Cardiff RFC Season Review 1877 – 1878



In this, our second season, E. C. Fry was the captain and W. D. Phillips vice-captain. Fourteen matches were played, and they included two inter-club games. One of them was between the First XV and the Rest which the former won by 1 goal, 1 try to 2 rouges, the other was between the First XV and the next XX, hurriedly arranged because of the non-appearance of Swansea on 5th January 1878. The latter was drawn as only a rouge was registered for the XX team. Of the 14 matches played six were won, six lost and two drawn, honours even; 8 goals and 19 tries were scored to our opponents 10 goals and 3 tries. W. D. Phillips the vice-captain scored 7 tries, and E. C. Fry 3, there were some 15 scorers in all.

Of the captain, it was reported “E. C. Fry played brilliantly at quarter-back in the cup tie with Carmarthen, and his splendid play in the Cheltenham College, and Swansea matches is also recorded, One sensational feat of his was to score a try after being forced over his own line, and instead of touching down, he actually threaded his way through the whole opposing team, and scored behind the posts”. This was surely a beacon for future Cardiff three-quarters to emulate.

Apart from the two clubs mentioned, fixtures were carried out with Newport, “Peglers Pontypool team (the Pontypool Club of today was not founded until the season 1900-01), Abergavenny, Rockleaze (Bristol), and two local clubs which had sprung up, namely Ely, and Roath, and the Roath Club, by virtue of the existing rule that a goal beat any number of tries, registered a victory over the town club Cardiff by one goal to Cardiff’s 4 tries.

There were 54 registered members of the club, of whom 31 were players, the subscription being 2/6d. During the season, the South Wales Football Union instituted the now famous Challenge Cup, an ornate one which cost fifty guineas, the entrance fee payable by clubs was two guineas. The ties are perhaps worthy of mention, they were:—
Carmarthen v. Cardiff at Neath, Talgarth v. Merthyr at Merthyr, Brecon v. Monmouth Grammar School at Cardiff, Cowbridge Grammar School v. LIanelly at Neath, Cardiff Grammar School v. Lampeter College at Carmarthen, ‘10th Glamorgan Rifle Volunteers v. Llandovery College at Swansea, Pontypool v. Newport at Newport (Pontypool was probably the team known as “ Peglers “), Llandeilo v. Neath at Neath, and Swansea v. Abergavenny at Brecon.

It was most unfortunate for Cardiff that for some unfathomable reason, they were not notified to play Carmarthen on the 29th of December until the evening before the game, and as a consequence were able to field only six of the First XV, at Swansea. The result was given in Carmarthen’s favour by 1 goal (disputed), 3 touches-down, to 1 try and 2 touches-down. Newport won the cup by beating Swansea in the final by 1 goal to nil. There were two umpires, R. Mullock of Newport, and R. H. Foa of Cardiff and the referee was Mr. E. C. Davies. Richard Mullock was the secretary of the South Wales Football Union, and became the secretary of the Welsh Football Union (the present Welsh Rugby Union) on its formation in 1880.

During this season clubs playing formation was: one fullback, one three quarter, one three quarter back, two half backs, two quarter backs and nine forwards, it was to be the season 1885-86 before Cardiff’s formation was regularised to the formation used in world rugby today.

Cardiff 16 13 0 3 396 243 61
Carmarthen Quins 17 10 3 4 372 278 54
Aberavon 16 11 0 5 371 272 53
Llandovery 16 9 2 5 344 285 48
Pontypridd 18 10 0 8 394 376 47
Merthyr 18 8 0 10 362 374 44
RGC 1404 17 8 1 8 409 381 43
Newport 15 7 0 8 294 278 37
Swansea 17 7 0 10 246 292 35
Llanelli 15 6 0 9 293 412 27
Ebbw Vale 17 4 2 11 283 351 27
Bridgend Ravens 18 3 0 15 271 493 19