Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mountain Ash RFC Delighted to Help Wales Rugby League

Wales Rugby League and Mountain Ash RFC are delighted to announce that they will be sponsoring and hosting the “Mountain Ash Festival of Rugby League” over eight days in late August and early September at Duffryn Pennar Park, the home of the Old Firm, Mountain Ash RFC.

The festival will comprise of two main matches over two weekends, additional community games, along with proposed coaching in local schools.

On Saturday August 30, Wales will take on England at under 16 level, kick-off 2:00pm, while just over a week later, on Sunday September 7, Kingstone Press Championship 1 Rugby League comes to the town when the South Wales Scorpions take on Hunslet Hawks, kick-off 3:00pm.

Mountain Ash RFC has produced a number of Rugby League internationals during its long and proud history, including former Wigan star Bert Jenkins who played in Wales’ first ever Rugby League international, a 9-8 win over New Zealand just up the road in Aberdare on New Years’ Day 1908, Charles Sage who played for September 7th visitors Hunslet Hawks in the 1920s, John Thorley who was a Rugby League World Cup winner with Great Britain in the first ever competition in 1954, Dickie Williams, who was another former Hunslet player and who was Great Britain Lions tour captain to Australia in 1954, and current chairman of Wales Rugby League, Brian Juliff.

Juliff, the instigator of the Festival due to the links he has with his former club, is delighted that Rugby League will be played in his home town at last. “I’m delighted that Mountain Ash RFC has agreed to host two important fixtures for us,” he said. “Both Wales v England on Saturday August 30 and South Wales Scorpions v Hunslet Hawks on Sunday September 7 will be exciting events. “It is a very exciting moment for Wales Rugby League as we ‘go back to the future’ by playing an International Rugby League game in the Cynon Valley.

“Wales Under 16 will play England at Mountain Ash and will follow in the footsteps of the earliest of the 13-man game as the first professional rugby international anywhere in the world was played on the Ynys Fields just up the road in Aberdare. That game produced an historic victory for Wales against the first ever professional All Blacks. Nicknamed in the media as the ‘All Golds’, some of those players were part of the almost invincible amateur New Zealand All Blacks that had toured the UK in 1905, and were encouraged to play professionally and to take on the likes of the miners in the valleys of South Wales and the north of England, who were protecting their families by accepting ‘broken time’ payments, for money lost due to playing on Saturdays and missing a shift at the coalface. Wales, of course, won the game in 1905 as well. The 1908 game was played under ’Northern Union Rules’ which of course matured into today’s fast and exciting rugby form known as Rugby League. England are formidable opponents and remain excellent supporters of the game in Wales, so I am anticipating a warm welcome to the young stars of the future from both teams, as they display their rugby skills in what will be a very competitive game on 30 August.

We’re also delighted to welcome Hunslet Hawks to Mountain Ash on 7 September, another big historic date for the Welsh valleys, as it will be 107 years to the very day that Merthyr Tydfil took on Oldham in the first ever professional game of rugby to take place in Wales.”

Martyn Ham, Mountain Ash RFC’s Press Officer, said: “We are delighted to be able to host these two games for the Wales Rugby League. We feel that Duffryn Pennar Park, the home of Old Firm rugby, is an excellent match venue with its 425 seat grandstand and dressing rooms underneath, floodlights, parking facilities and excellent road links. A number of us attended the recent South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars match at Cardiff Arms Park and we were impressed with what we saw. We all very much want to make a success of these two matches here in Mountain Ash and welcome all supporters from near and far to come along, enjoy the day and support this new venture.” Tickets for both events will be available from from next week.

Match Details

Saturday, 30 August 2014, Duffryn Pennar Park, Mountain Ash RFC,
Wales Under 16 v England Under 16 Rugby League International, Kick Off 2:00pm
Admission : Adults £3, Senior Citizens £2, Under 19s £1, Under 16s Free.

Sunday, 7 September 2014, Duffryn Pennar Park, Mountain Ash RFC
South Wales Scorpions v Hunslet Hawks, Kick Off 3:00pm

Admission : Adults £5, Senior Citizens £3, Under 19s £2, Under 16s £1.


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