Report of the disastrous Sports Day 1939 from the Aberdare Leader

Aberdare County School


WITH 20 important events still uncontested, the annual Aberdare County School Athletic Sports had to be abandoned on Thursday afternoon, when a heavy thunderstorm caused spectators and competitors to make a sudden rush to pavilion and marquees for shelter.

They waited hopefully for the storm to abate, but the skies which got darker and darker as the minutes went by, continued to empty torrential rain, as peals of thunder followed each other in close succession, and flashes of lightning continually lit up the darkened marquee. It soon became evident, with water running in sheets off the top of the marquee, and the field already a quagmire, and hollows here and there quickly filling up into miniature ponds, that Jupiter Pluvius had again done his worse for an important Aberdare open-air event.

When the rain stopped it was announced that the sports would unfortunately have to be abandoned, and disappointedly, pupils, their parents and friends, picked their way through squelching mud to the exits for the trek homewards.

Ironically enough, the sports started in brilliant sunshine, many commenting that in view of the misfortune which had greeted organisers of most open-air functions in the valley during the past month, the County School had been lucky!

The opening competitions were run off in warm sunshine. It was about half past two when the sky first began to give an indication of clouding over—half-an-hour later everyone was sheltering from a deluge which despite the heavy rainfall of recent weeks has been unparalleled this summer.


Among the events, which had to be left uncontested, was the inter-school relay race, in which Barry, Mountain Ash, and Porth County Schools, with Lewis School, Pengam, were to have made a bid at depriving Aberdare of the trophy, which they had won so magnificently the previous year.

Aberdare’s team this year was as follows:— T.L. Taylor, D. Hoggins, D.O. Davies and D. Bonnell.

Other interesting events “washed out” were the 800 yards walk (senior and middle school), the gymnastic display, the inter-house relay, the 220 and 440 yards handicap, and the hurdles events.

Most of the events will now be run off at convenient periods after school hours, mainly in order to decide the destination of the W.M. Llewellyn Victor Ludorum Cup. This year’s winner will be somewhat luckier than all his predecessors, for he will receive a lasting memento of the occasion—a replica of the larger cup presented by Mr. Glyndwr Davies (U.D.C. transport manager), who has kindly intimated that he will provide such a replica for the Victor Ludorum annually.

Another event eagerly looked forward to by parents and pupils was the distribution of C.W.B. and other certificates by Mr. W.R. Williams, B.Sc., the headmaster, as well as the rugby caps, and “house shield” and …ls. The following were to have received rugby caps:— G.O. John (captain), G.C. Watkins, D. Gwynfryn James, T.J. Edwards, T.L. Taylor, D. Hoggins, J. Thomas, F.B. Williams, W.G. Williams, I. Evans, M.T. Williams, E.P. Howells, D.O. Davies, M. Phillips.


Here are the various results up to the time the sports had to be abandoned :—

Throwing the javelin (middle school): 1 E.J. Hughes; 2 M.T. Williams; 3 J.E. Phillips.

High jump (senior) 1 D.O. Davies; 2 D. Hoggins; 3 K. Fowler. Height, 5 feet.

Long jump (junior): 1 L. Jenkins; 2 M. Evans; 3 E. Price. Distance 15 feet 9 inches.

220 yards handicap (Forms 1) semi-final: Heat 1. 1 D.B. Hoggins (scratch) and L.W. Davies (scratch); 3 I Harris (3 yards). Heat 2, I.H. Davies (scratch); 2 H. Rees (scratch); 3 R. Collier (1 yard).

Putting the shot: 1 M.T. Williams; 2 J.E. Phillips; 3 W. Rees. Distance, 36 feet 8 inches.

80 yards handicap (Form 1), semi-final heat 1, D.B. Hoggins (scratch); 2 J.E. Davies (2 yards); 3 I. Harris (4 yards). Heat 2, 1 A. Roberts (scratch); 2 R. Collier (1 yard); 3 H. Davies (scratch).

Final: 1 J.E. Davies; 2 D.B. Hoggins; 3 A. Roberts and I. Harris.

Putting the shot (junior): 1 J.L. Jenkins; 2 D. Tennant; 3 L.C. Williams. Distance 35 feet 2 ins.

100 yards (Middle School) handicap: 1 J. Stephens (3 yards); 2 G. Rees (2 yards); 3 W.A.L. Evans (1 yard). Heat 2, 1 M.T. Williams (scratch); 2 H.S. Hewing (3 yards); 3 N. Jotham (4 yards).

Final: 1 M.T. Williams; 2 H.S. Hewing; 3 G. Rees and J. Stephenson. Time 12 secs.

100 yards scratch (senior): D. Hoggins; 2 D. Bonnell; 3 T.L. Taylor. Time, 11 secs.

100 yards junior handicap, semi final, heat 1. J.L. Jenkins (scratch); 2 D. Tennant (1 yard); 3 W. Evans (1 yard); heat 2, 1 M. Evans (1 yard); 2 E. Price (1 yard); 3 J. L. Jenkins (3 yards). Final: 1 J.L. Jenkins; 2 D. Tennant; 3 W. Evans.

Hurling the discus (senior): 1 J. Walters; 2 D. Hoggins; 3. D.O. Davies.

High jump (junior): 1 J.L. Jenkins; 2 E. Price; 3 D.R. Jenkins. Distance, 41 feet 4 ins.

Long jump (Middle School): 1 M.T. Williams; 2 E.J. Hughes; 3 K.V. Jefferies. Distance 16 feet 7 ins.

The sports officials were:— President, Mr. W.R. Williams, B.Sc., the headmaster.

Judges: Messrs. W.J. Edwards C.C., W.A. Betty, C.C., T. Phillips, C.C., S.H. Stephens, C.C., A. John C.C., E. Stonelake, J.P., Chas. Jones, B.J. Brace, D.C., L.M. Thomas (chief judge), A.J. Clarke, G. Spencer Bird, Supt. T. Davies, ex-Supt. E. Rees, ex-Supt. E. Jones, Mr. Glyndwr Davies (traffic superintendent) and Mr. J.T. Bowen.

Recorders, Messrs. Ceredig Jones and T.R. James.

Stewards: Messrs. W.D. Towler, R.V. Hoggins, P.E. Phillips, S. Evans, W.E. Roberts, H.I. James, A.L. Trott, D.A. Lewis, D.H. Price, G. Williams.

Starters and handicappers: Messrs. Aubrey Roberts and E.J. Excell (sports master).

Timekeeper, Mr. T.B. Reynolds.

Hon. treasurer, D. Gordon James (Form VI).

Hon. secretaries: D. Gwynfryn James (Form VI) and T. Owen (Form VI).

Most disappointed man on the field was Mr. E.J. Excell (sports master), who had put in a vast amount of work in preparation for this sports, which he hoped would provide a substantial fillip to the school sports fund. With the school sports committee he is very grateful to those persons who contributed the prizes and refreshments.

An image of the original article from the newspaper can be seen here