Those were the days.

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Me playing top league ( known then as ‘ first class ‘ ) rugby.
That’s me with the ball.
20 yrs old – back in 1987.
15,000 spectators.
That’s nearly all the people in Pontypool !

It was on the telly.
Looking at the program, there were 15/16 of the players on the field who had played, or were still playing for Wales, and four of them were British Lions – Graham Price and Staff Jones on my side, and Rees and Jonathan Davies on the Neath side.

I was Outside centre. My centre partner was Roger Bidgood, who played for Wales too.

It was Vs Neath, at the time the most victorious team in Britain. Their coach, Ron Waldron, was elected as Welsh coach, and selected half the Neath team for Wales. It didn’t translate to the international scene, and Wales got stuffed a few times.
Waldron was sacked, by Wales.

The picture was the in the Pontypool Neath tie, in the last 8 of Schweppes Welsh Cup.

I was 14 stone 10pounds.
All muscle and aggression.

That little b****** , Jonathan Davies was at full back for Neath.
It was 9-9 with 2 mins to go, Pontypool threatening a massive upset.
Pugh, their flanker ( Wales international, as were most of their team ) scored a try.
15-9 in the end.

We’d kicked ahead and it bounced in front of Davies ( Wales no 10 and British Lion, later Wigan and Great Britain rugby league )
I was going at full speed.
As I dived thru the air straight at him ( more at him than at the ball ) the clever little monkey caught the ball and dodged me.
All I got was grass and mud in my face, an experience that I’ve remembered with perverted pleasure ever since.

I got injured that season ( hamstring ) and due to chronic and soul destroying recurrence never played anywhere near my potential again. I walked with a limp for about 7 years.
Now of course that injury seems very minor, and unimportant.

See my mullet?

Looked good with my jeans and denim jacket, with collar turned up.
Plus white string vest.
Don’t have any pics!
Think of a muscle’y Shaking Stevens

365 days/ year.

( not joking )

#welshtwat

We had a co-op and a grocers.
No clothes shops.

But a TopMan shop in Cwmbran,
4 miles away.

4 thoughts on “Those were the days.

  1. I know there was a Chelsea Girl and a Burtons in Cwmbran… And David Evans if you were posh and wanted to buy a suit. 😀

  2. That’s like LIverpool vs Man Utd in football. F**k me you must have been good Mr Dawkins. Let’s draw a veil over mullet.

    1. I met Jonathan in a bar, prob 20 years later.
      I, modestly as I could, mentioned our previous on the field encounter.

      To my surprise, he remembered the match in detail, and also remembered me.

      We had a laugh. He’s still a great guy.
      He was fine when I left the bar, after he had, yet saw him on the BBC as a pundit, with a massive black eye.

      It was a few days before I heard the story of what had happpened to him.

      Shortly after that, I read that he’s been divorced by his wife.
      I know the full story.
      And it definitely was not that he’d incurred the injury playing touch rugby the previous afternoon!

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