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Welcome to Lampeter Town RFC


The history of the club is covered in Michael Samuel’s book “Lampeter Town RFC, 1875-1979”

As the following report confirms Lampeter was one of the founder members of the Welsh Rugby Union and, in conjunction with the College, took an active part in the development of the game.

A report from the “Carmarthen Journal” in March, 1881:

Welsh Rugby Football Union

“A meeting was held at the Castle Hotel, Neath, on Saturday last (12th March, 1881), the following clubs being represented: Swansea, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Cardiff, Newport, Llanelli, Merthyr, Llandovery, Brecon, Pontypool and Bangor, to consider the question of establishing a Welsh Rugby Union. The chair was taken by Mr Richardson, captain of the Swansea club, and after considerable discussion it was proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Mr. F. Meager, Swansea, that a Welsh Rugby Football Union be formed. This resolution was carried unanimously. It was then proposed by Mr Mullock, Newport, and seconded by Mr Margrave, Llanelli, that Mr C.C. Chambers, president of the Swansea Football Club, be elected president of the Welsh Rugby Football Union for the season 1881-2. The next proposition by the Chairman and seconded by Mr. Mullock, was that Mr E. C Fry, Cardiff, and Mr. C.P. Lewis, Llandovery, be elected vice-presidents of the Welsh Rugby Union for the season 1881-2. Carries unanimously. The election of a committee, which will in all probability consist of a member of each club in the Union, was left until the next meeting which will be held during this month. Mr. Forester, Merthyr, proposed and Mr. Knill, Swansea, seconded, that Mr Richard Mullock be elected hon. Secretary to the W.R.U. The hon. Secretary was instructed to prepare for the next meeting a draft copy of proposed bye-laws to govern the Welsh Rugby Union. The annual subscription was fixed at £1 1s., with an entrance fee of £1 1s.”

The fact that a Lampeter representative attended the meeting in Neath, which formed the WRU, establishes that the club was in existence, in 1881. It is far more difficult to establish the exact year prior to that in which the Club was actually formed.

All evidence points to the fact that rugby was first brought to Lampeter by the College The University was established in 1828 and Rugby Football introduced, along with other competitive team games, in 1850 with the arrival of the Rev. Rowland Williams as the Vice Principle and Professor of Hebrew at the College..

Close links have always been maintained with the College and it is reasonable to assume that a Club was formed in the Town to provide opposition, which would be essential to enable any matches to be played.

There are reports in the Western Mail, in November, 1879 of a game between St. David’s College and the Lampeter club. Prior to that there is a report of a game on 26th January, 1876 of a game between Llandeilo and Llandovery College, where the Llandeilo team consisted of several members of the Carmarthen, St David’s College and the Lampeter Football Clubs.

The same year the College was drawn against Carmarthen G S in the first round of the South Wales Cup (formed at Cardiff Arms Hotel on 23/10/1877).

Following much research carried out by Dr Gareth W Williams ( the W.R.U. Centenary Historian), it was decided that the Club was probably formed in 1875, although the Centenary was not officially celebrated until the 1979/80 season.

The close links with the College have been maintained over the years and any reference to Lampeter in the very early days (end of the 19th Century and before the Wars) could refer to either.

The official Club records relate to the period since the restart after the Second World War, when in 1947-48 the Club Chairman was the Rev J Strand Jones. This remarkable gentleman was not only a strong link between the College and the Club but also the link with the distant past – he gained 5 caps for Wales in 1901 – 1902.


There are a number of full Welsh Internationals who had a connection with Lampeter (College or Club) at some time during their career. They are listed below.

Davies D Bailey (Llanelli) 1907 E
Douglas MHJ (Llanelli) 1984 S,I,F
Evans Tom (Swansea) 1924 I
Matthews Rev AA (Lampeter) 1886 S
Rowlands EM (Lampeter) 1885 E
Strand -Jones J (Llanelli) 1902 E,S,I 1903 E,S

The first person to be capped was EM Rowlands who was in the team that lost by 1 goal and 4 tries to 1 goal and 1 try to England at St. Helens, Swansea on 3rd January in 1885.

Not a lot of information is available about him, after all these years, but it is interesting to note that there were two other players making their first appearances for their countries on that day. For Wales the legendary Arthur Gould and for England was AE Stoddard who was to take over the captaincy of the British Lions to New Zealand in 1888 after the original captain RL Seddon was drowned on the Australian part of the tour.

The full teams, for that match, are printed below, if only because it is pleasing to see a Welsh team including a player from Lampeter.

WALES : AJ Gould (Newport) ; HM Jordan (Newport), FE Hancock (Cardiff), CG Taylor (Ruabon) ;
CH Newman (Camb.U & Newport) (Capt.) , WH Gwynn (Swansea); R Gould (Newport), TJS Clapp (Nantyglo), HS Lyne (Newport) , T Baker-Jones (Newport), S Goldsworthy (Swansea) , ES Richards (Swansea), JS Smith (Cardiff), LC Thomas (Cardiff), EM Rowlands (Lampeter)

ENGLAND : HB Tristram (Durham) ; JJ Hawcridge (Bradford), AE Stoddard (Blackheath), CG Wade (Richmond) ; A Rotherham (Richmond), JH Payne (Broughton) ; ET Gurdon (Richmond) (Capt.) , RS Kindersley (Exeter), ED Court ( Blackheath), RSF Henderson (Blackheath), HJ Ryalls (New Brighton), F Moss (Broughton), AT Kemble (Liverpool), G Harrison (Hull), A Teggin (Broughton Rangers)

Scorers : ENGLAND : Tries – Wade, Kindersley, Ryalls, Teggin, Hawcridge Conversion : Payne
WALES: Tries – Jordan (2). Conversion : AJ Gould.

It is interesting to note that at that time there were no points allowed – points were not introduced until the 1890-91 season , when a try was worth 1 point and the conversion 2 points. Also both teams played with only 3 three-quarters but 9 forwards. It is reported that CG Wade the English winger had a particularly good game that day.

Very little is know about the Rev AA Matthews and his game against Scotland on 9th , January, 1886 is not remembered for any particular reason. The game was played at Cardiff and was won by Scotland by 2 goals and 1 try to nil.


Rev John Strand Jones – (1877-1958)
(of Pyllaucrynon)

Initially a centre he moved to full back whilst at Oxford. Howard Marshall, the official biographer of the University Match up to 1950 wrote;

“Strand-Jones moved to full back where he was destined to make himself, as had Tristram and A.R. Smith before him, one of the immortals.”

Full International Career:

11th Jan 1902 ENGLAND 8 WALES 9 (Rectory Field, Blackheath)
England: Tries : Dobson, Robinson Conv : Alexander
Wales: Tries : RT Gabe, Osborne Penalty Goal Strand Jones.
2nd Feb 1902 WALES 14 SCOTLAND 9 (Cardiff Arms Park)
Wales: Tries : Willie Llewellyn (2)., RT Gabe (2) Conv : Strand Jones
Scotland : Try : Welsh Conv : Gillespie.
8th Mar 1902 IRELAND 0 WALES 15 (Lansdowne Rd, Dublin)
Wales: Tries Nicholls, Llewellyn, Llewellyn Lloyd, Conv : Brice PG Nicholls.
10th Jan 1903 WALES 21 ENGLAND 5 (Rectory Field, Blackheath)
Wales: Tries Hodges (3), Dickie Owen, Pearson Conv : Strand Jones (3).
England: Try Dobson, Conv : Taylor
7th Feb 1903 SCOTLAND 6 WALES 0 (Inverleith, Edinburgh)
Scotland: Try : Kyle, Penalty Goal : ATrimms

John Strand Jones is the link between the present and the past.

Jack Strand Jones gained his first cap against England in 1902 when he replace the great W.J. (“Billy”) Bancroft, and Wales went on to win the Triple Crown. He got into the team despite keen competition from H.B. (“Bert”) Winfield, of Cardiff, who had to wait 2 years before gaining his first of 15 caps.

Opposite is the plaque commemorating the Triple Crown which shows many of the players that were to play against the All Blacks in 1905 and form the nucleus of the “First Golden Era” . Strand Jones is third from the right on the bottom line.

In his first game he impressed by creating a try for RT Gabe. :
“Strand Jones had deceived the English defence by circumventing the pack and carrying on through the team before passing to Gabe who had only to round Gamblin the full-back.”

The well-known journalist, W.J T. Collins (“Dromio”), wrote in his book “Rugby Recollections”, published in 1948:

“Bancroft had a notable successor in J. Strand Jones, of Llanelly ……He also was unorthodox – he often ran when the ordinary full-back would have punted to touch. To escape opponents who were following up, he ran with a curious sideways movement, breaking with a series of short swerves towards the open side of the field, travelling a dozen or twenty yards to the right without travelling forward more than two or three yards. It was risky, but he was fast, had some of the qualities of a centre threequarter, was very sturdy, and was accurate in his kicking after he had eluded following-up forwards, while he occasionally linked up successfully with his threequarters to start an unexpected attack. Unfailing in courage, he would go down to the ball in front of the fierest rush ; but more noteworthy was his fielding when hard pressed. The way he got the ball away from the feet (say) of Irish forwards, and broke away from them with that curious sideways movement was almost uncanny ; but he was quicker on his feet and faster than seemed possible in one so heavy shouldered. In some of his later games he fell away badly.”

In his last game when Wales lost to Scotland W.J.T. Collins reports:
“Strand Jones, the Welsh full-back, did wonderful defensive work playing against the gale ; but in the second half positioned himself badly, and kicked badly.”

RT Gabe summed up the man in an article he wrote especially for Lampeter’s own magazine “The Converter” in 1960:
“…he was always reliable on the field and a gentleman with kindly feelings and high principles off the field”.

The only other “Lampeter” international of the first decade of the century was D Bailey Davies, who played for Oxford University, Llanelli and the one game for Wales

The early beginnings and all the pre-war activities on the rugby field and in the committee room seem to have been lost and it is difficult to trace any thread to pull together. There is the odd photograph to remind us that Sir J C Harford was a figure-head and that the Club relied on the College fields and pavilion, but the only record appears to be the “jottings” of JMR in the Centenary Year Brochure.

JMR reports on the pre war period :

“The Town Club in those days were largely dependent on St David’s College and St David’s College School for the loan of a playing pitch and their kindness in so doing helped to foster good relationship between the units, so much so that the services of Town players added strength to the College side. Players like D R Thomas, Dai Lewis Jenkins, Titus (Ditws) Davies, David Enock Jones (Dai Enock), D J Bowen (Dicks), Tom Jones (Twm Sos), David Rees Evans, Jim Ni, Davies Red Hill, Charlie Evans (Charlie D H) and countless others, who strove, under difficult conditions, to keep the Club going from year to year.”

“Matters did not really improve until post World War One, when the Club rented the present Show Field, had Victorian changing quarters at the Town Hall and the advent of several local lads, whose playing days with College School had come to an end only to don the ‘moroon jerseys’ of the Town Club.”

“…and here I am prompted to recall the names of D D Richards (Dai Dan), D M Herbert (Dewi Megicks), Willie Davies (Wallasey), T A Davies (Tommy Sandpit), Eddie Evans (Eddie D.H.), Aneurin and Willie Griffiths.”

He pays particular credit, and thanks, to D.R. Thomas and Mrs. Thomas for the work that they both did for the Club during this period – and this sentiment is repeated by Mr Lawrence Davies, as Club Chairman, in his introduction to the Centenary Year Brochure.

“The Club progressed from year to year until World War Two broke out, when most, it not all, of the lads were called up for other duties, but after the cessation of hostilities, old players got together once again and continued where things had been left off, rallying around D Arnold Rees..”

“And so players really rallied around the Club, with their sights focussed on a new era in the history of Rugby playing in Lampeter.”

The photograph of the team and officials for the 1947-48 season is a bridge between the pre- and post-war eras. D R Thomas is shown, with Sir Arthur Harford (and off course John Strand Jones), along side the young players (Dick Morris, Derek Evans, Lawrence Davies etc.) who would eventually carry the club forward, in various capacities, for another 30 years or more


Standing: WG Lloyd, MR James, Llew Jones, Dick Morris, Hywel Edwards, Peter Gordon,
Des Mooney, Percy Gill, Lawrence Davies, Gwilym Thomas, Derek Evans, Martin Davies, Idris Sturdy, WJ Jones, Tom Brown, DP Lewis, W Sturdy, ER Jones.
Seated: Rev. J Strand Jones, (Chairman), John Griffiths (Captain), Sir Arthur Harford (President), Roy Davies, DR Thomas

In the early fifties the Club had difficulty at times in fielding a team, as soccer had began to take a hold. But special praise was given (in the Centenary Brochure) to Mr Ivor Evans for his work after taking over as Secretary and 1955 appears to have been the water-shed.


Standing: Ken Abrahams, Ivor Evans, Johnny Stephens, Dennis Jones, Eric Morgan, Haydn Jenkins, Peris James, Aubrey Morris. Seated: Tony Watkins, Dick Morris, Derek Evans (capt.), Barry Watkins, Bryn Davies. On ground: John Griffiths, Percy Gill.

The school had introduced rugby in 1951 and it was during the second half of the 1950’s that the benefit began to show in the Town team, despite loosing players because of National Service.

And so by the 1956-57 season, under the captaincy of Perris James, the so-called revival of the Club was well underway. In all 33 matches were played with 15 won, 7 drawn and 11 lost with points for 247, against 187. The 1957-58 season was even better – winning 20 out of the 34 matches, with 2 drawn, and 309 points for and only 164 conceded.

By the 1959/60 season the Club had been re-admitted into the Welsh Rugby Union and under the captaincy of John Lloyd Jones.


Standing: Gareth Morgan, Vaughn Jenkins, Alan Morris, Haydn Jenkins, Ken Thomas, Dai Rees, John Jones. Seated : Peris James, Dick Morris, Lawrence Davies, John Lloyd-Jones (capt.),Jim Brown, Alun Williams. On ground: Bryn Davies, Derek Evans.

Besides the success on the field, the hard working committee (Messrs Martin Davies, Leno Conti Tom Brown and Derek Evans) had provided financial stability with the introduction of the Tote.

These factors helped the Club to be re-admitted into the Welsh Rugby Union and to mark the event, DR Gethin and Eric Slaymaker produced the Club’s very own magazine, which was called “The Converter”.

That initial issue covered the 1959-60 season in detail with a report on every match (Played .28, Won 15, Drew 5, Lost 8) and Pen-pictures of all the players. DR Thomas was in his ninth year as President , Tom Brown his fifth as Chairman and T.I. his fourth as Secretary.

One of the early season matches (attended by the President Elect of the WRU – Mr D Hopkin Thomas, and his Vice President, Mr Cliff Jones) was against Llandovery

LAMPETER : Percy Gill ; Ken Thomas, Tom James, DR Gethin, Alfor Jones ; A Williams, Aubrey Morris ; Alan Morris, M Griffiths, B Davies, Lawrence Davies, Haydn Jenkins, J Jones, Jim Brown, John Lloyd Jones (capt.)
LLANDOVERY : I Jones ; D Jones, M Bury, J Morgan, D Rees ; B Jones, A Jackson ; J Davies (capt.) , TG Jones, J Sutton, B Butler, M Davies, K Lewis, I Davies, A Williams.
Referee: Mr Ken Adams (Felinfoel)

Llandovery took the early honours with their backs handling the wet ball well, especially centre M Bury, and their pack winning plenty of possession. Right-wing D Jones came near to scoring on a number of occasions but it was their captain John Davies who scored a well deserved try, which Bernard Jones was unable to convert.

Lampeter came more into the game in the second half and took the lead with a try through Alfor Jones, which was converted by Percy Gill to win the match at 5-3.

The sixties were fairly successful on the field and the Club prospered. To improve facilities, plans went ahead to build the Clubhouse, and with most of the constructing and building work being carried out by voluntary labour, at a cost of £12,000.

The official opening saw a game against Llanelli on 30th. March, 1970, with the opening ceremony being performed by Mr. Handel Rogers.


Standing : Glanville Rees, Alan Morris (v.capt.), John Lloyd Jones, Kevin Doyle, Ken Davies, Haydn Jenkins, Glyn Rees, John Williams, Nick Williams, Ron Thomas. Seated : Elgan Davies, Elwyn Evans (Chairman), Aubrey Morris (Captain), AA Conti (President), Meurig Griffiths,
On Ground : Wyn Davies, Huw Thomas

The Seventies, with the team under the able captaincy of Kevin Doyle for virtually the whole decade, and with John Lloyd Jones giving sterling service as Secretary, was a hectic time for the Club.

The clubhouse was officially opened with a game against Llanelli on March 30th , 1970 with Mr Handel Rogers performing the opening ceremony.

The adventurous, and far-sighted committee pressed ahead with the installation of Floodlights. The official opening saw another game against Llanelli on 23rd.October, 1974 which the Club lost 23-11. The Lampeter team that evening was:

Wyn Davies ; Alan Thomas, James Williams, Elwyn Makepiece, Wyn Evans ; Bryn Gregson, Aubrey Morris ; Haydn Thomas, Daniel Williams, Ken Davies, Haydn Jenkins, Kevin Doyle (capt.) Brian Mason, Ieaun Jones, Wyn Gruffydd.

Another landmark was reached in October, 1977, when the official opening of an extension to the Clubhouse attracted a representative team comprising of 15 internationals.

LAMPETER TOWN RFC : Wyn Davies ; Alan Thomas, James Williams, Keith Pugh, Wyn Evans ; Bryn Gregson , Aubrey Morris ; Kevin Doyle (capt.), Daniel Williams, Charles Thomas (Llanelli), Ieaun Jones, Phil May (Llanelli), Edward Morris, Hefin Jenkins (Llanelli), Ian Rees

A WELSH (BRITISH LIONS) XV : Gareth Evans (Newport) ; JJ Williams (Llanelli), Steve Fenwick (Bridgend), David Burcher (Newport), Elgan Rees (Neath) ; Phil Bennett (Llanelli) (capt.), Brynmor Williams (Cardiff) ; Graham Price, Bobby Windsor, Charlie Faulkner (all Pontypool), Alan Martin (Aberavon), Derek Quinnell (Llanelli), Trevor Evans (Swansea), Jeff Squire (Newport), Terry Cobner (Pontypool).

They were all Welsh internationals and also British Lions. The visitors ran out comfortable winners 64-4 with tries from Elgan Rees (4), David Burcher (2), Phil Bennett (2), Gareth Evans (2), Quinnell, Trevor Evans, Jeff Squire, and Brynmor Williams. Steve Fenwick added two conversions with Brynmor Williams and Phil Bennett one each. Eddie Morris got Lampeter’s only try.

* * * * * * *

The decade came to a close with plans to celebrate the Club’s Centenary, which after investigation should have been held in 1975, but the celebrating didn’t actually take place until the 1979-80 season.


In March, 1970 Lampeter Town RFC was featured in the “Welsh Rugby” magazine and it is interesting to read of the personalities in the Club at that time.

President - Lawrence Davies.
Builder, ex-captain, Town & County stalwart throughout the fifties. Chairman of Building Committee. His supervision and expertise, aided by his brother Ellis was invaluable. Local man.

Vice-President - Leno Conti
Restaurant Proprietor,
Keen committeeman for numerous years, Founder member of the Tote. His premises was the club's H.Q. for many years.

Chairman - Elwyn Evans.
Electrician. Regular attendance at selection and committee meetings. Local man. Ex-captain.

Vice-Chairman - Eric Slaymaker.
Chemistry master. Secretary of Cardiganshire Schoolboys.

Gen. Secretary - John Lloyd Jones.
Printer. Ex-captain and County player. Eighth year of offter after having been match secretary. Also secretary of Cardiganshire RFC. Local man.

Assis. Secretary - T. Ieuan Jones.
Electrician. Ex-secretary and committeeman for many years. Done useful work for the club. Local man.

Financial Secretary - Derek Evans.
Clerk with SWEB at Carmarthen. Ex-captain and County player. Now fulltime administrator of the new Club-house. Excellent service to club. Longest unbroken run on committee. Ex-match secretary, Local man.

Match Secretary - Ron Thomas.
Auctioneer's clerk. This season's vice-captain but dogged by injury so far. Doing a difficult job well. Local man. Recently married. Prop forward.
Age 23 5ft 9in, 13 St

© Clwb Rygbi Llambed / Lampeter Town RFC