1876-1877: THE FIRST SEASON
The first practice of the newly-formed club took place on the Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday 14th October, 1876, between the captain’s side and the vice-captain’s side; the former winning by one try to nil.
Several further practice games and scratch games were played. On the 2nd December 11176, one against Newport on the Marshes at Newport, ended in the defeat of Cardiff by 2 tries and 13 touches-down to 2 touches-down. The number of players taking part was always fifteen-a-side, but the positions they took up on the field of play varied from time to time. There were always nine forwards, but sometimes there were two full-backs, one three-quarter-back, two half-backs and two quarter-backs, the half-back being regarded as the flying man.
Coming back to the first match at Newport the following is a verbatim extract of the report of this, the first inter-town match
Newport v. Cardiff: Saturday 2nd December, 1876
On Newport Marshes, amid a down pour of rain, which made the ground like a puddle? A charge of six pence was made to the public and, notwithstanding the state of the weather, about 200 assembled to witness the contest. The game commenced at 3.30 and lasted an hour, and the play was of the best all through the game. Newport kept the ball well in the goal of their opponents and compelled them to touch down in self-defense 13 times. Newport also had 2 tries, but they failed to turn them into goals. Cardiff compelled Newport to touch down twice in self defense. The result was a win I or Newport by 2tries, 11 touches-down to the good.”
Only three inter-town matches were played in the season of 1876-1877, as is shown in the summary; two matches being won and one lost. It must, of course, be recollected that touches-downs in those days were not regarded as of value and, if teams could not score tries or goals, they tried to score touches-down. It must also be remembered that a goal beat any number of tries. The rules they played under were nothing like as elaborate as the rules of the present day and there was no referee, each side having their own man as umpire: and as one umpire had as much power as the other, there were constant arguments on to whether infringements of the rules had taken place or not and, in the meantime the game was stopped and the umpires and players of both sides joined in the arguments.
As this was the first season of the Cardiff Football Club, it will be interesting to read the names of the original members
W. H. Treatt, J. A. Jones, W. E. Jones, S. D. Jenkins, S. Decacandia, W. G. M. Herbert, W. G. Jones, W. D. Phillips, E. Wait Ch. Riches, Cuthbert
Riches, H Riches, C. Read, A. Marquand, E. 0. Thomas, C. Wait, W. Wait, W. B. Ferrier,
H Marryatt, Lewis Jenkins, A. Williams, F. S. Thomas, W. Morgan, T. Miller, H. Elliott,
J W Thomas, R H Foa, L. Batchelor, Wm. David, B. E. Girling, R. Girling, C. Alexander,
J.B Stothert, W. F. Evans, D. M. Johns, J. Lucas, W. W. Hood, J. Gerhold, W. H. Williams,
T. S Donaldson-Selby, J. A. Ware, A. Duncan.
Practically all these were actual playing members, although a good number of them played in Inter-town matches, for the simple reason that there were only three during the season. There appear to have been no balance sheet for this season in existence, if one was over drawn up, which is doubtful, seeing that there was no gate money charged or much expenditure incurred by the club as a club, each member defraying his own expenses.