Tonna Rugby Football Club First Mention

When it was debated when to celebrate the centenary season it was decided
to find the first factual evidence as the W.R.U could not substantiate
the date offered.
The 1887/88 season was half way through when the draw for the Neath local
challenge cup was made. Tonna was not included but a few weeks later the
cambria Daily Leader carried a report that the club had participated in
the competition.

The game was hastily arranged and was played on the Neath Ground in Cadoxton.
The report read:

‘the second contest Mynyddbach v Tonna was of a true football character.
Fine running and excellent passing, especially on the part of the victorious
team Mynyddbach, was the rule not the exception. Although Tonna proved
the weaker team it is to their credit that up to Stream Fodbold Live the finish of the game
they did their very upmost to score and that too in a gentlemanly abd
true sport like manner, and example that with great advantage, be followed
by more than one local team. They tried their best to win, and failing
to do this, they did the next best thing, took their defeat like honest
football players.

I cannot pass unnoticed the fine play of J H Thomas as threequarter for
Mynyddbach, as an old player remarked he was to mgood for his team. In
a first class team Thomas might prove a second bishop – which is
saying a good deal. Other players to deserve a mention were J Morgan (Mynyddbach)
and T.Evans (Tonna).’

This report came from the edition of the 28th February 1888 and referred
to matches played the previous Saturday. This makes the first recorded
mention of Tonna playing football Saturday 25th February 1888. Dingle Boys to Dulais United
Rugby continued to grow in the village and before the turn of the century
(20th) the ‘dingle boys’ were formed. The dingle boys played
on the henfaes field with Terence Hopkins’ Father being an important
member of the side. It is at this point the village produced its first
International in Sam Daymond who played for Welsh Schools in 1903.
D.H Davies became the first full international to be selected with connections
with the club. A fiery forward he played a prominent role in the 21 –
3 win over Scotland at St Helens in 1904.
Although capped from the Neath Club his family came from the village and
himself played for the ‘Dingle Boys’. Dewar shield medals
are today in the club from the ‘Dingle boys’ from the 1904-05

Tonna looked rather different at the turn of the century, the henfaes
field or ‘the flat’ as it became known is now occupied partly
by the gardens, a large hedge and the corner of todays clubhouse. The
field which is played on now was not in existence, as the quarry wasbeing
developed, but the proposed new field was full of bushes and nickname
of ‘the gorse’.

The ‘Dingle Boys’ were still going strong when world war
1 intervened and all available young men were summoned to the front. After
the end of the Great War the ‘Dingle Boys’ were superseded
by Dulais United. This was a side comprising of the surrounding villages
– Tonna, Aberdulais, Cadoxton, Cilfrew and Cefn-yr-allt. Although
the team had some what lost it’s Tonna identity its headquarters
remained in the village and contributed the bulk of the playing contingent.