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Club History Update

Updated: Jun 18

With the incredible season of 2023/24 now completed, Hugh Smith has updated our Club History on our Website. Here is the abridged version of his update:

HISTORY OF LLANHARAN RFC (abridged version)

In its 133 years history Llanharan RFC has accomplished much to be proud of – off and on the field.

The present impressive Dairyfield complex is a remarkable tribute to enterprising leadership, and stands in stark contrast to the far-off days when the team changed above the stables in the High Corner Hotel. Hot post-match water was provided in churns from the local milk factory (known in the village as ‘The Dairy’ hence the ‘Dairymen’ reference), transported on the four-wheel trolley supplied by a kindly station master at the train station.

On the field, Llanharan blazed a trail of success as the second half of the 20th century unfolded, putting aside the sadness of the Llandow air disaster of 1950 when seven members lost their lives; official competitions had become more the norm.

The team was the scourge of leading clubs in the WRU cup – before the regions were brought in. Twice Llanharan reached the quarter finals, in 1988 and 89, giving hard games to Aberavon and Cardiff before gallantly bowing out – their exploits saw them nominated as the Whitbread and Junior World Champions.

When the East District became formalised before the national leagues came in, they dominated, winning the title no fewer than eight times in a 12 years period up 1989, while as leading try scorers in the Silver Ball the Usher cup was won twice.

The club was permeated by a vein of rich rugby talent, and unsurprisingly several went on to higher levels – perhaps most notably the Llewellyn brothers. It is significant that many also returned to their home club to end their playing days.

National leagues saw the continuation of this success odyssey, another great season seeing Llanharan join the ranks of the former ‘first class elite’ in 1990/91. When regions took over the top level, the club proudly won a place in the WRU club premiership 2004/05, though were unable to sustain the status.

Yet throughout these glory years one prestigious trophy eluded the club – the Glamorgan County Silver Ball (despite finals in 1977 and 1979), national silverware; the ‘invincible’ accolade also closely slipped from grasp.

Until this past 2023/24 season that is, when a second cup in three seasons and successive championships were climaxed on a sunny afternoon at Bridgend, the Silver Ball at last won with a big victory over Abercrave.

Strong family links have always permeated the side – never more so than in the 1930s when no fewer than SIX Cogbill brothers played in the team – interesting that young Lewis Cogbill in the current squad is of the same lineage.

As suggested earlier, strong administration has also been a hallmark of the club, and in particular the names of Tudor Benjamin and Keith Taylor should be mentioned, steering Llanharan effectively through from the 1950s to the 21st century.

Hugh Smith

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