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RUGBY IN GORSEINON

Gorseinon RFC

In those days they played on the Welfare Ground then called Kings Holme with Cricket and Soccer also being played there. After the World War, the club played under the name of St Catherine's Church down in the lower part of Gorseinon, at the rear of Whittington Terrace. The ground was called Pencefnarda and the changing rooms were at the back of the 'Institute'. Between 1918 and 1931 the ground was redeveloped by the owners of the local works Messrs. Lewis and sons, and the club started playing under the name of 'Grovesend Welfare'.

At the outbreak of the 1914-18 war the team was disbanded and although reforming in 1931 under the works name it was not until 1936 that they were re-admitted into the Welsh Rugby Union. In the early 1950's an application was made to change the name back to Gorseinon and it's original title.

The club's colours have always been cherry and white but Mr. Dick James who was a great stalwart of rugby and cricket in Gorseinon always argued that the first set of jerseys were claret and cream. They were donated by a local solicitor, Mr. Harold Williams. Dick James was a very colourful character captaining Gorseinon before the 'Great War' and his claim to fame was that he was a sparring partner to the great Jimmy Wilde. He was a life member of the club for many years and was active in committee work until his death in the 1960's.


Gorseinon RFC

In the early 1930's the club chairman was Alderman William Evan, with Mr. T.S. Edwards as secretary and Mr. Sid Williams as treasurer. Messrs. T.B. Bevan, Elvet Lewis, W. Lang, W. Inkin and W. john became the backbone of the committee until the outbreak of the 2nd World War.

Gorseinon have always practised the gospel of the open game with their lively attitude to rugby, and through the years many fine players have been connected with the club, especially in the 1930's. Malcom Jones who played at centre with Swansea and Llanelli, Cyril Berry, Jim Lang, Tom Day, Idwal Davies and Ernie Rees who captained the team in the 1935-36 season were prominent.

    The first season after the war, 1946-47, with T.B. Bevan, chairman, W. Lang, secretary and W. John, treasurer the club was captained by Mr. Pat Murphy, and although not enjoying a good season, record wise, at least the club had been re-established after six years of inactivity. One must be greatful to those people at the helm together with vice chairman Elvet Lewis, and J.R. Gale, D.L. Evans, W. Inkin, H. Harrison, Reg Skyrme, Dai Illtyd Williams and C. Moore of the committee.

    As previously stated Gorseinon have always enjoyed open rugby and perhaps its most famous son was Lewis Jones the ' Golden Boy' of post-war Welsh Rugby. A native of the village, Lewis will go down in history as one of the all-time  greats.

    Six months after leaving Gowerton Grammar School he was in the Neath team and a year later playing for Wales. he made a sensational debut against England at Twickenham in 1950. Fielding an English kick he set off on a superb run which ended with a corner try by prop forward Cliff Davies, thus putting Wales on the way to their first Triple Crown triumph since 1911.

Lewis Jones won 10 Welsh Caps before turning professional in 1952, going to Leeds for a then record fee of £6,000 . In 1956-57 he wrote his name in the Rugby League record books by becoming the first player to score 500 points in a season. His total of 505 points was made up of 37 tries and 197 goals.

In the late 1940's a most illustrious character played for Gorseinon, namely Mr. Doug Jones who went on to play in the front row for Swansea for many seasons. he had two final trials for Wales and has always been regarded as very unfortunate not to be capped.

1950 saw change at the helm of the Gorseinon Rugby Club with the introduction as chairman, of Mr. Elvet Lewis who served the club as committeeman, vice chairman and chairman for 35 years, also Mr. Len Roberts a past player of the club who became treasurer and held the position for 28 years and is still an active life member.



As the years went on the club had some lean times on the playing field but in 1955 under the captaincy of Louis Gazzi they went to the semi-final of the W.W.R.U. cup at Swansea ground , St. Helen's against Seven Sister's only to lose in the replay 5-3

The following year they were again successful and reached the semi-final against Carmarthen after a marathon of replays with Penclawdd.

Gorseinon's most outstanding team during their history to date was that of 1962-63 which won the West wales R.U Championship by beating Carmarthen at Stradey Park, Llanelli. Seven members of the team had played first class football at sometime or another and it was captained by Alan Jones  who had played with Swansea and Neath. The era naturally is regarded as the most successful in the history of the club and several new records were established with wing Billy Sweetman scoring six tries against Abercrave. In season 1966-67 we saw the club playing in both semi-finals of the W.W.R.U. competitions, but losing to Pontarddulais in the Cup and Seven Sisters in the Championship.

Season 1969-70 heralded the re-introduction of a Youth team which had not been operating for nine years and many fine players were produced including three internationals:- Adrian Walters, John Morgan and John Madden with Malcolm Hedges reserve to the great Terry Homles in the 1974 Welsh Youth team.

      As previously mentioned the Youth of 1969 produced internationals, but one player who bettered himself in later years was David Cole. he played for three seasons for Neath and captained the club in1980 and along with Alan Jones (brother of Lewis)

Some quality teams have been produced in the 70's, with perhaps the clubs greatest day in this era in the XV a side game being 1st January 1976 when Gorseinon played Cardiff at the Cardiff Arms Park only to lose 68-13 scoring two quality tries. This followed a run of three successful games in that years Welsh Cup competition beating Llangennech and Llandovery at home cumulating in a veritable battle of a game away at Laughane.

During this period the club won the district 'F' sevens title on four occasions - 1975,1976,1982 and 1986 with both Bryon Gale (1975) and John Lewis (1982) receiving Man of the Tournament Awards and David Cole, Huw Watkins and Alun James achieving highest scorers in the Tournament. David Cole appeared in all four winning sides. Cole also played for four seasons with Neath between1976-1980. winning player of the year award and captaining the side in his last year, only the late Alan Jones (Llanelli)- brother of Lewis and Lyndon Lewis (Aberavon) have  captained first class teams being former Gorseinon players.

Pictured below is Andy Hill a former Gorseinon player who set points and try scoring records at Llanelli. Hill along with Wyn Walters and Rchard Bevan will be remembered as the clubs greatest goal kickers.

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