1922-23. P40, W26, La, D6. Points 541—248.
IRISH INTERNATIONAL CAPTAINS A WELSH (C.S.) INTERNATIONAL TEAM
In terms of fewer losses, the fourth post war season was the best to date. Dr. Tom Wallace a versatile three-quarter, who readily, adjusted to full-back in which position he played most games for Cardiff, was our captain, and Idris Richards the vice-captain—for second time. Dr. Tom was an Ulsterman born in Ballymayo, Northern Ireland and had played for Queens University Belfast before 1914 when he joined H.M. forces, serving firstly the Royal Irish Fusiliers and then the R.A.M.C. In 1919 he took up general practice in Cardiff and joined the Cardiff club, and one of the earliest attributes he showed was his determined and robust tackling, he was recognised by Ireland for which country he played three times in 1920.
In spite of a modest start, and team changes, some of the oldest players had dropped out. were unbeaten until the end of December, yet, somewhat unaccountably, we won only a match in January and February. But many of our total defeats were by the smallest margins as the following results show Bristol (A) 9—11, Aberavon (H) 5—6, United Services (A) 7—8, Neath (H) 6—7, Newport (A) 3—16, our heaviest defeat, Aberavon (A) 3, Barbarians (H) 14—20 and Pontypool (A) 7—8. Had some of the smaller margins been reversed the season’s record would have been exceptionally good. The Newport match s most unfortunate for us as Doctor Tom Wallace and “ Codger” Johnson of our backs, re badly injured in the first quarter of the game, Wallace a gashed forehead, and Johnson two broken ribs. Newport were eight points up at half time yet Cardiff scored a try early after the resumption, a remarkable one, as the movement started only a few yards from own line; quick passes from myself to Jack Powell and he to Arthur Cornish got the latter clear by our own twenty-five, and, to the roar of a vast crowd, he ran gallantly on score. It was late in the game when Newport increased their score, the victory was ours, but, with only thirteen men for three parts of the game, the glory was Cardiff’s.
Our biggest successes were wins over Penarth 32—3, United Services 39—0, Leicester 24-0 and Birkenhead Park 38—3. Our best scorers were “ Codger” Johnson with 26 tries, k Powell 13, myself 10, with seven dropped goals which equalled Percy Bush’s seven 1908—09. Wilfred Wooller over-took these with nine in 1937—38, and the twelve in 38—39. the existing record. With an official caps qualification of twelve matches, D. G. vies, P.C. Ski Hinam, P.C. Arnold Rickard, Harry Upcott, P.C. Tom Vaughan, forwards, J Jim Mullins scrum half, and W. Higginson, wing, were recipients, the latter two luckily perhaps as the qualifying number was raised next season to fifteen. Tom “ Codger” John, Arthur Cornish, Clem Lewis, D. G. Davies and Jack Powell the wing were awarded Welsh caps, the latter against Ireland during the “trouble in Ireland “ 1923.
Charley Bryant the popular “war horse “ who had already given much service to the b was again entrusted with the leadership of Reserves XV and his record was P36, W22, and 02 with 379 points to 204. He was top scorer with 16 tries, followed by the sprightly little wing boy from Barry. Tommy Venables with 15, Billy Horwood and D. Jones eight each, and five each from Norman Payne and “Tim the Divil “ O’Brien. A young Frenchman from Nantes, a forward, scored two tries against Barry. He had come to Cardiff study commerce and our language, and was next to be seen on the Cardiff Arms Park playing for the Veterans of Nantes against those of Cardiff on the occasion of the visit of Combined Nantes-Cognac combination in September 1947. He was Marcel Pedron, an honorary vice-president of the Cardiff A.C., at present a municipal councilor, and adjutant to the Mayor of Nantes. The best wins of Bryant’s XV were against Barry, 32—3 and the Mallett Cup winners by 35—0.
Again there were many applications for the use of the ground from outside bodies and clubs, and one of these was granted to stage the Civil Service international match between the Welsh and English authorities. Qualified for the Welsh because of his service to the Ministry of Pensions, Tom Wallace was the captain and played in the centre and myself at outside half, we both joined in the scoring and were awarded Welsh C.S. international caps. A celebration dinner was held in the Carlton Hotel where the chief guests were the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Dr. J. J. E. Biggs who had played for Cardiff in its early founding years. Mr. John Rowland, C.B. of the Ministry of Health and Sir Russell Scott of the Treasury and Mr. Noel Curtis Bennett.
In our away match with Bridgend on the 19th April, we had a guest player D. N. Rocyn-Jones, former St. Mary’s Hospital and Cambridge fullback, who sustained a cut near the eye, later to be stitched by a co-medico, Dr. Tom Wallace. Nathan Robyn-Jones became the medical officer to the W.R.U. and President of that body in 1964—65.