Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
from Rod Smith
with Darren Lloyd and David Harris helping with names
After returning home in February 1984, the team wrote up their tour as follows:
A party of 31 boys, comprising members of the school 1st XV and 2nd XV, left Aberdare for a short tour to Dublin.
After a windy and unsettling sea-crossing they finally reached their accommodation in Dublin almost two hours later than anticipated. Friday morning was spent visiting the university to see the “Book of Kells” and with a short tour of Dublin castle. In the afternoon the group travelled to their first set of matches with local schools.
At St Lawrence College, a team captained by Anthony Jenkins pulled themselves together after conceding an early try to eventually win 24-4. In this game, Paul Enoch, Ian Hughes and Paul Treasure played a vital role in securing good possession, and with Kevin Price playing with confidence and composure at outside-half, it was not wasted among the backs.
At St Brendan’s College, against marginally stronger opposition the school ran out winners by l6 points to 4. Memorable features of this game were the dominance of the Aberdare back-row trio of Paul Shopland, Nick Davies and Rhodri Thomas, and the elusive running of David Evans at outside-half.
On the Saturday morning the school 1st XV played the famous Blackrock College, a school which has seen many Irish internationals in its colours. Although jaded by this stage, the school put up a spirited display against a stronger and heavier pack of forwards. The scoreline of 16 points to 3 in favour of Blackrock was a fair reflection of their dominance.
Nevertheless, the Aberdare backs, living on scraps of possession and untidy ball, showed a distinct superiority. They were never able to convert this into points despite pressing hard on several occasions. Support, after initial breaks was poor. Ian Hughes had an outstanding game, winning a lot of two-handed lineout ball, but he was badly protected. As a result the opposition poured through the lineouts at will, making life difficult for Jeremy Morgan at scrum-half.
The afternoon was spent watching Wales defeat Ireland at Lansdowne Road, a fitting climax to very successful tour.
At 4 am the party left Dublin to board the ferry on the Sunday morning. Rough seas had again delayed the ferry and so it was with some trepidation that the group finally left Rosslaire. Fortunately the seas were not as heavy as expected and the teams arrived in Aberdare at 5 pm, tired but pleased with two victories from three games.