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RUGBY IN LLANTWIT FARDRE

Llantwit Fardre RFC

The present day club was founded in 1946 as a result of a casual meeting at the Carpenter's Arms, Efail Isaf. A public meeting was held at Bethel Baptist Church in The Parade, Church Village, on Wednesday 22nd May 1946. This was later to become the site of the new clubhouse in 1961. In June 1946 the local cricket club was contacted with regard to joining with the newly formed rugby club, but nothing came of this.

On Saturday 19th September 1946 the Club played its first match in the Pontypridd & Rhondda League away to Rhondda Transport, and won 11 points to nil. The Club colours were black shirts with white collars. From 1946 to the end of the 1949 season home fixtures were played on fields at Duffryn Dowlais Farm, thanks to assistance provided by farmer Granville Hughes. At the beginning of the 1949-50 season the team transferred to the Vicarage Field owned by farmer Dilwyn Jenkins. Club Headquarters and changing rooms  were based at the Cross Inn, Church Village, some distance from the playing fields, so on match days the team had a long walk before kick off. Within 3 seasons the Club achieved membership of the WRU. By the end of the 1949-50 season the Club were fielding a second fifteen.

From the Observer, Leader & Free Press - Saturday October 7th 1950.

Llantwit's election to membership of the Welsh Rugby Union after three full seasons since the formation of the club has caused a surprise in Welsh rugger circles, writes Frank James. It has been recognised, however, that the honour was the reward of playing attractive football and conducting the club according to the spirit of the rules laid down by the governing body. Llantwit are not a "super side" and may never progress beyond the front rank of the second class, but many of our present day "glamour" clubs could take lessons from their example.The big thing about them is that they are a team; players, officials and rank and file supporters all work together to further the cause of rugby and to maintain the clubs healthy position. As an example of the fine team spirit prevailing, it is worth noting that no record of individual scorers is compiled and no one is likely to be hailed as a record breaker. The team scores the points and it is a matter of indifference who touches down for the try or kicks the goal. (Editors note - another 5 paragraphs follow, in equal praise and can be read in the official history)

 

Rob Kotyla passes out of a tackle

In the 1950's the club went from strength to strength. A major step forward took place in 1951 when the Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre Rural District Council made a field available at Cae Fardre, Church Village. It was officially opened on September 1st 1951 with Pontypridd RFC providing the opposition.

On March 25th 1952 the first Club Constitution was drawn up. The Club Badge was chosen from a design by Dilwyn Lewis - local historian, school teacher and author of "Under The Parish Lantern" July 8th 1952. Recipients of the badge in the 1950's and 1960's had to earn the right to wear it. A Club Badge Committee was set up in October 1952 and club members did not receive a badge unless it was first passed by the Badge Committee.

Club colours were still black and white but blue and white jerseys were also in use together with a strip of green jerseys.

Local rugby was going through a period of much change and activity in the 1950's. Beddau RFC was reformed in 1952 and, on occasions from 1953-55 were given use of  Llantwit's playing fields and dressing rooms.

It would be inconceivable, nowadays, to imagine rugby international matches not being televised. Rugby as we know it would not be able to survive without the revenue from television companies. Also, the number of tickets allocated to clubs for international matches is far from sufficient to meet the growing demands from rugby supporters. Back in the 1950's things were completely different. International matches were not televised and even smaller clubs, like Llantwit Fardre received an allocation of international tickets that can only be envied today. Home Internationals - 53 stand tickets, 25 enclosure tickets, 200 field tickets. England v Wales at Twickenham - 4 stand tickets, 25 enclosure tickets and 45 field tickets.

Observer, Leader & Free Press February 25th 1961 - Rugby Clubhouse Opened At Llantwit Fardre (one third of article copied here, the rest in the Centenary booklet.)

The new £4,500 Llantwit Fardre RFC Clubhouse was opened officially by Mayor W.H. Clement, Secretary of the Welsh RU on Tuesday night. The guests includedprominent Welsh sportsmen and local civic dignitaries. Club officials paid tribute to the former chairman, the late councillor Dewi Chubb.

1994-5

Winners of League division 8A Central and promoted to division 7 along with treherbert who were runners up.

1995-6

Winners of League division 7B and promoted to division 6

1996-7

Finished mid table in division 6 Central. The league was reorganised and Llantwit were placed in division 5 Central

1997-8

1998-9 The league was reorganised and Llantwit were placed in division 4 East

1999-2000

Centenary Year, seniors in Division 4 gain promotion to Division 3

2000-2001

Firsts in division 3, Seconds win the Ifor Williams Cup

2001-2002

Firsts go the whole season without losing a match and gain promotion to Division 2. TV cameras at the last match with the celebrations shown on BBC Scrum V.

2002-2003

Firsts in Division 2, at the end of the season Division 2 and 3 are split and renamed Divisions 2 West and 2 East.

2003-2004

Penygraig, who won the Silver Ball Final, against Pontypridd at the end of last season, had a series of appeals against a mass suspension. After the final, most of the squad had refused a drugs test and were suspended. The appeals went on until May 2004 when it was decided that the 17 players would be suspended for 15 months each, with their secretary suspended for 2 years. The results on their league position were devastating, as they conceded 2076 points, regularly being beaten by over 100 points a game. Throughout the season they only won one game - and that was against us !

The Cae Fardre pitch is mentioned above in the history on many occassions. During this year it was bulldozed up to make way for the new Garth Olwg school pitch. Farewell to the place immortalised in history as the sacred home of Jenks' kicking practice. See his autobiography at rugby where you can read such snippets as;- "Your throat is dry, your cheeks are burning, you feel breathless. All that stands between you and glory is an oval-shaped ball and a set of posts. You sense the nervousness of the crowd, some of whom are willing you to succeed while others are doing their best to put you off. You wonder why you are not sitting in front of the television with your feet up, clutching a can of cold beer and watching someone else audition for a part he is not sure of: hero or fall guy. You only wonder for a second. You blot out the noise, the nerves, the tension and the occasion. You pretend you are somewhere else, long ago, when nobody apart from your family and your school friends had ever heard of you. You are in a park not far from your home practising your goal kicking. No one is around apart from a couple of souls walking their dogs, but they do not take even a cursory interest. There is nothing at stake: you can miss everything and tell your father you were unerringly accurate. Only you know."

Llantwit finished 4th in the league after a poor start and a long unbeaten run at the end of the season. The speeches at the  Club Dinner held in May, were very optimistic as we already have a strong squad and the youth team are winning everything in site - winning their league and the Merit Table Cup - a few players now pushing for senior positions. The Second Team had an indifferent league season but managed to reach the final of the Ifor Williams Cup for the third time in four seasons, this time losing to Beddau - the WRU officials at the game commented that it had been the best final that they had seen in many a season.

The season was rounded off by the club being invited to play in The Millennium Stadium during Neil Jenkins Testimonial, against Barking who were Jason Leonard's first club. We won at senior, under 8's and under 9's level - but the important thing was that we saw Neil off and the players got to play in a magnificent setting. The main match, Jenkins v Leonard was full of present and past internationals.

 

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