Cardiff RFC Season Report 1980 / 1981
One of the greatest honours which can be attained by a Cardiff player is to be elected Club captain; as a committee man the greatest honour is to be Chairman of the Cardiff Rugby Football Club. It was one of the proudest moments of my life when I was elected Chairman for this season and I felt I had attained both “the penny and the bun”!
This season was also the WRU Centenary Year and part of the celebrations would be a visit of the All Blacks; the challenges were there for all to see. Could the Cardiff team emulate the famous victory of the 1953 Cardiff XV and having just failed to win the Schweppes Challenge Cup in our Centenary Year could we go one better this year? Time would tell and it did; no repeat over the men from ‘down under’ but Glory Be! The Schweppes Cup at last; but more of this later.
The start in September was far from auspicious with three defeats – albeit away to Bristol, Neath and Aberavon – but what was of greater concern was an immediate lack of key players due to injury. With the first visit of Nice to the Arms Park another chapter was written in our French connection. It was also our pleasure to welcome at the game the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor John Edwards, who proved to be a staunch supporter throughout the season.
On behalf of District B of the WRU it was our privilege and pleasure to host, at a farewell luncheon, overseas delegates to the very successful conference of coaches and referees. Although not all the A representatives of the 46 countries present at the conference were at the function, it was even so a unique occasion.
October saw the final build-up to the New Zealand game but because of injuries at one stage 12 players with first XV experience were undergoing treatment – we were never able to field a settled team. Defeats by Bridgend and Pontypridd, again away and under floodlights, although doing nothing to help our confidence at least made the side more determined. This became evident in the New Zealand game for although we lost 16-9, we did, as John Scott pointed out at the after match dinner, win the second half 3-0. On the strength of this he suggested that the 81 side could join the 53 side for the sweet course at their annual reunion.
During the month it was also the privilege of the club to entertain the Zimbabwe team and officials who were on a tour of England. This was a small gesture of appreciation for the fabulous hospitality that had been extended to us when touring Rhodesia, as it was then, in 1972. As events turned out it would appear that we are again in debt to our rugby friends from Zimbabwe.
A series of victories followed the game against the All Blacks but again we lost albeit narrowly, in another away game under lights, this time to Moseley. However, the month of November saw us through the 1st round of the Schweppes cup in atrocious conditions at Tonyrefail.
In December the side began to realise its full potential. Seven wins were recorded and amongst our victims were Pontypool, where the second half in particular contained everything good in rugby, and Pontypridd and Newbridge – the latter two in the space of two days. We also defeated British Steel at home in the second round of the cup and perhaps even more significantly, Swansea at St Helens. There was no doubt that the side was responding to the leadership of John Scott, who was probably playing his best ever rugby.
Even though injuries were still with us it was thought that New Year’s Day would see us lay the Bridgend Bogey of 12 games at the Arms Park without a win. It was not to be and Steve Fenwick’s Siege gun kicking won the day. The third round of the WRU cup saw Tredegar visiting the Arms Park for the first time but a comfortable win for John Scott’s team saw them into the quarter finals. This game was midway through January and although victories were recorded over Moseley, London Welsh and Aberavon, Llanelli avoided our completing the double over them by virtue of a great display by Phil Bennett in what was probably his last game against us.
February saw the quarter finals of the cup and again we were fortunate to be drawn at home. Whilst I cannot but agree that we had been favoured by home draws, I felt it was only recompense for the injuries which had ravaged the side since commencement of the season. Our opponents on this occasion were Cross Keys, a club who could boast of having beaten us more times than we had beaten them – nine to eight in fact. After playing somewhat loosely to begin with and trailing by 10 points to 9 we tightened up and eventually won 22-10.
We drew Swansea in the semi-final but with the weather interfering it looked as if the fates were against us. The game was eventually had to be postponed and because neither side could agree on a mutually convenient date the WRU decided that we had to play mid-week, under floodlights and obviously away from home. To offset this our record against Swansea was good and we had been allocated the home dressing room! Came the night and inspired by the captain the side gave a masterly display under atrocious conditions with Terry Lee reaching a pinnacle of performance. The encouragement given by our supporters was superb and I can only wish the chant of @Cardiff!! Cardiff!!’ could be heard more often; I can assure all and sundry that the players appreciated it.
A draw at Newport, and a handsome win at Bedford and an almost injury free side. Came the day and although the game was not a classic that it was expected to be there was no doubt that our tight, workmanlike approach created frustration in the Bridgend ranks that resulted in errors. Even so Neil Hutchings scored a glorious try and the build-up to it was superb. At times one could be forgiven for thinking that the Bridgend Hoodoo was still with us – even when we had drawn the away dressing room – but the final score 14-6 two tries to nil was a fair reflection of our superiority.
There is no doubt we will win the cup again but the first time is always the best and April 11th will be remembered as a great day in our history. Well done John Scott and your boys, particularly Robert Lakin who was voted man of the match by the Wels Sportswriters association, although with so many playing well it must have been a close decision.
One week later saw the side reach the heights again in an entirely different type of game, defeating the Barbarians by 45 points to 19. Unfortunately the season was not over, because of the Presidents XV verses Wales game the cup final, normally played on the last Saturday of the season, had been brought forward and we still had to play postponed matches. These proved to be a disaster particularly at Pontypool.
The old players’ reunion did not take place until Friday 24th April. The attendance was tremendous and that it was an unqualified success and well worth waiting for was in no small measure to the fact that it was held in the top lounge of the clubhouse.
The season with its few disappointments and many successes culminated in the holding of a Gala dinner at City Hall. The object was to raise money for the WRU Charitable Trust Fund and what a fitting climax it proved, not only for socially but also financially. As far as I can ascertain ladies were invited for only the second time in 104 years; they and the Athletic Club choir and the St Albans Band made it a night to remember, as did our guest speakers John Young and Gareth Daniel.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the committee men for their loyalty and support which they gave throughout the season and although it would have be invidious of me to mention individuals I must pay special tribute to or Hon. Sec. Alun Priday; I cannot express adequately the debt I owe to them all. To Lynn Williams who has decided to hang up his boots after a marvellous forty five years of service as a player and committee man a happy retirement!
My grateful thanks to Messrs. Ken George, Albert Francis and their staff; also to Mrs Gaynor Parsons and her staff/ To Mr Harold Richards, the club doctors, the club physiotherapists and masseurs my thanks not only for helping to keep the players fit but also for restoring them to fitness after a season in which we suffered surely more injuries than at any other time. Although I referred to our supporters earlier may I now thank the best and most loyal supporters club in existence and particularly Ted John and his cohorts; to the St Albans Band and their conductor John Williams our sincere thanks.
Full Playing Record for the season
Played 48 – Won 32 – Lost 1 Drawn 2
Points For: 968 Against: 615
1st Round v Tonyrefail – Won 15-0
2nd Round v British Steel – Won 41-0
3rd Round v Tredegar – Won 22-0
4th Round v Cross Keys – Won 22-10
Semi-Final v Swansea – Won 18-7
Final v Bridgend – Won 14-6
1st Round v Exeter – Won 18-12
2nd Round v London Welsh = Lost 6-22
Congratulations to John Scott, Gareth Davies, terry Holmes and Alan Philips on gaining international honours; to David Burcher, Kevin Edwards and Robert Norster for obtaining Welsh squad selection and to Brian Lease for his selection as a reserve for the England tour. New Barbarians included Alan Phillips and Robert Lakin.
First XV Cap were awarded to:
Kevin Edwards, Steve Evans, Ian Eidman, Terry Lee, Tony Mogridge, Jeff Whitefoot and Rhys Williams.
Jeff Whitefoot – 44, Robert Lakin – 42 David Burcher – 40, Tony Mogridge – 36
Gareth Davies – 264 pts, Geraint John – 62 pts
Try Scorers: Dereck Preece – 14, Steve Evans – 13, Robert Lakin – 12
Youth Representation: Mark Ring – 1
In ending this report I make no apologies for the amount of space I have given to the WRU Schweppes Cup. Once again may I pay tribute to John Scott for his leadership, to the team for their response and to the coaches John Ryan and Roger Beard for their dedication. At the time of writing John Scott is in the Argentine with England whilst our touring party will leave shortly for Zimbabwe. Good luck to them all and remember April 11th 1981.
Chairman Cardiff Rugby Football Club.
Cardiff Athletic XV Season Report 1980 / 1981
Captains: Robert Lakin and Ian Robinson
Results: Played 38 Won 27 – Lost 10 – Drawn – 1
Points For: 917 Against – 453
At the commencement of the season Robert Lakin, a former captain of our Junior XV and former Youth International, was appointed captain of the Athletic XV. Because of injuries Bob’s services were required by the First XV and with his form improving he relinquished his appointment just after Christmas. For the remainder of the season the captaincy was entrusted to our oldest serving player Ian Robinson who was capped by Wales in 1974. Robbo as he affectionately - if that the right expression - known to al, settled in very quickly and brought stability.
Athletic XV Caps awarded to:
Alan Edwards, Mathew Hadley, Geraint John, Mark Rodgers, Stephen Stewart, Howard Stone, Wayne Tyler.
Most Appearances: Julian O’Brien – 27, Tim Crothers – 23, Lawrence O’Brien – 22, Mark Rodgers – 21, Howard Stone - -20
Points Scorers: Julian O’Brien - 74pts, David Barry – 65pts, Geraint John – 64 pts.
Try Scorers: Leighton May – 11, Wayne Tyler – 11, Richard Griffiths – 9, Terry Charles – 8.
Youth Representation: Peter Goodfellow – 3, Gareth Phillips – 2, Bob Morgan -1.
In terms of results the playing record was on a par with the previous season. This was quite remarkable since the Rags, because of injuries to the 1st XV players, were more unsettled in their team composition. A fact well illustrated in that one of our coaches Roger Beard turned out on three occasions, and did well did he play.
Cardiff Youth Season Report 1980 / 1981
On 28th March1981 at Neath Cardiff Youth were beaten by Neath Youth 13-10.Most people will ask why on earth the report would begin with this particular result. I will explain immediately by stating the fact that previous to this game Cardiff Youth had chalked up 82 consecutive victories stretching back to season 1978-79.
In 1979/80 season I had the pleasure of being associated with the squad that proved to be genuine Cambridge Blue & Black both on and off the field. With seven Welsh Youth Internationals in their ranks they broke all sorts of records on their way to a memorable 40 victories.
In 1980/841 season almost a new squad of players had the unenviable task of following that. Our only international cap of the season was Mark Ring, our popular captain. A prolific points scorer, he accounted for 13 tries, 6 drop goals, 36 penalties and 88 conversions, a total of 354 points. Mark was the spearhead of a good all round team and indeed looks very much like a senior Welsh outside half of the future. Without the individual brilliance of the 1979/80 squad his team demonstrated how important team spirit is. With good coaching and the atmosphere of being a Cardiff club player in close second the ingredients of another successful season became evident.
Of the 45 games played – certainly too many at any level – only one was lost. Neath were successful on that day; they overcame a Cardiff Youth side that were reluctant to their eternal credit to resort to similar ‘over vigorous’ tactics as the Neat side – but I am better qualified than to explain.
During the season ex-Cardiff Youth captain Anthony Bartlet who enjoyed early success, Joseph Suoto, Phil Ford and Kevin Trevett all played in senior Cardiff XVs out of the Cardiff Youth fraternity of 1979/8, a good omen. I mention especially prop Alan Edwards and back row Howard Stone of the same vintage as having the potential to make their mark in no uncertain fashion next season.
The Full Record:
Played 45 Won 43 – Lost – 1 Drawn – 1
Points For: 1196 Against 198
Tries For 211 – Against 21
Highest try scorers: RobertMo-rgan – 25, Richard Chilcott – 24
Notable victories were recorded against Bristol at home and away, 18-4 and6-4 respectively. On 13th September were unlucky at the Arms Park and lost 57-3 (they have not been beaten since). In two truly classic games, Pontypridd were beaten 10 points to 9 and 7 points to 3 followed by Bridgend losing 20-10 at the Brewery Field and 21-15 at the Arms Park. In November Swansea were beaten 56-0 and Llanelli 16-1. January and 1981 saw the Spanish National XV suffer by 54pts to 4, Neath at Sophia Gardens were beaten 33 points to nil and Newport lost 23-7. In March a delightful match at Nuneaton resulted in a 36-4 victory for Cardiff on a hard tour at the end of a long season Worcester were beaten 10-0, Davenport 9-7 and Orrell 12-0.
At Caerphilly on 29th April 1981, we retained the Welsh Youth KO Cup beating our old rivals Newport 18-3 thus joining the senior XV in wresting the most important trophy in Welsh Rugby.
My thanks to Jim O’Donnell, Don Reed and faithful followers for their help and support throughout the season. To Stewardess Gaynor Parsons a special thank you and appreciation to Kathy, Vicky and Miss Ann Davies at the office.
Finally may I personally congratulate our coach Peter Davies on another highly successful season. Surely one defeat in 93 games is something for all of us to think about.
Hon. Secretary Cardiff RFC Youth.