Cardiff RFC Season Review 1927 – 1928

1927—28. P43, W21, L20, D2, points 459—343



B. R. Turnbull was elected club captain and B. 0. Male our full-beck vice-captain, but no permanent captain was appointed for “ the other side “—the Second (1st) Fifteen. The First (1st) Fifteen record as segregated by me was, “ Lou “ Turnbull, educated at Downside, was a very popular captain, and one of six brothers who played for Cardiff. A straight running centre who passed the ball well, he “ made” many tries and coupled the basic Rugby traits with an impeccable defence. He gained a “ Blue” at Cambridge and played six times for Wales.

Turnbull’s season was not overblessed with successes. The burden of meeting two first class clubs on the same day was proving that Cardiff’s experiment in operating two first class teams was rather unlikely to succeed, In late March and April of the season we lost eight matches in a row, Penarth (A), Llanelly and Maesteg on the same day, Swansea (A), Barbarians (H) and Tredegar on the same day, Harlequins (H) and Torquay (A) on the same day. A drawn match at home with Pill Harriers was followed by three more defeats at the hands of Neath (A), Northampton (A) and to Weston (A). It was very chastening to lose all four matches with Llanelly, a feat never to be performed by Cardiff with this club, but we were very successful with our greatest rivals Newport over whom we triumphed with three wins and a draw, we held our own against Swansea, honours being even with two victories each. Surprisingly we lost to the Watsonians (H) in December, and to our popular friends the Barbarians in April. One of our good performances was the scoring of a double over Coventry. Eight matches were cancelled owing to bad weather conditions—perhaps a statistical blessing.

But the tit-bit of the season was the visit of the Waratahs on 3rd December. They came with the splendid record of but one defeat—to Oxford University by three points to nil— in 20 games, beating Ireland and Wales in the process. The tourists had some splendid Rugby players in their party. Their captain, A. C. Wallace, was a world class wing, a Rhodes Scholar who was an Oxford Blue and Scottish international : Tommy Lawton a brilliant stand-off half, another Rhodes Scholar who, in England, had played for Blackheath; Dr. W. B. J. Sheehan a centre of wide experience for the Waratahs, particularly against New Zealand : Most of the forwards were top New South Wales players of experience, including K. Tarleton, Edwin Thorn, A. N. Finlay and E. N. Greatorex. Their manager was E. Gordon Shaw who had played against a British team in 1908. The Waratahs proved to be much the better team and ran out winners by 15 points to nine from two penalty goals by Ossie Male our full-back and a try from Roy Gabe-Jones, out-half. It was regrettable that one of the visitors was “sent off” the field, he was one of their forwards J. Ford; the incident was perhaps forgotten on the following Monday evening when the club held a Ball at the City Hall—dancing 8 till 2—in honour of the tourists. But how remarkable is the fact that on the only other visit by Australia, in 1908—09, the forward A. B. Burge was sent off in the Cardiff game. Two visits, two sensations.

E. Gwyn Davies our wing, R. A. Cornish and B. R. Turnbull were the top try scorers and our fullback Ossie Male kicked the most goals. The following played in more than fifteen matches with the First (1st) XV and would have qualified for a cap unless granted one for 1926—27 for playing a requisite number with both teams: Tom Burns, Norman Fender, Graham Jones, Howard Poole, Roy Gabe Jones and T. M. Williams. The Second (1st) XV under floating captains Played 29. Won 13, Lost 12 and Drew 4 with 236 points scored to 196. Their best successes were the wins over U.C.S. Old Boys (Hendon), Weston, Skewen, Cheltenham, Cross Keys. Exeter, Penarth and Edgware, eight in succession up to the 29th October. The end of the season showed up some weaknesses as we lost in succession to Maesteg and Torquay, drew with Pill Harriers, losing also to Tredegar, Neath and Weston. Amongst the low scorers Dai Davies, a former supporters youth player was top with eight tries, and four came from Roy Gabe-Jones. Our Supporters XV was beginning to supply some good talent to the premier teams.

Items of interest from minutes traced were : the BBC’s application to broadcast club matches turned down; so was also an application from Storey Evans & Co to issue a k on the club’s history. The club’s home expenses for the Bridgend fixture totalled 13.10. Marshalls the caterers supplied our after-match teas of grills and chips and sweets /- per head, with 2d per cup for teas, bread and butter included. The club applied for 50 Wales v. Ireland international tickets, the W.R.U. granted 700. At the Cardiff v. Swansea match on 29th October 1927, one of the club’s most able administrators, Mr.
J. Spiller, collapsed in the committee box and died. I remember him well as a most excellent chairman of committee, including those of the Athletic Club. At the annual general meeting, the club’s M.O., Dr. W. G. Williams, proposed that a permanent captain appointed for the Other Team. This was later adopted by the committee with effect n 1928—29.

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