Welsh Rugby: What’s in a name?

When playing for and captaining London Welsh Dragons (3XV) in the 1960s and 1970s we always posted the team’s players for the following Saturday on the club notice board. Usually, it was first name’s initial and then the surname. One week we realised that we had five Dai Williamses and a Derek Williams in the 15. The Dai Williamses therefore had to be known by other names: Dai Schweppes – where he worked once; Dai Y Llath (Dai the milk) – a milkman; D.A.R. (that Dai’s copious number of names/initials). As it was early in the season, the other two were new to the club and had not yet got a “moniker.” They both played for the club only once and took their boots elsewhere. About the same time I played cricket against a Hounslow team who had seven Patels amongst their eleven players.

These two incidents inspired me to write a TV script that took place in Wales where everyone had the same name – Dai Williams. I sent it to the BBC Cymru/Wales and ended up in Cardiff seeing an editor. The visit was not a success, and I am reminded what Tommy Farr the Welsh boxer, who once went 15 rounds with the great Joe Louis, said when asked about Louis: “Every time I think of Joe Louis my nose bleeds.” For me the roasting I got from the editor made me understand how Tommy could feel that way about Louis.

So I decided to turn it into a novel where it changed completely and only one character is called Dai Williams.

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