It is with sadness that we find ourselves recording the passing of another stalwart of the club, Ernie Lewis who died on Saturday 25th July, aged 91.
Roy Lewis writes: “Ernie Lewis was our outside half at a special time for the club. The 1950s brought success and recognition and after finishing third in the 1950/1 Welsh Championship, we won it the following season under George Gwynn. We played 39 games, won 31, drew 2 and lost six, with Ernie topping the century in points scored for the third season in succession, an achievement in days when scores were low. His haul of 198 points made him the highest scorer in Welsh rugby in 1951/2, and set a club record that stood for 23 years, until it was broken by his son, Steve.
He did not give up the game when he finished playing, and became a first-class referee. He refereed France v Australia in 1971 in Toulouse and faced a hostile crowd which went wild when he awarded a penalty to the Aussies after their captain Greg Davies was punched and suffered a broken nose. The Wallabies won 13-11 and police escorted them from the dressing rooms to their bus.
On a much happier occasion Ernie was touch-judge at Cardiff when what some consider the greatest game of rugby ever was played there – Barbarians v New Zealand in 1973 – and had the remarkable honour of being the closest man on the pitch to Gareth Edwards as he scored THAT try.
Ernie often came to watch his old club play and was able to see first Steve, then his grandsons Iestyn, James and Robert wearing the same colours. He was immensely proud that all four represented Wales at age group levels. Ernie played a major role in the club’s success in the 50s and 60s when four Welsh Championships were won. A native of Abertillery he later joined them and, when a 29 year school-master, played against the 1953 All Blacks for Abertillery/Ebbw Vale.”
Everyone at Ebbw Vale RFC extends our deepest sympathy to his family.
The funeral will take place at Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog on Tuesday, 4th August at 2pm.