A Step Back in Time Report – Carmarthen v Vardre


(By Percy Jones)

SEASON 1954 – 55

 Sporting Diary by “Cardinal.”

(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)


 29th October 1954

 Carmarthen,  12pts;      Vardre,   nil.

It seems that after a poor start to the season, the Carmarthen team has come out of its chrysalis and looks like flourishing into an excellent combination. This was proved with a fine display of Rugby football against Vardre in a West Wales Rugby League game at Carmarthen Park on Saturday.

Carmarthen, who scored four tries, deserved every one of theirn12 points. The backs handled magnificently and considering the greasy condition of the ball, play verged almost on the miraculous. Spectators were delighted with the excellent show put up; it was certainly the stuff to attract the customers. On such form, the half-backs and three-quarters line will soon be a force to be reckoned with in West Wales.

Gwyn Davies at scrum-half played his usual steady game and combined well with outside-half Derek Lewis, who provided the balanced attack. He fed his “threes” at the right moment, found openings and was adept with the harassing kick ahead. Harry Evans and Gwyn Edwards in the centre were quite at home together and provided a great deal of thrust in the middle. With such a fine pair of wings as Glan Tucker (captain) and Ian Mossman, the Carmarthen line on Saturday’s showing has fallen into place like a jig-saw puzzle. A smooth attack was provided which shouls not be tampered with unless there is a deficiency in defence. Such a deficiency was not apparent but then, the defence was not severely tested.


 A word of praise to Glan Tucker, who certainly played a captain’s game. He gave everything he had and went hard for the line when called upon to do so. He got two good tries too; quick-fire passing along the backs and a short burst by Tucker for the corner flag. Gwyn Edwards had a hand in the first try, for he streaked through an opening and covered a great deal of ground before handing on.

Such threequarter play would not have been possible without the services of a willing and hard-working pack of forwards. John Evans and John Cavanagh were well drilled in line-out work and newcomer Dai Jones did his task with a will. Wing-forwards Brynmor Jones and R. H. Davies always persisted in attack.

The only thing Vardre had to offer in exchange for such sparkling play by the home team, were some terrier-like foot rushes which often ended deep in Carmarthen territory, but did not look too dangerous. Vardre were lucky they had such a sound full-back as John Davies. He gave a wonderful exhibition of fielding and kicking under pressure and tackled with determination. Were it not for his capabilities in defence, it is almost certain that Carmarthen would have won by a wider margin.

The game was good but the same could not be said for the weather. There was a strong south-westerly wind, the ground was heavy and slippery and it rained off and on throughout the match. Carmarthen kicked off but it was Vardre who gained the advantage. A rally by Carmarthen took play to within a few yards of the visitor’s line. For a scrimmage infringement, Carmarthen were awarded a penalty kick. The effort of full-back  J. L. Jones just missed the left hand upright. The referee (Mr. C. G. Jones, Narberth) rewarded a penalty for movement among the Vardre players. This time Jones’ kick was just outside the right-hand upright.


 Carmarthen continued to pile on the pressure. The home forwards were gaining possession quite regularly from the set scrums, loose and lines-out. With such excellent service, the Carmarthen “threes” were always on the move. The backs, considering the greasy nature of the ball were handling superbly and running strongly. Frequent gaps were torn in the Vardre defence by outside-half Derek Lewis and centres Gwyn Edwards and Harry Evans. All this was achieved playing against a strong wind.

Twice Carmarthen’s forwards went over the Vardre line but were recalled. The backs persisted with fine handling movements and eventually were justly rewarded. Quick passing all along the threequarter line saw left-wing Glan Tucker cross in the corner. J. L. Jones’ kick just fell short of the cross-bar. The first half ended with a rally by Vardre but, it petered out.

After the interval, Carmarthen continued to press and the backs, with snappy passing, proved a constant source of danger. Holding them frequently at bay was full-back John Davies. Then inside-half Gwyn Davies broke away from the scrum. A quick burst of passing identical to that when the first try was scored, and Glan Tucker again went over in the corner for an unconverted try. Carmarthen were constantly in the visitor’s half but Vardre nearly scored when right-centre Bill Griffiths intercepted a pass and went streaking down the middle with right-wing Mel Phillips outside. They had Carmarthen’s full-back to beat but the final transfer went astray.

The Vardre full-back fell as he fielded a kick-ahead. He was caught in possession and Derek Lewis, following up smartly dived over for a try. J. L. Jones missed with the attempted conversion. Soon afterwards, Carmarthen scored again. Centres Harry Evans and Gwyn Edwards dribbled the ball from the Vardre “25.” Wing-forward R. H. Davies was there to ground the ball as it went over the line for a surprise unconverted try.