03 November 2020 / Club News


Saturday November 4th 1899

121 years ago today the first Maesteg Harlequins match was played away to Tondu A.

Just under a month earlier in South Africa, the Second Boer War between the United Kingdom and the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State erupted. Lord Kitchener of World War One poster fame. Redvers Buller and Baden Powell who later founded the Boy Scouts movement. as a result of what he witnessed in South Africa, became household names of the period.

Two weeks earlier, the Battle of Talana Hill was the first major battle which ended as a pyrrhic victory for the British. The ‘victory’ was celebrated locally by the naming of a street in Caerau after the battle - Talana Terrace.

Two days earlier, the legendary siege of Ladysmith began.

The big fixtures on the same day were:

Newport v Llanelli

Penygraig v Neath

Aberafan v Swansea

Moseley v Cardiff

Penarth v Llwynypia

It’s incredible over the next one hundred years Maesteg Harlequins have played three of those elite teams of 120 years past as equals, plus over-taken three in league standing, which includes Llwynypia who have long since disbanded.

The following team to take on Tondu A was printed in the South Wales Daily Post. These were the first men to take to the field as Maesteg Harlequins.

Tondu A v. Maesteg Harlequins — Harlequins: Back. David Williams: three-quarter back-. Griff Morgan. Tom Jones, Tom Hopkin, and Paul Jones; half-backs. Tom Duckfield and Will Hopkin: forwards, James Hobbs (captain). R. Milward, Thomas J. Rees. Will Page, Jack Jones. Tom Morgan. Joe Morgan, and D. Smith

There were a number of fine players in the line-up, including one 1903 Final Welsh Trialist in Will Hopkin at scrum-half.

Those who can be traced will feature in the 125th anniversary book which will be out on November 4th 2024 – four years time.

Although not an immediate success (lost 8-3), what has ensued is a remarkable 121 years of trials, difficulties but with a great deal more fun, laughter, thorough enjoyment and pride – all in the name of Maesteg Harlequins RFC.

Thanks to those men who started it all.

1899-1900                   TONDU v MAESTEG HARLEQUINS.

This League match was played on the ground of the former. The homesters played four substitutes. The game was very fast, and during the first half  E.  Richards scored for the homesters. Rees converted, and Duckfield scored for the visitors. In the second-half Baker scored for the homesters.  

Final Score— G.         T.         M.

Tondu               1          1           8

Harlequins       0          1           3



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