28 May 2020 / Club News


One hundred and twenty years of Quins rugby means there are so many memorable matches.

Based on historical fact and in the case of the thirty below, individual opinion. There are many games that didn’t make it onto the list. The first wins over Nantyffyllon, Celtic for decades, victories against Ebbw Vale Athletic, the first win at Llynfi Road, and many, many more.

The rationale includes: opponents / level of competition / significance / challenging circumstances / manner of win.

These are a personal thirty [obviously add others you wish to include].

Games will appear in chronological order.

1899-1900                 07-04-1900

Maesteg Harlequins 17-0 Abergwynfi              Maesteg & District League

Maesteg Harlequins’ inaugural season ended on an extreme high. This Maesteg & District League fixture against an Abergwynfi team who had taken on Maesteg RFC a little earlier, ended in a resounding victory for a Quins team keen to end their very first season with a title.

In an era when a 9-nil win was equal to a fifty pointer, this victory sent shockwaves throughout the league, cementing Quins at the top of the local listings. This was the first record victory and was an advertisement to attract players.

Rugby on the cusp of the last two centuries, was generally two packs mauling or dribbling the ball en masse towards the opposition goal lines. Ingenuity was the key to this win, with the Quins pack eventually coming out on top against physically bigger opponents.

Behind, Tom Duckfield conjured up several tricks and mercurial scrum-half Wil Hopkin who four years later had joined Bridgend and was selected for a final Welsh trial.

Buoyant after such a big win, Quins went on to win their final two games against the Rangers and Garth, to lift the Maesteg & District league title. All in their very first season.

1922-1923                 27-01-1923

Maesteg Reserves 13-11 Llanelli II

Invigorated to enjoy the finer things in life the team later to become the Quins were re-established after the rigours of World War One as Maesteg Reserves.

One week playing Pontrhydyfen the next Llanelli 2nds, were a wonderful addition to the club’s fixture list, as the club aimed to mirror the Maesteg schedule and include strong second strings of leading Welsh teams.

Llanelli’s seconds arrived and were beaten in a titanic contest that left the Reserves celebrating in style.

1957-1958                             19-10-1957

Tir Iarll Quins 6-5 Pontypridd Athletic

Containing a number of Ponty’s first XV, this was the sternest of challenges of the 1950s, possibly from the 1930s through to the beginning of the 1960s.

Other victories over the Gateway to Rhondda club, but this one was extra special, given the number of premier performers who were nullified up front and relentlessly challenged behind. It was a phenomenal win.

1957-1958                             21-03-1958

Tir Iarll Harlequins 3-0 Nantyffyllon                                          Schofield Cup

March 1957-58 and Nantyffyllon had tasted defeat just once in the previous sixth months. An inspired performance from the entire team eventually saw them home. Even with a combative pack and swashbuckling backs it was as unlikely a victory.

1961-1962                 30-09-1961

Tir Iarll Harlequins 32-3 Abertillery II

With a fixture list ever improving to include some of Welsh rugby’s senior clubs second strings, this was a comprehensive festival of running play.

The result was widely acclaimed in the locality and was a sign of the Quins being a quality team with quality players, who could compete up front and had a back-line that was envied by many.

Clubs were beginning to sit up and notice and this became the club’s record win.

1988-1989                 03-09-1988

Maesteg Quins 16-16 Wasps Vandals

In ten fixtures against the English club giants, who were then based in London, this was the best result the Quins achieved against future European club champions.

A smattering of former internationals and future stars were held to a draw. Undramatic perhaps but a proud moment for the club. In a way, a little like the Maesteg -v- Maori draw six years earlier. A giant moment for a club that had just recently achieved WRU status.

1992-1993                             17-10-1992               

Maesteg Quins 26-25 Porthcawl

Half-time the Seaweeds led 6-25. Former Celt Keith ‘Beefy’ Jones chirped up. ‘I don’t know about you lot, but we can do this.’ He kept chirruping throughout the second period convincing his team and to quite a significant degree Porthcawl of an inevitable Quins win.

Porthcawl were not the best in Central Glamorgan One, but they were willing and skilled combatants. Point after point piled up and willed on by an increasingly fervent crowd, Quins overtook their visitors for an improbable win that created the biggest turnaround in the club’s history.

2000-2001                 09-12-2000                                        WRU Cup

Maesteg Quins 3-10 Carmarthen Quins

A loss yes, the newspapers best sum up why this match is included in the provisional top thirty list. The Sunday papers reported:

MAESTEG Harlequins chairman Robert Williams was justifiably proud of his team who took the first division side so close in a blood and thunder Principality Cup tie in the Llynfi Valley.

            “I couldn’t have asked any more of them. Carmarthen certainly knew they had been in a game,” said Williams.

            How right he was. Maesteg were so superior in the set pieces for such long periods, it was often difficult to tell which side was in second place in division one and which played in division six central.

            The five division gulf between the teams was never evident – and Carmarthen breathed a huge sigh of relief when they heard the final whistle and knew they were in round six along with the big guns of Welsh rugby.

            From the outset the home side showed scant respect for the west Wales side, adapting to the heavy conditions quickly and roared on by an enthusiastic crowd.

            With Maesteg leading 3 – 0 at the interval thanks to a Ryan John penalty, the Carmarthen Quins purple patch came just after half-time when a 10-point scoring burst by Giles Thomas, who went over for a try which he converted and landed a penalty, put the visitors on top.

            That was, however, the end of Carmarthen’s positive contribution to the match as Maesteg proceeded to hit them with everything for the last quarter, a tired visiting team trooping from the field knowing they had been on the brink of a major upset.

            Maesteg coach Neville Robets praised the Carmarthen defence, but felt the game was there for the taking. “If we could have turned pressure into points then it would have been a different story, but we can be proud of our performance,” he said.

            Carmarthen chairman Rob Morgan acknowledged the strong home challenge.

            “It was close. The home pack were tremendous and put us under a lot of pressure. The mud was a great leveller but I must praise our defence who held firm in a rousing cup tie which was a treat for the fans.”

2000-2001              10-03-2001

Maesteg Quins 25-5 Abercrâf                                         Div 6 Central

Unbeaten Quins took Abercrâf in the first of two fixtures on their nearest league rivals. Knowing full well a home win would create a gap them so sizeable, even if defeated at Plas y Ddôl occurred, it would prove meaningless. Abercrâf knew this too.

With a very busy Silver Ball schedule to come, Quins would do themselves a great favour. Abercrâf knew this too.

Abercrâf also knew how the Quins would play, but couldn’t stop a most clinical exhibition that again sent a clear message to all challengers.

Luckily the league was wrapped up for the return fixture. The Quins lost their 100% league record where the referee was also the match sponsor!

2000-2001                 23-04-2001

Maesteg Quins 20-17 Vardre                                          Silver Ball Final

A simply magical evening, night, morning and next day. Division 3 Vardre stood before Division 6 Quins. As pourage products provider to the Maesteg team, Brains Brewery wanted to support ‘their boys’ in the Worthington sponsored event, to be told: “Don’t worry, there’s no way the Quins will win.”

Locked at 17-all, with three minutes remaining Ryan John kicked a penalty setting up a pulsating finale. Quins won their first major title, their Holy Grail.

Turning to the revered former leaders of the Quins; Elvet Jones, Cyril John, Alfie Bowen, Malcolm Wilcox and Evan Jones who grinned from ear to ear. Evan summed it up: “Nobody can laugh at us now… nobody.”

2009-2010                 17-04-2010                                                     

Ystalyfera 45-26 Maesteg Quins                                    WRU Div 3 SW

Why such a heavy defeat in this list? A makeshift team in one of the most dire seasons in the club’s history went to Ystalyfera.

The feeling was as unique as it was magnificent. Recognising the plight, wishing to be part of the solution, the Quins faithful urged their team on and on - they responded, to glean a try bonus point.

In a wonderfully spirited display some pride had been restored. Playing above yourself does not have to mean victory. A feel-good factor offered hope, if not for this season, ones to come lifting everybody.

This euphoria flowed into the next match. To everyone’s delight the second win of the season came against Briton Ferry (27-18).

The players who took the field were rightly saluted and the hope they rekindled was a significant and since then… it’s been glorious.

2010-2011                 20-11-2010

Vardre 18-20 Maesteg Quins                                           WRU Div 4 SW

Redemption season. It would be a shoot out for the title between the Vardre and the Quins, who set an early season marker by beating the Magpies in their own nest.

Defence, potent attack and defiance all combined to set up what eventually became an undefeated league season.

2010-2011                             09-04-2011   

Maesteg Quin 31-29 Porth Harlequins             SWALEC Bowl Semi-Final

After letting a sizeable lead slip in the second period of this SWALEC Bowl semi-final at Taffs Well, Quins’ dream match on the Millennium Stadium.

Four second half tries by Porth shocked Quins into a near standstill. Stomach churning minutes remained when Quins dragged themselves from their bootlaces. Deep into injury time they had got within range, Gareth Lewis’ third dropped goal attempt proved the last kick of the game and spun over. Quins were off to Cardiff.

2010-2011                 07-05-2011                                        WRU Div 4 SW

Birchgrove 42-55 Maesteg Quins

Memories of the traumatic seasons that saw the Quins drop from Division Two to Four were gently being erased as Quins were churning out win after win, while nearest title challengers Vardre were slipping up. The title run-in against Vardre drawing to a close.

The gentle run-in came to an abrupt halt, like a slap across a half dozing face, Birchgrove were not in a lofty league position but their challenge was spectacular.

Scoring forty-plus points and losing is a rarity, yet this is what happened. The Robins actually scored a rapid twenty-one points to put a moderate distance between themselves and the champions elect. Scoring fifty-five points was an incredible effort and to make the win even sweeter, Vardre drew at Glyncorrwg and the league title was the Quins’ – the title race was complete.

2010-2011                             02-05-2011

Maesteg Quins 18-28 Senghenydd                               SWALEC Bowl Final

Every year the Quins take a bus to Cardiff. On this Bank Holiday Monday they took a dozen and not to watch the red clad Welsh team. This time the coal black and blood red faithful would be rushing from the pubs of the capital to take their seats to watch Maesteg Quins!!

OK the result was not what anyone would have wanted and the only defeat of the spectacular season. But Maesteg Quins’ men studs [or blades!] to have trod on the most hallowed of sporting turf in a national final, this match simply has to rank as one of the greatest.

2010-2011                             21-05-2011

Maesteg Quins 19-16 Mountain Ash                             Silver Ball Final

Mountain Ash played three leagues above the Quins, who were at the very end of a hectic final weeks schedule. One last push was needed to make a great season incredible. Like giving birth, this was a game full of final, final, final pushes.

Quins had concluded their scoring with a try, conversion, penalty and three dropped goals. The Old Firm were coming back into the game and looking to overtake their opponents in the final heart thumping minutes. The defensive effort was the sporting equivalent of Rourkes Drift and the Quins had a ball!

2011-2012                 28-01-2012                                                    WRU Plate

Maesteg Quins 13-11 Maesteg

Since 1901 the Quins had been trying to put one over the Old Parish. The previous seven fixtures had all gone the way of Maesteg. Quins were the only local club not to have beaten Maesteg.

That changed. Maesteg were at a low ebb and having drawn Division Three Quins commenced the ‘mind-games’, the Llynfi Road club claimed their lower ranked local rivals were the favourites for the fixture.

There was also a great deal of friction with personalities and the clubs being attacked.  After 110 years – Quins prevailed after a menacing, tightly contested match ended in s slender but nonetheless memorable win.

2012-2013                 15-09-2012                                        WRU Div 2 W

Maesteg Quins 31-14 Dunvant

Outplaying Dunvant, Wales’ second city’s second club, defeated for the first time in many seasons so convincingly was extremely pleasing. Especially so because two men were shown red.

Playing some outstanding rugby scores were regularly made. The atmosphere became slightly toxic and the referee certainly showed more consideration towards the Broadacre team.

Even with a two man disadvantage the visitors only scored their second converted try with a minute left. The win showed a great bond among the team that would push them even further upwards and served the club well.

It also illustrated how some pre-determine a club’s [historic] potency and swing towards their needs. Quins also had to overcome this.

2012-2013                 06-04-2013

Maesteg Quins 34-10 Maesteg                                       WRU Div 2 W

There are a number of matches against Maesteg, including the first win at Llynfi Road, but this was even more memorable.

Firstly, the Quins were now challenging the Old Parish as league equals. Then during the match with the hosts in a commanding lead all hell broke loose.

Quite how the referee managed this is not really fathomable, but after a mass brawl in which several Maesteg players ran a considerable distance to join, the referee sent off two players and yellow carded one. All Quins!

The next play was a Maesteg line-out deep in the Quins twenty-five, with a quarter of the game remaining. Two converted tries and Maesteg would be ahead. In such circumstances, it certainly was achieveable.

Quins held out from the initial threat. Remarkably they extended their lead by a further ten points. By season’s end, for the first time in local rugby history, Quins replaced Maesteg as the valley’s leading club.

2013-2014                 05-04-2014

Skewen 10-13 Maesteg Quins                                        WRU Div 2 WC

Classic sport contests need to be hard fought, hard one, balanced on finely tuned moments and possibly a single moment of thought or action or brilliance dividing the teams.

Top were playing second place. A Rizla paper separated the clubs at the table’s summit. Skewen, who had drawn at South Parade and slipped up on two other occasions had to win.

Leading 10-8 and in the final eighth of the match it looked as though Skewen would achieve their goal. A Quins scrum in the home twenty-five and a training ground move saw Owen Richards break through and touchdown.

Skewen had an opportunity to draw the game with a penalty but went for broke. Later Quins’ wheels fell of their wagon and they won just one of their final four fixtures to take the Division Two title by a point. If Skewen had kicked the goal? 

2015-2016                 07-05-2016

Ammanford 30-45 Maesteg Quins                                 WRU Div 1 WC

After all the hard work to get into Division One, the prospect of relegation was very real. Two points were desperately needed from as many games. The penultimate match against Ammanford in second place and the final match against the league’s bottom club Pencoed, who would dearly want to sign off their Division One status with a win. Besides, Quins had lost to the previous bottom club three days earlier, so anything was possible.

This match had everything; great tries, superb individual performances from both teams, a comeback and final twist.

Relegation avoided, Quins climbed up to ninth.

2016-2017                 26-04-2017                                        WRU Div 1 WC

Maesteg Quins 45-7 Bonymaen                                                                        

This mid-week match to end the season left the Quins in runner-up spot. However, those who witnessed the match were left breathless and glowing in admiration at a real top drawer performance against top drawer competitors.

Bonymaen, the feared and revered Swansea suburbanites were well beaten, with a performance which simply a devastating display, possibly the best ever. A view held by many who had been involved with the club for half a century.

The players too felt a pleasure in the manner of victory. Many photographs of the after-match celebrations show the utter exhilaration.

2017-2018                 05-05-2018                                        WRU Div 1 WC

Maesteg Quins 47-28 Bridgend Athletic         

It was a hectic conclusion to the season with four games needing to be played in seven days.

Bridgend Athletic received what they had dished out to the Quins so many times in previous years, except they too exhibited their usual flair and produced great rugby of their own, to create the incredible atmosphere that fired thrilling rugby. A comprehensive performance that mirrored the win over Bonymaen a year previously.

To add to this match’s memorable magic, this was the game where the Division One West-Central title was sealed. The highest accolade achieved by the club.

While the work of Division One success had been founded by the unbeaten run from September into May, to top the title off with such a performance in scorching weather, proved a carnival experience.

2017-2018                 25-05-2018                Championship Play-off 2nd Leg

Felinfoel 5-25 Maesteg Quins

With just a single point advantage after the home leg, it was predicted to a piano wire tight contest in which Felinfoel would make better use of their home patch. What’s more, this was the ninth game in twenty-one days.

A huge crowd had assembled. A fairground feeling swept around the King Edward playing Fields.

Play was tentative then, star out-half Roberts’ drop-out went askew, Nathan Smith reacted superbly to touchdown.

With their hosts reeling, Owen Richards hurled himself at the try-line with the same thoughts of self-conservation in-line with the kamikaze.

The pack were at their nullifying best and with Nathan Edwards commanding the midfield, the Quins remarkable made the Championship.

2018-2019                             29-09-2018

Newbridge 17-29 Maesteg Quins                                   WRU Championship

Beating a historically superior opponent from the Merit Table days is something of a heritage kick. In another semi-pro -v- amateur contest, this was a commanding win. Against a huge pack, the Quins showed you can’t purchase calon. For the many platinum and golden oldies who made up the Quins ‘Saga Louts’ this simply spectacular… until the following season.

2018-2019                 17-04-2019                                        WRU Championship

British Steel 15-30 Maesteg Quins

Semi-professional versus amateur. Cheque receivers versus subs payers. It really was a desperate time after losing to bottom club Newcastle Emlyn, Quins were right in the middle of a relegation fight, with three of four trap-door spots still untaken.

The midweek following the Emlyn loss would have put everyone on tenterhooks. The supporters were but what the players served up was a fantastic show of inner strength, self-belief and quality.

2018-2019                             May 2019

Maesteg Quins 28-22 Narberth                                      WRU Championship

A little earlier at the Lloyd Lewis, Quins came close to beating Pembrokeshire’s finest. A lucrative semi-professional outfit, the Otters came to South Parade seeking to maintain their status as perennial runners-up to even bigger spending Pooler.

Leading by a single point entering the final minutes, the game could have swung either way, until Rhydian Jenkins hit the high notes with a second try to grab a brilliant bonus point, in a performance even sunnier than the weather.

2019-2020                             19-10-2019

Neath 13-31 Maesteg Quins                                            WRU Championship

Yeah right. That really happened!

One team, former multiple Welsh champions most embarrassing match must be the other’s possibly greatest.

2019-2020                 04-01-2020                                        WRU Championship

Glamorgan Wand 16-18 Maesteg Quins

Twelve forwards were fielded in a team bereft of available backs. There was eighty minutes of rugby to play against former Merit Table Wanderers, who had rained on Quins’ South Parade in the first game of the season.

With problems before getting on the bus, by the time they got back on it, one of the unlikeliest of victories was under their belt. A performance full of character and shoulders to the wheel made for a fabulous against-all-odds feel-good-factor.

2019-2020                 20-04-2020

Maesteg Quins 17-15 Trebanos                                     WRU Championship

After the marvellous mid-week win over TATA, Quins needed four points from two games to avoid the four team relegation drop zone and maintain Championship rugby for another season.

Quins hadn’t beaten Trebanos in six previous attempts going back five years. Trebanos also needed to win one of their final two games and dropping a goal right on time only injury time stood between Quins and another week of trepidation.

Regaining possession and awarded a penalty which was the last kick of the game, Tadgh McGuckin kept his cool in extreme heat to goal the penalty. Magical.

There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.

Upload and Tag Photos

You must be signed in to add comments