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Chairman’s Christmas Address 11.12.2021
As the festive period fast approaches, and with today our last home fixture ahead of the New Year, I want to extend a warm season’s greetings to everybody involved with our wonderful Club.
I am delighted to say our club continues to grow in many ways and is in a stable and healthy position as we move into 2022, both on and off the field. Our new clubhouse is running really well, Melissa and Jake joined our team earlier in the year and are doing a great job! As a result of their efforts, we are getting a real positive reputation for putting on ‘a good do’. If you haven’t joined us yet, I am convinced you will not be disappointed, and with lots planned over the holiday period, there’s no better chance for you to spend time in our company. For more information on ‘what’s planned’, please ask in the Club or follow our social media channels.
On the field, our return to rugby has delivered some ups and downs, but I’m sure you will agree that recent performances against Pontypridd RFC and most recently Cardiff RFC at CAP, has seen the Ironmen hit their straps and start to play a new and exciting brand of rugby. The last three games alone, has seen the Ironmen score twenty tries, many of which would have blessed any rugby field. We finished our cup campaign third in the east division, and look forward to the knockout phase, a trip to face Aberavon RFC at the Talbot Athletic Ground in mid-January. Recent years have produced some ding-dong battles with the Wizards, and I am sure this one will be no different!
I am thrilled our Athletic and Vandals have returned to the field this year. Both offer crucial infrastructure to our future success, an opportunity to nurture and develop a pipeline of young talent, but also as a vibrant community, good for the social and camaraderie side of our club. I am also overjoyed to watch our Minis, Juniors and Youth sections continuing to thrive, this weekend being week-15 of their season, with nine age groups taking to the field most weekends – just brilliant!
Today, we welcome friends from Ebbw Vale RFC, for the first game of the Indigo Group Premier League competition for 2021/22. To all involved with the Steelman – welcome and season’s greetings. I trust you will have an enjoyable day, with everything that rugby has to offer, good competition and great banter, today’s big winner! I am particularly grateful to today’s match day sponsor and long-time supporter of our club, my father John Griffiths. Hot off the press, I am also delighted to advise that earlier this week, we agreed to reintroduce the ‘Man of the Match’ award for home fixtures, the responsibility for selection resting with the match day sponsor – so no pressure Dad!
Today is also our ‘Christmas Jumper and Santa Hat Saturday,’ raising funds for our Minis & Junior Section. The bucket collection and half time showpiece is brought to you by our wonderful Under 7s squad. As you read this, I hope that you are dressed appropriately and have a jingle jangle of loose change in your pockets! With thanks to friends at Garth Bakery for supplying today’s festive sweet treats – please enjoy, to the Colour House for the selfie frames – please get snapped, and to Pantysgallog Primary School Choir, who join us to sing Christmas Carol’s before the game and again at half time – O scrum all ye faithful! Thank you to Mr. Thomas and the team for taking time out of your weekend to attend today. Continuing on a theme, this evening, our First Team Squad and Management host a Christmas Jumper Social, with Cameran Trowbridge on vocals. If you’re interested in stopping on or returning later, please check for ticket availability with our clubhouse team.
A final season’s best wishes from me, goes to Ironmen Number 8 and local boy Phil Rees. Some of you will know that Phil and his to be better half Stacey tie the knot over the holiday period – this being the third attempt, the first two impacted by recent restrictions. On behalf of everyone at the club, I hope you have a wonderful day, and a long and happy future together. Mwynhewch eich diwrnod!
Merry Christmas all, have a restful, enjoyable holiday. With my very best wishes for a peaceful, successful and happiness filled 2022.
Merthyr RFC Chairman
Chairman’s Address. 16.10.2021
It gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone involved with Cardiff RFC to the Wern this afternoon, the first meeting of our two clubs since mid-December 2019. That game played at the Arms Park, with Cardiff running out winners on the day, 20 points to 03.
Recent seasons have produced many tightly contested games between our two sides, let us hope for another today, vehemently competitive on the pitch, and intensely friendly in the clubhouse afterwards. It is great to have rugby back and this really is a terrific competition to ease us back into competitive action, every side capable of beating each other on their day, generating a real intensity of competition, complimented by local rivalry.
I would also like to welcome a number of distinguished guests joining us today. Welcome to the First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS; Dawn Bowden MS, Senedd Constituency Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport; Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr and Rhymney; Vaughan Gething MS for Cardiff South and Minister for Economy; Jo Stevens MP for Cardiff Central; and Toni Antoniazzi MP for Gower.
It is worth highlighting and celebrating that Toni has played international rugby for Wales, winning nine caps over three years in the late nineties. With a three to two constituency split in favour of the Blue and Blacks of Cardiff, I hope that Toni will equal things up, supporting the Ironmen this afternoon. After all we have another Welsh Rugby International with strong Italian heritage in our ranks. On behalf of everyone at the club, I hope you and your group have an enjoyable afternoon in our company – you are most welcome!
On to today’s match then, and while our last couple of results have been disappointing, you can rest assured that our coaching and player community are working hard to find the form of previous seasons. This ambition has been hampered by a significant injury list, impacting key positions and player experience levels. With adversity comes opportunity and this has allowed us to blood a number of new players, the performances of young Olly Rees and Callum Lewis away at Newport, positive evidence of what the future holds. As we look forward, I urge you to get behind the twenty-three pulling on an Ironmen jersey.
Be sure to play your part from the stands and around the ground… and COME ON THE IRONMEN!
Chairman’s Address. 16.09.2021
I have been associated with our wonderful club for most of my life, although this will be my first season as Chairman and I am very much honoured to fulfil the role. I am delighted to signal our return to rugby, after what has been and continues to be desperately difficult and challenging times for our communities and the wider world. The events of the last 18-months, certainly has put what’s important into context. We might have collectively lost the game we all love, but only for a short period.
Merthyr RFC is a fantastic Rugby Football Club, blending the enjoyment and camaraderie of team sport with competitive ambition. Getting the blend right is not always easy and it is testament to my predecessor Paul Lewis and the club’s hardworking committee that Merthyr RFC is a great place to play this wonderful sport, be you 6 or in some circumstances nearing 60 years of age. It is also testament to the continued and firm commitment of our Patron, Sir Stanley Thomas, who’s vision and drive has seen our club make a number of large, legacy leaving strides forward in recent years.
During the pause to rugby, we have continued to make strong progress, our new clubhouse officially opening for business in May 2021. Our magnificent new home is central to the next chapter of our club’s history, a place to gather, to remember, to celebrate, and to enjoy! A beating and vibrant heart, not just for us and our club, but the wider community too. I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to our new Club Stewardess and Steward, Melissa Rebecca and Jake Howard.
In addition to concluding works on the clubhouse, we have renewed floodlighting and made a number of less obvious improvements to the ground and its facilities. I would like to put on record my thanks for the efforts of many committee members, supporters and volunteers for your continued assistance with this work. We continue to plan for the future, our next phase to include the reinstatement of Wern-2, coupled with the completion of off-road car parking adjacent to the Fitness Barn.
This year has seen the reintroduction of our Athletic Team, providing an exciting opportunity to bridge the gap between youth and first fifteen rugby. An opportunity to nurture and develop local talent, the squad mix complemented by some older and more experienced heads.
Our success in years to come will depend upon our young people continuing to flourish and remain in love with the game of rugby and it is our duty as a club to make sure that happens. With a thriving Minis and Juniors section, the future looks bright, again testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of our coaching teams, lead wonderfully by the Minis & Juniors Chairman, Jon Watkins – thank you. I would also like to thank the parents, grandparents and guardians of our minis and juniors playing community. Without your commitment to training nights and Sunday morning games, this would not be possible – thank you too.
I would like to acknowledge our many sponsors for your continued and renewed support. Your commitment in a period that offered little by way of brand exposure or rugby entertainment, clear evidence of your strong commitment to our club. I really do look forward to welcoming you and yours to the Wern over the next couple of weeks and months.
In closing, I look forward to welcoming neighbours Ebbw Vale RFC in a long-awaited return to competitive rugby in the Indigo Group Premiership Cup East. We have strong connections with the Steelmen of Gwent, and have enjoyed a number of excellent and competitive fixtures over recent years. Let’s hope this weekend is yet another keenly contested game, enjoyed by all. I look forward to welcoming friends old and new into our new home, spending time together in a wonderful rugby club atmosphere.
Have a great season everyone.
Justin Griffiths. Chairman Merthyr RFC