Scandalous storm clouds are gathering over the union game but for the committee of the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Grounds a silver lining will soon follow. Allegations of professionalism involving Aberdare and Treorchy see Welsh international Dai 'Tarw' Jones, member of the victorious Welsh team that beat the All Blacks in 1905, become the most high profile casualty. Refusing to give evidence to the WRU he, and several others, are permanently banned from the amateur game. Merthyr Alexandria escape with just a warning because they have already indicated they are about to leave the Union and embrace the Northern Union code. Suspending their players would only encourage them to defect to the Northern Union which is now perceived as a very real threat.
|The Mid Rhondda Athletic Ground 1973 before the Stand was demolished. |
(Picture copyright Keith Jones)
The day arrives. Before kick-off an informal meeting takes place between Northern Union officials and representatives of Welsh, or soon to be Welsh clubs, who have indicated a desire to become involved in the professional game. The Rhondda Leader reports Mr. Platt, the general secretary of the Northern Union, as declaring that provided suitable grounds could be obtained teams would be formed at Penygraig, Treherbert, Maesteg, Pontypridd and very probably Pontypool. There is the distinct possibility that the Welsh Rugby Union is about to face a challenge from the Northern Union in its own back yard. This could prove to be a seminal moment for the game of rugby in Wales. On 20th April an estimated crowd of 12,000 watch the game which Wales win 36 - 18.
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|The 'Mid' is left of centre.|