“A STEP BACK IN TIME”
(By Percy Jones)
CARMARTHEN WIN WEST WALES RUGBY UNION CUP
FOR THE FIRST TIME
The Quins had already won all their league games by the time they played Ystradgynlais in the first round of the West Wales Rugby Union Cup in January 1956. Their progress in the early rounds is as follows:-
First Round – Ystradgynlais at home Won 6 – 3
Second Round – New Dock stars away Won 14 – 0
Preliminary Third Round – Trebanos at home Won 9 – 0
Third Round – Bynea at home Won 12 – 3
Semi-final at Stradey Park – Quins v Gorseinon, the Quins Won 12 – 3
FINAL AT ST. HELEN’S, SWANSEA FRIDAY 22rd March 1956
CARMARTHEN QUINS 3, pts CRYNANT, 3
The Quins took on Crynant in the final of the West Wales Rugby Union Cup in front of hundreds of Carmarthen supporters. It turned out to be a disappointing game with Crynant’s Ron Jones kicking a penalty in the second half and R. H. Davies scoring a try for the Quins late in the game. Alec Richards failed with the conversion. This put both teams at 3 points each on full time which meant a replay had to be arranged at the same venue the following Monday evening.
REPLAY AT ST HELEN’S, SWANSEA MONDAY 25TH MARCH 1956
CRYNANT, 6 PTS; CARMARTHEN, 8
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
The final shrill of the referee’s whistle was the signal for hundreds of Carmarthen supporters to go wild with excitement at St. Helen’s, Swansea on Monday evening for their team had won the West Wales Rugby Union Cup for the first time. It was a replay after the teams had fought to a draw of 3 points each on the preceding Friday.
After 75 years, the moment of triumph for Carmarthen had arrived. The speed of Crynant, holders of the cup for the last two seasons, had the Carmarthen team worried early on, but every one of Crynant’s backs promised more than they achieved. But somehow, although they were kept on the defensive for long periods, one always had the feeling that the bigger Carmarthen side would win.
It was a great tactical victory. Knowing that Gwyn Davies and Derek Lewis, the halves were not a hundred per cent fit, the pack took the brunt. Twice Gwyn Davies tried to go over from a scrummage five yards out. He failed on both occasions, but he had shown the opposition that they had two men to watch.. It was because of Davies’ tactics that Lewis was given an opening and he scored a brilliant try. Although the halves were not themselves because of shoulder injuries, the pack showed great confidence in them. R. H. Davies, the blind side wing-forward, who was the outstanding player on Friday, got down to some pushing.
FRIGHT FOR SUPPORTERS
Supporters of Carmarthen had a fright early on when Crynant scored a snap try. A long ball went up to Steve Lewis, the Carmarthen full-back, who was troubled with a glaring sun and nerves. He gathered well but his kick to touch was charged down and the opposing captain Ron Jones (left-wing) ran on to score. He failed to convert from a favourable position. It must be mentioned also that Jones appeared to knock-on when he was gathering the bouncing ball. That try was scored after two minutes.
Back came Carmarthen and Crynant were lucky that the bounce of the ball favoured them on two occasions when their line was in danger. With their hooker getting the ball back well, Crynant’s outside-half did a lot of clever running but he went across the field and spoilt his own openings. It was John Cavanagh, the Carmarthen lock-forward who was outstanding in getting Carmarthen out of trouble on more than one occasion. When all seemed lost, he came from nowhere and fly-kicked to touch.
But Carmarthen came back again and took command. Only an unlucky bounce and R. H. Davies being unsighted because of the sun prevented Carmarthen from scoring after a clever punt ahead by Derek Lewis. There was no stopping the Carmarthen pack now and from a srummage near the Crynant 25 yard line , the ball came back on the Carmarthen side. The ball sped from one player to another and Russell Davies (right-wing) touched down wide out. Steve Lewis failed with the kick. A few minutes later came the interval and although they had the steady wind and sun in their favour, Crynant had failed to build up a substantial lead.. But the cup-holders were not finished yet. For a long period in the second half they kept Carmarthen pegged in their own territory but the Carmarthen defence held out.
Then came the winning score. Led by John Evans, the Carmarthen captain, who was playing a storming game, the forwards rushed up well into Crynant’s half sweeping all before them. A srummage five yards out and Gwyn Davies went over on the blind side. Another srummage and Davies again moved to the blind side but gave out to Derek Lewis. With the winging-forwards running in the wrong direction, Lewis and Brynmor Roberts did their clever inter-changing of positions which has won many a game for Carmarthen. Instead, as the opposition thought of passing to Roberts, Lewis cut clean through the defence and touched down near the posts. It was a brilliant try. Steve Lewis made no mistake with the kick, almost in front of the posts.
The Cup-holders, led by J. R. Morgan, an outstanding back row forward went near to the Carmarthen line. Carmarthen pushed them back. Gwyn Davies tried to kick to touch but Ron Jones intercepted and went for the line. He was tackled and it appeared from the signal given by the linesman that he had been pushed into touch. Steve Lewis made sure also that Jones did not ground the ball properly but a try was awarded. It must be admitted that after such a run, the Crynant captain deserved a try. He came near with the kick, the ball passing outside the posts. Nothing could stop the Carmarthen team from holding the lead. They did not look like letting the cup out of their grasp now.
It was a great day for Carmarthen and the hundreds of local supporters at a ground which has been the scene of many famous international games went home well satisfied.
The Carmarthen team was:-
Steve Lewis; Russell Davies; B. Roberts; G. Tucker; Len Thomas; D. Lewis; G. Davies; John Evans (Captain); B. Francis; I. Jenkins; P. Hart; K. Jenkins; R. H. Davies; John Cavanagh and D. Jones.