Sue’s a star worker with Whitland Ladies’ rugby!

Whitland RFC Ladies

Suzanne Davies has been involved on the administration side of Whitland RFC since 1974 and is their current Hon Secretary – and now she has taken on the same role for the Pembrokeshire and District Rugby Union.

Sue, as she is known to everyone in local rugby, took over her new sec’s role at the recent AGM, which was inevitably held on ‘Zoom’ because of the current pandemic lockdown, is following in the footsteps of Charles Davies (Haverfordwest RFC), who had decided to step down after 36 years of yeoman service.

“Charles has been brilliant,” she told us, “And a great ambassador for local rugby – and I’m aware of the fact that I am only the third Hon Secretary in the district’s history because before him Mr E.G. Morgan (Llangwm RFC) held the post for four decades so I have two big pairs of shoes to follow!”

Covid causing a lack of rugby action

Sue had already got a taste of what the job entailed because she joined the management committee a year prior to her appointment and says that there is a minimum of work at the moment because of the lack of rugby being played in our county.

“We would normally meet every month on the second Wednesday but at the moment it is very much a matter of maintaining a watching brief to see when we can finally get back into something like action – and that is why we have delayed the draw for our Knock Out Cup competition, which is the biggest event of our year now that the local league has become defunct because of the National Leagues.

Suzanne DaviesVery happy with the Pembrokeshire set-up

“So we will see what happens as we are lucky to have Gordon Eynon as our District H representative on the Welsh Rugby Union and he will keep us informed – as he regularly does at our meetings, with the next one pushed back a little to December.

“I’m delighted to be joining a strong management team that includes another female representative with the outstanding Delyth Summons (Haverfordwest) as Hon Treasurer, plus Steve Holmes (Milford Haven) as chairman and Brian ‘Beaky’ Davies (Crymych) as president.

“My job will be to organise the meetings, sending out of minutes and dealing with any correspondence that comes in and goes out to our clubs – and I know that Charles, and Gordon, are always in the wings if I need any advice!”

Started out as a young bank clerk

Sue began her involvement at Whitland RFC when she began her working life at the NatWest Bank in the town and it was a bit of a tradition that the youngest employee had the additional task of helping the club with its finances – and she did this until Paul Kirk took over the reins and is still an excellent treasurer.

But she has remained on the committee and when Rob Benjamin stepped down as secretary about two years ago she was roped in to take over the reins.
“It’s a similar job there,” Sue said, “and I work closely with Paul Kirk and Jason Bowen, who is the club chairman at the moment and does a cracking job alongside the rest of the committee, that includes great characters like Tony Bowen – and the job has been easier to get started because ‘Benji’ left things in such an organised state!

A great innovator for women’s rugby with The Borderettes

It is also worth recording the fact that as well as helping with the management of men’s rugby in the club, no one could have done more to get women’s rugby off the ground than Sue.

Sue has always been a rugby follower since her late husband played for Cardigan but it was only when her daughter Sarah began playing the game that she became heavily involved – and readily agreed to be involved at Whitland when they started up a ladies’ team there. 

Since then she has taken on a range of duties which included attending the training nights, making sure that players are aware of everything that is going on, looking after injured players and their well-being afterwards, sorting out kit and anything else that springs to mind.

Started out catering for under 18s but now catering for all ages. . .

“We started up rugby for girls initially at under 18 level when a touring side came into the area and was seeking a fixture – and since Dan Mason was already coaching girls interested in the game at Ysgol Dyffryn Taf she talked about it with Dai John, one of the great characters from the club, and he not only got permission from the full committee but presented the newly-formed section with its new first aid kit!”

As well as success at that and senior levels the club has also gone from strength to strength since Sue organised a  Summer Hub for all age groups which is now catering for the needs of girls from under 7 to youth, as well as the senior team, called the Whitland Tigers.

Sara and Suzanne Davies

. . . And developing a great hub!

“We had a great response from the community and have been lucky to have some terrific work done by volunteers, all overseen by Dafydd Cox, who has taken charge of this important area as Dai Ebsworth has now started to coach the senior team.

“It is now possible, outside of the problems caused by the pandemic, to look ahead to the time when we will play tournaments at every age group with other hubs like Tenby, Haverfordwest, Carmarthen, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth; each one hosting its own competition and creating competition at a friendly level.”

Sue would say that there are a smashing bunch of girls playing there, with the emphasis on having fun as well as trying to win matches. They started out at under 13 and under 15 levels and have since gone on to become a hugely respected club in Welsh Ladies’ rugby.

Not content with that little lot, Sue was also team manager of the Scarlets’ under 18 squad and then the full ladies’ squad for a while until the role was taken over by the WRU 

Daughter Sara loves her rugby too and enjoyed her job in admin with The WRU before becoming team manager with The Dragons and now The Scarlets!

Her daughter Sara played so well in the front row for Whitland, UWIC that she represented Wales on a couple of occasions – and both Sue and her late husband Jim loved to go along to watch but dad was too vociferous so he was banned from cheering the team on a Sunday and confined to barracks.
“But he always did a lovely roast dinner and did a bit of cleaning,” says Sue with a chuckle!

When she left university Sara was invited to work at reception for The WRU at their Vale headquarters and was then asked to take over the administration for the Welsh under 16s and 18s. From there her rugby journey took her to becoming personal assistant to Joe Lyden, who was helping coach Wales in those days.

After six years at The Vale, Sara was head hunted by the Dragons to become their team administrator and this role was soon upgraded to team manager and she really enjoyed this role until former Welsh centre Mark Taylor left the same job at Parc y Scarlets and she not only applied for this demanding role but got it! 

And finally . . .

Going back over her 15 years as team manager of The Borderettes and all the rest of girls’ rugby in the town since its inception there is no doubt that Sue has played a key role in its development

Up until the time of the pandemic Sue always found time to support the Borderers at home matches and when they were on the road she cheered on the second string or the youth. 

“But there are still plenty of jobs to be done at Whitland RFC and I keep myself busy there – and it gives me chance to get accustomed to my new role with The Pembrokeshire Rugby Football League at this quiet time for our game.”