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  • Writer's pictureKip

Llanharan vs Pontypool 50 years Ago

It was exactly 50 years ago today on the 17th of November 1973, when we played our first big Schweppes Cup Match against reigning Welsh Champions Pontypool on the Welfare Ground. Pontypool were not only Welsh Champions but considered by many to be the best Team in Britain at the time. They relied on a fearsome pack of forwards, with the Pontypool front row leading the way and also Terry Cobner in the back row. Their style of rugby was limited, with up and unders, strong scrummaging and chasing every ball, being the order of the day. The Llanharan side were quite a young team, with an average of probably 24. Although Pontypool tried to destroy us in the scrums, our front row of Ken Smith, Glyn Stephens and Johnny Hardman never gave an inch to their illustrious opponents. In the end we lost 9-3 but Pontypool knew they had been in a game. Cyril Jones dropped a goal and Pooler kicked 3 penalties. In fairness to Pooler, they stayed the night in the Clubhouse and were good bunch of boys.

This game set the trend for the next 50 years of Llanharan taking on the big boys and gaining a reputation of being a difficult Team to beat in Cup matches. As a Club we went on to play many big Cup games against the likes of Cardiff, Swansea, Aberavon, Newport, Pontypridd and Llanelli, at a time when the first class Clubs were equivalent of today's Regions, only there were more of them.

Llanharan Team vs Pontypool RFC 17.11.73

Chris Pearce

Alan Jenkins

Mike Thomas

Colin Coles

Robert Wiliams (Willy)

Cyril Jones (Capt.)

Alan Jervis

Ken Smith

Glyn Stephens

Johnny Hardman

Cyril Howe

Sid Devonshire

Mike Russell

Trevor Worgan

David Thomas

Pontypool RFC Team:

Trevor Hoskins

B Thomas

Ivor Taylor

Jeff Crandon

David Giles

M Parry

G Llewellyn

Graham Price

Bobby Windsor

Mike Lear

R Williams

R Floyd

B Gregory

Mike Harrington

Terry Cobner (Capt.)

The following season we played Pontypridd at home. The game finished 11-11 after extra time and then it was down to penalties, 5 kicks, with 5 different players taking them from the 25 yard line. The crowd came on the pitch and formed a semi circle around the players, which made it a nerve wracking experience. Unfortunately for us we missed our last kick at goal, which meant that Pontypridd went through to the 4th Round. The following season when they eventually became Welsh Champions, we played them again at home in the Third Round , this time losing 9-0. To get that far we had already beaten Glamorgan Wanders away 7-0. Wanderers were a First Class Team at this point.

Photo courtesy of the "Forgotten Years" by the late Terry Witts.

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