In a bid to expand the game, the WRU introduced the Floodlight Alliance competition in the 1965-66 season. Eight of the leading clubs formed two divisions in East and West Wales. Newport and Bristol, pioneers in floodlit matches, accepted invitations to take part, but were stopped from doing so by the RFU, who objected to competitive rugby. Newport were members of both the WRU and RFU at the time.
The installation of floodlighting at Cardiff Arms Park cost the home club £5,829. They recouped £646 in television fees. They did go on to reach the first Floodlight Alliance final, beating Llanelli over two legs in the space of three days.
The competition tried to encourage open rugby and there were no penalty kicks outside the 22. It was a great success in the early years, but ended after the introduction of the WRU Challenge Cup in the 1971-72 season. Once Cardiff, Aberavon and Bridgend had won in the opening three seasons, Llanelli dominated and won six titles in a row.
FLOODLIGHT ALLIANCE WINNERS
LLANELLI’S FIRST TITLE – 27 MARCH, 1968
Having beaten Neath (9-0), Swansea (6-3) and Aberavon (9-3), Llanelli set-up a final shoot-out with reigning champions Bridgend over two legs. The two matches ended in draws – one try apiece at Stradey Park and then two tries each at the Brewery Field. It meant there had to be a replay. It was third time lucky for Llanelli as they came out on top 18-6 on home soil.
Five of the six tries came from the forwards, which included two sets of brothers – Norman and Byron Gale in the front row and Clive and Alan John in the back row. Phil Bennett picked up his first major trophy with the club at outside half, while fellow youngster Derek Quinnell had appeared in the first leg of the trilogy. Stuart Gallacher scored two tries packing down alongside Delme Thomas in the second row.
Llanelli: Jeff J Williams; Ken Davies, John Thomas, Gwyn Ashby, Andy Hill; Phil Bennett, Dennis Thomas; Brian Butler, Norman Gale (captain), Byron Gale, Delme Thomas, Stuart Gallacher, Clive John, Alan John, Marlston Morgan
Scorers: Tries: Stuart Gallacher 2, Brian Butler, Delme Thomas, Alan John, John Thomas
LLANELLI’S FLOODLIGHT ALLIANCE FINAL RECORD
1964-65 Llanelli lost to Cardiff
30 March 5-5 at Stradey Park 1 April 8-14 at Arms Park
1967-68 Llanelli beat Bridgend in a replay
6 March 3-3 at Brewery Field
20 March 6-6 at Stradey Park
27 March 18-6 at Stradey Park
1968-69 Llanelli beat Maesteg
3 March 15-3 at Old Parish
17 March 15-9 at Stradey Park
1969-70 Llanelli beat Ebbw Vale
15 December 6-9 at Eugene Cross Park
18 February 6-0 at Stradey Park
1970-71 Llanelli beat Ebbw Vale
20 January 3-3 at Stradey Park (Match Abandoned)
9 February 21-9 at Stradey Park
3 March 0-6 at Eugene Cross Park
1971-72 Llanelli beat Ebbw Vale
5 January 20-8 at Stradey Park
12 January 16-20 at Eugene Cross Park
1972-73 Llanelli beat Swansea
30 April 6-4 at Stradey Park