Our History

Club history

Most younger members of Rhigos Rugby Football Club will be surprised to learn that the first organised sports team in the village played not Rugby or Soccer. It was a Cricket Team formed in 1930. The Club played one season and enjoyed themselves so much that they decided the spirit of camaraderie should not be allowed to fade in the long winter months.
The Cricket members decided to play a winter sport and to this end they called a meeting at the New Inn to decide whether that sport be soccer or rugby. It is a question that has caused considerable torment for many South Wales sportsmen, and these men of Rhigos were no different. So appealing were the arguments of fans of both codes that at the end of the day, the meeting was split right down the middle; half in favour of each. The casting vote of Evans the Police was needed and with it Rhigos R.F.C. was born.

It was an unusual birth for such a healthy baby, for Rhigos were to gather in strength until in the season of 1937-38, they succeeded in beating Rhydyfelin 3-0 (a penalty goal by G . Hoffland) to win the Pontypridd and District Cup. By a strange coincidence exactly forty years later, the re-formed Rhigos R.F.C. defeated Rhydyfelin 20 points to 19 in the semi-final of the Pontypridd and District Cup. Unfortunately, they failed to emulate their predecessors, for they lost in the final by 12 points to 4 against Llantrisant. In those early days. success was undoubtedly due to intelligent and energetic management and Rhigos was fortunate in having on its Committee men like Ginger Gordon. Llew Williams Pentyp, Henry Walters, Mock and Dai Rees Brickyard, Evan John Williams. William John Lewis, Howell Davey and Jonah Roberts. With no clubhouse. they had their base at the Plough Inn, the Williams family, the licensees of which. have always proved valuable friends of the Club.
The long room upstairs. a large fire roaring at each end, was Gymnasium and Dressing Rooms. Money was raised by pontoons, raffles, even Christmas carolling and “socials” at the school. To supplement their efforts they had an annual grant of £15 from Glynneath Miners’ Welfare.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to their financial management was that they had their own Club Insurance scheme, paying a benefit of 30 shillings a week for loss of earnings to players injured in matches. An excellent policy for the young family man of the Thirties. when work and money were as scarce as English tries at the Arms Park in the Seventies
Just like the current Rhigos R.F.C. they were faced with the problem of finding a suitable pitch. At first they played on Gwrangon Fields now situated somewhere underneath that great mound of earth behind the clubhouse. This field proved to be too wet, so they moved over to play on the Cefn on top of Mount Road hill. This ground was the scene of one of Rhigos’ early victories over the old firm of Mountain Ash, already a well established side. After the match the Old Firm’s Captain assured the Rhigos team that his side, had lost not because Rhigos were a better side but because the long march from the Plough to the pitch had exhausted his side.

His speech did highlight the disadvantage of playing on the Cefn. The side moved posts once again, this time to Newth’s Field opposite the present clubhouse. Visiting sides were grateful for by now it was not the long walk to the ground that worried them but the long weary trek back to the Plough after failing to beat the boys from the bullrushes.
For by now few sides could defeat Rhigos on their own pitch. A fine team had been established under the captaincy of Reg Douglas and trained by the great Dai Edwards, Welsh International from Glynneath, who had returned from playing Rugby League with Rochdale Hornets. They went from strength to strength. In the pack they had big hard men like Henry Walters, Eddie Jenkins, Evan Morgan, Will Rees, Dai Meurig, Hoppy Hopkins, Wally Hoffland and Jos Lewis while their threequarters like Evan Thomas Williams, Glyn Bach Rees, Elwyn Jones Georgie Parfitt and Willy Hergeast proved to be swift attackers. Rhigos were also fortunate in having two extremely gifted centre-threequarters in George Hoffland and Rhys Morgan, both prolific point-scorers with the boot and fine elusive ball-carriers.

Like most Rugby teams they shared a fine communal sense of humour. One funny story remembered by the old players was of the time when Rhigos were away to Blaenllechan (Blaen Rhondda). The Rhigos boys were amazed that their opponents were falling about after the gentlest tap, like Continental soccer players. Each time. on ran the trainer with the magic sponge and a bottle of what looked like dark red raspberry cordial. One quick ‘swig’ and the injured player bounced to his feet and carried on as good as new. After the game, the Rhigos boys were curious to know what was in the bottle. Imagine their surprise, when the Blaenllechan trainer revealed that it was mature elderberry wine. No wonder they were up and down like ninepins.

To this team, the present Rhigos side owe a massive debt. Though the outbreak of war forced the team to disband, their spirit has lived on. Thank you, the Old Originals of the Club, and no less thanks to you, Evans the Police, for that judicious casting vote.