A History of Treherbert Rugby Football Club
Treherbert RFC was founded in 1874 with the advent of the first deep coal mine sank in the Rhondda at Treherbert in 1854 called the Bute Merthyr Colliery. The team played mainly other colliery sides and games took place on the flat piece of ground lying between the Bute Colliery area and the river (the site of the former council yard and Treherbert Park later known as Red Rose Ground). The team flourished and in 1879 played Cardiff on their ground which was the foundation of a fine relationships between the two clubs. By 1884 Treherbert had established regular fixtures with Cardiff and many other clubs.
In 1902 the Club was honoured with a Welsh Seniors Trial Match played on their New Athletic Ground, which later became the site of the Great Western Railway Depot and now the site of the Everest factory. It was here that the immortal Dr. Teddy Morgan (London Welsh) gained his first cap. Another new cap selected that day was our Dai ‘Tarw’ Jones the first Treherbert player to be capped. Dai went on to gain thirteen caps for Wales playing in the famous 1905 game against the All Blacks.
In 1908 Treherbert decided to join the Northern Union along with Aberdare, Merthyr, Barry and Mid-Rhondda. H.Q. was the Dunraven Hotel, Treherbert. In December of that year a crowd of 4000 watched Treherbert lose 6-3 to the Australian Rugby League tourists. The first Treherbert player to be capped at league was David Galloway, Dai ‘Tarw’ Jones who had transferred to Merthyr became the first Rugby Union International to play and be capped at Rugby League. He scored one of the Welsh tries at Aberdare in January 1908 when Wales beat the New Zealand ‘Kiwis’ 9-8. The end of the 1909/10 season saw the last game of Rugby League played at Treherbert, reverting back to Rugby Union with fixtures against leading clubs in Wales & England. W.H. Evans was capped four times in 1914 and had it not been for World War 1 would have gained many more. His cap & jerseys are on display in the club.
In 1923 Stan Davies was capped from Treherbert in the game against Ireland. At this time fixtures now included Bristol, Gloucester, Bath, Cardiff, Llanelli, Neath and many more. A very talented player at this time was Emlyn Jenkins who was considered one of the finest outside halves produced by Wales. He joined Salford Rugby League and played for Great Britain. Treherbert found themselves ‘railroaded’ following the sale of the ground they played on to Great Western Railway in 1929/30 and went to play in Blaenrhondda. They merged with Blaenrhondda RFC who were struggling at the time and soon became force to be reckoned with. H.Q. at this time was the Blaenrhondda Hotel known as ‘The Kick’ where for many years the teams changed and walked to Blaenrhondda Park to play.
In 1954/55 the team reverted back to the name Treherbert RFC and soon afterwards moved to their present ground, Tynewydd (R.M) Park. The clubhouse ‘Tydraw’ was opened officially by Dickie Jeeps in 1963. With the efforts of committee, members, players and the local authority alike, floodlights and a stand were put up on our ground in time for the Centenary Season of 1974/75 during which most top flight clubs were played in mid-week games.
Treherbert have won many trophies over the years, starting with winning the Glamorgan League in 1902 through to the Mid-District Cup in 2000. One to mention was the Mid-District Cup in 1963 which we shared for six months with our old rivals Mountain Ash after the final and two replays ended in drawn matches. Over the years many players have represented Treherbert/Blaenrhondda RFC’s with distinction, some of them going on to play at higher levels. They are far too many to list in this short history and we are grateful to them and team mates for their effort and determination in maintaining the game of Rugby Football in the area.
The introduction of professionalism and leagues has sent Treherbert enjoy the highs and suffer the lows of Rugby Union Football. Gradual promotion through the leagues reaching Division 2, but three successive relegations saw us playing in Division 5 for the past three seasons. After two successive fourth place finishes last season was one not seen at Treherbert for years. The team played some exceptional rugby and secured the league with a game still to play. During the season we played 26 games, (22 League, 3 SWALEC Bowl & Stobswell RFC) winning 23, losing 2, drawing 1 and scoring 935 points with 225 against. Treherbert were also voted team of the year at the Rhondda Sports Personality Awards.