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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Archive Photographs Series, The - Images of Sport: Neath RFC 1945-1996
Mike Price
ISBN: 9780752431062 (0752431064)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Ebrill 2004
Cyhoeddwr: Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 235 x 165 mm, 128 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Allan o Stoc - Archebir yn l y galw Ein Pris: £12.99 
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Casgliad diddorol iawn o dros 200 o ffotograffau du-a-gwyn, cartŵnau a memorabilia yn portreadu hanes Clwb Rygbi Castell-nedd, 1945-1996, yn cynnwys gwybodaeth am ddatblygiad y clwb a phroffesiynoliaeth, ynghyd â manylion am gêmau cofiadwy a chwaraewyr chwedlonol.

A very interesting collection of over 200 black-and-white photographs, cartoons and memorabilia portraying the history of Neath Rugby Football Club, 1945-1996, comprising information about the club's development and professionalism, with details of memorable games and legendary players.
This compilation covers 50 years in the history of a very proud club which maintains a high degree of local loyalty. Neath is the oldest senior club in Wales and was the first to celebrate its centenary in 1972-72 – before the WRU, as you are reminded. Other notable ‘firsts’ are winning the inaugural Welsh Cup in 1971-72, the Welsh League in its amateur form and under professionalism in 1995-96.

The immediate post World War 2 era saw crowds of 12,000 and many fixtures against local clubs. Also the emergence of stars such as Lewis Jones and Viv Evans. Then in the 50s came the era of Rees Stephens and Roy John, a legendary pair in the Welsh second row and in 1950 as Neath’s first Lions to New Zealand. They also played together the last time Wales beat New Zealand 13-8 in 1953. Later that same decade Courtney Meredith, a formidable prop forward, went on the 1955 Lions tour to South Africa.

The 1960s saw the emergence of Brian Thomas as an intimidating second row who gained 21 caps, returning in the 1980s as a seminal influence with his then new ‘team management’ concept. He led them to win the championship in 1966-67. Alongside him also emerged Dai ‘Shadow’ Morris, a blind side flanker who formed the best back row Wales ever had, in the 1970s of Morris, Mervyn Davies and John Taylor. Of interest, with regard to current financial costs, the 1972 Welsh Cup Final when Neath beat Llanelli, realised an income of £6,000 from 12,000 spectators.

Through the 1970s Neath struggled, but in the 1980s and to the book’s end, with Brian Thomas and Ron Waldron at the helm, they dominated Welsh club rugby with players such as Jonathan Davies, Kevin Phillips, Alan Bateman, Paul Thorburn and Gareth Llewellyn and were rewarded with games against New Zealand and Australia.

Neath’s story is told in ten chapters in a compilation format. Mike Price has researched local papers and used cuttings and press reports alongside team photographs and match programmes to tell his story. In other chapters more detail is given on individuals. Whilst heavy on fact, it is therefore short on interpretation and detail where at times elaboration is needed. It is a publication above all for the proud aficionados of Neath Rugby Club.

Geoff Edwards

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
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