Club Captain : W J Trew (junior)
Playing Record : P38, W20, D2, L16, Pts for 383, Pts against 336.
Leading Try Scorer : Howie Jones 18
Leading Points Scorer : Howie Jones 54
Capped v England : Claude Davey, Tom Day (d), Watcyn Thomas
Capped v Scotland : Claude Davey, Tom Day, Watcyn Thomas
Capped v France : Claude Davey, Tom Day
Capped v Ireland : Claude Davey, Tom Day
Swansea RFC 1930-31.
Played: 38, Won 20, Drawn 2, Lost 16
Captain: W.J.Trew ( junior)
Capped by Wales: Tom Day (Prop), Claude Davey (Centre),
Watcyn Thomas (S.Row)
After a highly encouraging 1929-1930 season when Swansea finished second in the Unofficial Championship, it was most disappointing that performances fell away and the Whites only managed 20 victories from the 38 games played in the 1930-1931 season.
Early season started poorly with defeats at Bristol, 10-0, Cardiff home and away, Neath at the Gnoll, 11-6, and Llanelli 5-0. After a good 11-3 win over Newport at St. Helen’s, the Whites made a short tour to the Midlands, gaining a 0-0 draw at Leicester, but were hammered 36-8 by Cambridge University two days later.
The pack were going well, but there was a lack of pace behind. The Whites frequently dominated territory, but lacked the skills and pace to unlock defences. At the end of November Swansea took a young side with numerous Second Team players and University students to play a strong Gloucester XV at Kingsholm. Spirits rose as the Whites recorded an unlikely and unexpected 11-10 victory.
Results picked up as the Whites won 6-3 in Bridgend, while Coventry were defeated by the same score at St. Helen’s. Watsonians were soundly beaten in the Christmas Day fixture. Then, the Whites overcame Leicester 17-0 before gaining further wins over Cross Keys home and away. They also beat Aberavon 6-3 and Llanelli 8-0 in the mud. Bristol were put to the sword by 21 -7. In the Christmas fixture with London Welsh, the score was tied when Dai Parker kicked a magnificent goal from the touchline to get the 11-11 draw the Whites deserved. Parker had made a belated start to the season after taking part in the Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand. Critics claimed he was jaded, but he was now back to his best.
As the season progressed the revival soon petered out. Llanelli who were to become Welsh Champions won 4 games out of 5 against Swansea. Cardiff won 2 from 3, while Neath completed the double. The season ended with defeats against Pontypool, Harlequins, Barbarians, Newport and Coventry. The only glimmer of hope were the wins against Bridgend 12-7 and Cardiff 8-5 when the youngsters selected gave a good account of themselves. No sooner was the season over than the Inquests began. Leading the way, as always, was Pendragon in the South Wales Daily Post.
The Whites lost key players due to the Recession. Claude Davey got a teaching post in Manchester and joined Sale, while Full Back Edryd Jones went to London to join the Met Police. D.E.Thomas joined Bath. The promise that these players would return home for the Christmas and Easter periods to play for the club was some consolation. The early 1930s were difficult times economically and crowds were down due to high levels of unemployment. When the Whites played at Cross Keys, the local team’s Treasurer bemoaned the small crowd for what was on paper, one of the most attractive games of the season.
Injuries were a problem throughout the season. Influential forward Jack Rees was out for a long period. Full Back Dempsey suffered a head injury. Dai Thomas’ injury at Gloucester turned septic. Skipper Trew suffered numerous injuries and his form dipped due to the pressures of captaincy. Also, being the son of Swansea All-time great, Billy Trew is an enormous weight for a young player to carry.
Lack of pace behind the scrum was a problem all season. While the forwards were settled with few changes, there seemed to be lack of direction in selection of the three quarter line. An argument had gone on all season about whether University players should be selected for the Whites in front of loyal Second team players. Pendragon admitted that Idwal Rees who played centre, outside half and scrum half was developing into a fine utility player. Redvers Davies played centre or wing, while Dempsey looked a real find at Full Back. However he pointed out that to bring in students, who may never again play for the Whites after they graduate, was a kick in the teeth for players trying to move up from the 2nds.
In conclusion, a disappointing season, but there was optimism for next season due to numerous fine individual performances. International wing Howie Jones scored 18 tries. Penclawdd product Bryn Evans was a fine scrum half. In the pack Eddie Long and Will Davies were excellent skirmishers (wing forwards), veteran hooker J.H. John, Jack Rees, Tom Day and youngster Joe White were always hard working and reliable players.
by Rob Phillips