Tuesday, July 01, 2008


On Monday, it was impossible to park within half a mile of Glyntaff crematorium as thousands of people poured into the area for the funeral of Gareth (Snid) Jones.

There were coaches from Neath, Beddau and of course Glyncoch, but even so, cars filled the Crematorium grounds, the car park, the verges along Pentrebach Road, Graig-Yr-Helfa Road and almost up to the cottage hospital. Others were parked in Rhydyfelin and the drivers and passengers walked through the cemetery to join the crowd gathered around the crematorium.

There was no room for all the people who turned up to show their respects, and the overflow poured onto Cemetery Road. In line with his family's wishes, most wore rugby jerseys rather than mourning clothes, and a large contingent of Neath fans wore jerseys emblazoned with Gareth's number-9 and the name SNID. There were also plenty of Pontypridd, Beddau and Glyncoch shirts in evidence, and also a smaller number of jerseys from Newport, Cardiff and Swansea as well as others from English, Scottish and Irish clubs; I'm sure there were more that I didn't notice in the huge crowd. This was one day when rivalry was forgotten and as Deena from Neath said on the club's forum “It was also great to see two great rugby clubs Neath and Ponty coming together and stand side by side to pay tribute ...”

While it was a sad day in so many ways, Snid's friends, his family and his fans were also determined to celebrate his life. Extra barrels were ordered at Glyncoch Social Club and at the Rugby Club. Social Club Stewardess Liz Richards said, “We've sold as much beer today as we normally would on the whole of a good weekend. Snid was a very popular member.” One fan said “Snid seemed to know what life was all about, living it with passion and positivity and earning the love and respect of so many people. I will learn from this.”

Neath head coach, Rowland Phillips described Gareth as “...a larger than life character who created a happy and fun environment at the club.” He went on to say “His inclusion in the Neath squad during 2006/07 was a major reason why we won the league, he just seemed to settle in straight away.”

Snid was a real live wire his exuberance on the pitch was matched in his daily life. His passing has left rugby a poorer sport and Glyncoch a poorer place.


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