favoured position of one of the top 5 clubs in Section A. The West Wales League being the strongest and largest league in Wales, it had been decided that 5 Clubs would be promoted to take part the following season in the Heineken Welsh League as it was then to be called.

Thus Dunvant, Bonymaen, Kidwelly, Tumble and Llandovery moved up, with Llandovery finding itself in the fourth division of the Welsh National League (although it was then called division 3, since the top division was to be called the Premier Division!)

 

 

 

 

 

Pts

 

Lge

Tries

 

 

 

Season

P

W

D

L

For

Ag

Pts

Posn

For

Ag

 

1980/81C

18

13

2

3

 

 

28

1st

35

 

Prom

1981/82B

18

7

5

6

 

 

19

6th

25

 

Stay

1982/83B

18

12

1

5

 

 

25

3rd

41

 

Prom

1983/84A

18

5

1

12

 

 

11

8th

12

 

Releg

1984/85B

18

11

2

5

 

 

24

2nd

49

 

Prom

1985/86A

18

4

0

14

 

 

6 *

10th

24

 

Releg

1986/87B

18

13

3

2

 

 

29

1st

41

 

Prom

1987/88A

18

8

0

10

 

 

16

8th

23

 

Releg

1988/89B

18

15

0

3

 

 

30

1st

72

 

Prom

1989/90A

18

9

2

7

 

 

20

5th

20

 

Prom

* ( 2 dedc.)

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 80’s

There were many notable events for Llandovery RFC during the 80’s and some of them are listed here:

1. Season 1980-81 saw the Club celebrate its Centenary and this coincided with the Centenary Year of the WRU. Hence, as one of the eleven founder member clubs of the WRU, Llandovery were well represented in the WRU Centenary held at Cardiff on the 26th of July 1980. Members took part in the procession through the streets of Cardiff and at the special celebrations at Cardiff Arms Park.

2. Mention must be made of the record number of over 300 points in a season scored by local product Carwyn Williams (CAWS). The 19-year-old was one of many stars in our Centenary season and his record stood for over 20 years.

3. Llandovery RFC’s new ground (on 19.4 acres of fields which had been purchased in 1979) were officially opened by Mr. Hermas Evans, WRU District Representative and Past President of the Union, on the 9th of September 1985. The Opening Ceremony was followed by a match against Crawshay’s Welsh XV.

4. In season 1986-87 Llandovery were winners of the WWRU Section B. This feat was repeated in season 1988-89 under the captaincy of outstanding flanker Chris Davies, when they were also the Inaugural Winners of the new WWRU Bowl Competition which was played for in an end-of-season play-off between the winners of all the Sections.

5. The highlight of the decade, however, was undoubtedly the match played on Saturday 8th December 1984 on the Castle Sports Ground. West Wales Section B minnows Llandovery had been drawn to play mighty Pontypridd at home in the 2nd Round of the Welsh Cup. The BBC must have suspected that a shock might be on the cards, for they gave it prime spot in their Saturday Sports programme with full coverage by their cameras and commentary by David Parry-Jones. A huge crowd turned up on the day and a temporary stand had been hired which was erected earlier in the week. The BBC were right in their choice of venue that day for Llandovery won by the comfortable margin of 21 points to 6!! Looking at the video of the match now shows that this was no fluke victory, for the home side were the ones playing the better rugby for the greater part of the match. The team representing Llandovery that day was: Alan Morgan, Eirian Jones, Geraint Williams (Captain), Alun Thomas, Carwyn Davies; Carwyn Williams, Randall Jones; Gareth Williams, Wyn Morgan, Dai Thomas, Noel Page, Wyn Williams, Elfyn Jenkins, Eddie Morris, Dai Wigley. Replacements: Chris Davies, Colin Henry, Handel Davies, Dewi Evans, Eifion Williams. Llandovery’s try-scorer was flanker Elfyn Jenkins, with Carwyn Williams kicking 17 points. Worthy of note is that 12 out of the 15 (and 16 out of the 21 named) were former pupils of Ysgol Pantycelyn, the local Comprehensive School. The irony of the situation was that Llandovery were coached by former Pontypridd player Jock Watkins, who had moved to live in the area earlier. Jock was a legend around the Clubs of South-East Wales and beyond, having been one of only three players who had played for Pontypridd on over 400 occasions and had also played for Glamorgan County on many occasions. One book describes him as “The best uncapped hooker in Wales “ !!! The high regard in which he was held at Pontypridd was evident on accompanying him back to that Club many years later, where a plaque on the wall of the Clubhouse names the three famous players; only the legendary Bob Penberthy had played more times than Jock. Needless to say, the celebrations in Llandovery RFC’s Clubhouse went on well into the night after the game and the quiet unassuming Jock had a knowing smile on his face all evening!

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Llandovery players in first-class rugby

Llandovery over the years has produced players who have gone on to play first-class rugby. Bernard Jones, who was club captain in 1957, in his first-class game for LIanelli, was opposed by none other than Dicky Jeeps, the Northampton and England scrum-half. Bernard Jones had a long and distinguished playing record and has been particularly active recently with junior rugby at the Club. Players known to have appeared for first-class clubs include:

David Gealy (LIanelli)
Bernard Jones (LIanelli)
David Jones (Swansea)
Glanville Richards (London Welsh)
Gareth Jones (Aberavon)
Jim Sutton (Waterloo and Lancashire)
Mervyn Bevan (Neath and LIanelli)
John W. D. Jenkins (Maesteg, Neath, Welsh trialist)
John Davies (Nuneaton, Captain 1969)
John Davies (Maesteg)
Adrian Lloyd (LIanelli)
Gareth Lloyd Jones (Combined Services and London Welsh)
Colin Basey (Swansea)
Gareth Davies (Combined Services)
Don Llewellyn (Cardiff)
Colin Evans (Oxford)
Dai Williams (Llanelli)

[TO BE EXTENDED]

Apologies now are made for any omissions and the Club would be glad to hear of names that have been inadvertently left out of this list.

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The Club as a local benefactor

From the very outset, Llandovery R.F.C. has responded generously to the 'Rugby Fraternity' appeals - injured players' funds etc, but in 1962 an opportunity arose for the club to broaden its generosity. It was when the Town Improvement Committee decided they were no longer able, or prepared to, administer the annual Bank Holiday Carnival & Fete. At this juncture the club committee acted (to retain the date for the town's sake) and organised the 1962 Carnival. That it proved a disastrous venture and financial loss due to abnormally inclement weather on the day did not deter us trying again the following year. After realising we had made a certain profit we decided we would plough at least part of it back into the town. This was the year we donated, and arranged delivery of, one hundredweight of coal to each and every O.A.P. in the town.

This was the platform for a continued trend of thinking in that direction. Ever since when the minutest profit has been made on the day, we have shared it with some town cause. Without disclosing amounts, or even each and every beneficiary, a quick glance at our records indicates that the following groups have benefited: Women's Institute, St. John's Ambulance, Red Cross Society, Soccer Club, Pony Club, Local Blind, etc.

Over and above, for ten years or so, we organised and financed a Xmas Party for the under nine year old children of Llandovery and District. This invariably took the form of a kiddies' film show and a Father Xmas with his give-aways.

We are also proud that in 1972 we purchased approximately a third of an acre of land adjacent to the Castle Fields Children's Playground and thereon constructed a kiddies' paddling pool, suitably constructed a fencing enclosure, provided seating for parents, and adorned the area with ornamental trees.

In 1978 we decided to graduate from a Carnival Day to a Charities Week. The successful outcome enabled us to purchase a much needed vehicle for the local Meals on Wheels Association and, further, provide them with £100 towards the first year's running costs. During the same year, a cash donation to the local hospital's physiotherapy department gave them the opportunity to acquire, among other items, a traction bed and wax bath. 1979 gave us the chance to enrich the Swimming Pool Fund and the Scout and Guides Hut Fund by approximately £800 each.

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