Our History

What it meant to me playing for Cwmbran RFC.

In 1976 as a 17-year young man I was persuaded by friends namely Mike Crowley, Adrian Hopkins, and Wayne Bowen to join Cwmbran Youth.I recall my first pre-season training session under the guidance of the youth coach Graham Bunner Jones, we trained with the first team at the time and my first induction was a clout across the head from a guy call called Trevor Hoskins, for a miss-timed tackle. Trevor, I believe at the time was a star first team player, I was rescued by a man called Carl Davies we all know as Mad Carl. 

Not just the first team players either -  I was also in awe of the youth team who at the time were just as big, with some tough characters and reputations.

Its where my journey began, it was tough breaking into a well-established youth team, but in fairness Bunner ensured we had game time if we trained.I looked around and realised I was not the fastest, or the biggest, and decided to play hooker. However with my looks I wasn’t sure if that was the right call! My very first game for Cwmbran was for the 2nd team and I later found out my selection arose from a shortage of players. We were playing Forgeside and I ended up in the front row with Doc White [a great loose head prop], and Steve Willis who moaned the entire game. Fair play, both Steve and Doc looked after me, but I recall we were well beaten in all aspects of the game. I also understood very quickly why the 2nd were short - Forgeside were not the friendliest team.

Looking back at the tight group of youth players it just grew into great friendships which is still evident today. We had a successful youth team set up and were eventually joined by Johnny Morris who took over the mantle of youth coach from Bunner.

Johnny was a no nonsense hardnosed second row forward who had plied his trade in the Gwent Valleys with ears and a nose that had experienced a couple of knocks.

He set about moulding our team into a very successful unit. Nine of the side went on to play for East Gwent that swept the board in terms of success and Haydn [Mort] Morton and Colin Court went on to win Welsh u19 caps.

Most of the players Mike Crowley, myself, Mort, Mark Brown, Ray Armstrong, Colin Court, Wayne Bowen, Alex McGee Adrian Hopkins then went on to make our 1st team debuts 1978-79 season, the season Paul Watkins was voted club captain, and sadly passed away age 29 after our away game in Cleeve.

As a young man that came at such a shock, someone so young, but I recall all the boys pulling together and supporting each other which I believe again was a significant part of why I felt was so important to me playing rugby for Cwmbran RFC.

Going on into senior rugby just continued to enlighten my rugby development. At this stage I decided to get out of the front row, and ended up playing in the backs for the 2nds! It was great fun, not as serious as the 1st but still a good opportunity to play with very talented players.

At that time the foundation of Cwmbran 1st team was having a successful 2nd team, which was strong enough to push the first team in all areas on the training field. It was also at a time when Johnny Morris came on board as first team coach. I recall the live scrums, punch ups between the forwards, Johnny just laughing, But it pushed the first team into greater heights, and no player became complacent.

This I believe continued throughout my time playing for Cwmbran - the opportunity to enjoy and sink a few beers and a well organised singsong [directed by Alan Rainbow] with your mates after the game -“what could be better!”.

Due to the strong relationship and bond between all the players, we even had a successful football side. However our main success was at baseball, where one summer we competed against strong well-established teams from both Newport and Cardiff.

I feel very blessed to have played rugby at Cwmbran in total 14 seasons, returning to play in the front row. The rugby was good but the friendship, banter and close bond between everyone within the club was quite special - there was trust, reassurance, and someone to have a chat with when needed.

A committeeman and friend I hold in great esteem is Mike Gough, who sadly passed away a few years ago. What a character, and a man who supported me in establishing my career in work.

Being part of the Centurions has resurrected that bond especially meeting up again with Alex, Anthony, Cliffy, Jeff, Georgie, Nigel, Bird, Ben, Alan [Rainbow] and Mad Carl are only  ‘We played for Cwmbran RFC when it was most certainly the best time to be a Cwmbran player!’

It was most certainly an honour to have been there with you all!just a few names to mention. It’s a pleasure to spend times with these guys.

Playing for Cwmbran became a big part of your life, long may it continue.