Menu / Cynnwys
Return to News

Memories Are Made Of This


One of the great joys in being the historian for this great club of ours is that I get a lot of queries about past players which send me back to the filing cabinet in my office to see what I can turn up. The latest was a correspondence with Gareth Braithwaite regarding his father, Maurice, who played 95 games for Ponty between 1959 and 1963. Maurice was a very good lock forward (then called a second row forward), who figured in all three Welsh trials in the 1961-62 season and was selected as a reserve against France.

The cold statistics, however, are always only part of the story, and not necessarily the best part. Chatting to my friend Andrew Layton, another past player, I mentioned Maurice Braithwaite, and he told me that he had been his father’s best man! His dad, Brian, played 131 games for Ponty, many of them in the second row alongside Maurice. When he told me the story, we were in the Bob Penberthy Room with our Sunday gang, being served by Emily Nuthall, whose father Mathew and grandfather Stan Thomas both had long and illustrious careers with Pontypridd. Memories, memories!

Going back a bit and showing how the roots of our club go long and deep, a while ago I was chatting with some other friends, Brian and Elizabeth Wheeler from Efail Isaf, who told me about Liz’s great uncle, Cyril Arthur Tarr. He had played for Ponty in 1931, and a poster drawn by one of the committee at the time showed “a plucky little wing”, who was one of the stars of the side. This was none other than Cyril, known for some reason as ‘Pat’ Tarr and shown in the team photograph for that season as P. Tarr. He figures in many press reports of the time as a try scoring wing threequarter.

Cyril was born in 1912 and attended Llan Park Primary School and later Mill Street Secondary School. He represented Pontypridd Schools on many occasions, including a victory over Cardiff Schools at Ynysangharad Park in January 1927. As a thirteen-year-old he had been selected by the WRU to join the schoolboy’s squad to represent his country against England at Kingsholm, Gloucester, wearing his cap in the photograph on the left below. The other photograph is from the 1931-32 team photograph.

After he left school, and while still a young lad, he had an offer to go north to join Barrow Rugby League Club, with a contract worth £1000 a year, a huge sum in those days, but luckily for Pontypridd, his Mam wouldn’t let him go!

Going even deeper into our history, I have very recently been contacted by Sue Jones, who is researching the backgrounds of 60 boys who died during WW1 and are commemorated on Pontypridd County School for Boys war memorial. One of these was Morgan Griffiths from Gelliwastad Road, who was killed in action in 1917. Morgan was the captain of Pontypridd RFC in the 1909-1910 and 1910-1911 seasons and the club was fairly successful in his second season, winning 24 of its 39 games and drawing another six of them.

Alun Granfield