What a night that was. A sell out crowd gathered to pay tribute to some of Neath’s greats as TP Whittington, Brian Williams, Brian Thomas, Shane Williams, Steve Powell and Dai Morris became the first players to be inducted into the Neath Rugby Supporters Club Hall of Fame.
The evening started with club historian Mike Price talking of the club’s great history and talking of all the other players who could have merited inclusion. It was quite a list.
On to the main awards and first up was legendary prop Brian Williams. Of course, Brian sadly passed away back in 2007 and so it was his daughters who received his cap on his behalf from current Neath loose head Nicky Downs.
Next award went to Brian Thomas. Again, sadly Brian Thomas is no longer with us and so his daughter received his award from former Neath second row Gareth Llewellyn.
The next inductee was Shane Williams. Sadly Shane couldn’t be persuaded to make a flying visit back from Japan to attend the evening, and our budget didn’t quite stretch to sending me out there to award his cap in person. Nevertheless, he did record a special message of thanks which was played to the audience. Dai Parker then presented the award to Shane’s former Ospreys and Wales team-mate James Hook.
After Shane, it was the turn of ex Neath centre (or wing/fullback/out side half/scrum half/prop/hooker/second row/flanker/no.8) Steve Powell to receive his award. The award was presented by current Neath outside half (and part time centre) Dai Langdon.
The final award of the evening went to legendary Neath and Wales flanker Dai ‘The Shadow’ Morris. The award was presented by Neath’s current flanker and captain Lee Evans. In accepting his award Dai paid tribute to his teamates, saying that he wouldn’t have achieved what he did without those around him.
The final formality of the evening was the unveiling of the Hall of Fame honours board. This was done by Rhys and Sarah Davies of R&SD Risk Management, kind sponsors of the evening.
Former Neath second row, Gareth Llewellyn then took the floor to regale us with his memories of his time playing for the club. He had the room crying with laughter with his tales of what the squad got up to on their tours to France back in the 1980s – anyone for bullfighting?
Next it was the turn of James Hook to join Gareth Llewellyn on the floor to take part in a Q&A session with the fans where they answered questions truthfully and honestly.
As well as those who took part in the presentations, it was also nice to see other past and present players come along to support the night, including Glen Ball, Euros Evans, Roy Jones, Aaron Bramwell, Leon Ward and Patrick Horgan.
It was clear that everyone there thoroughly enjoyed themselves and our thanks must go to all those people mentioned above who contributed to the evening. We’d also like to thank all those who attended. Your support is much appreciated and there would have been no point putting the evening if there was no interest from the supporters. So thank you very much.
So, I suppose now it’s time to start planning next year’s event!!!