Cardiff RFC Season Review 1965 - 1966

1965—66.

KEITH ROWLANDS CAPTAIN

GERALD DAVIES AND D. KEN JONES ‘SIGN ON’

Keith Rowlands was our appointed club captain, and he nominated Steve Hughes our dapper little Rhondda wing as vice-captain; the records of our four teams were Keiith Rowlands our 6ft. 5ins, 16+ stone forward who joined us from LIanelli in 1961—62 was now a seasoned campaigner, possessing all the top honours of the Rugby game. In 1962 for example, with Campbell-Lamerton’s British Lions in South Africa, Keith played in no less than eighteen out of the twenty-four tour matches. His qualities of leadership were rewarded with the honour of leading Cardiff in two successive seasons. After his retirement, he became a member of the committee from 1967—68, and for season 1974-75 he was elected as a member of the East District of the Welsh Rugby Union (District “B” to e precise) under the Presidency of one of our former great players Harry Bowcott, and became a member of the Welsh Selection Committee—with another great Lions player, John Dawes. Like another Irish international forward who played for Cardiff, Des O’Brien, Keith s a leading representative for the Guinness Brewery Company, “Guinness for Strength” their advertisements read. At the young age of thirty-seven the challenge of Rugby world 3dministration lies before him. I wish him well, he has the qualities to do so.

1965—66 saw an intake of some excellent newcomers. Among them was D. Ken Jones :he brilliant, elusive, side-stepping centre, who, after his Gwendraeth Grammar Schooldays played for the Llanelli Club during 1960—65. He gained schoolboy and senior Welsh caps, British Lions tour, was a Barbarian and Oxford Blue, and played over one hundred matches for Cardiff, his last, nostalgically enough, being against Oxford at the Cardiff Arms ‘ark on 7th November 1970.

T. G. R. (Gerald) Davies from Llantrisant in Carmarthenshire, graduated through Q.E. 3rammar School, Loughborough College, Cardiff and London Welsh, to become one of he greatest Welsh threequarters of all time with a devastating side-step and an astonishing turn of speed. To gain further degrees, he went up to Cambridge for three seasons from 1968 and captained his Varsity in 1970. A brilliant ‘sevens’ player he has already played 24 times for his country and is most likely to gain further honours. Prior to assisting London Welsh he had already played on 62 occasions for Cardiff, and by reason f a new appointment at the Welsh Sports Centre is likely to join Cardiff again in 1974—75.

D. Robert Morgan, another strong running LIanelli wing joined us whilst at Cardiff teachers Training College, he was already the holder of nine Welsh caps and returned to his former club during 1966—67. Ken Jones, Morgan, newcomers W. Clive Evans a brilliant but short flank forward from Bridgend Sports Club, John Huw Williams another prospect from the local training college—a splendidly balanced running wing who perhaps should have exploited his natural talents better than he did, all gained club caps as did our own Lyn Baxter.

The advent of these players augured well for Cardiff’s traditional attacking Rugby, five of them took part in the match between Bonymaen and the Athletic XV at home on 18th September, a match most pleasing to our loyal band of “Rags” supporters. Time and time again Keith Jones and Gerald Davies split the Bonymaen defence wide open and played leading parts in Bonymaen’s massacre by 57 points to three. Thirteen tries were scored and Ken Jones helped himself to three, Gerald Davies two, John Huw Williams two, Chris Jones two, John Price, Tommy McCarthy and Les Gauntlett one each, whilst Tony Williams scored one and kicked eight goals, Cohn Prescott also got one conversion.

It was quite a successful season with only nine defeats. Bridgend accounting for three of them, the first of which dealt unkindly with Alan Priday who sustained a broken jaw and caused him to relinquish the captaincy of “The Rags” to John Davies. Both Varsities defeated us, Cambridge on the Cardiff Arms Park with Dennis Gethin kicking four goals and Mike Gibson contributing a try. The other four losses were to Welsh rivals Llanelli, Swansea, Newport and Neath. On a short tour to Cardiff and Llanelli, we received Old Rugby Roma of Italy a sort of Barbarian combination with representatives from France, Roumania and Czechoslovakia in the team. It turned out to be a grim type of game with a few frayed tempers being shown. Malcolm Lewis of “The Echo” thought “It was like Spaghetti without the Bolognaise”. We won 14 points to three. We also met the Scottish “Co-optimists”, a popular club founded for mainly charitable purposes by that great Rugby character Jock Wemyss; we won this flood-light encounter by 16 points to three.

The Coventry away match (we won 11—9) was notable for a civic reception and dinner given to both teams by the Lord Mayor of Coventry who was a Welshman from Tylorstown. The return game at Cardiff was suitably reciprocated by Cardiff’s Lord Mayor, Mrs. Miriam Bryant. She was rewarded by a narrow Blue and Black victory by six points to five. It was a rarity to see two brothers in opposition at full back in Cardiff’s game with Newport on 13th November, Brian Anthony for the former and his brother John for the latter—the home team won 11—3. We required 44 points to win the Flood-light Alliance Competition over Ebbw Vale and almost succeeded with 42 points to eight.

Maurice Richards with 17 tries headed the list, Steve Hughes scored 15, Billy Hulhin 11 and Robert Morgan 10. John Patrick O’Shea made most appearances, 44 times, Tony Pender, Billy Thomas and Elwyn Williams each played 40. Our captain was capped for Wales. The club and two of our players, Howard Norris and D. Ken Jones were honoured with selection for the British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia of 1966. We defeated Newport in the final of the Welsh Snelling Sevens at Cardiff by 23 points to 20 after extra time, the most exciting final since the inauguration of the tournament.

It will be seen that the Athletic team, taken over by John Davies had a most creditable record. John, a product of Cowbridge Grammar School, Welsh Secondary School cap. and Welsh ‘Dragon’ to South Africa in 1956, already had experience as a forward with Pontypridd and London Welsh. He subsequently served on the Rugby committee and is currently acting as coach with our Youth XV. Only two matches were lost up to the end of February, to Kenfig Hill and Bristol United. In March, Bonymaen at home exacted vengeance for the 57 points to three defeat at Cardiff, by winning eight points to nil. The leading try scorers were John Huw Williams 12, P. Lyn Jones 10 and Frank Wilson seven. Alan Drew suffered, as Alan Priday had, with a broken jaw but he scored four tries and kicked 17 goals in his restricted appearances. New Athletic caps were Robert Furness, John Harding, P. Lyn Jones and Gwyn Thomas the prop from Swansea who had played seventeen 1st XV games as well as thirteen for the Athletic.

The newly re-formed Extras XV were not too successful, some of our former youth players were tempted to play for senior clubs and Tony Canham had to call upon no fewer than 61 players for the 22 fixtures. R. Hugh Williams was top scorer with eight tries and six goals, Phil Walsh got seven tries and Peter Karrie five. Peter Thomas (“Pies”) played in 17 matches and nine for the Athletic and two for the 1st XV.
Neither did our Juniors—the Youth XV have a very successful season. The annual report prepared by the late Bill Lewis showed that this unit started with 22 players and that eight had left us within three weeks. Nevertheless, Terry Stevenson and Nigel Gay gained Welsh Youth international caps. In the Bridgend Open Youth Sevens our Juniors were beaten in the final by Bridgend. They had now appeared in three finals and three semi-finals in this competition. Duncan Brown, Les Jones and Dennis McCarthy continued to take care of the Juniors.

Brian Mark was doing excellent work as programme editor, even the Italians were welcomed—in Italian. His biographies of our players were most excellent reading Roy Bish the former Aberavon centre, now senior lecturer at our teachers training college joined us as coach and has made an excellent job of this work. Incidentally he has been instrumental in advising students as to prospects with the Cardiff Club. Alan Priday was captain of the Cricket Club and Les Spence captain of the Bowls. Dai Hayward, Steve Hughes and Meirion Roberts decided to hang up their boots. However, Dai Hayward changed his mind at a late date and agreed to accept the captaincy of the Cardiff Athletic XV for 1966—67.

Obituary. The management committee of the Cardiff Athletic Club suffered a very great loss in the sudden and tragic death of its former chairman T. Wyndham Richards. A well known schoolmaster of this city he had been an active member of the Tennis Section. I had been closely associated with him on the management committee since 1930 and I knew him to be a most efficient chairman, conscientious and self effacing, giving very much of his time in guiding the welfare of the Athletic Club through many difficult seasons. He was to be greatly missed by his club, and all his associates of the city. Mr. Hubert Johnson succeeded him.

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