1964—65. P48, W30, L12, D6. Points 644—329.
A WHALE’S TOOTH FROM THE TOURING FIJIANS
Meirion Roberts was appointed captain, and for the third time, Howard Norris was the vice-captain. Meirion was a well built straight running centre, well grounded in the style of Cardiff High School teaching. An unselfish player, he created many breaks, half breaks and scoring chances and tackled strongly. He was somewhat in the mould of B. R. Turn- bull of the ‘twenties’. He earned eight Welsh caps, became a Barbarian and made 225 first team appearances. Newcomers included A. R. ‘Tony’ Pender—another Cardiff High School product, an intelligent back row forward who gained his Blue at Cambridge as a prop. A Welsh trialist, Tony made 151 first fifteen appearances before being transferred in his valuation profession to London where he duly joined the London Welsh, and also the Civil Service R.U. W. H. ‘Billy’ Raybould and Lyn Baxter, both secondary school products also made debuts.
We started off most auspiciously winning all of our eight September matches and scoring 223 points to 30, The Cardiff & District R.U. were beaten 52 points to nil, Alan Drew our full-back kicking seven goals and scoring a try. Pontypool (A), with Benny Jones and Clive Rowlands at half back, went down 16—0, Bristol 23—3, London Welsh 48—6 (twelve tries scored, Drew six goals and a try), Penarth 35—3, Coventry (19—9) included J. R. Melville the wing who last season at Coventry had scored a try for his team from his own line, Gloucester 16—9, and Penarth, for the second time, by 14—0. Drew had scored 71 points in the month.
But it was the old enemy Newport who started us on the downward path. With Dave Watkins (Capt.) and R. Prosser at half back they inflicted our first defeat on 3rd October at home by 10 points to 5, they beat us in two of the three matches played, one was cancelled on 6th March through frost and snow. Neath, and the Barbarians, each beat us twice, Mike Gibson for the latter dropped a goal against us in their 14 points to 11 win at Easter, We fell from grace in April losing four and drawing one out of ten fixtures, and on our North Western tour we lost to Liverpool 20 points to 6, Waterloo 6—3, beating only modest Chester 11—0; we were not able to turn out our best teams on this tour. However, there were some good performances and the number of points for the season were the highest since the 676 scored in Sid Judd’s season of 1954—55.
Maurice Richards with 18 was the top scorer of tries, Steve Hughes got 17, our crafty scrum half Billy Hullin 12, the captain 11 and Tony Pender 10. Alan Drew with 45 goals and three tries scored 111 points—he got 115 with the Athletic XV. Elwyn Williams with 45, Howard Norris 44, Meirion Roberts 41, Maurice Richards 35, Dai Hayward 33, Steve Hughes and Billy Hullin 33, and John O’Shea 32, made most appearances. Keith Rowlands played for Wales against Ireland and France. Club caps were awarded to Garry Davies, Alan Drew, W. Hullin and A. R. Pender.
Alan Drew was captain of the Athletic XV whose record was P38, W32, L5, Dl, with 725 points to 194. This was an excellent record, and the number of points scored were the highest number since Peter Goodfellow’s season of 853 points in 1959—60. Until 12th April only Bristol Utd. (on 9th September) and Newport Utd. had beaten “The Rags”, the former by 8 points to 6, and the latter by 9—6, and then, rather unaccountably they lost to Llantwit Major in the semi-final of the Silver Ball Competition by 5 points to three at Bridgend. Pontypool Utd. by 10 points to 5, and Gloucester Utd. by 6—3 were the only other clubs to subdue “The Rags”. Coincidentally, the five defeats were all at the hands of ‘United’ clubs except Llantwit Major.
The top try scorers were W. H. Raybould with 11, Frank Wilson 10, G. Mainwaring and Tony Williams eight. Alan Drew’s 115 points came from a total of 47 goals and three tries. Ian Robinson 27, John Hickey 22, Elfed Morgan and Harry Ridgewell each with 21 made most appearances. New Athletic XV caps were awarded to Lyn Baxter, John Davies, Roy Duggan, W. H. Raybould, Harry Ridgewell, John Huw Williams and Frank H. Wilson. Selections were made from a total of 82 players during the season.
It was another successful season for the Youth XV which was captained by David Evans, the record being: P26, W20, L5, Dl, with 466 points to 154. These Juniors again won the Cardiff & District Youth ‘Sevens’ and the Welsh Youth Open Tournament at Bridgend. Only three points were scored against our Youth Seven in the latter competition. P. Lyn Jones scored no fewer than 27 tries in 21 matches, and Terry Stephenson 26 in 23 matches; Terry played three times for the Welsh Youth XV. A good season this.
The resuscitation of the Cardiff Extras XV was wise, the previous Extras XV had operated for three seasons in the early twenties. Twenty-six matches were played of which twenty were won and six lost, with 582 points scored to 102, under the experienced captaincy of George Davey the erstwhile Llandaff and Cardiff senior teams’ forward. The biggest victories were gained over Cowbridge Seconds by 53 points to three, Caerphilly Seconds 40—0, Llandaff Technical College 57—0, Llanishen 40—0, Cardiff Fire Service 44—0, and Queen Mary’s College, London, by 41—5. The new Extras won the Cardiff & District ‘Sevens’, beating Whitchurch 14—0, Old Tauntonians 6—3, Cathays H.S. Old Boys 8—3, and in the final, St. Peters 8—5, it was a promising re-start for our fourth XV, Peter Nyhan nick-named them “The Tatters”.
The Fijians toured Wales and on 26th September played the Welsh XV which included Maurice Richards and Dai Hayward, in a most memorable match of free flowing and thrilling Rugby football to the great delight—and support—of a huge Welsh crowd. In all, 13 tries were scored, seven by Wales and six by the Fijians whose remarkable prop forward. S. Walisoliso, helped himself to three, restricting the Welsh victory to 28 points to 22. These likeable and modest Fijian tourists whose headquarters in Wales was in Cardiff were afforded all the amenities of our club during their stay, and as an earnest mark of their appreciation, the whole of their party visited our Museum Room on a special occasion. There, in a most moving ceremony, both verbal and vocal as became their tradition when presenting rare gifts, their leader placed a garland with a whale’s tooth suspended on the shoulders of Les Spence, our chairman, for presentation to the Cardiff Club. In the sense of presentations, this one was, to me I think, the most moving and touching I had experienced in my Rugby football life.
Floodlighting was established at the Cardiff Arms Park on 7th October 1964. It was an inevitable innovation, made in particular to partly offset—it could never fully do so—the ever increasing scope of television and its effect on fixtures and dwindling receipts of all senior gate taking clubs. The Barbarians, our long established friends since 1890, readily agreed to play us in a match to celebrate the occasion. The Barbarians won the match by 12 points to 8, as if to emphasise the cause of the celebration. What the club really did celebrate was the winning of the Floodlight Alliance Tournament of the senior Welsh clubs having floodlighting, having disposed of Ebbw Vale, Bridgend, Cross Keys, and in the final Llanelli by 14 points to 8. The cost of the floodlighting installation, etc. was £5,829. The club received £646 in television fees.
In the club’s senior seven-a-side tournaments, we were defeated in the final of the Gala Sevens by Loughborough College by three goals and a try, to one goal and a try. Newport beat us in the third round of the Welsh “Snelling” Tournament at Swansea by one goal, two tries, 11 points to nil.
Gwyn Davies was doing a good job as programme editor covering four teams, with interest and good humour. Miss Babs Filer celebrated her thirty-five years as stewardess of the club. Les Gerry had now superseded Mr. Albert Francis as head groundsman. Dr. J. H. Naysmith and his ‘sawbones’ colleagues were serving players’ needs, as were Tom Holley, Ted Arcas and Keith Harse. Our St. Albans Military Band was playing as brightly as ever, Sousas marches were never entirely forgotten. It is a great joy to have this band still with us, continuing to improve with sound, and dress to please us all. Alan Priday had captained the Cardiff Cricket Club. Heads of teams in connection with the establishment of the new national and club grounds were signed.