Category: Neath Rugby News

DON’T FORGET TO buy a programme on Saturday – only £1

All the regular features and specials including :-
• Welcome, Beddau
• All Black Shorts
• Latest news, scorers, tables, fixtures
• Last win at Cross Keys
• New Gnoll initiative
• NRSC Notes
• All Blacks in the Past
• Talking Point
• Local Results

HOSPITALITY NEWS: NEATH v BEDDAU – (Saturday 23rd November 2019)

Neath RFC hospitality will continue on Saturday 23rd November for the BEDDAU league fixture at the Gnoll.

The pre-match hospitality will start from 12:30pm comprising of a two course meal.

This is a great opportunity to try the Neath RFC hospitality experience which will be in place for every home league game. Recent hospitality events have been very successful and arrangements are being made to ensure that this experience continues for all home games.

Entry to hospitality is £20.00 which includes a Match Ticket.
(£12 for Season Ticket holders)

Matchday hospitality is open to both Neath and BEDDAU supporters.

The on field action will then kick off at 2:30pm, as both NEATH and BEDDAU will be eager to progress in their respective WRU Championship league campaigns.

It is expected that we will have a big take up for this fixture so please book early by calling The Clubhouse on 01639 643328


Former Neath hooker Gerwyn Price who made over 100 appearances for the Welsh All Blacks has won the Grand Slam of Darts for the second year in a row.

He beat Peter Wright 16-6 in the final in Wolverhampton on Sunday – congratulations to Gerwyn from all at The Gnoll !.



Two weeks, two games against Cross Keys and two wins have got Neath’s season back on track – but now the Blacks need to build on it and string a run of victories together.

Neath adopted a more direct approach than of late – and it paid dividends – straighter running and improved continuity hall-marked their display. But, having established a comfortable 24-7 lead, two minutes of madness saw Keys hit back with two converted tries which made for a fraught finish.

The Blacks’ pack played with more fizz than of late with prop Steff Jones and hooker Jake Lewis looking lively from the start and lock Jon Barley having his moments too. Macauley Griffiths prompted well from the base of the scrum while the back-line handled well on a ground still heavy after the recent rains.

Neath were first to attack but overthrew a line-out on the Keys line and the home side swept up-field for an attacking line-out of their own which led to an efficient try by No.8 Spencer Gibson and outside-half Kieran Hill slotted the conversion.

But Neath were in determined mood and territorially dominated the rest of the half. Dai Griggs should have put in fellow back-rower Tomi Antozzi and Neath bearly squeezed in on the left but, on the back of two good advantages played by referee Ben Breakspear whose calm assurance marks him out as one of Wales’ most promising young officials, the Blacks continued to attack and, piling pressure on the Keys line, flanker Jacob Blackmore bundled over for his first try and Callum Hall converted – just ! – to level.

Neath now had to play up the slope and, mindful of Hill’s kicking capabilities, they needed to keep Keys in their own half. Griggs led two superb charges out of defence and the Blacks attacked. Impressive build up play led to winger James Roberts cutting back on the angle to dab down for a try on his 50th appearance – a landmark also being celebrated by prop Loam Tobias.

Hall converted then quickly landed a penalty to extend Neath’s lead to 17-7. Neath now upped the tempo and Hall’s inside pass found full back Jordan Rees who scampered to the posts for Neath’s third try which Hall converted with ease to make it 24-7.

But Neath lost the re-start and Keys came away in a flashing movement which was crowned by flanker Joe Thomas for Hill to convert. Neath hit back and attacked again and when they kicked to the posts Keys desperately ran out of defence. Their enterprise paid off, good handling seeing replacement Gwion Jones touch down at the other end for Hill to convert. Suddenly, it was 24-21 but Neath, through the strength of their forwards, kept play in the right dominion and well out of Hill’s kicking range.

The Blacks face another stern challenge next Saturday when Beddau visit The Gnoll with all guns blazing after beating Ystalyfera at the weekend.

CROSS KEYS – L.O’Brien; L.Allwood (W.Cunliffe), A.Tetley, C.Nicholls, A.Upton; K.Hill, Z.Bartlett (G.Jones); R.Cornock, C.Vaughan ( Z.Hewlett), J.Rogers (O.Peddle); H.Reader (capt) (C.Hague), S.Andrews; J.Thomas, S.Gibson, C.Johnsey

NEATH – Jordan Rees; W.Holley (S.Summers), Jarrad Rees (B.Atkins), M.Pearce, J.Roberts; C.Hall, M.Griffiths; S.Jones (G.Lloyd), J.Lewis, L.Tobias; L.Ward (capt) (J.Hill), J.Barley; J.Blackmore, D.Griggs, T. Antozzi

Referee – Mr. B.Breakspear (Abercynon)


It is a case of “here we go again” when Neath visit Cross Keys at Pandy Park on Saturday (kick off – 2.30pm) the two sides having met in the Cup last weekend.

The home side will be seeking a quick revenge win after Neath took the spoils 34-25 last week when, despite scoring five tries to one, the Blacks were unable to shake off a spirited Keys side.

Neath know they cannot afford to give any kicking opportunities away as Keys fly-half Kieran Hill banged over six penalties and a conversion – they must therefore play the game in opposition territory.

Neath starting changes see winger Will Holley coming in as well as half backs Callum Hall and Macauley Griffiths while in the pack prop Steff Jones and back rower David Griggs return.

Two of Neath’s try-scorers last week- James Roberts and Liam Tobias – will make their 50th appearances in an important match which the Neath forwards must establish control in.

Neath v Cross Keys (Away) 2.30pm
15 Jordan Rees; 14 Will Holley, 13 Jarrad Rees, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 James Roberts; 10 Callum Hall, 9 Macauley Griffiths; 1 Steff Jones, 2 Jake Lewis, 3 Liam Tobias; 4 Leon Ward, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Jacob Blackmore, 8 David Griggs, 7 Tomi Antozzi
Replacements: 16 Gareth Lloyd, 17 Iestyn Jones, 18 Jon Hill, 19 Ben Atkins, 20 Sion Summers


We have been drawn against Merthyr RFC (away) in the next round of the cup.

Game to be played over the weekend of 25/26 January 2020


Let’s take a lot of support to CROSS KEYS and back the boys!

Supporters bus to CROSS KEYS on SATURDAY 16th November 2019 – leaving Clubhouse at 12:30pm for the 2:30pm Kickoff, returning from Cross Keys an hour after the game.

To book YOUR seat on the “FUN BUS” contact Mark Davies on via Facebook & Twitter or ➡️ The new telephone number: 07496308147


As the country pauses to remember and honour its war heroes, it is appropriate to recall Neath’s rugby fallen.

First World War

Private CHARLES MORRIS from Melyn played at half-back for Neath and served in the South African war. He joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and died on December 12, 1914, aged 34.

2nd Engineer LEWIS JENKINS from Skewen played for Neath at outside-half between 1900 and 1905. He later joined Swansea. He was lost when the “Tangistan” was sunk in March 1915.

Cpl. TOMMY JONES was an outside-half who worked at Main Colliery, Bryncoch. He served in the Boer War and was lost in the Gallipoli campaign and his death on August 8, 2015 is recorded on the Helles Memorial.
Capt. R.G.S. (Reg) BROWNING was a Neath 2nd XV forward who met his death serving with the Welsh Regiment at Loos on October 2, 2015.

King’s Serjeant JOE DAVIES D.C.M. of the Rifle Brigade was a collier in Seven Sisters and he also played for Resolven at forward. He won the French Military Cross and the D.C.M. in August 1915 for bringing in the wounded but was killed in action in France in February 1916.

Captain C.L.S. BRANFILL – Capel Lisle Aylett Branfill of the Glamorgan Yeomanry died of pneumonia in Cairo on May 11, 1916. Home for Christmas in 1910, the Old Harrovian played once on the wing for Neath against Llwynypia after assisting London Irish against Neath the day before. His grandfather J.B. Branfill was one of Neath’s earliest players in the 1870’s. The family home was in Clydach and he sometimes played for Pontardawe during holidays.

Private ROSSER D. ROSSER did not play for Neath but was secretary of the Neath Thursdays and so played a part in the development of several All Blacks. He served in the King;s Own Shropshire Light Infantry and was killed at on the Somme on July 14, 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

Sapper BILL BEYNON of Skewen who played a handful of games on the wing in 1903 was killed on November 18, 1916. He was aged 36 and was serving with the Royal Engineers.

Sgt. Major TOMMY OWEN was a diminutive wing who hailed from nearby Resolven. He won a place in the Neath team in 1911/12 when he became a regular try-scorer and he featured for the next two seasons often alongside former Resolven team-mates Dai Parry, Edgar Thomas and Reg Stroud. When war was declared, he enlisted in the 9th Battalion of the Welch Regiment and rapidly earned promotion to the rank of sergeant-major where he displayed all the leadership qualities expected of a Neath player. He was killed on June 7, 1917 at the age of 24. When rugby resumed after the War in February, 1919, Owen’s pre-war skipper Fred David took a Neath XV to play Resolven in a memorial match for Tommy Owen which served as a fund-raiser for his family.

Private T.O. JONES was a Neath and Glamorgan County winger who went north to Oldham R.L. In December 1913. Originally from Treorchy, he lost his life on September 20, 1917, aged 30.

Cpl. TREVOR BENSON was a wing who joined Neath from Swansea and played 10 games in 1902/03. He had been in German East and West Africa for 13 years but returned home and enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment and was killed by a bomb dropped from an aeroplane on September 27, 1917, aged 37.

Sergeant DICK HUGHES D.C.M. of the Somerset Light Infantry, a long-time All Blacks supporter, was killed at Cambrai on November 30, 1917. He was the first Neath man to win the D.C.M. for “sniping the sniper” when he shot a German who had taken a heavy toll on his comrades.

Lt. JAMES MORRIS of the Glamorgan Yeomanry was an occasional wing three-quarter who was on attachment to the Welsh Regiment when he died in Palestine on December 27, 1917. Jim Morris was rugby captain at Neath County School and scored a try on his Neath debut against Glynneath on September 6, 1913.

2nd Lt. JACK GRIFFITHS was a full back who appeared for Neath in 1913/14. He played most of his rugby for Neath YMCA and was a prominent playing member of Neath Cricket Club too. He was killed in action on May 2, 1918.

Capt. Adj. TOM POWELL was a Neath forward of the 1890’s who went on to serve in the Boer War. In the Kaiser War, he initially served with the Oxford & Bucks. Light Infantry but had been promoted Captain-Adjutant in the Royal Irish Regiment. After being wounded in France, he was hospitalised in Dublin and died on July 1, 1918 and is buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery, Dublin.

2nd Lt. GWILYM JONES was a three-quarter in the Neath championship-winning teams of 1909/10 when he scored 9 tries and 1910/11. He also played for Pontypridd, Cardiff, London Welsh and represented Glamorgan County alongside Neath forward T.C. Lloyd against the 1908 Australians. A schoolmaster, he was reported killed in action on September 11, 1918.
Sgt. DAVID DAVIES joined Neath from Morriston in 1901/02 and scored 14 tries from the wing in 26 appearances before departing for a teaching post at Mountain Ash where he also played. He died of wounds in September,1918, aged 36.

Private WILLIAM JARRETT of Cimla, aged 40, had played at forward for the 2nd XV which reached the final of the South Wales Challenge Cup in 1901/02. He won the Military Medal at the Battle of Amiens in August, 1918 but was wounded and repatriated but he died of his wounds on October 29, 1918 and is buried in Llantwit Cemetery, Neath.

2nd Lt. FRED PERRETT was an outstanding forward who joined Neath in September 1912 after impressing briefly for Briton Ferry. His talents earned him instant recognition as, after just a handful of games for Neath, he was catapulted into the Welsh XV that lost 3-6 to South Africa on December 14th and three days later faced the tourists again as a member of the Neath team that ran the tourists close before losing 3-8 at The Gnoll. After playing in all four of Wales’ internationals that season, he went north to Leeds and later joined Hull. Promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, he was injured in one of the last battles of the conflict. He died of his wounds, aged 27, in France on December 1, 1918 – twenty days after the guns fell silent.

Second World War

D.M. (DAVID MORGAN) EVANS was a mobile, versatile forward who joined Neath from Glynneath. He soon established himself as a key member of the immensely strong Neath packs of the 1930’s and figured in the championship side of 1933/34. He played in a Welsh trial but, disappointed at being overlooked for his cap, took the well-trodden path north and joined Huddersfield R.L. During the Hitler war, Evans joined the Royal Navy as a stoker and was lost when HMS Hood was sunk on 24th May, 1941.

Another player who appeared occasionally for Neath before the war was CRAD DAVIES who was a centre from Cwmgwrach. He served in the Welch Regiment and died aged 29 and is buried in Munster, Germany.

Supporters should remember these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
If anybody is aware of any other Neath players who gave their lives in the conflicts and whose names should be included in this tribute, please contact me via the Club.

Mike Price



Neath edged into the quarter-finals of the WRU National Cup with a much-needed win over Cross Keys at a wet Gnoll and, despite the Blacks scoring 5 tries to 1, the result was in the balance nearly to the end.

The Blacks started well but dithered and slithered in the worsening conditions before finishing strongly. The home side raced into a 17-3 lead but Keys fought their way back on the excellent boot of outside-half Kieran Hill before Neath secured their place in the last eight with two late tries.

Outside-half Dan Guarneri opened the scoring with an angled 45 yard penalty and then converted two well-worked tries by Nicky Griffiths and prop Liam Tobias – sustained forward driving yielded the first and the second came after good handling with centre Matthew Pearce and lively flanker Ben Lukes doing key work in the build-up.

Between the tries, Keys’ Bristol-based outside-half Kieran Hill had kicked a penalty and, as the home side’s accuracy and discipline declined, he added two more – one for not rolling away, the other for an alleged scrum offence. Keys were competing keenly yet Neath continued to create chances and prop Gareth Lloyd was held up over the line but Keys stuck in there and the home team had to be content with a 17-9 half-time lead.

Keys came out hungrily after half-time when Neath seemed plagued by a nasty bout of inertia. With five of the pack short of match-practice after recent injuries, Neath’s effort stalled badly. Errors proliferated and Keys, through possession, position and penalty goals, got their noses in front as Hill banged over three more goals.

Suddenly, Neath found themselves behind 17-18 but they immediately regained the lead, the home backs clicked and winger James Roberts sped away to score in the right corner, replacement Callum Hall converting from the touchline to make it 24-18.

But Roberts was then robbed in his 22 and Keys centre Corey Nicholls swooped to touch down, Hill’s touchline conversion putting them in front once more at 24-25. Neath’s response was instant and effective : awarded a penalty in the Keys’ 22, they bravely opted for the kick to touch, lock Jon Barley took the line-out, the forwards rumbled, rolled and hooker Jake Lewis marked his first start since breaking his foot with the try.

Back in front, Neath assured themselves of victory five minutes from the end when a cleverly-placed kick by acting-captain Griifiths was eagerly seized upon by James Roberts who nipped in for his second try of the afternoon and Neath were through.

Neath made hard work of reaching the last eight for the first time in four years which is no mean achievement but next Saturday they return to League action at Cross Keys which will be another one-off, must win encounter for Neath – and one thing is certain, they will need to crank up their game again as Keys will be hell-bent on hasty revenge.

NEATH – Jordan Rees; J.Roberts, Jarrad Rees (B.Atkins), M.Pearce, S.Summers; D.Guarneri (C.Hall), N.Griffiths (capt) (M.Griffiths); I.James (G.W.Lloyd), J.Lewis, (Iestyn Jones), L.Tobias (S.Jones); L.Ward (J.Coxley), J.Barley; J.Blackmore, T.Antozzi, B.Lukes (J.Hill)

L.O’Brien; L.Allwood (J.Adams), A.Tetley (G.Jones), C.Nicholls, B.Simmonds (A.Upton); K.Hill, E.Ash (Z.Bartlett); O.Peddle (R.Cornock), C.Vaughan (Z.Hewlett), J.Rogers (S.Hoskins); C.Hague, H.Reader (capt) (J.Wall); C.Johnsey, S.Gibson, J.Thomas

Referee – Mr. S.Mills (New Dock Stars)


Neath host Cross Keys at The Gnoll on Saturday (kick off – 2.30pm) with a place in the last eight of the WRU National Cup at stake.

Scrum-half Nicky Griffiths takes over the captaincy as regular skipper Aaron Bramwell is in Bermuda, Jordan Rees reverting to full back. Winger Sion Summers and centre Jarrad Rees reinforce the three-quarter line while Dan Guarneri takes over at outside-half after making his 50th appearance last time out.

In the pack, Jake Lewis gets the nod at hooker and regular lock Rhys Morgan is sidelined by a hamstring strain but Neath are fortunate in having the experienced Leon Ward to cover and provide the grunt. Ben Lukes joins the back-row with Tomi Antozzi fit again to claim a bench spot.

Neath v Cross Keys (Home) 2.30pm
15 Jordan Rees; 14 Sion Summers, 13 Jarrad Rees, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 James Roberts; 10 Dan Guarneri, 9 Nicky Griffiths (captain); 1 Ifan James, 2 Jake Lewis, 3 Liam Tobias; 4 Leon Ward, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Jacob Blackmore, 8 David Griggs, 7 Ben Lukes
Replacements: 16 Gareth Lloyd, 17 Iestyn Jones, 18 Steffan Jones, 19 Tomi Antozzi, 20 Jon Hill, 21 Macauley Griffiths, 22 Callum Hall, 23 Ben Atkins

ADMISSION – As it is a Welsh Cup match, season tickets are not valid but good news for supporters of both teams is that admission is at the special price of £5 with Under-16’s, as usual, free. Entry only via turnstiles at the Town End.

HOSPITALITY NEWS: NEATH v CROSS KEYS – (Saturday 9th November 2019)

Neath RFC hospitality will continue on Saturday 9th November for the CROSS KEYS National Cup fixture at the Gnoll.

The pre-match hospitality will start from 12:30pm comprising of a two course meal.

This is a great opportunity to try the Neath RFC hospitality experience which will be in place for every home league game. Recent hospitality events have been very successful and arrangements are being made to ensure that this experience continues for all home games.


Entry to hospitality is £12.00 which includes a Match Ticket.

Matchday hospitality is open to both Neath and CROSS KEYS supporters.

The on field action will then kick off at 2:30pm, as both NEATH and CROSS KEYS will be eager to get back in the swing of things following the recent break in fixtures due to bad weather and the Rugby World Cup.

It is expected that we will have a big take up for this SPECIAL OFFER so please book early by calling The Clubhouse on 01639 643328