1886-7. P30, W22, L5, D3.
“DONNING THE MITTENS”
W. M. “ Billy” Douglas was captain. He had joined the club in 1881-2 and became another pillar of strength as a player and administrator over a period of 58 years. He also served the Welsh Rugby Union. The club committee was increased to seven and 48 layers took part in first team matches, but Douglas had lost the services of F. E. Hancock, who retired from the game, and two other top players in W. “ Buller” Stadden, and A. J. Stewart who both joined Northern clubs and played for Dewsbury. Stewart was a member of the first British team to tour Australia and New Zealand in 1888 under the captaincy of L. Seddon, and the brilliant A. E. Stoddart an English international of the time. Stoddart succeeded Seddon, who, unfortunately on tour lost his life whilst sculling on the River Hunter at Maitland.
A. H. Williams a most resolute tackling wing-three-quarter, H. F. S. Adams who was gain a Blue at Cambridge, and Norman Biggs were amongst the newcomers. Three clubs, of whom two were to break away to the Northern Union, were on the fixture list, they were Swinton, Wigan, and Brighouse Rangers. The Swinton Club was a strong one and they drew with Cardiff at the Cardiff Arms Park and beat the club during the northern tour. Wigan were beaten by three goals, one try to two goals, and Brighouse Rangers by tree goals to nil.
Good victories by the similar score of five goals, five tries to nil were gained over Neath and Penarth, and during an ambitious tour undertaken to the North of England when three latches were played in four days, Moseley were beaten by a try to nil (revenge for the defeat of 1885-6). Liverpool by two tries to nil, and we lost to Runcorn by one try to nil the last of the three games when weakened by absentees and injuries.
A new temporary stand, the third to date, was erected to cater for the increasing numbers of spectators. There was a turnover of £800, with gate receipts of £545.5.9d. and members subscriptions of £205, but there was a deficit of £51 .8.4d. which was not surprising perhaps view of the provision of the new stand. A training innovation was instituted by hiring a torn at The Cattle Market Hotel in Quay Street, where on two nights weekly, the players donned the mittens and indulged in other exercises “. George Lewis, the trainer (who arrived an aunt of mine, not specifically to ensure that the players’ kit was faultlessly laundered) was employed at 6/- weekly “to rub the boys down “. The Cattle Market hotel was colloquially known as The Market Tavern, and in 1906, this hostelry’s name as changed to that of The City Arms Hotel which today is still the Mecca of many Rugby supporters, particularly on club and international match days at the Cardiff Arms Park.
For the second season running, W. M. Douglas was top scorer, with 23 tries, followed by G. A. Young 17, C. S. Arthur 15. W. Jarman 13, and A. H. Williams and Q. D. Kedzlie six each. Three players. Douglas, R. T. Duncan and Q. D. Kedzlie each played in 29 of the 30 matches and G. A. Young in 28. Welsh caps were gained by W. M. Douglas, 0. J. Evans, A. J. Hybart, Alec. F. Bland, H. “Sawdust” Hughes and W. E. 0. Williams. Another of our former players was also capped, he was W. “ Buller” Stadden but he was then playing for Dewsbury and did not in fact play for Cardiff after the 1885-6 season.
It was not too successful a season for the Second Team, which was again captained by Dan. E. Jones, who, according to the reports of the time, would undoubtedly have gained prominence with the premier team but for his preference to lead the Second XV. His team played 16 matches, Won 7, Lost 6, and Drew 3. Three brothers of the Biggs family assisted the club, they were E. P., J. J. E. and Norman who with other brothers to follow, were destined to play a leading part of the long history of the Cardiff Club.