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.
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. 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 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.
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