THE Victorian era saw the emergence of two sports which now dominate Welsh life.

Both association football and rugby union emerged from a period when both had been played and known collectively as ‘rustic sports’ and it would only be in the 1870s when the two sports came into their own with the establishment of rules.

Even then matches would continue to be played under a variety of rules across Wales for decades.

In the meantime, pioneer clubs across Wales were founded and unsurprisingly would often contest matches which would be unrecognisable by today’s standards.

This was the case in Powys where the association game and rugby union code collided and often meshed.

Like so many places across Britain, colleges and universities played a key role in bringing regulated football to the masses.

Brecon’s Christ College played a town eleven in November 1867 and a year later Brecon Football Club was formed, playing Abergavenny in their first ever game.

The Brecon County Times reported on October 24 1868: “The members appeared in the field in a somewhat stylish looking costume, white jerseys bound with green and a fleur de lis on the left side which had a very pretty effect.”

The following year a second club was formed in the town, the Brecon United Rangers and would play 12 a side matches against Crickhowell.

The town was home to two football clubs and the Christ College side in the early 1870s but this decade proved to be one of great change in the sporting landscape.

In 1875 the South Wales Football Club was formed in the town and adopted rugby union code though its secretary HW Davies had certainly previously served as captain of the town’s football club.

Records reveal a very public spat with the town’s Christ College side the previous year following a match and perhaps this marked the end of Mr Davies’ interest in association rules.

It appears football was not played in the town for a time after with records of the town’s vicar attempting to reform a club in 1880 but it is not until 1885 when Brecon Football Club are first recorded to play under association rules once again.

Football became increasingly popular in Powys during this time – and nowhere more so than in nearby Builth Wells where a club was first established in 1876 and home to a host of future Welsh internationals including Walter Evans and Edmund Howell.

In the first match recorded by the club in the Western Mail on October 31,1876 a match against Radnorshire Wanderers reflects the fluidity of rules of sport at the time.

The match was played under association rules until the ball burst and the match was completed under rugby union rules.

This would not be the last time Builth Wells Football Club found itself playing a rugby club.

In a bizarre turn of events Builth Wells Football Club hosted Brecon Rugby Club in November 1886 with Builth running out 10-0 winners in a match played under association rules.

Whether or not such a fixture was planned or a mistake is unclear.

The following year Brecon Football Club reformed though folded after just a year - unable to compete with the town’s rugby club which had helped form the Welsh Rugby Union.

However three years later the bizarre occurrence happened for a second time which the Brecon County Times of January 10 1890 explicitly makes clear had been a mistake.

The report read: ‘‘Owing to some mistake the Builth Association team appeared on the Brecon ground on New Year’s Day.

“Of course it is well known in Brecon that no association team exists at present for what was the making of a good team last year has been spoiled owing to some of the best players having left the town.

“L Hope picked a team from among the onlookers, old association players and few importations.

“Brecon still had some talent for the game of association left and the match ended in a goalless draw.”

In many ways the match represented the end of wild west and lawless nature of the two eminent sports which would become all the more regulated over the next decade and akin to the sports we love today.