Cardiff RFC Season Review 1887 – 1888

1887-8. P25, W19, L2, D4.


George Young who took over the captaincy was a three-quarter of ability; he had joined the club in 1882-3 and was already the holder of two Welsh caps. His was a most successful season, and he was helped by an intake of three very good players from the local Cardiff Harlequins Club, namely S. H. Nicholls, W. E. 0. Williams and W. H. Keepings, and these, together with a redheaded three-quarter named G. Rosser Evans from Swansea, were to serve Cardiff very well. The enthusiasm for the Rugby game in South Wales was growing more and more, and it was given much emphasis by our local Press such as “ The South Wales Daily News” and the “Western Mail “. Indeed, they were now providing several columns of small print for the description of our Rugby matches. Perhaps by modern standards they were verbose, but they were not without wit and humour, as, for example, the following extracts on Cardiff’s first match of the season at Neath, where Cardiff were really expected to win: “The Neath Town Band attended and provided some excellent music, chiefly of the melancholic and reminiscent sort as befitted the occasion “.

Cardiff won by six converted goals to nil, and one of the two tries scored by the captain was reported thus, “ he jumped over a Neath back who dwelt on the line—the better to do the legging business “. Hugh “ Sawdust “ Hughes converted all the six tries scored.

1887-8 heralded the first of a long series of four fixtures with our Newport rivals, and it ended up with honors even with a win apiece and two drawn games. Newcomers included Salford and Huddersfield from the North and Burton from the Midlands. The third match of the season was with Huddersfield and it proved most unfortunate for one of our most promising players, A. H. Williams, who was charged when fielding the ball in the first few minutes and he was carried off the field with a broken ankle and never played again for the club. After fifteen minutes of this match Cardiff lost one of its forwards J. J. E. Biggs with an injured shoulder, and in spite of battling on for the rest of the game with but thirteen men they succeeded in defeating this (at the time) powerful Huddersfield team by two tries to one. In 1922-3, Dr. J. J. E. Biggs was Alderman, J.P. and Lord Mayor of the City of Cardiff.

Of the Welsh clubs, it was Neath who suffered most at the hands and feet of Cardiff and they were beaten by a total of 11 goals, 3 tries to nil in the two matches played, in the second of them C. S. Arthur scored four tries and Q. D. Kedzlie kicked five converted goals. Swansea were beaten twice by a solitary try on each occasion, and on the return journey from Swansea in January “the victorious Cardiff players were met by a ‘monstrous crowd which had gathered at the station “. They were unbeaten at the time, and did not lose the first match—to Newport by one goal to a try—until 11th February of the season. Gloucester, on their ground was the only other club to inflict defeat upon the Blue and Blacks, by one goal, and one try (disputed) to a dropped goal kicked by Cardiff’s half back 0. J. Evans.

During this season, Scotland were beaten by Wales for the first time and Cardiff’s players were 0. J. Evans, A. F. Bland, A. F. Hill, Q. 0. Kedzlie and W. “ Buller” Stadden then from Dewsbury; the four first named also played against Ireland, together with C. S. Arthur. There was no international match with England owing to dispute.

The season was successful with a turnover of £1,039.19.7d. and a balance of £272.0.ld. was carried forward to next season. J. P. Jones was appointed to the recreated post of hon. treasurer and, for the first time, the club funds were used to pay the cost of the players’ medical attendance, which totaled £7.7.Od. and the cost of insurance premiums against accident.

Top scorers were C. S. Arthur with 19 tries, G. A. Young 12, W. E. Jarman 11 and S. H. Nicholls and Norman Biggs with six each. Nicholls and Jarman each played 24 out of the 25
matches, closely followed by H. T. Day, A. F. Hill, 0. J. Evans and Q. D. Kedzlie each with 23.

The captain of the Second XV, Dan E. Jones, had a very successful season, his team winning 18, losing one and drawing one. The Seconds scored 41 goals and 43 tries with only one dropped goal and one try against them, quite a remarkable performance, they were certainly proving their worth as a nursery to the premier team.

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