Maesteg Harlequins (Tir Iarll) rugby football club is a friendly, hospitable club, which promotes Rugby Union on a strictly amateur basis.
A warm welcome awaits anyone who wishes to play or support rugby union and enjoy the South Parade and Maesteg Harlequins club experience. Training is on Mondays and Thursdays at South Parade starting at 6:30pm. Wele ti - See you soon.
Celebrations of the 2012-2013 season were concluded as the annual awards were distributed to the worthy recipients at the clubhouse on Saturday 11th.
The curtain has closed on the 2012-2013 season. Congratulations to Builth Wells and Crymych on their respective achievements of title winners and promotion.
Much has happened in the last eight months.
The season started with a great honour. If there was any doubt of the regard in which Maesteg Harlequins RFC is held in Welsh rugby, it was confirmed when no less than seven players represented Glamorgan County RFC in a single match. In the 114 years of Quins rugby, the selection of one player to represent Glamorgan was a source of great pride. For half the Glamorgan team to consist of Maesteg Harlequins players, a feat never achieved by any other club, it is beyond everybody’s wildest dreams.
When the league programme started, the Quins seemed to be taking their return to Division Two like ducks to water. Their 100% consecutive league record stood at forty-two matches and remained in tact for the first four games and then, after an incredible forty-six consecutive league wins… well it had to happen sometime!
A far worse loss than that defeat against Felinfoel was the injury that brought an end not just to the playing days, but also the coaching role of Robbie Morris. And September hadn’t even ended!
Injuries, some long-term casualties, were a regular feature of the campaign. Another feature was the stop-start nature season. Blank Saturdays, international breaks and the weather all combined to make the most disjointed and inconsistent season people can remember, well ever.
A great win one week, accompanied by the momentum and feel-good-factor that goes with it, would be brought to an abrupt halt. The casing point being the great win at Broadacre in early January, was the only fixture for seven weeks! Meanwhile our near neighbours and friends Maesteg waited two and a half months for a home game! While nobody can do anything about the weather, currently the game is a mess and needs some serious, logical thinking.
Another factor was the bum deal the Quins were getting from some match officials. While referees cannot be continuously blamed for negative results, some undoubtedly were wayward in their decision making that went beyond just having a bad day. They put in some positively partial performances. Perversely, some of the worst performances came in the Quins’ biggest victories. Referees cannot allow personal views of rugby tradition to severely bias their thinking.
In the twenty or so games that were played this season, there were some superb singular efforts. Everyone played their part for the vast majority of the season. While the ‘more established’ players, if you can be more established in a team whose average age is touching 24, within the side gave their all at every occasion, it was the zest which youth brings that often caught the eye. Jay Ronan, Keiron Watkins, Nathan Smith, Rhys Roberts, Ryan George and Kyle Blackmore all proved invaluable additions to the team. With this season under their belt, things should improve even more next season. Even in his fleeting performances for the first XV, Liam Thomas showed plenty of guts and determination.
Yet the Quins truly are a team, a young team at that and there were some great collective efforts. Dunvant home and away. Taibach away. Seven Sisters home and of course the two matches against near neighbours Maesteg.
If the first at Llynfi Road wasn’t dramatic enough, with an almighty defensive effort allowing the Quins to take the honours against the Old Parish; then the match at South Parade had to be seen to be believed. Thirteen Quins men put a difference of twenty-four points between themselves and their more illustrious neighbours.
Despite both clubs sitting in first, second and third places for a large portion of the season, in the latter stages relegation was more of a threat to the two clubs than the glory of a title or promotion push. Although that situation was highly unlikely, for the two Llynfi valley clubs in the second division (west), it became a battle for pride, a two team league within a league with one holding the 135 year tradition of being the premier club in the upper Llynfi valley, while the other sought to bring this status quo to an end.
At the season’s end, the double over the Old Parish, was a big factor in ending Maesteg’s century and a third status of being the best club in the upper Llynfi valley. Some achievement indeed, as the Quins ended 2012-13 three points and two positions above Maesteg to end 135 years of tradition and it was something the black and ambers were desperate to avoid.
Some people, a very limited number outside the club, have decried the fifth place finish achieved by the Quins. The highest position they have ever reached in their 114 year history. Many ask “What happened on Saturday?” when news filters through of defeat after two invincible league years. Quite simply, this league is tough. The Quins are a young side and one victory in Division Two is as hard fought and more valuable than a hatful of wins in Divisions Three or Four.
Has 2012-13 been successful? You bet. It isn’t always about winning week in week out, it’s testing yourself to the nth degree of your ability. That’s what happened this season. It is also very reminiscent of two things.
Firstly the Quins’ first excursion into Division Six when they just escaped relegation with a hard fought, late season win over fellow strugglers Aberafan Green Stars. A season later the Quins won the league title with three games to go, adding the Silver Ball and President’s Cup for the first time to the trophy cabinet. Secondly, Carwyn James’ stint at Rovigo. Fans of the Rosso et Azzurri were disenchanted with the legendary former Lions and Llanelli coach failed to deliver the Italian championship at the first attempt. However, when the title was delivered to the Stadio Mario Battaglini in the following season with three games left to play, the Welsh wizard’s god-like status was restored.
This is not to say that positive things will automatically arrive at the Quins door in 2013-2014. A lot of hard work has to take place for that to happen, especially in a league where every team will capitalise on every single mistake you make, but with an extra season’s experience and a young side – anything can happen.
For the awards a whole host of people were thanked for their unstinting efforts during the season, as the club reached its highest position in its history.
The first award was Clubman of the Year. For the second season in succession it was presented to Dr. Richard Lewis for the expert care he provides the players. Everyone, including the opposition, is extremely grateful and appreciative of his presence.
Most Promising Player of the Year was a difficult decision to make as there were so many contenders. There were a whole host of young players who have made an impact including Nathan Smith, Keiron Watkins, Ryan George, Nick Flay, Craig Ronan and Liam Thomas. But the award went to Jay Ronan who has consistently performed well and been rewarded with selection for the Opsreys Under 20s this season.
The 2nd XV Player of the Year again had a number of candidates, namely Robert Jones, Craig Ronan, Rhodri Davies and Liam Thomas. Long serving three-quarter Leon had something to crow as he came out top of the pecking order.
There were few contenders for the Player’s Player of the Year and it was presented to the ever-committed Sean Cleary.
Finally, the Player of the Year was awarded to a player who has operated with equal effectiveness in all sections of the pack. As the season was drawing to a close, his ball carrying capabilities were becoming increasingly devastating and Taibach in particular cringed at the sight of him on the charge. For his consistently reliable performances Rhodri Roberts received the Player of the Year award.
Nevertheless the 2012-2013 season has now passed. If any player, of any standard wishes to play rugby and enjoy the South Parade experience, playing a good standard of rugby on a strictly amateur basis, Maesteg Harlequins awaits you from 2013-2014.
However, despite the achievements and celebrations, a shadow was cast over the Quins on the last Saturday of the season. It still hangs over the club and was discussed by the club officials and doctor at the start of proceedings. The Quins were rocked at the news of a severe illness striking down our long-standing, much respected and well-loved trainer Andrew John. A true friend and true gentleman of the club, indeed the sport, lies ill.
It is fair to say, given the sheer volume of good wishes and questions of concern from the worlds of rugby, rallying and revelry, a large swathe of people across south Wales and beyond, are anxious about his condition.
It should be known that despite suffering from a severe illness for quite some time, Andrew still turned up to treat the Quins players and despite the pain, he did so without a single word of complaint.
When Andrew’s condition became too adverse even for him to endure, his first concern in his own hour of desperate need was to alert the club of his unavailability to fulfil his ‘duties’. This is as upsetting, as it is unbelievable, as it is remarkable - but that’s Andrew.
If you who wear the coal black and blood red of the Quins, if you at times find the going tough, if you want an example of determination, toughness, courage and committment while staring adversity full in the face - just turn your heads and look; look at the quiet man with the medicine bag standing pitch-side. Remember - despite the problems he faced and pain he endured he was still there, standing alongside you. Remember what he has gone through and he will be your inspiration on how to come out fighting.
Quins men will know of Andrew’s quiet determination to treat them, regardless of his own personal suffering. Because of this, they will walk taller and the jersey has become all the more precious, because of his example of unbending commitment to the people who wear it.
Along with Andrew’s family, everyone at Maesteg Harlequins has, is and will continue to urge him on every step, stride and his eventual sprint back to health. We eagerly but patiently wait to warmly welcome the ‘Quiet Man’ back to the fold when he recovers and returns to us. Get well soon Andrew.
Brysiwch wella hen nghyfeill. Rydym yn edrych ymlaen at eich croesawu yn ôl yn fuan.
|1||Builth Wells RFC||20||16||0||4||441||260||181||59||27||8||2||74|
|4||Seven Sisters RFC||20||11||1||8||469||361||108||63||42||8||3||57|
|5||Maesteg Harlequins RFC||20||10||0||10||441||381||60||58||38||5||5||50|