• President
    • Gerald Davies CBE
  • Vice Presidents
    • Andrew Brace
    • DE Brierley
    • Jack Evans
    • Bob Garwood
    • Simon Gulliford
    • David Harries
    • Owain Harries
    • Dr Keith Hughes
    • Peter Jackson
    • W Hopkin Joseph
    • Gerry Latham
    • Ian Lewis
    • Byron Light
    • Greg Lock
    • Nigel Perris
    • Martyn Ryan
    • Anthony Tarr
    • Denys Thomas
    • Richard Whiting
    • John Williams
    • Nick Williams
    • Gary Witchell
  • Life Members
    • Malcolm Baker
    • Gerald Davies CBE
    • Jack Davies
    • Leighton Davies
    • Denis Evans
    • Dennis Gethin OBE
    • Wyn Oliver
  • Chairman
    • Jack Davies
  • Hon Secretary
    • Denys Thomas
  • Treasurer
    • Jon Davis
  • Vice Chairman
    • Tim Lowe
  • Match Secretary
    • Dr Keith Hughes
  • Head Coach
    • Adrian Evans
  • Executive Committee
    • Jack Davies
    • Denys Thomas
    • Jon Davis
    • Tim Lowe
    • Steve Williams
    • Adrian Evans
    • Dr Keith Hughes
    • Rhys Evans
    • Gethin Evans
    • Alun Wynne
    • Dr Brian Rees OBE
    • Wyn Hughes
    • David Williams
    • Gareth Nicholas
    • Richard Emms
    • Steve Whitehead
    • Paul Evans
    • Colin Workman
    • Bob Dyer
    • Paul Jones
    • Simon Thomas

Welsh Academicals History : Accies in Sicily

Leighton Davies

 

Early in 1998, to renew and promote the amateur ethos of the Accies, it was decided to take up the offer of a September tour to Sicily. A squad of suitable players was selected, but because of the clubs precarious financial position all of them were asked to contribute towards the cost of the trip. Some committe men thought this ill-advised, but the young men chosen to respond - without exception - in a most positive way. Their Manager was Leighton Davies, a player with Bridgend and Maesteg, who coached Cardiff Training College and Wales B. He recalls a very happy trip.

 

Before departure thorough training sessions were organised in Cardiff under the excellent control of Steve Williams. Liquid refreshment and "bonding" in a local tavern was organised by our enthusiastic Assistant Manager John "Jack" Davies assisted by physiotherapist John Rose.

Despite slight hiccups to do with transport, due mainly to oversight by the Sicilian organisers, our journey to Catania was uneventful. The bungalow accommodation near the beach at La Playa was very acceptable as was the food. Adjacent cafes and bars were lively.

Dissappointingly, however, the training facilities proved inadequate and not up to the standard we had been promised. Improvisation and adaptability prevalied, with Steve Williams again organising effective practises (the "horse paddock" routine being the most interesting). His players responded enthusiastically and with good humour.

The tournament proved successful, all three games being won. Playing with flair and pace, and running with the ball at every opportunity, the Accies ran up 200 points, conceding just 41. Adrian Bucknall (Aberavon) was a popular and experienced captain, respected by all. Other sides were not up to the expected standard, particularly dissappointing being the late withdrawal of the Italy Under-21 squad. Nottingham University and the robust club team Zagara played well but, though keen and physically capable, Catania University (replacing the Under-21s) were not especially skillful. Both English referees, Steve Wormsley and Mick Richards were very competent, but the Italian referees on duty were not up to their standard The pitch and the facilities at the Municipal ground, home to Zagara RFC, were first rate.

Throughout the trip an excellent relationship developed between the players themselves and between players and management, enhanced by our day out on Mount Etna and a sun baked beach. Socially , the evenings gatherings were very well supported by by John "Archie" Newman. He was deservedly accused of being the foremost socialite on tour by "Judge" Andy Wright at a hearing by a Kangaroo court on the final evening on the island. There had never been a dull moment.

Finally, this most enjoyable and successful tour was summed up by our hosts when they assured us more than once that Welsh Academicals RFC had played some of the finest Rugby ever seen in that part of the world, and were one of the best-behaved sides to visit Sicily since in the eleven years of the tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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