This article, written by Roy ‘REL’ Lewis, appeared in the match day magazine for Ebbw’s home match with Llandovery on January 30th, 2016.
GRAHAM POWELL – OUR FIRST INTERNATIONAL
In March 1957 Ebbw Vale celebrated when the Welsh selectors announced the team to play Ireland at the Arms Park. We had lost to England and Scotland and changes were called for, one of them was centre Graham Powell who had shown outstanding form in a successful Ebbw Vale side. He was our first capped player and one of our greatest centres.
Former player and Chairman of the club Allan Foster was among many saddened at the news of Graham’s death at the age of 83 but has many happy memories of him. “Graham Powell lived opposite me in Duffryn Road, Waunlwyd and was my boyhood hero. He went to Ebbw Vale Grammar School and Bristol University and went on to work in the petrol industry with Shell where he made quite a name for himself before moving to Total Oil where he became the top man in the UK.
“I remember he came to our Centenary Dinner in March 1980 and arrived in a chauffer driven car! He stayed in the Manor Hotel, Crickhowell where the Dinner was held. He told me how much he enjoyed such a memorable evening.
“Graham first played alongside Peter Clubb in the centre and when Peter went to Wigan he then formed a strong partnership with Dai Barrett from Blaina. His shoulder was first dislocated by a tackle in an Ebbw Vale game at Pontypool and he continued to have shoulder trouble after that. He would certainly have played more games for Wales had it not been for his shoulder and he retired fairly early at about 28 years of age. He was a charming man who was part of a great Ebbw Vale team in the Fifties.”
Graham Powell was a local man, born in Waunlwyd, educated in Ebbw Vale, played his first senior game for Cwm and finally was capped by Wales. Apart from his rugby feats, fellow pupils in the Grammar School remember his all-round athleticism, his academic qualities and perhaps above all his personality and as Allan Foster has said, his charm.
An interesting look back at Graham’s time at Ebbw Vale County School, written by Eric Smith, can be accessed on the Ebbw Vale County Grammar School website, here.