CARMARTHEN RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB
(By Mr. T. L. Evans, BA, Senior Geography Master at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen).
CENTENARY YEAR 1874 - 1974
The story of Carmarthen RFC (whose motto is “Llwyddiant Trwy Ymdrech or Success Through Endeavour), can be traced back to 1875. The game was probably introduced into Carmarthen by A. F. Laloe, from Cowbridge who became Headmaster of the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in June 1874. The first recorded match of Carmarthen Football Club was away against Llanelli Football Club. Carmarthen won by a dropped goal. Click here for the 1920s
The attire of the players at the time seems to be round necked, long sleeved jerseys, long trousers or knickerbockers, long socks and boots. The original colours chosen by Carmarthen are not known but in 1890 they were playing in blue and white jerseys, these were changed in 1897 to dark green shirts with white cuffs and collars, then in 1911 another change to all white jerseys and navy knickerbockers, altering to the present colours (cardinal, amber and black) in 1921-22.
First use of the cardinal, amber and black jersey
In 1884, Carmarthen Wanderer’s (as they were then known), entered the Cup Competition defeating St. David’s College Lampeter at Swansea. Of interest were two members of the Carmarthen team, Price Jenkins who played for Wales in 1888 and E. J. Maclean who later became Sir Ewen Maclean, President of the British Medical Association.
In February 1885, Carmarthen lost to Llanelli in a cup tie by a goal and a try to a try. In 1886 Carmarthen went further afield, easily defeating Pontypridd in the Cup and they also played away at Cardiff losing by 2 tries to nil. In 1887, they had as their Captain, C. S. Arthur (who later became one of the most fluent try scorers for Cardiff). In the match between Wales and Ireland, C. S. Arthur was selected as reserve and he later played four times for Wales as a member of the Cardiff team. On December 15th 1887, Carmarthen played Llanelli at the “Slaughterhouse Field” and lost by 2 tries and 1 minor to 2 minors. Percy Lloyd, the Carmarthen Grammar School captain played in this game for Carmarthen and the following week played for Llanelli when they defeated the Maoris.
In September 1897, Carmarthen had created two teams, Thursdays XV and Saturdays XV (the Thursdays being local men who had to work each Saturday but had Thursdays as their days off). A number of local teams were created in the town around the turn of the century but the Wanderer’s continued to survive and it was this team that in 1911 became known as Carmarthen Harlequins. (The club changed it's name again in the 1946/47 season when it became known as Carmarthen Rugby Football Club. Although the term "Harlequins" was removed from the club's title, everyone connected with the club still affectionately refer to it as the "Quins.").
In the 1936-37 season when under the captaincy of W. J. Orman, the Quins became the champions of the West Wales League, when they defeated Ystradgynlais on May 1st at Pontardulais.
West Wales League Winners 1936/37 Season
Their next major trophy was winning the West Wales League Cup against Crynant in the 1955/56 season under the captaincy of John Evans who also turned out that year for Llanelli.
West Wales League Cup Winners 1955/56
The Quins celebrated their centenary in the I974/75 season and played matches against London Welsh (which they won 13pts to 12); Llanelli; The Metropolitan Police; a President’s XV and a Captain’s Crawshays XV. We know from a newspaper report on the match that the following players turned out for the Crawshays XV: – Roger Blythe; Tony Browning; Alf Woodward; Gwyn Lewis; Paul Evans; Brynmor Williams; Geoff Wheel; Hefin Jenkins; Omri Jones and Gareth Jenkins. However, we would welcome any information from anyone on the names of the missing five players. The club also had a very successful tour to Germany as part of the centenary year celebrations.
The club after 1974/75
The Quins won promotion to the Welsh League in 1991/92 by beating Vardre 12pts to 6 in the very last match of the season. Vardre were the league leaders going into the match and a win or a draw would have given them promotion. Under Phil Beynon’s captaincy they also went on to win the President’s cup by 6pts to 3 in Stradey against Pontyberem. The Quins were in Division 4 from 1992/93 to 1997/98; Division 3 in 1998/99; Division 2 in 1999/2000 and were promoted that season to Division 1 as runners up. The Quins maintained a good standard in Division 1, being 4th in 2000/01; 3rd 01/02; 3rd 02/03 and in 03/04 were promoted to the Premier Division. It was a sad day for the Quins when they were relegated to Division 1 in 2006/07 but fortunately the team made a return to the Premier Division last season (2009/2010) ending the season in a creditable 9th position.
Carmarthen RFC has used a number of grounds within the town during its 134 year history and made Carmarthen Park its home venue during the intervening years between the two World wars. In 1962 the club purchased an eight acre field known as Parc-y-Deri in the village of Abergwili and this has been the home ground for the Youth and Second XV’s as well as the club’s training facility.
Carmarthen Quins have won the West Wales knock-out Cup on five occasions, the first success in 1955-56 against Crynant; 1994-95 against Ystradgynlais; 2006/07 against Cwmllynfell; 2007/08 against Carmarthen Athletic and 2008/2009 against Loughor.
The following players, who were connected with the Club, have won International honours:-
W B Norton 1882-84; T. Price Jenkins 1888.; C. S. Arthur 1888-91; Percy Lloyd 1890-91; I. T. Davies 1914; W.J.Jones 1923; Dudley Bartlett 1927-28; T. E. Jones-Davies 1930-31; R. Boon 1930-33; R. R. Morris 1933 and 1937; C. L. Davies 1956; Ivor Mathews (latter half of the 1920′s); John Evans Welsh Trialist. Club Captain 1955-58;
* Roy Bergiers; Ieuan Evans; Jonathan Griffiths; Mefin Davies; Stephen Jones; Deiniol Jones and Paul Arnold who joined the club from Swansea in 2001 and played over 200 league games for the Quins.
The great Delme Thomas played one game in Quins colours but has appeared on several occasions in representative matches against a Quins XV. Players from the Scarlets who have played for the Quins when they were in the Premier Division are: Mark Jones; Robyn McBride; Arwel Thomas; Gareth Bowen; Aled Gravelle; Ken Owens and Rhys Priestland whilst Andrew Lewis when with Cardiff also turned out for the Quins. Three Quins players who have been part of the Welsh Seven’s squad are: Gareth Williams; Aled Thomas and Wayne Evans.
A more detailed list of Quins Internationals can be viewed in the club's "History" section.
A list of players who have achieved other Age and Representative Honours can also be viewed in the "History" section.
For the last 60 years the club has had a strong Second XV which was temporarily suspended three years ago due to difficulty with other clubs fulfilling fixtures. However, the Second XV was re-established last season (2009-2010) and with the return of a few “veterans” and inclusion of ex-youth players the future of the Second XV now looks secured.
The Youth XV has been a crucial link in the club’s development with several local lads having gone on from the Youth team to represent the Welsh Secondary Schools and Welsh Youth XV. The players listed above * have all gone on from the youth team to gain full Welsh XV international honours. The youth team have won the Llanelli and District League and Cup trophies on numerous occasions and have won the Welsh Youth Knock-out cup on four occasions winning in 1974/75; 75/76; 93/94; 2002/03.
The club has junior sides ages 8 – 16 which is an indication of the club’s commitment to developing rugby at a local level through all age groups. The club also runs a Ladies XV.
To bring us up-to-date, the Quins currently play in a new format of the Principality Premiership but it would appear we may well be looking at a new format in the 2018/19 season.