Our History

Founded 1894-5

The History of Llanhilleth RFC has been until latter years chronicled more in the mind than in print. However the Historians have done a sound job relating the tales of the clubs deeds both on and off the field of play.

Like many of the early rugby teams formed with the industrial developments of the Monmouthshire Valleys, Llanhilleth earned a name for its powerful forward play, a reputation that remains to this day. Rugby was known to have been played in the Village in the 1890's, and is believed to have been founded in 1894. The 1st XV was formed by members of the Male Voice Choir, and played under the name of The Grasshoppers. Before the First World War another team was also in the village and played under the name of The Black and Whites.

Between the wars Llanhilleth went under the name of The All Blacks, and this era was the period when the club really stamped itself on Monmouthshire Rugby winning the Monmouthshire Junior League in 1930/31 and 1931/32 and runners up in 1932/33. The Cyrus Davies Cup was won in 1931/32. In the 1933-34 season the club won the Blaina & District Hospital Cup, the Aberbeeg District Hospital Cup, the Cyrus Davies Cup and the Monmouthshire League.

The club disbanded for the duration of the Second World War and was reformed at its end under its present name Llanhilleth Rugby Football Club. on 4th April 1946. The princely sum of £9 - 5s - 4p had been held over during the duration of the War by the All Blacks and this was used to restart the club. A badge was designed to suit the club and its surroundings. Saint Illtyds church was displayed (Llanhilleth --- Church of St Illtyd) and a dark blue & light blue (the club colours) sash went from corner to corner, and a set of rugby posts with rugby ball were shown , This was enclosed with the words Llanhilleth Rugby Club, with the Red Dragon above, The motto "Goreu-Arf- Ymosod" was below with the literal welsh meaning "At Best, Attack" The badge was designed by secretary Bill Preston, Mrs Preston his wife and 9 year old daughter Jean, in the living room of their home at Hyde Place.

The post war years saw the club win the Cyrus Davies Cup in 1946, when they beat Tredegar at Tredegar on 12th May 1946, and also reach the final of the Ben Francis Cup for the first time in 1949-50, only to lose 6 points to nil against Blaina at Abertillery Park. In 1951-52 the club won the Ben Francis Cup for the first time, The TEAM being ;- backs, Stan Norris, Depper Lewis, John Morgan, Norman Morgan, Roger Jones, Graham Jeffries & Pedro Williams. the forwards were:- Doug Jones (capt) Emlyn Hopkins, Ray Williams, Cyril Catling, Lou Carey, Jack Coleman, Jack Watkins & Ray Plaister, they defeated Blackwood at Newbridge, 3 points to nil. The only score of the match came from a try by scrum half Pedro Williams. To the fore in this game were full back Stan Norris and hooker Emlyn Hopkins. A 16 year old youth named Norman Morgan played in this game. He eventually progressed to Newport RFC where he set a long standing points record. Norman Morgan went on to achieve full honours for WALES & duly won 3 Welsh caps. He also appeared for The Barbarians and Crawshay Welsh invitation teams.

In 1957-58 the club once again won the Ben Francis Cup by defeating Blaenavon at Pontypool Park 9 points to 6. Prominant that day were outside half Ivor Pritchard and centre Jack Beard who both kicked dropped goals, the other 3 points were by full back Len Hagland who kicked a penalty.The team that day was, Backs}- Len Hagland, Roy Jones, Jack Beard, Colin Evans, Alan Preece, Ivor Pritchard, and Martin Davies. The forwards}- Brian Jones, Tony Verrier, Derek Watts, Jack Carey (captain) Ray Wiltshire, Trevor Holbrook, Jack Watkins and Reg Attwell.

In 1989 after a long wait the club got to the Ben Francis Cup Final again, only to lose narrowly to Blaina RFC, at Pontypool.

The club became runners up in the Monmouthshire League in 1911-12 & 1955-56; it also came runner-up in 1985-86 in the newly formed Mon Union League. In 1993-4 the new National Leagues were formed & the club became Champions of Division 8 East. In the following year 1994-5 (Centenary Year) they became Champions of Division 7 East. Ritchie Tillings was coach at this time and moulded what was a very fine team.

The season of 2013/14 was very eventful. A fine team had evolved under the care and guidance of coaches Jonathan Way and Mark Rossiter and Captain and No 8 forward Danny Brimble, they won the WRU Div 5 Championship by winning 18 games from 20, beating many good teams along the way. As a result the club were promoted to Div 3a on WRU reorganization. Players of note were Alex Davies 18 tries, Prop Darran Crimmins at 46 years of age, full back Luke Yates and the "General" at outside half Kyle Sterry who kicked 200 points, but all these would say that ALL in the squad played their part in gaining the league title.

Like many other clubs of long-standing, the club have thrown up some fine servants, and older members of the club will savour the memory of brothers Dick and "Gagg" Jones; Lou and Cliff Morgan; Jack "Flagon" Challenger and Rowley Belcher who were two immense forwards who went on to distinguish themselves in Pontypool colours. They did not come any harder than prop Doug Jones, who was vice-captain of Abertillery RFC at 19 years of age, (Abertillery were then one of the elite top 16 clubs) and was also a member of the post war Ebbw Vale RFC invincible team & later became a long serving Chairman of the Club. Arthur Protheroe, another good forward, could boast of 23 years as a player playing his last game at the age of 43; he also served the club as Secretary and Treasurer. Albert Attwell, Lynn Davies and Glyn Jones all played in Full Welsh Trials, but Norman Morgan is the only known full senior international.

Local players who gained International honours are Derek "Docker" Watts who gained a Schoolboy cap, as did his nephew David Went who won caps at Senior Schoolboy level plus Wales Student level and is the current club Secretary. Shane Jones, Micah Hassell, Gary Jones and Wayne Hagley also gained Schoolboy caps. Craig Attwell has also played for Wales at various levels in school boy and under 20. Rhys Bowen has a Youth Cap and Sean Conner has gained Youth, "Under 21" and Wales "A" caps and is currentlyemployed by the WRU in various coaching capacities having formally played for the Ospreys. Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport

Gil Morgan was a fine player for Llan before the 2nd world war, but he made his name as a professional rugby league player firstly with Stretham & Mitchum in London and then with Dewsbury, while there he played for WALES against England. at the Odsal Stadium Bradford in 1938. Idris Thomas also signed for Halifax R/L in 1938 but his league career was cut short due to the outbreak of the war.

Monmouthshire Union caps have been awarded to the following players, who became eligible having played 10 games or more for the Countywide team: - Michael Williams, Denis Rogers, Martin Butler, Alan Higgins, Steve Penn, Gary Davies, Michael Attwell, Michael James and Bob Challenger.

Other players of note who have had fine careers as well as those afore-mentioned, are Tom Wall the last known Captain of Llanhilleth All Blacks, Jack Watkins, Ike Mounter, Jack Carey, Arthur Crozier, Joe Phelps, Roy Johnson, Ivor Pritchard, Stan Norris, Tony Verrier, Tony Wilkins, Roy Jones, Brian (Oogsie) Jones, Mike and John Sweet, Len Hagland, Max Whitlock, Viv Davies, Trevor Holbrook, (former Chairman) Terry Williams, Glyn Perry (former Chairman,), Graham Attwell (former Chairman), Brian Hayes, Steve Rogers (former Secretary and Treasurer), Charlie Burgwin, Alan Parker, Terry Minchin, Mervin Crees, Eric Newman, Roy Rogers, Roger Lewis, Mel Yates (current Fixture Secretary), Norman Thomas, Phil Woodland, John O'Connell, Roger Addison, Charlie Spracklin (who also coached the side for a couple of years), John Whitlock, Phil Connett, Gareth Collier, Mark Thomas, Steve Hooper, Gerald Weaver, David (Dabbo) Jones, Lyndon Whitlock, and Mike "Spike" Rees.

Two fine players, and gentlemen, who deserve a special mention, are Brian Collier and Colin James. Both died prematurely, and are still sadly missed at the club too this day. Both gave their all to the cause of the club & if still with us would still be in the thick of things and leading from the front. Colins' brother, Alan also played on the wing for a number of seasons and has just retired from the post of Treasurer having served for nearly 20 years. Three other forwards of the more recent era are Geoff Musto, Gary Watts and Paul Meek. They were all in the Llanhilleth mould and now can be seen regularly in and around the club.

There have been many fine administrators at the club, who gave their time unstintingly for little or no reward, their satisfaction being gained by seeing the game of Rugby Football flourish in the community of Llanhilleth. One such man was Billy Preston, who was responsible for the club gaining WRU status in the late 1940's, a privilege the club holds dear to this day. It should be noted that prior to the start of the National Leagues, the Monmouthshire League Trophy was indeed the Billy Preston Cup which was presented by his family to the Mon Union.

Alf Thatcher, Doug Jones, Jack Davies, Bill Thayer, Harry Beeson, Merlin Needs, George Smithy, Ivor Trimm, Cyril Catlin, Edgar Pople, Gerald Mason, Harry Hewins, Graham Attwell, Glyn Perry, John Thomas, Brian Edwards, Steve Lloyd , Denis Rogers and Steve Rogers have all served the club well. But two men of special note are Phil Maggs and Idris Davies, both of these men bled Blue and Blue (the club colours) for Llanhilleth and did so much work that its hard to believe that two people could do so much. Committee meetings were not the same when they retired. Another person of special note who served the club selflessly was trainer/medic Mike Musto, who come hail or shine Doctored more players than a number of local hospitals and always (well nearly) got the boys fit and back on the field of play.

The Attwell family has down the years played a prominent part at the club. At the turn of the Century. Frederick "Box Hat" played, Albert a classy full back, worthy it was said at the time of a Welsh cap, also graced the Park. Evan "Ianto" Attwell played, as did his brother Billy at scrum half. His son Reg maintained the tradition and so did his grandson of the same name. Evans' son Fred was a successful half- back and his son Maurice kept the chain going, Freds' other son Graham took over his position and played for approximately 20 seasons and also served as club Chairman. Grahams' son Michael "Mocker" then played and on his retirement holds the club appearance record having played in excess of 400 games. Craig Attwell, Michael's son in currently captain of Newport in the Principality Premiership.

The club offers its apologies for those names not mentioned but in time they to will find their names in a more comprehensive account of the clubs history.

Llanhilleth's playing colours today are Dark Blue and Light Blue, why you may ask? When the club was reformed after the war, clothes were rationed and could only be purchased if the required number of clothing coupons were available. The clubs need for a set of jerseys were met by the people of the village, a door-to-door collection realised enough coupons for a set of jerseys to be purchased. On 24th Aug 1946 entrusted with these priceless coupons, those eminent servants Billy Preston and Arthur Protheroe set off for Cardiff only to find on their arrival at the Welsh Sports shop that the only set in the entire store being of Blue and Blue. These jerseys had in fact been ordered by the mighty Cardiff RFC club, but had never been collected; Mr Preston and Mr Protheroe chose wisely, hence the club colours today the total price of the kit was £40 - 14s - 1p plus the clothing coupons..

Tours, the club has travelled far and wide on tours The USA & Europe have been visited on many occasions, (See Tour Section)

Llan have also welcomed a number of foreign players to the club in the mid 90's Zak Agah and Adam Gallagher arrived from Sydney Australia and made their presence felt. both on the field and at the clubhouse. In 2010 two lads arrived from Tennessee USA. they will always be remembered. Kurt (Peacock) Faulkner and James (Fabio) Delaney, both good players who gave their all in all aspects, playing drinking and partying. All 4 arrived as strangers but left as good and well though of friends who will always be welcome at Llanhilleth.


On the 19th December 1975, the club obtained the Walpole Hotel on Commercial Road, and opened its Clubhouse. From small beginnings a fine and thriving premises evolved which was the envy of many other rugby teams. Special mention should be given to a number of people who gave their time voluntarily to make the clubhouse what it was. Mrs Mavis Davies, Mrs Carol Higgins, Mrs Lorraine Went, Mrs Milliam Gresham and Mrs Violet Musto over the years with other good ladies, gave endless hours of their time on the Ladies Committee. Bill Adams (Finance Secretary) was a driving force on the social side of the club spending endless hours carrying out the administration work that is necessary to run such a demanding venture, predecessors of him were Gerald Mason, Steve Rogers, Tony Morgan and especially Phil Maggs who worked very hard to keep the club afloat in leaner times. Another servant Mr Ken Musto was always at hand to give help and assistance whenever needed, as were many volunteers too numerous to mention. The club then entered a new era, which unfortunately, was the recession which hit trade badly as had happened with many other licensed premises. Aidn Morgan was the Financial secretary at this time and he strove manfully to keep the club afloat in very difficult financial times.

Early in 2012 the club were just about holding its own when it heard that the new Workmans Club at Llanhilleth park was available so the committee with the members permission pursued the the idea of moving from the old premises at Commercial Rd to new premises at the park, Chairman Geoff Musto handed over the reins to Lyndon Whitlock and finance sec Aidn Morgan handed over to Lee Torrance, these and Secretary David Went ably assisted by Councillor Mike Bartlett then secured the premises from the local council. On 1st November 2012 the keys were obtained and the club opened for business on Wed 12th December, 36 years and 51 weeks after the opening of the old clubhouse. Although the premises were fairly new having been built approx 9 years previously a lot of work had to be under taken to get every thing up and running, Club Treasurer Gareth Collier took this task upon himself and led from the front spending many hours with numerous volunteers putting the club in good running order, although early days yet the club will now hope to go from strength to strength both on the social side and on the rugby field and all members hope and believe that the new premises will be a success and a well used attribute in the village.

Annual Dinners & Gentlemens Evenings.

At various Annual Dinners famous players and former International players have attended as guests the most recent being former Wales, British Lions and Barbarian flanker Tommy David, as well as Wales Captain David Watkins, World great & British Lion Gerald Davies, Wales prop Iestyn Thomas, Former Wales Captain Kingsley Jones and Wales Flanker Andrew Gibbs who also coached the club. 
Friday night "gentlemens" evenings, have proved to be very popular when famous former International players has been invited to the club as a guest speakers following a sit down 4 course dinner, The 1st occasion 2 former Wales and British lions players, STEVE FENWICK & ARTHUR LEWIS attended. On the next occasion Wales & Lions Captain and legend PHIL BENNETT attended, then Rugby great MERVYN DAVIES, then former Wales & Lions scrum half BRYNMOR WILLIAMS, Former Wales hooker GARIN JENKINS was our latest speaker, all nights were sell outs, and great successes enjoyed by all, more are planned for the future. Well done to all who worked hard to make the evenings very enjoyable occasions.

Denis. Rogers.
Llanhilleth Rugby Club