Our History

The Latter Years: 1950-1975
(Written as 'The Latter Years' in July 1975)

It has been mentioned in the article covering the first 25 years of the clubs existence of the tremendous work done by Will Bidder to ensure that rugby would survive and thrive in the village after the First World War. How appropriate it was therefore that two of his sons, namely Aubrey and Marsden, elaborated on the progress made by the club since the Second World War.

Before going any further, mention must be made of the contribution made by the present generation of the "Bidder" family to rugby in general. They had the unique record of having four brothers, namely Aubrey, Ken, Marsden and Colin, operating as Welsh Rugby Union referees at the same time. Aubrey also ran the line at an international at Cardiff. Marsden ran the line at an international in France. He was instrumental in disallowing a French try this day. Is it any wonder he has not set foot in France since!

The first chairman after the war was Will George, who was to become the first Waunarlwydd person to become Mayor of the town. Mr. Will Bidder took over as chairman in 1947 to start what was to become a very eventful ten-year reign. In 1950 he became the Chairman of the Swansea and District Rugby Union and his commitment to rugby was total.

The difficulties of running rugby teams without a clubhouse must have been immense. In season 1946/47 the team changed at the Masons Arms. In season 1947/48 they changed firstly at the Farmers Arms and then at the Welfare HaIl. This then became the permanent changing quarters, and the team became known as the Waunarlwydd Welfare Rugby Football Club. Fixture cards still in being confirm this.

Despite the problems, the team won the Swansea and District Rugby Union league and cup double in season 1950/51. Aubrey Bidder still has the blazer and tie that was presented to each member of the team to mark the achievement. He has graciously consented to present these to the club. Thank you Aubrey!

This season was also significant as the team won all their matches but one (at Llangwm). The Captain, Arwyn Thomas was unable to play this day so the Vice-Captain, Les Jones took charge on the field. Arwyn has never allowed Les to forget this and still maintains he works so hard for the club to make up for this lapse!

An amazing feature of the 1954/55 season was the marathon cup-tie against Penyrheol. This was a Swansea and District Cup-tie that took seven matches to resolve! Arthur Powell, now the chairman of the Bonymaen Rugby Football Club, refereed the first six matches all of which ended as draws! A different referee officiated at the seventh game when Waun lost. Could there have been any significance in this? Another reason put forward for the defeat was that Waunarlwydd had returned from a tour of Manchester on the Tuesday to play this game on the next day. Were the boys still slightly inebriated going on the field? A further suggestion made modestly (by the man himself, David Truelove!) was that it was due to his inability to obtain leave for the disastrous seventh game. He was stationed at Bridgend while in the forces and failed to obtain leave for the crucial game. Ritchie and Emlyn Griffiths went onto the field straight off their coal lorry. No wonder the club trainer at this time, Syd Phillips, could not tell if they were bruised or not!

Stories abound regarding the transport used to go to the away games at this time. For some reason, Waunarlwydd played a great deal down in Pembrokeshire against teams such as Llangwm, Neyland, Narberth and Pembroke. Perhaps they were short of coal down there! However, the bus used was owned and driven by Elwyn Davies, better known as Ben Y Breck. Now buses are often called brakes, but there was another reason for this nickname. Shall we just say that Waunarlwydd were the only side around who did not need a scrummaging machine!

In 1954/55 Les Jones took over as Secretary and he also secured the fixtures of the disbanded Port Talbot Y.M.C.A. This enabled him to complete the fixture list with games far nearer home.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the officials who brought the club through the years after the war, namely the Treasurer, Glan Rees (Glan-y-Farmers), Dan Jones (Dan-y-Pwmp) Secretary and a staunch committeeman Brin (Ponto) Lloyd.

The remainder of this period is outlined in the articles on the fight for W.R.U. Status and the important matches that graced the end of this period in the club's history. However there remains the need to thank all those people who have been connected with the club over the years. Without them this success story could not have been written.

Thank you very much. Diolch yn Fawr.