RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – DAI GRIGGS COMMITS FOR 2020-21 SEASON

We’re delighted to announce that Dai Griggs has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!

We are extremely disappointed that the hall of fame/player awards have had to be cancelled this year, Dai surely would have been a nomination.

Behind the scenes, we are working on a way to carry on with the awards, with more on this to follow!

A very special thanks to his players sponsor Pinnacle Scaffolding who really have gone above and beyond the call of duty for NeathRFC.

@Dai Griggs

#packthegnoll #weareneath

To view the video – click the link below:

PLAYER RE-SIGNING – DAI GRIGGS

We’re delighted to announce that Dai Griggs has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!We are extremely disappointed that the hall of fame/player awards have had to be cancelled this year, Dai surely would have been a nomination.Behind the scenes, we are working on a way to carry on with the awards, with more on this to follow!A very special thanks to his players sponsor Pinnacle Scaffolding who really have gone above and beyond the call of duty for NeathRFC. @Dai Griggs#packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Venerdì 29 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – SCOTT MALONE COMMITS FOR 2020-21 SEASON

We’re delighted to announce that Scott Malone has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!

Special thanks to his players sponsor StaySafe Inspection & Testing Ltd

@scott.malone.180

To view the video – click the link below:

PLAYER RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – SCOTT MALONE

We’re delighted to announce that Scott Malone has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!Special thanks to his players sponsor StaySafe Inspection & Testing Ltd@scott.malone.180#packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Mercoledì 27 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

MATCH REPORT – CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE #VII – 1966/67

Neath ended their longest wait for another Welsh title when Brian Thomas led the Welsh All Blacks to their seventh championship in 1966/67 – and it was one of the tightest finishes of all, the title only being clinched in the last game of the season.

Brian Thomas had been omitted from the 1966 Lions tour to New Zealand – “too vigorous” for some ! – and the Lions’ loss was very much Neath’s gain.

During the summer the team prepared under the watchful and demanding eyes of Norman Biggs and Rees Stephens – “trainers” not coaches then – who were determined that the Blacks would be the fittest team around.

There was an air of confidence that this would finally be Neath’s year and such optimism was soundly based upon the fact that the Neath pack was again among the most feared in these islands and the under-rated back division was the equal of most.

From September, Neath gave evidence of their credentials. All rivals were repelled including nearest challengers Newbridge who were beaten at The Gnoll in midweek in November only for visiting wing Les Hewer to claim he had been bitten – an acrimonious charge which Neath utterly rejected and one which prompted the Neath supporters with their customary “Black humour” to temporarily change their chant from “Neath, Neath, Neath” to “Teeth, Teeth, Teeth” !

The Blacks displayed the hallmark of champions as they enjoyed a 21-match unbeaten run through to December. In a hectic schedule, Neath played some 51 games in all during the campaign and won 42 and drew 2 of them but, having topped the table all year, they suddenly faltered at the end of February, unaccountably losing by 3-24 at London Welsh – the first of 4 defeats in 6 games which spelled trouble.

Into the final month of the season, Neath lost pole position to of all teams Newbridge but the Blacks dug deep, all that fitness work paid dividends as they kept going to the end. Justice was done and in an April Saturday deluge Keith Evans slid over for a try for Neath to beat Newport 3-nil and, at the same time, Newbridge were held to a 3-3 draw by Tredegar !

So it all came down to the last game on Tuesday, April 25, Neath knowing that they had to win at Pontypridd’s verdant Ynysangharad Park. And a grand game ensued ! Ponty had not enjoyed a very good season but they rose to the occasion and realised that depriving Neath of the title would be a feather in their cap.

The two packs tore into each other with a relish and it became a battle of the kickers. Unusually, Grahame Hodgson failed to add to his 275 points garnered that term so it was Neath back rower Alan Butler and home full back Roy Hope (who guested for Neath the following season and later became a first-class referee) who traded penalties.

Three for Butler; two for Hope – but the hero of the hour was Neath scrum-half Martyn Davies whose dropped goal made it 12-6 before home outside-half Freddy Bevan dropped a goal of his own to make it an agonsiing 12-9 to Neath. Brian Thomas exhorted his troops with the command, “Make sure of it, lads” – and make sure of it they did by keeping possession to the end.

Martyn went on to establish the Club’s appearance record but his moment of pure inspiration brought the rarity of a dropped a goal which secured Neath’s first title since 1946/47.  His placement of the leather had brought the title back to The Gnoll after 20 years.

Afterwards, Brian Thomas summed it up telling the “Western Mail”, “We are all delighted. It has been a hard season but we have won the championship because of our all-out team effort. The lads have been magnificent.”

Neath were champions of Wales – and champions too of Great Britain as they were awarded the “Daily Telegraph” Anglo-Welsh pennant for the first time as well.

They owed their title to a supremely fit, properly vigorous pack and a committed group of players whose rota system was employed so effectively that they rarely went out of the established squad.

The back division usually featured Graham Hodgson; Howard Rees, Glen Ball, D.B. Davies, Hywel Williams, Keith Evans with either Martyn Davies or David Parker at scrum-half.

Ron Waldron, John Dodd and the rising young farmer Walter Williams were the props, Morlais Williams, still as good as any hooker in the land, was backed up by another emerging star Norman Rees; Brian Thomas was supported by Jeff Pyles and Barrie Davies in the second row while the imperious Dave Morris had super support in the back-row from Randall Davies, Alan Butler and Meirion Prosser.

Above all, the team was superbly motivated, organised and driven by an outstanding captain and thinker in Brian Thomas who led by example from the front and, while his overlooking by both Lions and Wales selectors was controversial, it allowed him to focus firmly on Neath who duly won the honours.

Fitness sessions paid off and the full backing of an energetic committee saw the team emerge from the “Newbridge Incident” to prevail over all.

So, after 20 years, Neath were proudly back at the top of the final championship table – a particularly suitable climax to the career that wonderful hooker Morlais Williams who  hung up his boots and signed off in real style after a career encompassing 11 seasons and 330 appearances. The final championship table read :-

With remarkable symmetry, Neath would wait another 20 years until 1986/87 for their next (eighth) championship title.

MP

NEW PLAYER SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT

We’re delighted to announce Jonathan Bayliss has joined Neath RFC from Ystalyfera RFC for the 20/21 season.

#packthegnoll #weareneath

To view the video – click the link below:

NEW PLAYER SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT We’re delighted to announce Jonathan Bayliss has joined Neath RFC from Ystalyfera RFC for the 20/21 season.#packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Sabato 23 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – STEFFAN JONES COMMITS FOR 2020-21 SEASON

We’re delighted to announce that @Steffan Jones has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!

Special thanks to his players sponsor @Low Cost Vans

PLEASE NOTE PLAYER RE-SIGNINGS WILL NOW OCCUR AT 4pm EVERY OTHER DAY WITH MORE NEW SIGNINGS TO ANNOUNCE

To view the video – click the link below:

STEFFAN JONES – RESIGNING

We’re delighted to announce that @Steffan Jones has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!Special thanks to his players sponsor @Low Cost VansPLEASE NOTE PLAYER RE-SIGNINGS WILL NOW OCCUR AT 4pm EVERY OTHER DAY WITH MORE NEW SIGNINGS TO ANNOUNCE #packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Giovedì 21 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – LUKE GRIFFITHS COMMITS FOR 2020-21 SEASON

We’re delighted to announce that Luke Griffiths has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!

Special thanks to his players sponsor Hutchinson Thomas Solicitors
@luke.griffiths.121

To view the video – click the link below:

A little bit late but, we’re delighted to announce that Luke Griffiths has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!Special thanks to his players sponsor Hutchinson Thomas Solicitors@luke.griffiths.121#packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Martedì 19 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

RE-SIGNING ANNOUNCEMENT – BEN ATKINS COMMITS FOR 2020-21 SEASON

We’re delighted to announce that Ben Atkins has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!

Special thanks to his players sponsor StaySafe Inspection & Testing Ltd
@ben.h.atkins.5

To view the video – click the link below:

Player Re-signing BEN ATKINS

We’re delighted to announce that Ben Atkins has committed his future to Neath RFC for the 20/21 season!Special thanks to his players sponsor StaySafe Inspection & Testing Ltd@ben.h.atkins.5#packthegnoll #weareneath

Pubblicato da Neath RFC su Domenica 17 maggio 2020

 

 

 

 

MATCH REPORT – CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE #VI – 1946/47

Neath became Welsh rugby’s first post-war champions when they won their sixth Welsh championship in 1946/47.

 When the Second World War ended in the summer of 1945, the country now under Attlee’s Labour Government was eager to see a return to normality.

 Welsh rugby hastily resumed and, after a couple of early blips, the Welsh All Blacks were soon up and running, winning 32 and losing only 8 of their first season’s games – one of those in a mighty close game at The Gnoll against the New Zealand Kiwis.

 Significantly, Neath ended that 1945/46 season when no prizes were at stake with a 20-match run of victories so the Blacks were primed for a tilt at the first post-war championship title.

 Hooker Cliff Williams succeeded his fellow Ystradgynlais product Tom James as captain for 1946/47 and, despite a long winter freeze that saw the country come to a standstill, Neath hardly put a foot wrong as their pack powered them towards the title.

But Llanelly were always in contention and so it was on Saturday, May 10, 1947 that the two outstanding club sides in Wales met at The Gnoll to determine the destiny of the title and here is how the “Western Mail” succinctly and rather under-statedly described the battle :-

– NEATH UNOFFICIAL CHAMPIONS –

– Neath *1-2-9 Llanelly +2-0-7 –

– * Penalty + One Penalty One Dropped –

– Attendance 12,000 –

Neath proved themselves worthy champions of the unfficial Welsh Rugby Union (table) and retained their ground record when they defeated Llanelly by nine points to seven at The Gnoll.

The Neath victory was more decisive than the score suggests for they outplayed the Scarlets in all aspects of the game and the issue rarely looked in doubt.

Neath played as they have been playing all seasonas a team and are without question one of the soundest teams in the country

In view of their teamwork, it would be unfait to single out any one player  for praise  but credit must be given to the Neath captain and hooker Cliff Williams who is retiring from the game after today’s game against Maesteg.

This veteran forward has held the pack together and hooked consistently well – on Saturday he got the ball back from the scrummages 34 times as against Jeffreys’s (sic) 16. He will be missed in the Neath pack next year.

For Llanelly Ron Williams, fly half, Jim Davies, full back, and Griff Bevan, in the pack, did all that could be expected of them but these three alone could not stop the victory march of the “All Blacks”.

PENALTY GOALS

Much against the run of play, Llanelly scored first when Griff Bevan landed a good penalty goal from 35 yards out in the 25th minute. Within 10 minutes Neath drew level when Tom Randall wuith a grand kick converted a penalty.

The sides crossed over on level terms but the hammering the Llanelly pack had taken in the loose during the first session was soon evident and in the 49th minute John Jenkins, a strong-running wing three-quarter, dashed over in the corner after receiving from John Thomas, for an unconverted try.

Two minutes later, a delightful passing movement, in which forwards and backs took part, culminated in the long-legged flyer Horace Edwards scoring a picture try near the corner flag. Tom Randall failed to goal.

Llanelly soon revealed that they had a sting in their tail when Ron Lewis dropped a goal four minutes from the end.

Following the final whistle, cup final scenes were enacted and thousands of spectators invaded the field to congratulate the first post-war Rugby champions.

Neath’s record at the top of the unofficial table now reads Played 39, won 31, lost 3, drawn 5, 534 points for, 151 against.

The teams listed in the programme were :-

NEATH – Viv Evans; J.W.D. Jenkins, John Thomas, D.P. Jones, H.O. Edwards; Alf Duenas, Harold Parker; Les Davies, Cliff Williams (captain), Les Anthony; D.G. Swain, Tom Randall, Roy John, Tom James, Morlais Thomas

LLANELLY – J. Davies; P. Rees, E. Edmunds, A. Lewis, G. Lewis; R. Lewis, H. Greville; G. Bevan (captain), G. Jeffreys, J. Cole; S. Williams, A.W. Kelly; E. Jones, O. Williams, N. Nicholas   Referee – Mr. V. Parfitt (Newport)

 The “Western Mail” report highlights Neath’s teamwork and it was a real team effort achieved without the services of several key forwards like the injured international Rees Stephens, trialist T.H. Bevan and and pre-war international Cyril Challinor.

 Neath celebrated (too) hard and lost 3-4 to Maesteg and the close-run final table – now upped to include 14 teams – read :-

                                       P        W       D        L        FOR    AGST    %

NEATH                             40      31      5        4        537     155     83.75

Llanelly                           40      31      4        5        501     172     82.50

Cardiff                            44      34      4        6        552     211     81.82

Maesteg                           36      27      4        5        357     157     80.56

Newbridge                       37      25      5        7        378     137     74.32

Pontypool                        32      22      3        7        266     136     73.44

Newport                          42      25      8        9        368     229     69.05

Swansea                          35      19      3        13      349     232     67.85

Pontypridd                       32      17      4        11      245     222     59.38

Aberavon                         34      17      5        12      262     180     57.35

Abertillery                       29      12      5        12      145     128     50.00

Penarth                           28      11      6        11      193     242     50.00

Bridgend                          36      13      6        17      241     257     44.44

Cross Keys                        38      11      4        23      243     275     34.21

 

Neath would wait 20 years for their next (seventh) championship title which will be described here next week.

MP

WALLABY’S NEATH ESCAPE ? … IT’S NOTHING NEW !

The midweek “Great Escape” by a wallaby in Neath hit the headlines.

Steve McQueen it was not but the Missing Marsupial’s night of flight captured on CCTV was greeted with some amusement not least by the residents of Woodlands Park Drive, Cadoxton.

But Wallabies escaping in Neath is nothing new as rugby followers in the Ancient Borough will testify.

Take, for example, 1992 when the World Champions of Australia came to The Gnoll and were given a mighty hard time by a Neath side which had not been in the best of form beforehand.

The Blacks matched the Wallabies for tries, centre Jason Little’s effort being cancelled out by Neath try-scorer prop Brian Williams who was badly trampled and required six stitches in a gashed head.

Paul Thorburn kicked a penalty but full back Tim Kelaher’s conversion and three penalties saw the visitors home – just – at 16-8.

Deftly deflecting criticism of his team, Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer was critical of Neath’s “high level of intimidation” but Neath captain Gareth Llewellyn who was actually on the field said, “We fought fire with fire. The Australians were whingeing about everything.”

A hard-fought game was probably not helped by a French referee who could not speak English. And Post-match, Dwyer seemed rather confused by Neath’s tackling techniques.

Shenanigans in the tackle-area – not us !

… But the Wallabies escaped.

NEATH – Paul Thorburn; Steve Bowling, Lloyd Isaac, Jeff Bird, James Reynolds; Matthew McCarthy, Rhodri Jones; Brian Williams, Kevin Phillips, John Davies; Glyn Llewellyn, Gareth Llewellyn (captain); Andrew Kembery, Steve Williams, Martyn Morris
MP