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RUGBY IN CAERPHILLY

Caerphilly RFC

On the 26th of August 1887, "The Monmouthshire Merlin", a Gwent newspaper, reported that "...on Wednesday evening, at a well-attended meeting at the 'Castle Hotel' , for the purpose of establishing a rugby football club at Caerphilly, a strong committee was formed with the following officers: President - Mr. T.S. Reynolds, Captain- Mr. Milwin Jenkins, Vice-captain - Mr. A.F.Dinnant, Secretary - Mr. H.H.Powell, Treasurer - Mr. O.E.Woods.

The first reported game was in "The South Wales Daily News" on Monday 24th October when they defeated a Cardiff team, St. Andrews. By Christmas of this first season there was a regular second XV and the 1st XV had played on the Arms Park recording a no score draw against Cardiff(A)XV.
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Caerphilly RFC

The last reported game of 1887 was in "The Western Mail" on December 10th, which recorded the last trio of matches between Caerphilly and Machen with great interest manifested locally in the game owing to the former contests being drawn.

The game had commenced at 3.00p.m. and after an uphill struggle the "Machinites" lost by one try and three minors to nil. The umpires were Mr. Lewis of Caerphilly and Dr. Thomas of Machen and after the game both teams adjourned to the "Castle Hotel" where luncheon was partaken. Caerphilly continued into the new year in winning ways and on March 3rd 1888 "The Western Mail" reported a fixture between Caerphilly 2nd XV and Bedwas resulted in a win for Caerphilly by one goal and four tries to nil. We seemingly completed our first season in style "The South Wales Daily Telegraph" on May 11th 1888 reported the "First Football Club Dinner".

On Saturday evening the members of Caerphilly Rugby Football Club, brought their successful season to a close, when fifty of them, together with friends, sat down to a substantial dinner prepared by mine Host and Hostess Coggins of the Castle Hotel. Vice-captain , Mr. A.F.Dinnant, in responding to the toast of the evening "Success to the Caerphilly Rugby Football Club", stated that, "...the club had played 25 matches, won 12, drawn 8 and lost only 5". He said that he "...considered it extremely gratifying for a club which had only one season to have such a fine record".

In the years to follow Caerphilly Rugby Football Club would enjoy many seasons of success and would suffer at the hands of industrial changes, war and hard times. They would carry many nicknames: "The Jackdaws", "The Harlequins", "The Harriers", "The Premiers", "The Cheesemen" and "The Castletown Men". They would change grounds and headquarters and be reformed several times, they would twice be admitted membership of the "Welsh Rugby Union" in 1900 and 1955, and in the late fifties build their club headquarters at Virginia Park.

As Caerphilly approached its Centenary in 1987, success came on the field of play, winning three league section championships and the Mid District K.O Cup. Centenary season gave the club's supporters their first taste of major league rugby, when they had the opportunity to watch the Virginia Park team test their skills against the top sides in Wales, with Newport, Cardiff, Pontypridd and Crawshays amongst the visitors.

The nineties brought success and and Heineken League Rugby, and for Caerphilly who had almost made it to the top at the early part of the Twentieth Century, an opportunity to reach their goal and make history achieving it.

To date, Caerphilly Rugby Football Club, the Cinderella of Welsh rugby, and the pride of the Rhymney Valley have won over the media, survived the ever-changing whims of Welsh rugby and in a very short period of time flown the Caerphilly flag against the elite of England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italian rugby.

At Virginia Park, national XVs from Canada and Georgia have been defeated. Caerphilly became the first Welsh club to reach the quarter-finals of the "European Shield" and have also been quarter-finalists in the "Principality Cup" on three occasions.

Endeavour on the field has been matched by superb ground improvements, good house-keeping and strong organisation. All that has been missing is the overdue arrival of a generous Prince Charming to help propel the Castletown club into the twenty-first century.

What has been achieved at Caerphilly is historic and unique, standing on its own merit. With support, the future would be assured. Now, as the new season is at hand, it is time to reflect on the toast made at the "Castle Hotel" on May 11th 1888. - "Success to the 'Caerphilly Rugby Football Club'"

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