2024 KO Cup Final Snippets by Bill Carne

Panoramic View 

Parc Lloyd Thomas looked a picture and what a view down the slope to the Preselis
With the final being played on a Saturday for the first time since 2012 it was great to see such a big crowd there. Parc Lloyd Thomas looked a picture and had clearly had work done on it for this important game. With the sun shining all afternoon and Foel Drygan standing majestically beyond the far end as one of the Preseli peaks, there can be few grounds in West Wales which have a better backdrop to a match!
Well done The Preseli Men . . .
Congratulations to Crymych RFC on the way they hosted the KO Cup Final as efficiently as they always do in Pembrokeshire competitions! Club officials like secretary Gordon Eynon (who did a great job as WRU district rep for a decade), Wyn Jones (Treasurer), Huw Scourfield (chairman) and others were in evidence and there were stewards aplenty. Another feature that really ensured a smooth-running of the event was the way that they used the seconds’ pitch as car park meant there was eager access for spectators.
And Crymych ladies too!
Tea, coffee, hot dogs, burgers and cakes were on sale at very reasonable prices to keep spectators well looked after – and there was a warm welcome as ever in the clubhouse afterwards, with a nice buffet for players, officials and invited guests.
Delyth, Brian, JJ and Sue

County Officers – will done!
Well done to the officials of the Pembrokeshire & District Rugby Union for making sure that this season saw The KO Cup returning to something like its glory days with almost all rounds completed and some cracking contests. They sometimes receive flak unfairly, like the daft reorganisation next season of Divisions Three (West) A & B next season (and this web site will have more to say about that matter next week!). Brian ‘Beaky’ Davies is president and played his rugby for Crymych, Pembrokeshire and Wales Junior Union – and he  was joined by Jonathan ‘JJ’ Jones, who was a regular with Fishguard & Goodwick and as chairman led the post-match presentations.
They were joined by Sue Davies, the Hon Secretary, whose name is synonymous with Whitland, especially with regard to ladies’ and girls’ rugby, plus Delyth Summons, the Hon Treasurer, as she still is at Haverfordwest, as well as being the district representative on the WRU and already making her presence felt there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want something run smoothly then utilise the experience of ‘Old Warhorses’ like ‘Beaky’ and ‘JJ alongside thinking ladies like Sue and Delyth!
Seasiders skipper Luke Dedman and Huw Hughes (Sponsor)

Thanks owed to sponsor Huw
The competition was again sponsored by HNO Jones & Associates of Cardiff, who deal with sports hospitality and holidays, and Huw is rightly proud of his early rugby career at the old Milford Grammar School – and he presented the KO Cup to Tenby United skipper Luke Dedman and deserves credit for his support for sport in his own county!

Seasiders celebrate in large numbers
Memorable moment for Seasiders’ skipper
It was a memorable moment for Luke because he has been Tenby United’s skipper for six seasons and has rarely missed a match in that time, no mean feat for a very committed second row. When we asked him if he was likely to lead them again next season his answer was to the point.
“We’ll have to wait and see about that!” was his response.

Referee Tom Carew with Ceri Harris and Martyn Rudd

Match officials did well
Congratulations to the match officials on their big day as they worked well as a team and referee Tom Carew showed why he is held in such high esteem, despite being only in his mod-20s, with his quiet, but firm refereeing that helped make sure there was little fuss by two disciplined teams. He had Martin Rudd and Ceri Griffiths as two very capable assistants in an excellent mini-team and he can look back on the fact that he follows some top officials like Clive Norling and Derek Bevan to have been the man in charge. A word also for David ‘Paddy’ Byrne, who volunteered to be fourth official and made sure that the match officials had all they needed, especially water on such a hot day!
Gritty Aberaeron - including good climbers near the Preselis

Nice people to be with
It was a great moment for Aberaeron RFC because it was their first appearance in a KO Cup Final and a real family occasion because there were loads of wives and children, mums and dads cheering them on. Both clubs had brought plenty of partisan supporters with them to make it a great afternoon out, rather than a hurried evening. I was standing next to Aberaeron’s talented young hooker Rhys ‘Bwtch’ Jones’ parents, and mum Nia in particular was a very vociferous supporter! His dad, ‘known to all as ‘Mel Bach’ clearly knows his rugby and also nearby was Audrey Evans, the smashing wife of club stalwart Parry.

Aber ‘old stagers’ in attendance
Parry Evans and another old stager in Nick Jones joined the club committee almost 30 years ago and they were accompanied by the ‘Grand Old Man’ of the club in Glyndwr Evans, whose unbroken 50 years at the club meant this was a big day for the trio – and although they must have been disappointed they were quick to sing the praises of their team and coaches they certainly made the best of their special day out – and at least they didn’t have to drive the players’ minibus home, which had to be done in days of yesteryear!

Tenby coaches with their hearty-healthy breakfast

Big eaters amongst Tenby coaching staff
For Tenby, the back-room staff, led by head coach Jonathan Evans,  enjoyed a post-match breakfast at the nearby Heywood Mount Hotel before boarding the bus for Crymych, “To be honest,” coach Evans told us, “I was so nervous that I wanted the time to pass so I decided to invite the coaching and other staff who give of their time, to show my appreciation.” So it was that he was joined by first team coach Andy Barlow,  forwards’ coach Ossie Boswell and the rest for a hearty fry-up – sorry we mean a healthy protein-packed meal! Joining Jonanthan were team manager Criag Hamilton, assistant coach Aled Waters,  Lewys Boswell (first aid), Rob Gordon (trainer), and the ‘big three’ of Mark Boswell (senior) and Mr Barlow.

Seasiders staff and children

Other helpers acknowledged
Our other post-match pic shows the Tenby staff, including everyone else involved like ‘old timer’ Russell Millns and photographer Tom Darcy, plus fitness ladies Lowri Cross and Jess Griffiths, plus the children with their proud parents.

Des Brace - delighted Tenby United president
Great day for Des, Harry and Will
Others who played a big part in celebrating the celebration for The Seasiders were president Des Brace, with our photograph showing him in his slightly younger days as a scorer with Cresselly CC, plus chairman Harry Bolton and Hon Sec Will Crockford, who both took part in the team photograph but were far too shy and retiring to stand for a press portrait!
Kevin Phillips

Kevin there as a quiet watcher
Included in the excellent programme printed by Clive James was a feature on Kevin Phillips, who played his early senior rugby for Cardigan but much later became a very influential coach with Crymych at youth level. As usual he was in attendance at Parc Lloyd Thomas, chatting to old timers who knew him when he was captain of Neath RFC at a time when they were regarded unofficially as the best team in the UK (and perhaps even in Europe – but no league tables or European Cups then!).  He also played 20 times for Wales as hooker, including twice as captain, and he is still so modest about his amazing achievements that I hope some of the youngsters will read the article and realise what you can do if you work hard and always give 100%, which Kevin always did!

Man of the Match -  Max Brindley with Brian Davies

Max pics up ‘Man of the Match’ award
Brian Davies presented the ‘Man of the Match’ award to Tenby United winger Max Brindley, who scored a solo try at a vital time and caught the eye with his strong surges up the left wing, as well as putting in a shift whenever he was called to defend. This follower of team sports is never sure of having such an award because the very term ‘team’ implies that no one person can achieve success without the graft of others but Max certainly caught the eye, and close behind him for me was one of The Seasiders most unsung heroes in tight head prop Rob Luly – what a shift he put in, as usual – and for Aberaeron skipper Morgan Llewellyn certainly stood out in attack and defence – and it was a joy to see the commitment of their loose head prop Ceri Davies in terms of tackling and ball-winning as another worthwhile candidate amongst a long list of others!