It is said that “the past is a different country” and that may be so – because one hundred years ago the world was still recovering from the Great War and Christmas was a very different prospect from these much more prosperous times.
Times were hard, people sought simpler pleasures and rugby was very different.
NEATH RFC was on a very good run in the run-in to Christmas 1923 and anticipated a busy programme of four games in eight days.
December 22 was a very wet Saturday that year and it took a try by forward Llew Edwards to edge a 3-nil win over Mountain Ash at The Gnoll.
Christmas Day itself (Tuesday) produced better weather and Neath enjoyed an 8-try demolition of London Welsh. 26-3 was the score as winger – Dai Harris (3), centre W.R. Smith and forwards Moses Davies (2), Phil Jones, and W.R. Smith crossed for tries and outside-half Charlie Heard converted one.
A remarkable attendance reported as 8,000 watched the Boxing Day 17-3 win over Resolven when Harris, Smith and wing Ivor Davies got tries, captain Ivor Jones kicked two conversions and outside-half Eddie Williams dropped a goal.
Neath had gone 13 games without defeat but their run was ended on Saturday, December 29 by Newport at Rodney Parade where, beaten up front, they lost 6-12 despite tries by forward Tom Davies and Ivor Davies.
The Neath team which lost at Newport was :- Ivor Jones (captain); Ivor Davies, J.G. Jones, W.R. Smith, Stanley Jenkins; Eddie Williams, Eddie Watkins; Ambrose Baker, Tom Davies, Phil Jones, Ben Evans, Jim John, Syd Daymond, Llew Edwards, Dai Phillips
** Season 1923/24 is being serialised in this year’s Neath RFC Match Programme – make sure you get yours on Boxing Day !