Monmouthshire County 15 Llandow Select XV 22

TRAGEDY struck South Wales on Sunday, 12 March, 1950 when an aeroplane, an Avro 689 Tudor V, Star Girl, bringing Welsh rugby supporters back from the Ireland v Wales Five Nations game crashed at Sigingstone, near Llandow, writes Ray Ruddick.

Of the 83 people on board (78 passengers and 5 crew) 80 perished and only three survived; it was the worst disaster in aviation history up to that date.

Three rugby clubs lost members that fateful day – Abercarn, Llanharan and Risca.

Seventy years on, these three clubs joined forces to take on Monmouthshire County in the Llandow Air Disaster Memorial Game at a cold and wet Welfare Ground, Newbridge on Friday evening. All proceeds from the game, a total of £1,052.50, went to the South East Wales Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby. Before the match, the sizeable crowd was entertained by the Cross Keys Silver Band.

After the teams had taken the field the band played Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau before primary school teacher Jade Smith from Abercarn gave a moving and emotive rendition of The Last Post, which was then followed by a minute’s silence.

The county kicked off attacking the school end of the ground. The early exchanges were fairly even until the 19th minute when the county opened the scoring. They were on the attack and kicked through the Select defence. Right wing Cian Jones (Newbridge) won the race to the touchdown, 10 metres in from the right corner. The conversion failed (Mon 5 Select 0).

The Select side replied immediately with an unconverted try to the right of the posts by right wing Ryan Dallimore (Risca) (Mon 5 Select 5).

Just before the interval the county re-took the lead when flanker Rhys Dawe (Abergavenny) scored a try in the right corner following pressure on the Select defence. The conversion went wide.

In a very tight and competitive first half the score at the break was Monmouthshire County 10 Llandow Select XV 5.

In the ninth minute of the second period the Select XV drew level when, after the ball had travelled through several pairs of hands, left wing Kane Davies (Abercarn) scored an unconverted try to the left of the posts (10-10).

On the hour mark, the County were on the attack inside their opponents’ 22 and number eight Jon Owen Davies (Ynysddu) crossed for a try to the right of the posts. The conversion failed (Mon 15 Select 10).

In the 67th minute Kane Davies fielded a relieving kick near Mon’s 10-metre line and sprinted 40 metres to score a try to the left of the posts. Replacement Jamie Baker (Abercarn) added the extras, the only conversion of the match, to put his side into the lead (Mon 15 Select 17).

Then, with eight minutes remaining, centre Jack Davies (Abercarn) ripped the ball from a maul near the half way line and galloped 50 metres to score the game’s final try in the right corner.

Final score – Monmouthshire County 15 Llandow Select XV 22.

It was an entertaining encounter played in the right spirit and thanks must go to all the players who participated along with the match officials.

This special memorial match was organised by Antony Day who did a great job, so congratulations and many thanks to him.

Thanks also to Newbridge RFC for staging the game, to Dean James of Synter BMW for the match jerseys, to Events Room for the framed jerseys and to all who helped in any way to make this poignant occasion a success.

Monmouthshire County: Casey Roomus (Cwmbran), Cian Jones (Newbridge), Ieuan Evans (St Julian’s), Matt Doddridge (Rogerstone), Alex Farmer (Garndiffaith), Ben Murphy (Newbridge), Tom Edwards (Blaina), Gareth Young (Newbridge), Carl Hone (Llanhilleth), Morgan Davies (Ebbw Vale), Adam Lane (Brynmawr, captain), Dan Horler (Abergavenny), Rhys Dawe (Abergavenny), Phil Norville (Bettws) and Jon Owen Davies (Ynysddu). Also played: Callum Rowland (Bettws), Tyne Reardon (Abertillery/Blaenau Gwent), Chris Doddridge (Rogerstone), Sam Burt-Ryan (St Julian’s), Joel Gilbert (Newbridge), Jonny Coleman (Cwmbran), Charles Coia (Cwmbran), Anthony Isgrove (Newbridge), Ieuan Richards (Newbridge), Stephen Osborne (New Tredegar), Brian Feeney (Abercarn) and Lee Sweet (Trinant).

Monmouthshire scorers: Tries by Cian Jones, Rhys Dawe and Jon Owen Davies.

Llandow Select XV: Ben Pesci (Risca), Ryan Dallimore (Risca), Scott Llewellyn (Abercarn), Jack Davies (Abercarn), Kane Davies (Abercarn), Owen Biddiscombe (Risca), Rhys Morgan (Abercarn), Aaron Davies (Abercarn, captain), Louis Tovey (Risca), Brandan Nelson (Llanharan), Ieuan Higgs (Croesyceiliog), Geraint Roberts (Risca), Louis Stansbury (Llanharan), Owen Howe (Llanharan) and Callun Coughlin (Risca). Also played: Ieuan Davies (Risca), Sam Grant (Llanharan), Jake Porter (Abercarn), Matthew Britten (Abercarn), Chris Osborne (Llanharan), Paul Winters (Llanharan), Adam Price (Abercarn), Jamie Baker (Abercarn) and Greg Baker (Abercarn).

Llandow Select XV scorers: Tries by Kane Davies (2), Ryan Dallimore and Jack Davies. Conversion by Jamie Baker.

Referee: Mr Elgan Williams (Cardiff)