Our History

The following was taken from an article by the club’s Captain in 1949/50 season and later former President Ernie Jones, on the club’s first season

The Second World War had just ended in 1945 and peacetime activities were slowly being resumed. A small number of old boys had started to revive the West Mon Old Boys Association, which had been very active in the pre war years.

In the 1947, an old boy of the school Ken Jones, had gained the first of what was to be over fifty Welsh caps and in the summer of 1949 the Association decided to hold a presentation evening in “Kenos” honour.

A jovial reunion of Old Boys was present at the function in the Clarence Hotel, Pontypool. Enjoying a chat and a drink after the formalities had concluded was Gilbert Garnet, the sport master at West Mon School, Geoff Hurst, Max Horton and Ernie Jones. Talking rugby, Geoff came up with the idea “why not start an old boys rugby team?”

He suggested that an inaugural game should be held and it was decided to arrange for an Old Boys representative XV to play against the “old enemies” Newport High School Old Boys.

The game was arranged for 20th September 1949 in Pontypool Park and both sides were composed of players drawn entirely from 1st and 2nd class clubs. The kit was supplied by Noel Green who was the manager of Fussells Sports, whilst Herbert Tibbs of Fowlers Outfitters, arranged for the school badge to be sewn onto the jerseys.

The game was played between two strong sides that threw the ball about with delightful freedom and greatly pleased a large crowd

The report in the Free Press at the time stated

“Geoff Hurst the West Mon OB captain, who got the side together and organised the game, should be well satisfied with its success, and on this showing there should be no lack of support for the Old Boys in subsequent games..”

The game was won by Newport HSOB by 21 points to 11. For West Mon OB, Ken Jones (Wales and Newport) scored two tries, Hirst converted one and Max Horton kicked a penalty goal.

A collection at the game raised £45, which was enough to pay for the team’s royal blue jerseys and also to give the West Mon Old Boys Association rugby section a small balance at the bank.

The West Mon Old Boys team that took the field that day was E Jones (Abertillery), B Edwards (Pontpool), K J Jones (Newport), H R C Wilcox (Aberystwyth University), R J Kennedy (Pontnewydd), M Horton (Pontypool), P Head (Pontynewydd), C T Brown (Pontynewydd), G Hirst (Pontypool), L E T Jones (Newport), A Fynn (Pontypool), D Nicholas (London Universities), G Bevan, R Parry (Pontypool U), A Jayne (Abertillery)

Following the success of this game, a full fixture list was arranged for the remainder of the season with games against St Julians Old Boys, Cardiff High School Old Boys , St Albans and BNS. From the very start home games were played at the Skew Fields with the players using the changing facilities at West Mon School .

It is unclear whom the first official fixture was against although press reports at the time recorded the club winning three of its first six games including a fine away win against Talywain Athletic who were beaten by 8 points to 3. The victory was attributed to the speed of the visitor’s threequarter line which included an interception try by Bill Richards that was converted by full back and captain Ernie Jones.

However the Old Boys were well beaten at Talywain on Christmas Eve when Dai Davies, who was to become a big stalwart of the club, played his first game. The club played Usk RFC on Boxing Day and on the field that day were twenty former pupils from the West Mon School, the fifteen that played for the Old Boys and a further five who represented the home side. The Old Boys were beaten by 26 points to 14, with tries for the visitors scored by wingers Tuck and Lewis, Mac Harris with one conversion and a penalty goal from Ernie Jones.

The remainder of the first season was a mixture of close defeats and a struggle to attract players although the playing strength of the club always improved when students returned from their college studies during vacations.
Indeed the problems of fielding a side was well remembered by Ernie Jones, captain of the time, who recalled how invariably the team would have nine or so players on the morning of a match and how this was overcome.

Dai Davies would come down from his home at Varteg to pick me up in his car on Saturday morning and armed with a list of addresses of Old Boys who were eligible to play, we would make a start of calling on them. We never failed to make a full fifteen for any game. Without Dai the club would surely have folded, as was the help that was given from the school which was vitally important.”

It should also be remembered that only former pupils of West Mon School were eligible to play for the Old Boys and this continued for many years until the rule was relaxed to allow players other than former West Mon pupils to play for the club.

Towards the end of the season a return fixture was arranged against Newport HSOB on 16th March 1950 and was played at the Rodney Parade Ground.. For this game the Old Boys had picked an even stronger team than that which had lost the fixture in September, with eight players being drawn from first class clubs. Regrettably no record has been found of the match result.

For the next thirty years of its existence the club was based at the West Mon Old Boys Social Club at Pontymoile until that building was demolished in the early 1980's.

Following this the club led a rather nomadic existence and after several lean seasons was forced to disband in 1983 due to lack of numbers.

After a resurgence of interest the club reformed in 1986 and eventually located to the Pilcs Club in 1994.

The official club name is West Mon PILCS RFC