Cardiff RFC Season Review 1901 – 1902

1901—02, P35, W28, L6, Dl. Points 313—102,



This was a better season than last, both for the First and the Reserves teams. A unique feature was that both captains were full-backs and both were brothers, H. B. “ Bert Winfield First XV and W. J. ‘ Walter’ Winfield The Reserves XV. The appointed vice-captains were D. L. Bowen a former Llanelly forward, and E. Guy Treharne a three-quarter respectively. Most of last season’s players were available, and a notable addition to our ranks was A. F. Harding, a great forward who was to gain the first three of his 20 Welsh caps before joining London Welsh.

In this season Gwyn Nicholls and Bert Winfield commenced business in Newport. The Victoria Launderers (Gwyn Nicholls & Winfield Ltd.) of Llandaff, are in business today, and after Christmas, Nicholls threw in his lot with Newport. It gave much satisfaction to all his supporters when he returned to the Cardiff fold and into the Blue and Black jerseys late in the season to play against the Barbarians, Leicester and Gloucester. Surprisingly, we lost the third match of the season to Bristol (away) by a try to nil. It was victory to the Bristolians at the nineteenth encounter with Cardiff.

Our first match with Swansea at Cardiff was drawn, no score, and the late C. S. Arthur wrote: “The match of greatest interest was the one against Swansea at Cardiff on the 26th October; Swansea was a great team in those days, and as Cardiff on the two previous Saturdays had defeated Devonport Albion and Newport, two very good performances, they were thought to have a very good chance of lowering Swansea’s colours, and the match drew the largest crowd that had ever attended an inter-club match, the gate receipts amounting to £472.2.2d. Many hundreds of people got into the ground for nothing by scaling the walls in Westgate Street, because the ticket sellers could not cope with thousands who were clamouring for tickets. The match happened on what was called play day” in the Rhondda and several thousand Rhondda-ites were amongst the spectators. It is also said that 3,000 people made the journey from Swansea. The game was a terrific struggle forward, and the excitement was intense throughout.”

We did not lose another match again until we met Swansea on 13th March going down by 15 points to nil. The All Whites were currently Welsh Champions, a powerful team enjoying a golden era, a credit indeed to the successful development of Welsh Rugby. They had even been billed as the “greatest club on earth”. In the period 1899—1905 Swansea enjoyed unparalleled success over Cardiff winning 12 out of a sequence of 15 matches. In the match of March 1902, our forward A. F. Harding was injured after a few minutes when charged in making a mark, and had to retire finally at half time. After this Swansea defeat, we lost successively to Newport, 10 points to nil and LIanelly 11 points to 4, but we won our next two over Leicester 8—3, and the Barbarians 19—6, only to flounder again, successively, to Leicester away by a dropped goal to a penalty and, surprisingly to Old Merchant Taylors at home by one goal, one try to one penalty goal. At home in the last match of the season, we scraped home against Gloucester by a solitary try to nil.
Injuries were the main cause of losing the five matches out of the last eight. Percy Bush was crocked in the second match with Newport, being tackled in making a mark, and was out for the rest of the season, Harding was injured in the last Swansea match and unavailable for vital matches. Two of our forwards R. Grey and D. Thomas did not play after December. We had missed Gwyn Nicholls. There were many good victories however including doubles over the Barbarians, Devonport Albion, Penarth, Gloucester and Moseley, both Oxford and Cambridge Universities were beaten as well as Neath, Llanelly. the Irish visitors Old Wesley, Blackheath twice and the Hartlepool Old Boys.

On Boxing Day the Barbarians drew a gate of 10,000 and, in this match the captain of the Reserves XV W. J. Winfield, deputised for his brother and first team captain H. B. Winfield who had a ricked back and was due to play at Exeter the following Saturday in an English trial match. H. B. Winfield was kept out of the Welsh team by J. Strand Jones, they were opposing fullbacks in Cardiff’s match with Oxford University, Strand Jones was capped as from the LIanelly Club. before being displaced by Winfield for Wales against Ireland in 1903. In one of our matches with Penarth, Winfield fielded the ball at half way and ran the length of the field to score a try. Cecil Biggs was top try scorer with 16, followed by W. “Pussy’ Jones who got 10. Eleven 1st Team caps (a large number) were awarded to J. A. Brown, W. Carde, A. F. Harding, W. J .Hart, W. A. Jones, W. Wayne Morgan, George Northmore, W. 0. Rees, C. Stranaghan, A. Spackman and W. Neville Thomas.

W. J. Winfield’s Reserves XV lost only two, and drew four out of 28 matches. His vice captain scored 14 tries and W. H. King 11. Ten new caps were awarded, the recipients were: F. Young, W. King, H. Davies, D. Ryan, H. Coppock, F. Smith, H. Summerhayes, W. G. Scott and W. Jenkins. Mainly due to the increased accommodation our gross takings increased by £793, there was however, conversely, increased expenditure on stands. Donations to charities were £134 and local clubs £94. The balance in hand was £279 and there was still over £2,000 on deposit.

Obituary. The committee recorded with regret that, in the early part of the season, George Lewis who had been the club’s attendant for seventeen years, had passed away. He had rendered excellent and loyal service and during his illness the committee devoted to him the sum of £10, and voted his widow the sum of £25 to be paid to her in weekly installments

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