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Historic 400 Pontypridd appearances for Chris Dicomidis

On Saturday 27th January 2024 stalwart second-row Chris Dicomidis etched his name even deeper into the record books at Sardis Road when he made his 400th appearance for Pontypridd RFC.

Chris made his first appearance for the Club on 26th August 2004, in a preseason friendly against Rhydyfelin, and then made his first proper outing on 30th December 2004, when he came on as a replacement in the back row against Caerphilly. To date he has now started in 348 games, come on as replacement in 52, and scored 51 tries (257 points).

In 2013 Chris was signed up by Cardiff Blues, so his appearances for Pontypridd were greatly reduced for three seasons, although Ponty still had the benefit of his talent in a few games.

Chris was capped for Wales at U19 and U21 levels and has also played three times for the Cyprus international side.

The tributes on Chris’ feat have poured in from players, coaches and Club officials past and present. Here’s what people have had to say –

Ponty CEO Steve Reardon: “Four hundred appearances over a period of nineteen years have elevated Chris to an exclusive group of players, whose talent, skill and longevity have played pivotal roles in some of the most memorable and successful periods of the Club’s history. We congratulate him on his achievement and thank him for the service that he has dedicated to Pontypridd Rugby Football Club.”

Former Pontypridd Head Coach, and the man who gave Chris his debut for the Club back in 2004 Simon King: “Chris Dicomidis – a great man. I had the pleasure and privilege to teach and coach him. A hardworking, humble player who made the most of his ability with his enthusiastic committed approach you would always want him in your team. Surrounded by his very supportive family he has gone on to have a fantastic career.

It was an honour for me to bring him to Pontypridd and to see how well he has done makes it very special indeed. If you play once for Ponty you join a special brotherhood and to do it 400 times is a true indication of what a special member he is, an outstanding achievement.

I’m very proud of what he has achieved and no doubt he will continue to be a great servant of Pontypridd RFC and Welsh rugby. Many congratulations.”

Current Ponty captain Kristian Parker: “It is a huge achievement for Dico and his family, to play 400 games for such an historic club is a massive accolade in itself but when you look back at the success that he has had in that time too, it shows what an impact Dico has had on the club.

Dico has been great with me and the younger boys within the squad, whether that is passing on advice on or off the field. I’m sure it won’t be long until mini-Dico is following in his father’s footsteps and adding to the appearances in the Dicomidis household.

With the way the game continues to grow and players getting bigger and faster, I can’t imagine many more people achieving this feat.

Congratulations Dico on a massive achievement.”

Former Ponty captain, ex-teammate and friend Dafydd Lockyer: “It’s an absolutely outstanding achievement for Dico to get to 400 games. It’s unbelievable for a player to get to that number of games and I don’t think that will ever be beaten these days.

I was lucky to play under Dico and as a captain he was a great leader and I’ve always had massive respect for him. But more than a captain, a player, and more than rugby we became great friends and made some amazing memories both on and off the pitch. I was lucky to play so many games alongside Dico and he was massive part of our golden era in the Premiership where we dominated for so many years.

He will go down alongside Chief, Gaggsy, Johnsey and Stella as an all-time Ponty great. Dico will always be up there with the best players that I have ever played with but also one of my great friends from our time at Pontypridd. Congratulations Dico boy well deserved, I hope you and the family enjoy the day.”

Former teammate, coach and the last member to be inducted into the ‘400 Club’ at Pontypridd RFC Dale McIntosh: “It gives me great pleasure to be asked to acknowledge Dico’s achievement of 400 games for Ponty. Loyalty is a word seldom used nowadays in rugby, but this guy reeks of it. Dico’s rugby attributes are propelled due to his kind, competitive but selfless nature installed by his lovely mum and dad. You didn’t have to ask twice with Dico, if it was for the cause he stepped up.

Personally I’ve had nothing but pleasure playing alongside him and coaching him and I’m very proud to have been a part of his great journey be it in a small capacity. I however wanted to backhand him when he continued to play well when playing against Merthyr and winning on numerous occasions.  Haha NO if I was to lose I was always prepared to do so against Dico and Pontypridd. I’d love to wish Dico and his family all the very best in the future and I cherish our time and memories together. God bless, my bro.”

Former teammate, current colleague on the Club’s coaching team and friend Dan Godfrey: “It has been an absolute pleasure playing with Chris for the majority of my senior career. He epitomises what Pontypridd and Welsh rugby is about.

Over the years, I have had the privilege witnessing his journey on the rugby field, from the early days of his career with Pontypridd to the present moment. He only reminded me just the other day of his first game for the club nearly 20 years ago against Caerphilly which I was playing in. His unwavering determination, resilience, and exceptional skills have not only made him a standout player but also a leader to his teammates and fans alike.

Reaching the 400-game mark is a testament to his enduring love for the game and his ability to consistently perform at the highest level. It takes more than just talent to achieve such a feat, it requires discipline, sacrifice and an unrelenting work ethic. His perseverance through injuries, tough matches, and countless hours of training has not gone unnoticed, and it is truly commendable.

Beyond the numbers, his impact on the rugby community goes far beyond the statistics. Dico’s leadership both on and off the field has undoubtedly shaped the culture of the teams he has been a part of. His sportsmanship, camaraderie and respect for the game has left an indelible mark on everyone who has had the privilege of sharing the field with him – Chris is a modern-day legend!”

…and finally the main man himself, Chris Dicomidis: “It feels like a long time coming, from the start of the season I have been on a countdown. I’m glad I’ve now achieved it as I won’t get asked constantly “How many games to go”?!

At the moment it feels just like any other game but when I do retire, which is not too far away, it is something I can look back on with great pride. Obviously Ponty has played a huge part in my life, playing for the club for literally half my life. There have been some ups and downs along the way but on the whole, I’ve loved my time in the jersey.

I’ve been fortunate enough over the 400 games to play with some great boys, some who’ve gone on to play for Wales, regional teams and other clubs across the world. I’ve also been lucky enough to be coached by some great, not just coaches, but people. They’ve had a big influence not only on my career but also the on the man I am today. I’ve also got to mention the backroom staff who probably don’t get the praise they deserve – the medical teams who have kept me going for so long, patching me up and helping me overcome any injuries I’ve had, the kitmen who have always catered to my needs (kit sizes) and committee members who have always tried to do what is right not just for me but also for Pontypridd RFC.

My family have been by my side throughout this journey, and I can probably count on one hand the number of games they have missed since my debut in 2004. They’ve had to put up with my moods after a loss and the moaning when I can hardly walk after a game. I will always be so grateful for the sacrifices they’ve had to make along the way in order for me to reach this milestone, and my reason for playing has always been to make them proud.

Finally the fans, the Ponty faithful. You’ve welcomed not only me but also my family with open arms. From winning cups and leagues to tough losses and in all competitions your support has been unwavering over the years – by far the best supporters in Wales. There is nothing better than hearing the ‘Ole, Ole’ chant ringing out.

I know I’m not your typical second row in the way I play and not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always tried to play with a smile on my face and give the fans a bit of enjoyment along the way. My message to the boys before we run on to the pitch is always ‘No Regrets’ and I have none with the way my rugby career has panned out. I’ve not done bad for an overweight centre from Bridgend!”

On making his 400th appearance for Pontypridd RFC Chris Dicomidis becomes just the 7th member of an elite group of men who have hit this particular milestone in the Club’s near-150 year history. Chris joins Bob Penberthy, Dale McIntosh, Graham Gittins, Jock Watkins, Tommy David and Arfon Jones in the Pontypridd RFC 400 club.

Huge Congratulations Chris and on behalf of everyone at the Club, thanks for everything.