A STEP BACK IN TIME
(By Percy Jones)
1875 – 1925
RUGBY TEAMS OF CARMARTHEN
Photographs are on display at the clubhouse for the Carmarthen Albions XV for the seasons 1922/23 and 1925/26. They can also be seen on the web site under 1st XV Photographs. It is extremely difficult to find anyone of an age who can recall the different sides that played rugby in Carmarthen up to and after the First World War.
Newspaper reports in both the Welshman and the Carmarthen Journal from 1875 to the late 1920’s mention numerous teams, some of whom may only have played a handful of games, with players probably moving around from one team to another.
The sides were known as:- Carmarthen Wanderers Football Club; Grammar School; Black Diamonds, Towy Rangers; St Peter’s Institute (later known as the Rovers); Harlequins (no link to the present team); Excelsiors; Nomads; St Peter’s Swifts; Alexandras; Old Warriors; Great Western Railway; Priory Street Dazzlers; Spilman Street; Carmarthen Thursdays (linked to the Wanderers) and of course Carmarthen Albions. Match reports in both newspapers around the 1920’s refer to the Carmarthen Albion “Juniors” whereas the two photographs on display at the club refers to the team as the Carmarthen Albions. Were there two teams linked to the Albions? One of several unknown factors about the early history of rugby in Carmarthen!
1922 – 23 Season
CARMARTHEN ALBION JUNIORS – V – CARMARTHEN TRAINING COLLEGE
On Thursday 2nd inst., the Training College Rugby XV defeated the Albion Juniors at the Park by 3 tries (nine points) to nil. The Juniors kicked off and within a few minutes Idris Hughes (captain) had beaten the defence after fine passing by the College backs. The game was confined to the home half for a considerable period and several minors were conceded by the Albion Juniors. Through kicking too hard, the Collegians lost many opportunities of adding to their score but eventually Tregaskes got across after Emlyn Jones and Tom Thomas had failed to gather the ball. Harold Evans on one occasion touched down in the nick of time when the students all but scored. At half time, the Collegians led by six points.
The students re-started operations and by dribbling got to the home 25. Luther Davies on the left wing was giving a great display for the Juniors and gained much ground by quick following up and neat touch-finding. Unfortunately he was obliged to leave the field as a result of a collision with the College full back. Both sides attempted to boot the ball and Harold Evans came in for some applause in tricking four opponents. The Collegians tried all they knew to penetrate the defence and G. Arthur kept them at bay by good tackling. After off-side work by the College forwards, Griff Jones registered the third score and the final whistle came with the Collegians winning by nine points to nil.
The Albion Juniors deserve much praise for their good display as fate was dead against them in this match. The fixture had been originally arranged with the College Seconds but the Juniors had to contend with the College premier fifteen. They also had to take the field with only thirteen men, whilst the third try was scored by the College when the town team had only twelve men playing. Also the Juniors fielded a much depleted side as six of the regular paying members were absent through illness and other causes. Against such handicaps the Carmarthen boys played up pluckily and came in for general commendation for the able manner in which they continually broke up the attacks of the College backs. George Arthur and Tom Thomas were good in defence and the forwards shone in the second half in the loose. Emlyn Jones at full back was not a success and repeatedly let his side down. The Collegians ought to be good enough to have won by twenty points but the Juniors conceded several minors when their opponents came within inches of doing the needful.