Aberavon RFC History 1876-1914

Founded in 1876, and originally called Afan Football Club, the name applied to the old Borough of Afan. Since that date it has been called Aberavon, Port Talbot Football Club; Port Talbot and Aberavon Football Club; Aberavon Football Club and finally Aberavon Rugby Football Club.

Before moving to its present site, the Club had played in different places, amongst them being Wharf - or Kent's Field - (1878, adjoining an old Port Talbot Inn called The Tiddlywink.), Byass Field and Daycock's Field.

Dressing Rooms have varied from time to time, according to the position of the ground, and most of them were at local Inns. They included Victoria Packet, Castle Hotel, Oddfellows, Grand Hotel, Hong Kong "Hotel", Eagle Temperance Hotel on the site of Margam Estate Office - and the Public Baths.

Club colours were originally white. They later became scarlet and black hoops, then red and black hoops, in each case with navy blue knickers.

The earliest report of a match played by the Afan side appears in the Western Mail dated 4th November, 1878 ; Afan Football Club v Bridgend, which Afan won by one goal and three tries to nothing.

1882. Afan completed in the South Wales Challenge Cup Competition for the first time.

1886/87. Aberavon joined the Welsh Rugby Union (formed in 1881). So far as is known, the original eleven apart, no other club was admitted to the Union on the 1880's.

1888. The Club was reconstituted at a Public Meeting held in the Old Assembly Rooms, High Street, Aberavon.

The Management Committee has always met weekly on Monday evenings. From 1919 onwards it met at the Victoria Institute, until it finally settled at the Talbot Athletic Ground. Annual General Meetings were held, amongst other places, at the Constitutional Club, the Masonic Hall, and finally, from 1968, at the Aberavon Clubhouse.

1897. The first Aberavon player to win a Welsh International cap was Dan Jones who played against England at Newport.

1899/1900. The price of a Stand Season Ticket was ten shillings and that of a Field Season Ticket five shillings. A Special notice contained in the tickets read: "All persons found betting or swearing on the Club Ground will be prosecuted."

Aberavon teams have always enjoyed touring the West Country, and one of the earliest tours was in the season 1901/2, when Devonport Albion, Redruth and Barnstaple were played.

1904/5. There have been many arguments as to whether or not Aberavon should run a Second Team. A team called Aberavon Reserves was formed, and played throughout the season. It was captained by Will Gregory.

1904/5. Aberavon are Glamorgan League Champions.

1907/8. Aberavon moved to its present location, then called the Central Athletic Ground. Its headquarters were at the Public Baths. The ground was shared with other sporting organisations, and amongst the other sports that took place there were soccer, tennis, hockey, running and quoits. On one occasion a three horse race was staged between "Sandfields Boy", "Margam Boy" and "Stormy Jack", of one mile - four times around the track. The winner is not recorded.

5th October, 1908. Jointly with Neath, Aberavon played the "Wallabies" at Neath, the Club's first match against a National Touring Side. The team was captained by W. R. Thomas, then captain of Aberavon.

The sharing of the Ground caused many difficulties and on 6th September, 1909, the Committee resolved "that an application be made to the Central Athletic Ground Committee asking them for terms as sole tenants for the exclusive rights of Rugby Football for the next season."

It was resolved "that our groundsman be payed the sum of three shillings per match."

February, 1911 (shades of the rota system!!). The committee resolved "that the Secretary speak to the forwards on the advisability of standing down in rotation, so that we may keep ten forwards in good condition." It was further resolved, after a match with Neath, "that the Secretary see the forwards on Saturday next and impress upon them the need of every man scrummaging and that the backs be asked to let the ball go and give it more air than it has previously received."

26th July, 1913. Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot gave exclusive use of the Central Athletic Ground to Aberavon, and the Club was granted a Lease of 39 years at nominal rent.

2nd May, 1914. Aberavon defeated Blaina 10 - 0 in the Welsh Challenge Cup Final at Bridgend.

1914. Upon the outbreak of war a few months later, the committee resolved that no football should be played during hostilities and hoped "that all young men instead of filling up their time playing football during the winter as in the past, will consider the appeal made by Lord Kitchener to fill the ranks and thereby assist to save this country from the hands of the enemy." The Ground was later sectioned off into allotments to help the war effort, occasional matches only being played on the Mansel Cricket Ground. Aberavon continued to play for a short period after the war at the Mansel Ground. - See more at: http://www.aberavonwizards.co.uk/1876-1914.htm#sthash.FhdAc1k0.dpuf

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