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  • Ystradfechan

    Ystradfechan Bowls Club is currently the only Private Bowls Green in the Rhondda. First laid in the 1920's as a green under the name Ocean Staff Bowling Club, it became Ystradfechan Bowling Club in 1965.


    The club welcomes new members, both bowling and social. Currently fees are £40 full membership, free for the first year, and £5 social membership.


    The club is open every night in the bowls season, but is closed on a Wednesday out of season. Most major sporting events are shown on our four screens, both terrestrial and satellite. There is a well attended quiz night every Thursday. Men and ladies darts teams play out of the club. Everyone welcome.

  • Ystradfechan & Rhondda 

    A short history of Ystradfechan & Rhondda Bowls

    Ystradfechan History

    The early years

    The green on which Ystradfechan play was originally the home of the former Ocean Staff Bowling Club, created by the Miners' Welfare Association from their links with the former Parc and Dare collieries in Cwmparc.


    The green is reported to have been first laid in the Autumn of 1921, played on in 1922, but officially opened in May 1923.


    The decline of Ocean Staff was in line with the decline of coal mining in Rhondda and in 1965 membership was reduced to such an extent that they withdrew from all team competitions other than the Rhondda Borough Bowling Association.


    At a General Meeting on 15th March, 1965, it was agreed to re-name the club as Ystradfechan Bowling Club from the commencement of the 1966 season, with a new badge incorporating a pheonix rising from the ashes.


    In 1967 Ystradfechan successfully applied to join the Welsh Bowling Association and Glamorgan County Competitions. A decision was also then taken to invite ladies to join the club.


    In 1971 the club joined the Welsh Private Greens Bowling Association (Eastern Section), playing their first fixture in that competition at Abergavenny.


    Ystradfechan Affiliations


    · Welsh Bowling Association

    · Welsh Private Greens Bowling Association (Eastern Division)

    · Mid Glamorgan County Bowling Association

    · Rhondda Borough Bowling Association

    · Taff Ely Bowling Association


    Ystradfechan Bowls Club Honours


    1973WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 2

    1977WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 2

    1982WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1983Runners UpWelsh Private Greens ( Eastern Division)

    1985WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1985WinnersWelsh Private Greens ( Eastern Division)

    1985WinnersWelsh Private Greens ( All Wales)

    1985WinnersMiners Welfare Cup

    1985Runners UpRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1986WinnersWD Jones Knockout Cup

    1986WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1986WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1987Runners UpWBA Welsh Championship - Carruthers Shield

    1987Runners UpMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1987Runners UpRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1988WinnersWBA Welsh Championship - Carruthers Shield

    1988WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1988Runners UpRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1989WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Triples League

    1989WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Afternoon League

    1991WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1994WinnersRhondda Borough Bowling Association - Div 1

    1994Runners UpMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1996WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    1997WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    2008WinnersWelsh Private Greens (Eastern Division)

    2008WinnersWelsh Private Greens (All Wales)

    2008WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    2009WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    2010WinnersMid - Glamorgan Knock Out Cup

    Rhondda Bowls History

    The Rhondda Borough Bowling Association (previously known as the Rhondda Valleys Bowling League) celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1988. This is a brief history that was published at that time.

    (Original programme kindly supplied by Mr. Don Parfitt)

    When the first wood was rolled in the Rhondda will never be confirmed but it is a fact that bowling took place in the summer of 1904 on the grounds of the Upper Rhondda Tennis Club, behind Barclays Bank, Pentre, where a narrow wooden footbridge was thrown across the Rhondda River to make easy access to the green. The surface was ordinary mountain turf well rolled and cut with no surrounding ditches and room for two rinks.Again at Porth in 1907 there was a one-rink green at Syphon House, but with no ditches.


    In 1910, a bowling green was actually laid at Blaenrhondda which was only two rinks; the site is now Blaenrhondda Institute. With the laying of greens at Gelli Park and Penygraig (1912), bowls had now arrived in the Rhondda and on March 30th 1914, an informal meeting was held at Penygraig, the clubs represented being Gelli Thursdays by Messrs. Clements and W. Jones; Gelli Saturdays by Messrs. Thwaites and Chillington; Penygraig Thursdays by Messrs. John Foster and Baskerville; and Penygraig Saturdays by Messrs. Jim Richards, S. Davies and D. Mills.


    These representatives on behalf of their respective clubs agreed to form a league called "The Rhondda Valleys Bowling League", and the following were appointed officers:


    Chairman: Mr. W. Baskerville, Penygraig Thursdays
    Treasurer: Mr. W. Jones, Gelli Thursdays
    Secretary: Mr. W. Chillington, Gelli Saturdays


    The first League Match was played on May 14th 1914, at Gelli Park between Gelli Saturdays and Penygraig Thursdays. As early as 1914 complaints were frequent as to the quality of the turf on the green at Penygraig and Gelli.


    On November 3rd 1914, the first properly constituted Annual Meeting was held and the League Shield was presented to Penygraig Saturdays. The presidency of the League was accepted by Walter P. Nicholas (in 1919 he received his knighthood), Clerk to the Rhondda Urban District Council, who served in this capacity until his death in 1926.


    In 1914 the president gave a Silver Shield to be presented to the winners of the League, which is still played for. In the early days of the League punctuality on the green was rigidly enforced and heavy penalties incurred for breach of conduct in this respect. There was also a system of registration of players. Players had to apply personally to their clubs and then to the League for transfer and each transfer was discussed on its merit.


    The first trophy to the individual champion of the Rhondda Valley Bowling League was a "Set of Woods" and the first wood of this competition was bowled on lst July 1914. Aberaman joined the League in 1914 but did not remain in the League due to the time and cost of the travelling.


    The first Inter-League game was played against the South Wales and Monmouthshire B.A. and was played at Cadoxton on May 29th 1915, and a return game at Gelli Park on July 17th in the same season.


    1916 saw the advent of another two clubs into the League, Ton Pentre and Blaenrhondda, the latter playing on a two-rink green.


    The League in 1918 consisted of nine clubs: Blaenrhondda, Llwynypia, Ton Pentre, Gelli Park Thursdays, Gelli Park Saturdays, Penygraig B. V., Maerdy and Treherbert, and also that season, scoring boards were erected on Council Bowling Greens.


    The League in 1920 consisted of only three clubs, Gelli Park, Ton Pentre and Tonypandy, in 1921 Llwynypia and Treherbert rejoined the League. Another milestone was reached when the Welsh Bowling Association brought a team to play the League on May 21st 1921, at Llwynypia.


    The Annual Meeting of 1922 signaled the entry of Wattstown into the League and the withdrawal of other clubs, Treherbert, Maerdy and Llwynypia. In November 1922, Gelli Park made a request to change its name to Ton and Gelli United and Maerdy rejoined.


    Ocean Staff were admitted members of the League and Ton and Pentre United requested change of name to Dinam Park on the opening of their new green. During the season an Inter-League match was played against Swansea on the Ocean Staff Green. This year also, a gold medal was presented to the League by F. Llewellyn Jacob of Ferndale to be presented to the Singles Tournament winner and the eventual winner was Dan Hazelby of Dinam Park.


    At the commencement of' 1925 another League was formed in the Rhondda called the "Municipal Bowls League" with Treherbert as prime movers. Inter-League games were played with Eastern Valleys on Whit­Monday at Llwynypia and Swansea on August 22nd away.


    The League admitted Penygraig Welfare, Ynysybwl and also Ynysybwl (Saturdays) for the season 1926. Games were played against Rhondda Municipal League at Porth on July 17th and Aberdare League at Aberaman on August 12th. In October of this year Bronwydd Park were accepted as members and a new stipulation was made that clubs would only be accepted into the League if the green played on conformed to WBA standard.


    Lady Nicholas accepted the patronage of the League in 1927 and Jenkyn Williams, Penygraig took over the presidency. During this time due to illness, Mr. W. ChiIlington handed over as secretary to Mr. T. J. Davies of Tonypandy. Mr. Chillington was honoured with a vice-presidency for outstanding service.


    It was agreed in 1928 that the club winning the League would receive twenty badges instead of the framed photograph.


    The W.B.A. sent a team of Internationals to play the League at Penygraig Welfare on the occasion of the opening of the new pavillion; also Wattstown rejoined the league in 1929.


    At the Annual Meeting of 1930, Cymmer Welfare B.C. were accepted and at this time Rhondda clubs were starting to show how the standard of bowls was improving, Dinam Park winning the challenge cup of the Miners' Welfare Fund and also Penygraig winning the championship of the North Glamorgan Association B.A. The president in 1930 presented a pennant for the club winning the League conveying the words "Winners of the Rhondda Valley League" to be flown an the flagstaff of the successful club during the following season. This year the League played a W.B.A. team at Treorchy. The league comprised of eleven clubs, Dinam Park winning the Welfare Cup and the North Glamorgan Championship. The year was uneventful, except the game to decide the championship. A final game had to be played between Llwynypia and Dinam Park. This was played at Penygraig but ended in a tie and another end was decided upon in semi-darkness and again ended in a tie. The replay was won by Dinam Park.


    Gelli Park Bowling Club joined the league for the 1932 season and the following season Gelligaled, Alaw Trealaw and Llantrisant entered the League.


    1933 saw the League being divided into two sections, an upper and lower section with Pandy Square as a dividing line. An approach was made to the Rhondda Council during 1933 to allow playing on the public greens at an annual fee, but with no success. At the Annual Meeting held on November 11th, 1933 it was agreed to celebrate the 21st birthday of the League by playing the game against the W.B.A. on Penygraig Welfare Green - the President's Green. To commemorate the event the president issued a coat badge of special design to twenty-four players of the club who were successful in winning the championship during the anniversary year. A prize was offered by Mr. Williams, the president, for the best motto in Welsh of three words only to appear on the commemora­tion coat badge. The winner was Mr. Ted Williams of Clydach Vale, his motto read as follows -


    Coreu Crur Orfu, which being translated means "The Best in Man Succeeds".


    The war years, 1939-1946 did not diminish the enthusiasm of Rhondda bowlers. On one occasion a game was being played at Gelligaled while aircraft were passing overhead and a number of shells actually fell on the bowling green.


    In the 1940 season four clubs joined the League, Treherbert, Penpych, Ocean Staff and Maerdy. The League now had twenty-one members divided into two sections, the winner of each section to meet to ascertain the champions. Because of withdrawal of their support, the Crawshay Bailey Cup Competition was discontinued.


    Two clubs, Nantclydach and Tonypandy entered the League in 1941 and then the upper section had eleven teams and the lower section twelve.


    In 1943 the League was split into four twenty-four teams.


    The League was again restructured in 1944 with a total of twenty-five teams.


    Section A





    Pengelli (Thursdays)

    Pengelli (Saturdays)

    Dinam Park

    Gelli Park




    Section B





    Bronwydd Park





    Section C



    Penygraig BV

    Gilfach Goch


    Ely Valley

    Electrical Welfare


    In 1945 season, the league reverted to two leagues. Upper section with thirteen teams and Lower section, thirteen teams.

    Ynys B.C. joined the League in 1973 but the following season, 1974 saw Ynysyngharad B.C. withdrawing and the Council granted reduced season tickets for the permanently disabled.


    The following joined the League:


    Beddau in 1975; Gellifaelog, 1978; Ystradyfodwg, 1982; Hirwaun, 1984; Pontypridd and Blaenrhondda, 1986; but Pontypridd in 1984 and Gellifaelog in 1985 withdrew.


    1978 saw the appointment of a League Fixture Secretary and this year the League approached the Council asking for a reduction in playing fees for visiting teams outside the Rhondda. Although unsuccessful this time, continual approaches resulted in 1987 -- the Council conceded to the request.


    The League altered the points system in the League to 2 points for a winning rink; 1 point for a draw; and 6 points to the overall winning tearn; a total of 14 points commencing in 1979.


    In 1980 the playing of trial ends in League matches was stopped.


    Before completing the story of the League, many individual League bowlers have won open tournaments, too many to mention in this short history, but this opportunity cannot be left to pass without mentioning the success of Rhondda bowlers worldwide.


    1972 was very special for the League; Mal Evans of Gelli Park won the World Singles Championship at Worthing and to mark this outstanding performance a special match was played at Gelli Park onSaturday, August 26th 1972, between a team selected by the Mayor of Rhondda, Councillor T. J. Davies and a team of Internationals, which Rhondda won 114-106. The match was followed by a celebration dinner when the President, Mr. D. M. Thomas, made a suitable presentation to the new World Champion.


    Rhondda bowlers have represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games. In 1978 Mr. Gwyn Evans of Gelli Park won a Rinks Bronze Medal in Canada and Messrs. Lyn Perkins and Spencer Wilshire, the pairs in Australia in 1982 winning a Silver Medal. The latter two also played in Scotland in 1986 Finishing fourth. Furthermore they won the British Isles Pairs Championship on three occasions, 1976, 1979 and 1981.


    Mr. Gwyn Evans of Gelli Park was presented with the Sports Personality for the Rhondda in 1978.


    The Rhondda Sports Advisory Committee "Sports Administrator of the Year" was awarded to Mr. Tom Nash in 1985. Over the years, B. James (Cymmer), E. D. Davies (Ferndale) and G. Lewis (Penrhys) have been runners-up for this award.


    The highlight of the Rhondda season is either the Tour of Harrow and District, or hosting their tour of the Rhondda, and our thanks must be extended to the Rhondda Borough Council for their wonderful support for this event when held in the Rhondda and to the Mayor who accompanies the Rhondda bowlers when they visit Harrow.


    The tour was first organised by the late Mr. Herbert Chick of the now defunct Cambrian Club, back in the fifties and then by the Rhondda Association who undertook the organisation of the tours in the sixties. In the early days of the Rhondda Association's organising of the tours, the late Mr. D. M. Thomas of Ferndale B.C., the then president, had a close working relationship with the late Mr. Bill Van of Harrow, also Mr. Bryn James of the Cymmer Club and Mr. E. D. Davies of the Ferndale Club were the secretary and treasurer who were responsible for the organising of the event at home and away.


    Nowadays, Mr. Glasfryn Lewis of the Penrhys Club attends to the organising of the chairman's tours whether to Harrow or to other places, and thanks to him for a job well done. Glasfryn also had a close working arrangement with the late Mr. Bill Cole of the Wealdstone Club who sadly passed away in 1987 whilst on tour in the Rhondda.


    Rhondda bowlers look forward to this event every year, which is very competitive, but the atmosphere is nice and friendly, as each side battles for the shield which was presented by the late Mr. D. M. Thomas and Mr. Bill Vann, with Rhondda being more successful in the past few years and the trophy seemingly taking up permanent residence in the Mayor's Parlour!


    Long may the tours continue, because of the close affinity that has developed over the years and the happy atmosphere that prevails is indicative of all that is best in the game of bowls.


    As of 2010, bowling facilities are currently available on thirteen greens in the Rhondda Borough; all except Ystradfechan (which is private) are owned by the Rhondda.


    Blaenrhondda Park
    Bronwydd Park, Porth-laid 1925
    Darran Park, Ferndale-laid 1925
    Gelligaled Park, Ystrad-laid 1931
    Gelli Park, Pentre-laid 1912, re-laid 1926
    Pengelli Park, Treorchy
    Penrhys Park, Tylorstown-laid 1932
    Pentre Park
    Penygraig Park-laid 1912, re-laid 1926
    Treherbert Park-laid 1916, re-sited 1929
    *Wattstown Park
    Ystradfechan, Treorchy-laid 1921
    Ynyscynon Fields, Llwynypia


    Bowling greens were also laid at the following, but no longer exist:

    Bryn Ivor, Llwynypia-Cricket ground converted 1916. First private green.
    * Cambrian Welfare, Clydach Vale


    * Originally Welfare Grounds but taken over by the Rhondda Borough Council.


  • Ystradfechan Leagues

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    East Wales Private Greens PG1 & PG2

    East Wales Private Green website

    Mid Glamorgan League

    Division 1