Player Memories

Dai Gillard (captain 63-64)

I have some great memories but mostly the time as spent in something of an alcoholic haze. A lot of my contemporaries had departed for college so the vacations were the time of most activity. The New Year Fancy Dress party was probably the highlight of the social scene with some amazing costumes. As usual the rugby was in between – never quite managing to beat Forge Side. We changed at the school which on a cold wet day was a bloody long way away. We all hoped that the visiting side came by bus but it was only the Cardiff teams that could afford to come in style. You are well aware of the requirement to move the cattle off the pitch at Skew Fields but the cow pats stayed. Tours were the highlight of the season, these before the Severn Bridge was opened, so we used to go abroad to Weston with Weston Hornets our usual hosts. On most of the tours the bus driver played and we introduced a number of beer drinkers to the game of rugby football. That’s about all for tours because as you know “what goes on tour stays on tour”

Dick Bowen (captain 67-68)

I do not have any records of my year as captain other than we won the
first 5 games and the sixth game was against Old Tauntonians who arrived with only 12 players. Being a generous and gentlemanly captain I lent them a couple of our lesser players.
These so called lesser players had a stormer of a game, spuured Old Tauntonians on and we lost our unbeaten record. Another game in Cardiff I recall is one in which I ran so fast that I crossed the dead-ball line and had to dive back over it to score my try.
The ref. obviously disallowed it. I was so incensed by this that I caused trouble and eventually got sent off(again).
Disconsolate I trooped off, showered, dressed and stood on the touchline to watch the remainder of the game.The ref. saw me, decided he had over-acted and told me to get changed and come back on and that he would make no report. On my part it was not an easy decision to go back into the dressing room and put on dirty, smelly,wet togs but for the greater glory of W.M.O.B.R.F.C. I did.
So I am probably the only player to scrub up in the middle of a game.

Another day I remember on a particularly dark and dismall winter day was
one that I had decided the match would be cancelled so I took myself to theFfrwd pub on Sat. morning and drank 5/6 pints. To my horror I was suddenly told, get your kit we are playing in Cardiff. I said, I,m drunk, my captain Mr. Sadler, said your playing, who was I to argue. I was frog-marched into the dressing room and undressed. Then I put my socks on, my boots on and my gloves on and ran onto the pitch.Not a pretty sight on a cold winters day.
Most thought it a good wease (not our captain)
 
Reg Remembers
1968/69 Captain Colin George

1. The new players that started in my season as captain include -

Chris Burgess, Tony Jones, Bob Cormack, Graham Baldwin, Colin Gauntlett, Duan Booth, Mike Fynn, Alan Curtis (part), Glyn Williams (part).

Dai Hawkins, Bob Lewis, Phil Clayton, Terry Fynn, Mike Stephens.

The reason for such a large number arose because when I came back from holiday I found that an already low player base had been depleted further by a decamp by some to Panteg.

The traditional first fixture at Gloucester Civil Service had to be cancelled (not for the first time). I don't think we ever played them again.

So, that prompted a personal trawl around the esteemed rugby academies of the time, mainly The Hanbury (Trosnant) and the much missed Cwrt Bleddyn.

Phil Clayton made his debut away at Merthyr Athletic making one of the great transitional cross moves in the history of all sport, from goalkeeper in Welsh league football (Ton Pentre?)

to loose head prop. He was in bed for a week and still goes on moaning about it!

Barry Fitzgerald also stood in as captain on the numerous occasions I was away on weekend trips

Otherwise, I didn't see Fitzy all season.

2. Easter tour fixtures.

Our second visit to the Wimborne festival saw us play Ellingham and a Wimborne Select XV.

The previous year had seen a particularly heavy defeat in one match with our team composed of the usual mish mash of players, friends, bus driver….

This time, I was determined not to see a repeat of that. Most of the above were there and I was still recruiting the night before (Cwrt Bleddyn again) and picking up players even on the Saturday morning before the

bus left for Dorset.

Last minute arrivals were Dai Meredith (Cambridge University), Ken Shute (St. Thomas's Medical School) and Alan Curtis ( William Hill School of Turf Accountants).

The first scrum of the tour erupted in a big fight due to "who's that "f******" idiot you brought?", as Phil enquired about the great Shutey, the latter obviously experimenting with

some new surgical technique based on using his teeth rather than a traditional scalpel.

3. Wins and Losses

I'm certain that this was the first season since I started with the Old Boys (1964/1965) that wins outnumbered defeats, by two I recall.

The great thing was that the Old Boys survived that early season fright, we had a fine season with many of the newcomers forming the basis of the team for a number seasons.

Friendships formed and indeed were sustained for a long time, many still there despite a few ups and downs.

Memories 1989-90 Martin Cochrane

I started playing for West Mon Old Boys in my late teens, playing with and forming a front row with Bob and Peter Lewis. Early highlights include beating Usk 1st XV on the Skew Fields.
In that year, we were based at the Greeenaway Club and ran 1st and 2nd XV’s. Players like Steve Rodgers, Russell Williams, Ian and Steve Hopkins, Bob Shankland, Stuart Rosser, Chris Bryant, Geoff Lewis and Juicy , Neil Evans, Phil Jones, Daffyd Bacon, Chris Matthews and John Cavanagh immediately spring to mind.

That season we were coached by Derek Evans who went on to coach Pontypool United.
As captain, I was always keen that we would not allow ourselves to be intimidated by sides such as Forge Side and Blaenavon Quins.

I remember a game against Forge Side that year in Blaenavon where in the first minute a free for all occurred. We did not back down, narrowly losing the game but gaining their respect.
Other highlights were beating Crickhowel (who had won the Ivor Jones Cup that season)
We went on tour to Cornwall where we beat St Day (Redruth) in one of the hardest games that I had ever played, the game being abandoned after 60 minutes. Our flanker Martin Evans was sent off after 20 minutes, I was so fired up that I did not realise this until half time
.On the whole I enjoyed my season as captain. Although we lost more games than we won, there was always competition for places due to us running two sides. I felt that we gained respect and were no longer considered a “soft” touch.

Gary Crewe (captain 77-78)

I joined the “Old Boys” following a very boozy 1976 New Year's Eve in West Mon Old Boys Club at Pontymoile when I was persuaded to play the following Saturday under the captaincy of John Burton.
Things couldn’t have started worse as we only had eleven players and the match was postponed.
At least things could only get better and by the following season at the tender age of twenty I was delighted to accept the invitation of Jeff Taylor to become his vice captain.
Unfortunately for the team, and particularly Jeff, our captain suffered a broken ankle in the first month of the season during an Ivor Jones Cup match against Usk II (which incidentally the Old Boys won by 10 points to 6. Hence yours truly took over the skippers role for the rest of the season
Despite this blow (I mean Jeff's injury, not me becoming captain), the team responded magnificently and finished with a respectable playing record of played 29 won 14 and drawing 2. This included doubles against Burnham on Sea, Penallta and St.Julians with other wins against Croesyceiliog and Cwmbran Athletic.
The quarter final of the Ivor Jones Cup saw the Old Boys entertain Hafodyrynys RFC, which because of the inclement weather at the time, was played on 19 March 78, which was a Sunday afternoon.
The game was fairly uneventful except for the fact that the Old Boys won by 13 points to 4, thanks to a try by Cyril Knott and three penalty goals by the late Robbie Payne.
In addition the game was the first, and as it turned out the last occasion that I had the pleasure of playing in the same side as Harry Vaux.
Harry, who by this time was in semi retirement, had moved to the front row and “following a case of mistaken identity” had the dubious honour of creating one final record, that of being the only Old Boys player to be sent off on the Sabbath day.

The semi final was played on a perfect evening for running rugby (or so we thought) on Tuesday 4 April at the Skew Fields against Blaenafon Forge Side,who were by far the most formidable team in the District.
Nevertheless I was quietly confident that the Old Boys could spring a surprise and I remember how pleasing it was that a full side had turned out for training on the evening before (a rare occurrence indeed)
However the game was dominated by the visitor’s forwards to such an extent that I only touched the ball on a few occasions despite playing in the fly half position.
Despite this the team defended magnificently before losing by 14-3, with Forge Side eventually winning the final at a canter.

Rob Morgan 1992-94

I played for West Mon Old Boys as we were then called from 1992-1994 under Stuart Rosser (fly half) and Chris Bryant (NO 8). I always remeber Bernie coaching us and his favourite call of "you need to be up his arse" I think he was on about close support play. Our kit then was all dark green, sometimes all blue. I got a tie for playing the required amount of games; the ones that stand out was an away victory at Abersychan and a thrashing of Lisvane at the Skew fields before celebrating back at the Greenway club. I remember players such as Stuart Roynon, Ianto, Tony Watkins, Mark Smith, Mark Jones, Gary Crewe, Russell the second row. Good times and I wish you all well!

John Sadler (captain 65-66)

The late John Sadler was a very good flanker and an enthusiastic captain. His reign was notable for two typical Old Boy's antics. Firstly he instituted 'training and practice', unheard of before, and he was the first Captain(and probably the last) to be banned from the Club building during the playing season! This occurred after his brother's stag night at the end of August 1966! John trod on the toe of the Club Sec's (thats the Old Boys Association) wife in a dance we had drunkenly invaded and an altercation took place which resulted in John hanging the above on a coat hook! I, bye the way, was not involved because I was being ill down stairs at the time. For most of the season John was provide with beer and sandwiches on the front step generously passed to him by his fellow players in a gesture of solidarity

Provided by Mostyn Sadler (John's brother)
 
Gary Crewe (captain 1986-87)
The club had disbanded at the beginning of 83/84 season after a heated agm at the end of the previous season had seen the departure of several players. The majority of the remaining players went to Talywain whilst a few of us went to ICI.

I thought that this was really the end of West Mon Old Boys although Ernie Jones was adamant that we should keep the kit safe, “just in case.”

During 1986 a few of the old stalwarts such as Shun Price arranged a veterans game on a Sunday morning away to Bristol North. I am not sure what quality of opposition that our opponents were expecting but when we disembarked from the coach on arrival, the first four players that our opponents viewed were Terry Cobner (no need to say any more), Mostyn Richards (Pontypool, Ebbw Vale and Wales A), Dickie Barrell (Pontypool, Newport and Wales A) followed by ………..well……me.

Not surprisingly we won quite a keenly contested game and enjoyed a great afternoon with some typical after match entertainment This was followed by further games including Croesyceiliog Athletic who were also defeated. Quite a few younger players had joined at this stage no doubt attracted by the opportunity to play with their heroes. In fact a few of us starting thinking that this could be an opportunity to start the club on a more regular basis.

During the summer of 1986, John Parfitt arranged for a meeting to be held in the upstairs room of the Teazer public house in New Inn to see if there was enthusiasm for the club to reform. A decent turn out saw a full committee being elected with John Saunders as chairman, myself elected as captain with Peter Lewis as coach.

A full fixture list was put together by John Parfitt (no leagues in those days) and the season kicked off with an away game against Old Tauntonians We lost the game by 18-6 but the important thing was that West Mon Old Boys we were up and running again.

From a results point of view we did not have a great season winning only 6 out of 25 games played, however off the field we were one of the most popular sides in the district with 71 players representing the club during the course of the season.

There was a core of regulars and these included, Daffyd Bacon, Steve Rodgers, Gwyn Reynolds, Bobby Coleman and Ian Carter. One player who played for the club when his college commitments allowed was a 17 year old David Manley who went on to play for Pontypridd in several Welsh cup finals as well as playing for Wales A

Other regulars were Steve Parfitt, Neil Evans and Dennis Jackson while Bernie Humphries was a mid season debutant in the return defeat against Cwmbran Quins

Wins were achieved against Usk Borstal, Civil Service, Crickhowell, Usk seconds, Cwmbran Quins and Cardiff Medicals. Top scorer was Ian Carter with 67pts whilst the top try scorer was unsurprisingly Dave Manley with 7 touch downs from 8 appearances. We had a few hidings along the way but the spirit of the players never diminished

We were based at the Prince of Wales “the Tump” at Pontymoile which at the time was run by Don Manley who had just returned to the area having retired from the Metropolitan Police. I am not sure if Don was expecting a quiet time in his semi retirement but he certainly didn’t get it for the season we frequented the back room of the pub.

One particular rendition of “Mule Train” after a game against Pontypool College resulted in the colleges rugby master Phil Jones receiving the red card from Don much to the amusement of his students.

A dinner dance at the old ICI club at Mamhilad brought a fitting end to a most enjoyable season. We were back and Ernie was right to keep that kit.

Dai Hawkins1969-75

Recently I met an old friend of mine, Shun Price, in Florida. It’s probably been 30 odd years since we last saw each other, I moved to the States back in 1975 moving to Detroit. I now live in Charleston, SC. Anyway, Shun asked me to write something for the website, he told me you were doing good and back on the road to recovery, I’m glad to hear it. I have some good memories from the club and the people I played with.

It’s funny the things that stick with you, it’s not about games won or lost, though you can usually remember them and I’m sure you will, too, when you get old enough to look back. It’s kind of embarrassing to remember this but we were playing against Blaina Gwent and their prop had a cold, I played loose head. We went down in the scrum and this huge line of snot came out of his nose and just swung there between us , swinging back and fore, like a pendulum. I was mesmerized by it. Would it swing on me, would it land on the grass, what would happen to it?? The ball came in, missing the snot, and the hookers struck. At this moment the guy sniffed and I watched as a 2 foot line of snot went up back up into his nose and then I heard him swallow!! This was over thirty years ago and I remember it as clear as if it happened yesterday. Like I say, funny the things you remember.

In Detroit I captained, played and coached for 20 years. I currently coach the Charleston RFC (charlestonrugby.com) in South Carolina. The game has changed so much since I played and I would love to have the opportunity to play in the modern game. Nowadays it really is a 15 man game with everyone being involved, back then it was backs and forwards and let’s stick together, no pods, no defensive line, no lifting. Practices were a hit or miss affair and let’s see who turns up on Saturday. Nevertheless, it was fun, and the only reason you play rugby, besides a desire to win, is to go out and have fun and fun is exactly what it was. There was never a Saturday I didn’t enjoy. I have tried to pass on my love of the game to another generation, another country, I hope I am succeeding. Check out our end of season video on You Tube, search for 2012 Charleston Outlaws.

Memories of Shun Price (Club President)

I joined the club from University in the autumn of 1969, having just left Loughborough University. I was 24 yrs old and had not played rugby since my school days of 8 yrs before, and this was limited as I was quite small then so I did not get many school games.( the School was Abersychan Grammar /Technical.) . I had decided to retire from Cross country running and take up the more relaxed, social environment of rugby.

 

By this time I had shot up to at least 5 ft 7 ½ inches.

That year Barry Herbert (Bert) was captain and in my first few matches he stuck me on the wing and I played in trainers. He soon realised that I wasn’t very fast but that I could run all day so he positioned me as flanker where I certainly enjoyed myself for the rest of my career.

I have made lifelong friends from these days so it was a great move on my part.

I never made Captain –though I was vice captain for Ray Bullock’s captaincy year - and this is put down to my then wife of stopping me. I was on the committee though, as social secretary, and one of my jobs was to organise our monthly club discos at Cwrt Bleddyn. This was the in place to go, swarming with ladies, and on our nights we charged 50p a ticket- 1st 50 in had chicken in the basket with crisps!
I had taken over the Social Sec position from a guy who had to move away with his work and on my 1st disco night we made double the money with the usual packed house!!

At the end of this first season we entered the District 7’s at Pontypool Park. We had 2 teams and one highlight was when the B team were playing and an opposition player made a burst out of his 22 down the wing. Next thing our 2nd row Terry Flynn went tearing across the field ( from one side to the other) and met this guy on the half way line running up the wing - Terry dived but unfortunately feet first at him and just failed to make contact which we all- who were falling over laughing on the side – felt that if he had hit the guy he would have broken the guy’s leg.
We, the A team, beat all the district teams but we lost in the final to Pontypool Youth who had entered by invitation.

My one regret is that we never made the Ivor Jones Final. We played in some semi finals and two stand out. By the way these semi’s were watched in those days by at least 500 spectators.

The first was against Blaenavon Forge Side on their ground around 1973/4. It is probably the same now, but the Old Boys always had players who never turned up for certain matches and Forge Side was one of them.
This cup match was in April but we had gone up for a friendly (?) in October and got slaughtered by 50 pts(tries were 3 pts then!). We had a centre and a wing in the 2nd row because they were the tallest we had on the day and our team was a shambles because of non arrivals.
So this was our return match and we had a different team boosted by college boys’ home for Easter.
We absolutely smashed into them and just failed to score on numerous occasions. On time we were 3-0 up and at a line out on our 10yd line out of the blue the referee Les St Clair, gave one of our centres off side. Their full back kicked the penalty 3-3 and Les straight away blew up for the end of the game. No extra time but a replay in the following weeks. We lost that by 8 points but our students had returned to colleges and Forge Side had called in Terry Cobner( then of Pontypool and Wales) for extra training before the rematch.

The 2nd semi – final was against ICI on the skew fields at the end of my career. Again we were the underdogs but we smashed into them and again failed to score a try. One of the closest was when our wing got away and was hauled down right in the corner. ICI had a big guy, Budgy, who usually played full back but this day he played scrum half. Close to time about 40 yds out he received a ball from the line out and took a drop goal which sailed over my head at the back of the line and went between the posts. He had never dropped a goal in his life! ICI lost the final to Blaenafon Quins but afterwards there then captain, Gary Cleverly –a prop who had played some seasons for us-, told me that we should have been in the final as his team had chickened out .

Towards the end of my career I left the Old Boys and went and played for Newport HSOB vets but I guested a few times when Gary Crewe called me up. The actual last time at 44 yrs old was for a match against Blaenavon Quins on their ground. When I got there Gary then informed me that it was a cup match! Now the Quins were like Forge Side, no holds barred, and after 5 mins my fellow flanker –John Cavanagh- was off down to Neville Hall Hospital with a cut head. We stuck at it and lost 14-8. After the match we went back to their club house in the old church hall at the top end of Blaenafon and I had a very nice time socialising with the Quins. After some time I looked around and there was not one old boy left there! I was deserted!! So I eventually leave and head for Forge Side club situated down in the centre of Blaenafon. When I enter the club house there is Gary and the rest of the Old Boys. So I start socialising again and lo and behold eventually I looked around and the Old Boys had all disappeared again. This time I stayed to shut tap and when I left I was going to be on the Forge Side committee and organise their next rugby tour!! One of their players, Bernie Groves, gave me a lift home down to Griffithstown.

Before leaving the Old Boys I become the chairman of the clubhouse, at Pontymoile turnpike, upstairs above Rutters Fruit and Veg wholesalers. This was in the clubhouse’s last few years before being demolished for the new Pontypool bypass. In those days it was a struggle to survive and I set up show nights like strippers to keep it functioning! A well known West Mon school PE teacher was always in the front row on these occasions. I also remember one day after such an event our cleaner, Mrs Harrobin who was around 60 yrs old, saying to me “ that she did not know what went on the night before but there were a lot of feathers left on the floor!!”

Some years ago I accepted the Presidency but it took me a few years to find out that on all info to the club ,Ernie Jones was still president, who was now not well and living in West Wales, and it transpired that nobody had the heart to contact him and tell him that I had superseded him!!

So here in season 2012/13 it is great to see the Old Boys playing so well and enjoying their first season of Welsh league rugby. I would like to congratulate the older(still playing and retired) members for working to keep the club going and I will probably miss some out ( so please excuse me or change this dialogue to include you) but a special thank you must go to Wayne Coughlan, Gary Crewe and Mark Jones

Shun Price November 28, 2012.

Shun Price memory of first tour

It was probably a story of the previous season’s tour that got me to join the Old Boys. This was that after a night out in Burnham two of the boys, Bert and another found an empty police car on the side of the road with keys in, so naturally they got in and drove it away!!

At the end of my 1st season in April 1970 I went on my 1st tour with the Old Boys. This was to Torquay and we played two matches.
There was a problem with the 1st match as a couple of students had not turned up and Bert(the captain) was keen that they play. He had finally to give up and announce the team. So we changed and were just ready to go onto the pitch when these two students turned up, a Messrs Chris Burgess and Dwayne Booth both characters.
To digress for a moment, Dwayne was from Blaenavon about 5ft 5” and hard as nails. In the 70’s he went off touring the world and eventually got to New Zealand and when he got back home, he was asked if he had any trouble , to which he replied “ Not really but I did get into a fight on the last day as I passed thru Abercarn!”
He was also, something I am fairly sure about because I was in the crowd, the last person to climb to the top of the rugby posts pre kick off at Cardiff Arms Park on an international day. This used to be the done thing in the 60’s and 70’s.
Chris Burgess wasn’t tough but he was fast and he would tell you that this was because he didn’t want anybody to catch him and hurt him in a tackle. He could also kick goals from inside his own half and went on, as did Bert, to play for Pontypool.
The other player involved in this story was Alan Curtis, just out of school and a Welsh School outside half.
So with Chris’s arrival Bert turned to Alan and told him he was dropped. Alan must have known that this may happen because as soon as the team was announced he was changed into his kit way before all of us. Now he had to change back as there were no subs in those days. He was promised that he would definitely play in the 2nd and final game.
So we come to this match and Alan was selected and took the field. In the 1st move of the match he broke his leg and went off to Torquay hospital in an ambulance!!

Neil Evans 1986-91(outside half)

I first played for The Old Boys at the start of the 1986 season, our first game was away at Old Tauntonians in Cardiff, we were beaten but not discraced. That was the first season since the club re formed and although it was a tough season there were some notable victories, we beat Cwmbran Quins at The Skew in front of a sizeable crowd. That result must have sent shock waves around the local rugby community as the following week there were ' scouts' on the touch line from the much bigger Talywain RFC. These ' scouts' even made it to our base after the game at The Prince Of Wales in order to buy certain players beer etc etc etc.
It didn't have any effect as the Old Boys stuck together and formed quite a strong bond. In our ranks at the time were Dai Manley, Steve Jones, Martin Cochrane, Dafydd Bacon, Jason Reed and Gwyn Reynolds to name just a few. We were coached by Bob and Peter Lewis and skippered by Gary Crewe.

As the seasons passed we grew stronger and the club was able to cement itself within the local rugby community. We toured Benidorm in April 1988 and also the following May 1989.

On the 88 tour we were beaten in both games, firstly by Murcia and then by Villajoyosa but we were made to feel very welcome by our hosts.

The 89 tour was quite the opposite, we beat Murcia in the first game by a convincing margin and brushed aside Polytechnico Alicante with some ease in the following game. At the end of the week we also competed in the Benidorm Sevens and were able to field two sides in the competition. This was a bit of a disaster for myself as I broke my arm in two places in the first half of our first group game against Chigwell RFC.

I was examined on the touch line by the Spanish medic who told me that I needed to go straight to hospital. I made sure that I went ' accompanied ' by a fellow tourist as I feared being left behind after the rest of the tour party had flown back to Wales.

Our team doctor John ' zhivago' Collier remained with me throughout, I had X Ray's at Benidorm General and it was confirmed that the radius and ulna bones had snapped.... My tour was over !

The following day we were due to fly back but due to the injury I was in complete agony. Zhivago Collier took care of me with pain killers and anti inflammatories which had little or no effect.

Zhivago took me into the hotel dining room for diner on the evening of the return flight. Zhivago said to me " Sit down Evs, take it easy, I will get your dinner for you"
I said " Cheers Doc, but nothing too complicated, I've only got one hand so get me something easy to eat, like some chips so I can just stick the fork in one by one "
Shortly after this Zhivago Collier returned to the table with a plate full of roast beef and Frankfurrter sausages........ Cheers John !!

The following tour we returned to the same hotel. Myself and Rob Walters went on a tour of the local hotels one afternoon making use of their various ' happy hour ' deals.

By tea time we were both drunk as skunks. We managed to cause a major road block on our way back to the hotel and when we finally arrived we were sent straight to bed by Tony Parry as we had a game the following day.

Whilst at the hotel room Rob and I somehow managed to flood the bathroom, the water then forced its way out into the corridor and down the main stairs into the hotel foyer. Tony Parry says that at the time he was making his way up the stairs and says it resembled a scene from Hawaii Five O.

The boys managed to sort it out by paying the hotel maid ' Mercedes ' some unofficial overtime and she cleared the mess up.

Due to my misdemeanour I was arrested the following day by PC Rob Shankland and appeared at Kangaroo Court in a local hotel down the road. Needless to say I was found  Guilty ' and for my punishment I had to Donne myself in skimpy bra and knickers, run around the hotel pool and finish off by sliding down the pool slide and into the water.
This was in the middle of the afternoon with pool dwellers all watching from both pool side and balcony. I was given a round of applause by all but learnt my lesson.

Seasons followed with various coaches doing their ' bit ', one namely Derek Evans who had previously coached Garndiffaith. Derek took over at the start of pre season 1990 and really had us in great shape physically. At the start of that season we beat St Peters at the Skew where we blew them away in the second half. The St Peters lads actually commented on how fit we were as a team which made all the difference.

Just a few memories from great times playing for the Old Boys.
Footnote - Neil is believed to hold the club record for most points in a season when he scored 198 during 88/89

Inaugural Benedorm tour 1987/88 Season by Neil Evans 1988-91

I went on the inaugural Benidorm tour in April 1988. The tour had been in the pipeline for months in advance with fund raising events having been held in order to allow for the ' beer kitty'. Disco's at the club HQ ( Greenway club ) and BBQs at The Horse And Jockey to name just a few. The tour was organised by John Parfitt and what a fantastic job he did.
Leading up to the departure date John began to get a bit 'jittery' as he was adamant that all involved had to present themselves sober for the journey. He stipulated that no alcohol was to be consumed prior to arrival at Cardiff Wales Airport with no alcohol being allowed on to the bus.
On the morning of departure we all arrived at the Greenway club like 'dogs dinners'. We were turned out in grey flannels, green team sweaters, white shirts and specially made team dicky bows. We looked the part.
Just before the bus pulled away Parfitt did the head count and then it was all systems go. To everybody's surprise John then loaded up the front seat with a few slabs of beer  and our tour was well under way. By the time we arrived at the airport about an hour later we were all well oiled.( Thanks John )
I remember the party consisting of players and supporters alike. Players being Johnny Cavanagh, Steve Rogers, Tony Jackson, Jon 'Juicy' Taylor, Geoff Lewis, Chris Bryant to name but a few. The supporters consisted of Paul Chapman, Dai Herbert, Graham Meredith, Ian Powell, Fred The Bread (from Griffithstown) and Tony Reynolds.
Speaking of Tony Reynolds I remember he refereed the match against Vilajoyosa which turned out to be a rather brutal affair, reminiscent of the 1974 Lions tour to South Africa. Their main man was a burly ' old headed' second row  by the name of Jose Jiminez who'd been round the block and knew all the tricks of the trade. Our scrum half for that game was Bernie Humphries who could see what their second row was up to. Being an old head himself Bernie took it upon himself to match fire with fire. At one ruck the big Spanish second row happened to be on the 'wrong side' with his head poking out on our side. Bernie grabbed him by the hair and took a firm grip of his head, he lowered his head to a convenient height and then kicked the s**t out of him. When the Spaniard gathered his senses he remonstrated with referee Tony as to what had just occurred. Bernie shouted at the Spaniard " YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE FUCKING BEEN THERE!!!"
Tony then slowly walked up to the big Spanish second row, whispered in his ear and said " like he said, you shouldn't have been there". We lost that game but all was forgotten afterwards as the Spanish proved to be fantastic hosts, none more so than the big burly second row who made up with Bernie and you would have thought them to be long lost pals. I remember Jose approaching Bernie in the bar afterwards with a beaming smile on his face and saying " Ah, My FRIEND, MY FRIEND".
 
The first gam of the tour was at Murcia who also beat us quite comfortably. Their scrum half had played for France B and was as strong as an Ox. His speed and pace from the base of the scrum was amazing and he made all the difference. We found it difficult adapting to the Spanish conditions, the grounds were bone dry and rock hard and the heat was unbearable. At half time during the Murcia game we were fed salt tablets by team Doctor John Collier AKA Zhivago. After that game we went into town to their HQ which was a small roadside bar. We were advised by the Murcia committee not to talk to any of the local females as the Spanish were quite possessive. However, a couple of the local Spanish lasses actually took a fancy to Tony Jackson so THEY approached him. It had to be explained that Tony was the innocent party so there were no issues.
The results could have been better but the tour itself was a success. We would all gather at poolside during the day where there would be the obvious 'horseplay' combined with singing all day long. We were so popular as a group that one holiday maker actually said to me that they would follow us around the resort wherever we went due to the fact that we were so entertaining.
During the tour it became apparent that Chris Bryant, our flanker and future captain could actually eat for Wales. He was like a human munching machine. It became such an issue that nobody would sit at the same table as him because Bryant would consume all in sight. I remember the flight home was a night flight and by then we were all totally shattered. I heard somebody behind me asking one of the lads where Tony Jackson  was sat. All was silent and then somebody said " perhaps Tony's asleep" With that Jon 'Juicy' Taylor was heard to say " No, he'd be too afraid to go to sleep just in case Chris Bryant eats him"
The tour was a huge success generally so much so that we returned twelve months later........
 

Iberian Happenings! by John Parfitt

“You’ll never get them to go for that!” was the response to my suggestion that we take the reformed “Old Boys” to Spain on tour.  That was in 1987 and 1988 we departed for Spain with a party of about twenty four players and such was the success in all respects (except rugby) that the clamour from the players to go back the next year started on the flight back to Cardiff.

However, the “Old Boys” association with matters Iberian goes back much further, in fact as far back as 1972 when a party of thirty odd people (including some wives and girlfriends) took part in a five day tour to Barcelona, this time based at Calella.  Remember that this was still in Franco’s Spain so the sight and sound of this motley (yes, drunken) crowd arriving at Gerona Airport in the middle of the night on a flight from Luton in a pink aircraft, was fraught with potential difficulties.  Thankfully despite some high jinks on the luggage conveyor, we all got to the hotel unscathed.  This first tour merits its own chapter but suffice to say we played Medicina Barcelona and lost and La Salle Barcelona and won despite John Collier being knocked unconscious when the cross bar jumped out of its bracket and hit him on the head – it was his fault for being there as he should have charged the conversion attempt! The stadium we played in was later to become the Barcelona Olympic Stadium but with slightly more spectators.  You would imagine that such a short tour would prevent any trouble but somewhere, someone (Barry Fitzgerald?) has an 8mm cinefilm of the amazing bike race around Callella which started with a dramatic Le Mans type start with riders running across the busy main road to get to their bikes for the off.  What happened en route is like the front row, known only to those involved, but for me as tour organiser it involved dealing with armed police, an irate bike hire owner who was understandably aggrieved that the thirty minute hire had stretched to three hours.   Perhaps it was just as well that we left it for over a quarter of a century before going back!

So, in May 1989 a party of thirty eight players and baggage carriers departed once again from Cardiff Airport bound for Benidorm.  Our seven day itinerary included two matches against University of Murcia and The Polytechnic of Alicante as well as entering two squads for the Benidorm Sevens and a trip to watch Spain v England A.  This full on time commitment was in reality what made the tour an outstanding success and one that is still talked about today.  The results are a tad hazey now but we definitely beat the polytechnic to win the “Yugo Cup” (a make of car).  I think we lost to the University despite the fact that I was reffing!

The Benidorm Sevens was a tale of two teams.  The A side took the competition by storm and were unfairly beaten by a team sponsored by Allied Chemicals which contained former British Lions players and France U20 players and a referee who couldn’t tell the time until the opposition were in the lead!  The B side played their hearts out but were well beaten in the last knock out round of the plate.

Taking thirty eight players away creates its own challenges.  Getting them to the airport and on the plane is just the start but the Old Boys were an exemplary outfit with praise for their behaviour and courtesy coming from holiday reps, hotel staff and other guests.  Their choral efforts were much appreciated too.  We travelled everywhere in full mufti of green club jumpers, white shirts and club ties – we were proud to be identified.

It’s many years since the club ventured abroad; perhaps the time is right for another Iberian adventure?

Tony Watkins Captain 2001/02

I have plenty of memories of the season.  We had a charity game against I think Croesy ladies in the June/July. My first official game as captain against Newport Saracens involved a minute silence for the 911 disaster.  

Also my only ever yellow card coming against Aberbeeg where after countless brawls I was sent to the bin with the other captain for not controlling our players.   
The start of the season did not start well  I remember going down to Cwmbran and wanting to do well after playing for the youth team before west mon and being captain.  Ended in a 60 point drubbing.  I was thinking when is the first win going to come from  Next game against Chepstow at the Skew we played them off the field and it seemed the weight of the world had been lifted.   We grew from there.