Our History

NEW HOME FOR THE CHAMPIONS

THE STORY OF PONTARDDULAIS R.F.C.  By T.G. CADWALLADR

Extract taken from Welsh Rugby Magazine - February 1969)
In an era when Rugby Football has to compete with countless counter-attractions, the West Wales Rugby Union (actually an Union within an Union) championship and cup competitions is invaluable as a stimulant and incentive to players and supporters of its 36 member clubs in this highly competitive corner of the Principality. One has no hesitation in stating categorically that much of Pontarddulais post war glory has derived from the successful money-spinning WWRU competitions.
In the seasons 1960 to 1968, Pontarddulais appeared in more championship play-offs and cup semi-finals than any other club in the Union. During this time, they won the cup in four successive seasons - 1963-66; the grand slam in 1963 winning all four trophies; the President's Cup on four occasions; the Eurof Davies Memorial Cup on five separate counts since it was inaugurated in the 1962 season and this season (1969) they hope to compete a hat-trick of League Winners Cup successes (a new trophy donated only two season ago for the team heading the championship table).

CHEQUERED HISTORY
There have been other highlights in the chequered history of Pontarddulais RFC. One of the most important, the opening ceremony in December of their new luxurious clubhouse by their Life President, Mr D.R. Downing in the presence of several high ranking WRU dignitaries including, Mr Gerwyn Davies, Managing Director of DMJ Ltd, Neath (Main Contractor) who handed over the key.
Constructed at a cost of £25,000 it is a striking development of which members of the club can feel justly proud. The new club of single-storey prefabricated construction is located in Oakfield Street and only a stone's throw away from their old headquarters - The King's Head. There is ample car parking at the rear of the premises and the accommodation provided is in three sections; (1) The main club premises; (2) A meeting room; (3) The Steward's Flat.

MAGNIFICENT AMENITIES
The main club buildings are approached from a covered porch giving access to the Entrance Foyer, and adjacent to it are a spacious cloakroom and ladies and gents toilet accommodation. The main Concert Hall which can accommodate 300 members has a large and attractive bar, well appointed stage and two dressing rooms. There is a central area of timber mosaic flooring for dancing and the whole decor has been carried out in attractive materials.
The Lounge also has with its own bar service has a small intimate alcove for dining.

PLEASANT AND LUXURIOUS
The décor of the room has been designed to give maximum comfort, and the seating and table layouts give adequate accommodation in a most pleasant and luxurious atmosphere. It is envisaged that the Meeting Room will be used for selection and instruction meetings. The club will now have their own changing facilities with rooms for home and visiting sides, a communal shower room, separate room for Referee is also provided with a shower. A small toilet block completes this part of the scheme.

EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE KITCHEN STOVE !
A large kitchen is provided using gas cooking appliances and this will serve meals at lunchtime and during the evening under the direction of the steward and stewardess. Utilising the falls of the site a large well appointed Beer Cellar is located underground, served by an access staircase up to the Beer servery and spirit store.
The clubhouse is provided with a full sound recording system so that background music can be enjoyed in all public rooms. A fully automatic burglar alarm system has also been installed. The electrical fittings are modern and in keeping with the decor. These were installed by one of Pontarddulais's most popular members Mr. Gwilfor Stokes, a well-known electrical contractor and incidentally one of the club's five trustees.

ATMOSPHERE IS HALF THE BATTLE
In Pontarddulais they feel that the provision of attractive amenities for where the players, the committee and their families can mingle an relax in a happy atmosphere, is half the battle of running a successful club. The Swansea firm - Cyril A. Hughes & Son were the club's architects, and during the opening ceremony tributes were paid for their imaginative work.
It is interesting to mention that the five trustees represent the entire community and this is an excellent idea as the village takes a fierce pride in each of the club's three teams and follow their fortunes in every match with unashamed passionate partisanship.

PERIOD OF CONSOLIDATION
The early post war years were a period of consolidation. Their industrious secretary was fortunate to have the experience of two well known rugby administrators - Will Bishop (father of Meirion Bishop first XV vice-captain) and the late Gwyn "Bach" Williams. With another remarkable official in D.R. Downing who chaired the club for over 40 years until Denver succeeded him, an Youth XV was inaugurated and one which met with instant success. They were also pioneers in nominating a squad of first XV players and though Llanelli were the first senior club to implement such a revolutionary course of action, Pontarddulais are to be congratulated in breaking away from tradition (so called) and starting a new trend and image in the game in Wales. With clear thinking at the top they were bound to succeed!

YOUTH POWER
The power that their youth team generated was to lead directly to Pontarddulais restoration as a power in second class rugby. In fact it was the first of a wonderful success to come.
There is no need to ponder as whether rugby will now take second place in this proud go-ahead club for this is only part of Pontarddulais's ambitious development schemes. This was made abundantly clear by chairman Denver Evans, who said, "The committee have gone to great lengths to keep temptation away from the younger members and there is a separate access to the Meeting Room and changing rooms away from the club's licensed premises".

MEN AT THE TOP
The men at the top include Glenville Davies(a nephew of the late Eurof Davies a former Secretary of West Wales R.U.), treasurer Gerwyn Rees, match secretary Ceredig Williams, vice-chairman John Miles, assistant treasurer Fred Lang and coach John Rees.
Pontarddulais perhaps more so than any other club can be thankful to the sense of continuity which has guided the club along the years since it was directly affiliated to the WRU before World War 1 for their present flourishing status in West Wales rugby. Evidence of this continuity can be seen in the present committee and officials and it even permeates into the teams.

RUN THREE XV's
The club is regularly running three XV's and has a playing membership in excess of 60. All three teams have contributed magnificently in keeping the trophy locker laden with an assortment of cups and shields of various shapes and sizes and much of the credit for this belongs to chairman Denver Evans and coach John Rees and the committee who realised early on that coaching is essential.
Pontarddulais, the most successful club in the history of the West Wales R.U. championship, are in the throes of rebuilding the senior XV and despite a shock defeat at home against Amman United prior to the festive period, the selector s have again knitted an useful combination.

Former Swansea and Llanelli full back Gilbert Miles is enjoying a new leas of life under the new laws and like his counterpart at Hendy, Raymond Clarke, is one of the most reliable goal kickers on the exacting championship circuit. Both in fact have brought their personal points tally past the 100 mark and each stands an excellent chance of bettering last season's impressive aggregate.
However, both have a long way to go to break the WRU individual record which is held by Crynant's Ron Jones who scored 257 points in the 1954 season. The following season, the former Neath flanker registered another 250 points.

NURSERY FOR ALL WHITES
Pontarddulais has been one of the nursery clubs for Swansea, the most recent graduate being Byron Mainwaring - in my opinion the most underrated front row forward playing premier football.

The ladies seem to play an important part in the running of this so successful club. They do much to organise after match meals and various functions during the season. Officials of this grand working committee which raised a sum well in advance of £300 at a Christmas fete include Miss Evelyn Williams and Mesdames Rita Evans, Mary Jones, Eve Williams and Gwenda Evans.

The club is not aiming for fist class status, but hopes by better training to improve its standard and promote fellowship between clubs by fair play and hospitality after matches. "Ymlaen Pontarddulais ! "

The Pontarddulais Clubhouse main contractors were:- Messrs D.M.J. Limited, 123 Windsor Road. Neath, Glam.
The principal Sub-contractors were:- Messrs F. Holder & Sons(Neath) Ltd, The Green, Neath, Glam.
The Architects for the project were:- Cyril A. Hughes & Son, 51 Walter Road, Swansea.
Partner-in-charge - R. Grocott A.R.I.B.A..
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