Neath RFC will open the 2019/20 season against London Welsh at The Gnoll on Saturday. (kick off 12 noon).
The two clubs have enjoyed each other’s company and here are some highlights and oddities :-
• In 1885, Neath medical student A.E. Kempthorne was nominated captain of the new London Welsh club.
• The first fixture between the clubs took place at Neath on Monday, December 22nd, 1890
• A layering of snow covered a rock hard pitch but the sides braved the conditions and the first match ended honours even and scoreless.
• In 1908, Australian international D.B. (Danny) Carroll turned out for Neath in the 15-3 win against London Welsh who fielded three tourists (McIntyre, Craig and Darby)
• A Neath man J. Milsom Rees became chairman of London Welsh and was appointed royal surgeon – he played centre for the Blacks when he was known as plain “Jack”.
• Eric Evans, Bill Perry and Arthur Hopkins scored tries when Neath won the first fixture after the Great War 9-4 on December 27th, 1919.
• And the first post-World War II match was won by Neath 9-3 – home tries by Ken Hardwick, Harold Parker and Rees Stephens.
• The 1953 match in London was refereed by one Denis Thatcher whose wife became the UK’s first woman Prime Minister in 1979.
• For many years, Neath hosted London Welsh on Christmas Day – the last of those games took place in 1965, London Welsh winning 6-3.
• In 1966, the game was played on Christmas Eve (a Saturday), Neath turning the tables to win 6-3.
• The sides last met on February 25th, 2011 when the Blacks beat the Exiles 14-7.
• Lyn Jones, Rowland Phillips and now Cai Griffiths have coached London Welsh.
Since that first meeting in 1890, Neath and London Welsh have enjoyed a healthy rivalry – may the entertainment continue on Saturday !
Match Details :-
NEATH v LONDON WELSH
Kick off – 12 Noon
Admission – Adults £5, Under-16’s FREE
Hospitality – Tel. 01639 643328