Memories of playing for Rhyl by Jim Wright
I started playing for Rhyl in the early 1950s. the pitch was at Ty Mawr in Towyn. I was 15 and played as hooker, the two props being Digger Espley and John Mills. In those days, we had a first and second team and had to provide our own referee. Ours was R S Hutchinson fondly known as Hutchy. Changing room was an old shed which had two tin baths, one for the home team and one for the visitors. At half time, we stayed on the pitch and had a quarter orange. Wives and girlfriends saw to the food. The posts were taken down every year for painting.
For away games, we met at the Imperial Hotel in Rhyl. The coach was from Rhyl United. Most away games were on the Wirral or around Liverpool. I played for North Wales with six others from the club.
We moved grounds and played at Prestatyn. We changed in the golf club. It was a lovely pitch, usually dry as it was on sand so drained well. It was prone to high winds. If the ball was kicked with the wind, the ball could end up in Rhyl!
A lot of teams from South Wales came up on tour at Easter to Play Rhyl although mainly for the night out on the town. They stayed at Jonny Wrights hotel (I can’t remember the name!) on the prom.
Soldiers from Kinmel camp would play for us, many were Welsh trialists. I remember Ike Southwood, an English rugby league player and captain and he played abroad. We had several players that were on Rhyl council but this never resulted in us getting a pitch in Rhyl.
Best money raiser for the club was the New Year’s Ball. This was held at the Old Pavilion. Bar extension till 1am and bouncers on the door to keep the Teddy Boys out! I had a broken leg so was chosen to be Old Father Time. I was in a wheelchair and carried my fathers scythe. This was taken off me for safety.
Colwyn Bay RFC called us a load of tradesman as the team was made up of farmers, shopkeepers, and everyday manual workers. From that time on they never beat us as our hackles were up.
Back when I started, the advice I was given by the props, was that they would teach me to play the army way. That was that you can drink as much as you like but don’t smoke! You can sweat out the beer but not the smoke!
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