Our History

The Early Years

The first season was successful and saw the club reaching the semi-finals of the Newport Challenge cup.

Although the Pill Harriers Athletic Club provided facilities for all sports, it was rugby that had pride of place. After the turn of the century Pill became one of the strongest sides in the area becoming Monmouthshire League Champions five times and runners up three times between 1902 and 1912. During this period Pill Harriers provided a stream of intelligent, strong players who would first move to first class team Newport before playing for Wales. George "Twyber" Travers, rugby’s first specialist hooker, gained 25 caps between 1903 and 1911, George Boots gained 16 caps between 1908 and 1904, Tommy Vile who would become president of the WRU and Gus Merry who gained 2 caps in 1912. Gus's caps and photos were donated to the Pill Harriers club in about 1996 by his great-nephew Glyn Maggs.

On 12 April 1919, Pill Harriers played host to the touring New Zealand Army team. 10,000 people turned up at Mendalgief Road to watch George Boots lead out the Harriers to a respectable 0-0 draw.

After the first World War came the Harriers' most successful season ever, playing 32 games, winning 30, drawing 2 and scoring a total of 737 points. In the course of the ‘invincible season’ the club fielded at least 8 players who were to gain international honours when later playing for other clubs. Two players were capped from the Harriers at this time – Jerry Shea and Jack Whitfield. Both players went on to gain further caps whilst playing for Newport.

The Harriers continued to grow until the outbreak of war in 1939, when the ground was taken over for vital industrial purposes. The club was closed down for the duration of hostilities. A new pitch in Pill was unavailable at the end of the war and no alternative was found. Therefore, on 3 June 1947 one of the most famous clubs in South Wales was wound up.