BRIEF HISTORY OF PENLAN RFC
Penlan RFC was formed in 1967 from the Penlan Community Centre, since when it has been affiliated to the Swansea and District Rugby Union.
After using several venues in the early days, it settled at the Coracle Inn as a base, until the present clubhouse was built at Mynydd Newydd playing fields, opening the doors for business in December 1981.
Site of Penlan RFC before construction
After winning the Swansea and District League and Cup competitions on a number of occasions in past seasons Penlan sought more challenging rugby and played in the West Wales Premier League presently sponsored by Polypipe Civils plc. This league was comprised the top teams in the Swansea, Llanelli and Pembroke District Unions. After making steady process through the seasons, Penlan won the League in the 2005 - 2006 season finishing nine clear points ahead of old rivals, Bonymaen. Penlan are the first team, other than Carmarthen Quinns, to win the League and, in doing so, scored the highest number of points and conceded the lowest total in the competition.
Despite a noteworthy history and playing record, Penlan remained a District club without WRU status and, consequently, receive no annual funding from the Welsh Rugby Union. The success achieved is due, solely, to the hard work and the outstanding commitment of the unpaid players, committee and loyal supporters.
The club recently celebrated their fortieth anniversary, coinciding with the clubhouse refurbishment. The Club has also recently completed the upgrading of the changing room and showering facilities.
They have also been granted planning permission to extend the present flood-lightng around the pitch and are engaged in fund raising to complete the project and hopefully, be able to play floodlit matches before long. All of these refurbishments and upgrades are to further the club ambition to advance and qualify for full WRU membership one day.
On the initiative and support of the City and County of Swansea Council a Rugbywise Project was launched at the club in September 2005 as part of the Penderry Sports scheme. Supporting the project at the opening was the five times World Karate Champion, Geoff Thompson M.B.E.; Scott Johnson representing the WRU; Ospreys and Wales player Gavin Henson, and Ospreys team Manager Derwyn Jones. The main aim of the project is to involve children in the playing of sport and channelling their leisure time off the streets while developing their character and team spirit. This has already proved successful, not only for Penlan RFC but also for the community and residents of the Penderry area as a whole
Under the management and supervision of Rugbywise Co-ordinator, Mark Fitzgerald, the junior rugby structure has been re-formed, with teams playing in teams of under 8, 9, 10, and 11 year olds. The scheme is going from strength to strength with steady progress being made on the field. If success was measured in spirit and enthusiasm alone, these youngsters are already champions.
The 2007/2008 season saw an exciting new development for Penlan with the formation by the WRU of 3 new Division 6 leagues being established for junior teams in the West, Central and East regions of Wales. Penlan played in the West Division and won all our fixtures with maximum bonus try points. We scored 152 tries and conceded just 7 and notched up 955 points with only 58 against us. Consequently Penlan emerged as the inaugural Division 6 West Champions.
Once again in 2008 / 2009 Penlan were the undefeated champions of Division 6 West with 780 individual points and 123 tries in the season. For the first time the WRU permitted non-WRU member clubs to be promoted to Division 5 which gave Penlan the opportunity to progress and play rugby at a higher level.
Now in Division 5 South West for 2009 / 2010 Penlan’s skill and determination saw them win all their first 21 games, gain 98 points which was 9 ahead of second place Birchgrove and led to them being awarded the WRU trophy as league champions in their penultimate game of the season. In a cruel twist of fate, a misunderstanding by Penlan resulting in them failing to play their final mid-week game against Trebanos and without opportunity to re-schedule they technically failed to fulfil all their games in the season. It was a costly and embarrassing slip up by Penlan as a result of which the WRU had to deduct all their 98 points and award the championship to Birchgrove instead. Penlan could still not have been promoted anyway but it was an embarrassing blow and an invaluable lesson well learned.
In 2010 / 2011 Penlan bounced back and proved that their previous season’s success could be maintained. With full WRU membership at the end of the season being possible the team played with renewed vigour and finished the season in third place behind Trebanos and Neath Athletic both of whom were promoted to Division 4. It was a tight race though with Penlan being just two points behind Neath but ahead in tries by 109 tries to their 102. In June 2011 Penlan, along with five other clubs, gained full WRU membership which was a milestone in their history which opened the door for their possible promotion in the following season.
The 2011 / 2012 season saw Penlan go from strength to strength and emerge as Division 5 South West Champions with promotion to Division 4 South West. Their progress continued and they finished the season as champions with 101 points and an average of 5.77 tries per game and were promoted to Division 3 South West for 2013 / 2014.
Their rapid advancement saw Penlan up against some formidable opposition in 2013 / 2014 but they justified their position finishing the season in 4th. league position.
Under the new WRU league structure Penlan were advanced to Division 2 for the 2014 / 2015 season and, due to geography, played in the West league. The change involved some significant extra travelling including to Aberystwyth. Despite this and facing new teams, Penlan as ever proved their worth by finishing in third place behind Gowerton and Llanelli Wanders who were promoted to Division 1.
The 2015 – 2016 season sees Penlan playing in Division 2 West Central with the outlook looking bright, especially with a thriving Junior team set up that holds great promise for the future.
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