Welsh Quoits in
(koits, kwoits) is a traditional
game which involves the
throwing of metal, rope or rubber rings over a set distance,
usually to land over or near a spike. Wales and Scotland play a
distinctly different game from the English one - the Long game.
The Long game has similarities to the game of
bowls, in that a player
scores a point for each quoit nearer to the pin than his
opponent. The hobs are 18 yards apart, while the quoits are
typically around nine inches in diameter and weigh up to 11
pounds, almost double that of the northern English game.
There is historical evidence from 1388 of attempts to ban Quoits
from pubs and taverns due to its disreputable character and it
was not until the nineteenth century that the official rules
first appeared; in the April 1881 edition of 'The Field'.
Although the great days of quoiting in South Wales were between
the 1870s and 1930s, with flourishing leagues and international
matches between Wales and England and Scotland; this sport was
popular in Merthyr Tydfil in much earlier days. In his article
Celtic Connections: Early Quoiting in Merthyr Tydfil,
Innes MacLeod draws attention to a Quoiting Society founded in
Merthyr Tydfil in 1842. The centre of this sport seems to have
been the Star Inn, Lower High Street, where the annual general
meeting and club dinner took place. The Club was essentially
Scottish in character but at once recruited at least four
Welshmen. The Merthyr Tydfil Quoiting Society, which recruited
30 members in its first session was ‘chiefly composed’ of
Scotch itinerant tea dealers and drapers. A Merthyr Quoiting
Song celebrated not only the joys of quoiting but the friendship
of all players ‘Welshman or Scot’. Important contests were
played in the 1850s in Cardiff and Swansea.
The following local
information is from
The History of Quoits in Wales
by Albert Baker, 1932. The only
occasion when a player failed to score in an International
match, was at Merthyr in 1901. R. Davies of Dowlais was the
Welsh treasurer, 1922 - 1926 and amongst the secretaries of the
Quoits Club was Inspector Milton M. Thomas, Merthyr, 1912 -
1914. Heolgerrig was the local centre for Quoits and T.
Griffiths of Heolgerrig was Welsh runner up in 1904 and the
Welsh Championship took place in Heolgerrig in 1906 , 1907 and
1919. In 1912 J. Thomas of Heolgerrig won the Welsh
Championship. The international
against England was played in Merthyr Tydfil in 1899 and 1901
and on both occasions Wales won. In 1914 the match was played in
Cefn Coed. In 1925 John Powell, Dowlais was the Captain
of the Welsh team, they played in Kent and Wales was the victor.
In 1931 the match against Scotland was played in Merthyr but
Scotland won. International quoits players included amongst
others R. Davies of Merthyr Vale, T. Griffiths, Heolgerrig, R.
Jones of Merthyr , Eddy Jones of Merthyr, D. Morton, Troedyrhiw,
John Owen of Heolgerrig, John Powell, Dowlais, Watkin Jones of
Heolgerrig, John Price from Cyfarthfa and Jack Thomas of
Wales and Scotland still
play a hotly contested match every year. In Wales, the game is
concentrated in a few clubs based around Dyfed and Powys. The
Welsh Quoiting Board (Bwrdd Coetio Cymru) fizzled out around
1960 but it was reconstituted in 1979 and is now affiliated to
the Welsh Sports Council.
Early Quoiting in Merthyr Tydfil, Innes MacLeod
the excellent Merthyr Historian volume 17