Our History

Clwb Rygbi Y Tymbl - Tumble RFC

Established in 1897 under the initial captaincy of Orphie Evans Tumble RFC were one of the most successful rugby teams in the old West Wales Rugby Union, and are still the record holders of the WWRU Challenge Cup with 12 victories. Nicknamed the 'Magpies', or 'Y Piod' in Welsh due to their distinctive black and white strip the club's peak in terms of success came during the 1980's where they managed the feat of winning the President Cup five times, the Challenge Cup four times and the West Wales Championship three times.

The club first won the Challenge Cup in 1933, and successfully defended the trophy for a further two seasons. In season 1937/38 the club was crowned West Wales Champions for the first time. In season 1945/46 the club won it's first post war trophy when it picked up the Challenge Cup for the fourth time. Tumble successfully defended the trophy the following season. The club won the Challenge Cup in 1946/47 and the Championship again in season 1949/50.

During the next three decades the club's success waned a little with the Magpies only wining the Challenge Cup twice, in seasons 1962/63 and 1971/72. In this period the club changed head quarters on a number of occasions before settling at the Great Mountain Workingmen's Club in the 1960's. An amalgamation of both clubs creating the Great Mountain and Tumble Rugby Football Club which would remain until 1990.

The 1980's can be seen as the Golden Era for the club when the Magpies, under the coaching of John 'Coch' Williams and then the John brothers, Clive and Alan became the dominant force in West Wales rugby. In 1983/84 Tumble were crowned West Wales Champions for the first time in 34 years, a title they reclaimed the following year, along with the Challenge Cup. They held onto the cup for a further four years and in 1987/88 they won the West Wales Championship for the last time before the nationalisation of the league system. 1987/88 season was somewhat of a pinnacle for the club where under the captaincy of scrum half Arwel Davies both the 1st and 2nd XVs had the distinction of wining every competition they were entered in, the fabled 'Grand Slam'.

In 1990 Tumble gained Heineken National League status and with that departed the Great Mountain Workingmen's Club to take up residency in the former Tumble Hotel. In 1991/92 the club won the Heineken National League Division 4 Championship and in 1995/96 the club reclaimed the WWRU Challenge Cup for the twelfth time under the captaincy of Richard Hardy.

 

The IRB made the game of rugby union 'open' to professionalism in 1995 and it was at the time of its centenary season in 1996/97 that the club began to struggle. Not being able to compete financially against clubs from larger town's there was a serious downturn in fortunes and it was only due to the number of players being produced by it's junior and youth sections that the club survived.

In 2006/07 after a number of struggles and false dawns the club won the WRU Division 3 West Championship and the WWRU Brains SA Bowl. The club suffered successive relegations in seasons 2007/08 and 2008/09 but in season 2009/10 under the coaching of Arwel and Gareth Davies the Magpies won WRU Division 4 West as well as adding the Brains SA Plate to the trophy cabinet. It was in 2010 that the club moved it's headquarters back to the Great Mountain Workingmen's Club after 20 years at the former Tumble Hotel which was earmarked for closure. Further trophies followed when the club won the Brians SA Bowl for the second time in season 2011/12, defeating Seven Sisters 27-26 at Dunvant RFC.  This win ensured that Tumble RFC had the distinction of becoming the first club to win the 'treble' of WWRU Cup, Bowl and Plate. 2013/14 saw the disappointment of a bottom place finish and subsequent relegation. The appointment of Chris Davies, Marc Kinnaird and Hugh Gustafson as a coaching unit saw the club recover to secure a fourth place finish in Division 3 West A for 2014/15. Season 2015/16 will do down as another successful one in the history of the club with the 1st XV clinching the Division 3 West B championship by a point from second placed Lampeter Town. The Magpies finished the season with a playing record of played 20, won 16, drawn 1, lost 3 - points 79. The club run successful junior and youth sections and in 2016 reformed their ladies team, 'Y Piod Pinc' after a gap of 20 years. ‚Äč

 

International Players:

One of Tumble's most notable players, was Welsh international Archie Skym. Although Skym had already moved to Llanelli RFC at the time he was first capped, he came to the attention of larger clubs when representing Tumble. He joined the team from a local side at Drefach, and in December 1926 left Tumble for the Scarlets. Skym earned 20 caps for Wales and also went on to play over 200 games for Cardiff RFC.

Former Tumble RFC player Des Jones also gained a cap in 1948 whilst playing at Llanelli RFC whilst D. Ken Jones tuned out for the club before having a successful career with Llanelli, Cardiff and Wales in the 1960s.

Gareth Davies the former Cardiff, Wales and British Lions outside half of the late 70's early 80's and current Welsh Rugby Union chairman was born in Tumble and played youth team rugby for the club before moving into the first class game. Another notable former player is Richard Rees the former Neath, Newport, Swansea, Scarlets and Wales wing.

Dwayne Peel the former Llanelli Scarlets, Sale Sharks, Bristol, Wales and British Lions scrum half, who is now attack coach at the Irish province Ulster is a product of the club's junior system as are Bath's Darren Allinson formally of the Cardiff Blues, Nicholas Cudd of the Newport Gwent Dragons and Hugh Gustafson and Daniel Evans of the Ospreys.

Former Wales Under 20 outside half and Wales 7s international Billy McBryde played for the club's junior section before moving to Llanelli RFC and the Scarlets Academy while his father Robin (Wales forwards coach) is a club vice-president. Gareth Williams, a former club junior section player is the Wales 7's head coach and was assistant coach for the Team GB Rugby 7's squad at the Rio Olympics.

 

British & Irish Lions:

Four players with close links to Tumble RFC have represented the British & Irish Lions -

D. Ken Jones - 1962, 1966

Gareth Davies - 1980

Robin McBryde - 2001

Dwayne Peel - 2005

Ymlaen Y Piod