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The History of Quoits in Wales Continued

There are minutes of the Montgomeryshire County Quoiting League dating date back as far as 1924.  Albert Baker's booklet "The History of Quoits in Wales", takes us from 1896 to 1948.  At this time the County Quoiting League in Montgomeryshire was still running, and did so at least until 1950. My records begin shortly after I started taking an interest in my father's hobby.  The ancient game of quoits had died out in Mid Wales when, in the early 1970s after a holiday in Scotland where he saw the game being played, Bernard Jones of Caersws brought the idea back to Montgomeryshire and there the interest was re-kindled.  The early 'beds' were fairly informal, sometimes being nothing more that an area of dirt in a field, but as the game increased in popularity, so there were distinct rules which had to be adhered to, and so followed affiliation to the Sports Council for Wales.  The beautiful scenery of Wales and Scotland lends itself particularly well to this particular kind of country pursuit.

Bernard Jones (right)

Montgomeryshire County Quoits League was established comprising the six villages of Tregynon, Llandyssil which boasted an A and B team, Bwlchyffridd, Bettws, Caersws, New Mills.  Due to there being an odd number of teams, each week, one of the teams had a bye.  In addition to their weekly league games, each of the villages would host an 'open' day every year, and also take it in turns to host the annual International competition against Scotland.  Both Llandyssil and Caersws have hosted the International twice - Llandyssil in 1983 and 1991, and Caersws in 1979 and 1987.  There were also village fetes, carnivals, fairs and such like to fill in the weekends throughout the summer.  Temporary beds were even established at events like the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells for demonstration games to be played.

The Scotland clubs, in addition to taking their turn to host the annual International competition, would hold their own 'open' days north of the border, and it was the special relationship between the Welsh Club of Caersws and the Scottish Club of Glenburn, started around 1973, which still holds true to this day.  Caersws 'open' has traditionally been held on the first Saturday of July and Glenburn Quoits Club on the third Saturday in August.  In addition to appearances at Internationals on either side of the border, members of the two clubs would arrange trips to attend each others' 'open' competitions as well.

Visitors from the Glenburn Club coming to Caersws would stay with friends in the village, and vica verca when the Caersws contingent travelled north.  Although numbers have dwindled year on year, the Glenburn faithful still arrive for that first Saturday in July, even though many of them no longer play quoits.  Much of the demise of the interest in the annual competition came about when the ground owned by Mr ("Pop") Roberts of Greenlands and loaned to Caersws Quoits Club was sold for re-development following his death, and the beds had to be relocated outside the village at the Recreation Ground - home of Caersws Bluebirds football.  It was never quite the same after that.  The site is about quarter of a mile out of the village itself, and can ony be accessed via the hump-backed bridge out of the village which also carries the main A470 - not to be taken lightly, particularly in the summer!  The quoits competition is an all-day event, with different games being played constantly throughout the day; often into the dusk.  Spectators like to watch a game, pop for a drink, watch a game, go for lunch, watch a couple of games, get some tea, watch a game, go for a shower, watch the semi-final and final and go back to the pub to finish off.  This is nigh on impossible with the location being so far out of the village.  The quoits population is not as young as it was, and even the players need to eat and drink too!

Some of the visiting Scots are third generation and it has been said that even if the quoits dies out in the area altogether, as it inevitably will, they will continue to come, if only for a game of dominoes, such is the bond of friendship that has been established between the two.  Some even make ad-hoc trips during the year, for an Easter break, or even for New Year!  Many of the youngsters come in the summer to attend the annual Fancy Dress in Llanidloes which is about eight miles away, and some just come for the 'hwyl'.  Some of the 'old timers' still putting in appearance up to 2004, included Jack and Isobel Hendren and Alex and Annette Grant who had not missed a single year since they first came in 1981.  The Montgomeryshire League has long gone, and Caersws is the only village outside of Dyfed hosting a Grand Prix event.  The Caersws 'open' has been kept alive so far, but for how much longer is debatable.  Only two Caersws players continue to play - Brendon Lloyd and Russell Owen with Dewi Jones, one of the original players of the 1970s still a supporter, although Russell Owen's son David is showing some promise.


Index of International Contests From 1979

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