News

08 July 2021 / Club News

In Memoriam: Thomas D. Pullman

It is with deep sadness that Mountain Ash RFC must report the sudden passing of one of the Club’s foremost players of the 1960s and 70s, scrum-half Tom Pullman.

During his 19-year career with the Club, he played over 500 1st XV games and captained the 1st XV for 7 seasons, the most achieved by any player in the 91 seasons which comprised the 20th century - the First World War stopping play from 1914-1916 and the Second World War from 1939 to 1946.

He first played for Mountain Ash Youth in 1960 and represented the District Youth. He made his 1st XV debut in 1961, whilst still a Youth player. He quickly established himself as a first-team regular, and was a member of the Old Firm XV which won the Mid District Championship in 1964/65.

Tom’s first stint as 1st XV captain was in season 1966/67, a season which saw the Club’s post-War record of 23 wins in a season – set in 1959/60 – raised to 26. The season also saw him score 23 tries which was a post-War record for a player. He continued as Captain in 1967/68 and although the season did not hit the heights of the previous year, with 18 wins and 7 draws from 39 games played, was a respectable return.

At the start of the 1969/70 season, he joined Swansea RFC. Later that season he played for the All Whites against the touring South African Springboks at St Helen’s, which was a game disrupted by anti-apartheid protestors. Travelling to and from Swansea proved to be too time-consuming, and so he transferred back to Mountain Ash at the end of the season.

He captained the Mount 1st XV in 1970/71 and carried out that role for five out of the next six seasons, one of these being the Centenary season of 1975/76, which was a great honour for Tom in an historic season for the Club. That season was memorable and included a 12-11 win over the reigning Welsh Champions, Pontypool, a last 16 spot in the WRU Cup for the first time, a post-War record of 27 wins, and some fine performances against strong first-class opposition in the form of Leicester (losing 22-19), and Bridgend in the WRU Cup (losing 6 – 8). Tom played his part in all this and led from the front.

He retired at the end of the 1978/79 season, during which he played his 500th 1st XV game for the Old Firm against Guy’s Hospital at the Rec on 25 November 1978 – a game in which Tom celebrated in style with his team-mates with Mount scoring 10 tries in a 51-3 win. At the end of the season, he finished on a high, with the win over Aldershot Services RFC raising the post-War win record for the club to 29 for a season – still the record today. For that season, Tom was awarded the Player of the Year trophy at the Presentation night.

During his playing days, he was a prolific left-footed kicker, gaining plenty of ground for the Old Firm with his tactical kicking; he was also a drop-kick expert, as well as taking the occasional penalty or conversion. He was a strong runner for a scrum half, especially from close in, and he scored plenty of tries from such positions – a player before his time in this respect. His record of 23 tries in a season, in 1966/67, still stands at the time of his passing and, in total throughout his career, he scored 150 1st XV tries.

Tom played for the 1st XV on 523 occasions and played regularly from 1964 for the Mid District Rugby Union XV, playing in approximately 23 games, most of them as Captain.

After his playing days were over, he helped coach the senior squad in 1990/91 and then joined the Club committee. He succeeded Denis Bryant as Club President in 2009 after Mr Bryant’s passing.

The Club offers its deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife of over 50 years, Jill, and to his sons Michael and Andrew, and the rest of the family.

There are certain people who make their mark in life, and Tom certainly did that at Mountain Ash RFC. He will be sadly missed. R.I.P. Tom.

Mountain Ash Rugby Football Club

1st XV

1966/67

Above, scrum half and Captain, Tom Pullman, in the middle of the front row, with the Mount team in his first season of captaincy in 1966/67.

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