In 1926 a group of Penmaenmawr professionals arrived in South Wales looking for work, women and beer. It was a Saturday and they had time on their hands while they waited for the pubs to open. To kill time they competed against a team of Sirhowy Valley seniors, but lost 13½ points to 1½ points.
Ianto Ryder, a wealthy Welshman, watched the competition, and agreed to provide a trophy to encourage the matches to be played on a regular basis. The inaugural Ianto Cup matches were played the following year at Mynydd Brawdafad Golf Club, and thereafter every two years, with the venue alternating between North and South Wales. In 1973 the Cup was played for in Llanbobl for the first time, and in 1979, after a period of North Walian supremacy, it was decided to include West Walian players in the competition. Since then the contest have been close, and the score remains Taffs 7 wins, Gogs 7 wins, and one tied match. The Ianto Cup remains one of the few great sporting competitions that is played for no prize money.
This year it is due to be screened by S4C with a total viewing figure estimated to be in the high tens of thousands. The legions of fans at this year’s event will not go hungry. An estimated 20,000 portions of fish and chips, 15,000 quarter-pounder burgers, 7000 organic pies and 132,000 pints of beer will be consumed during the event.