GWYN NICHOLLS IN AUSTRALIA BARBARIANS CLUB CRITICISED
1899-1900. P30, W23, L6, Dl. Points 436 to 144.
This was not as successful a season as last, six matches were lost. Gwyn Nicholls was re-elected captain, although at the annual general meeting held at the Park Hall on 27th July 1899, it was known that he was in Australia with the British touring team. Viv Huzzey the vice-captain deputised for Nicholls who did not turn out for the club until the Bristol match at home on 20th January 1890, which we won by 14 points to 3. Bristol, whose status in the Rugby world had much improved had recently beaten Newport, a feat which evoked a congratulatory telegram from no less a personage than Newport’s former star, Arthur Gould, a nice sporting gesture. Viv Huzzey resumed the partnership with Nicholls our match and in fact scored all of Cardiff’s four tries, opposite him in the Bristol line was another wing with a similar name, but spelt Hussey.
Of the six matches lost, two were to Swansea, quite decisively. They were the Welsh Champions and contained many great players in their ranks, namely W. J. Bancroft the full-back, Willie Trew and Danny Rees in the threes, the Owen and Jones partnership at, half-back and Will Joseph and Fred Scrines in the pack. All served Wales well. Newport succeeded twice, with G. Llewellyn Lloyd and L. A. Phillips playing prominently. We were outplayed by Cambridge University to the tune of 15 points to 6, The Varsity were unbeaten at the time, it was a Monday match and we paid the penalty of fielding rather weak team.
Two matches were played with the Barbarians this season, the first on Boxing Day, which we won fairly easily by 27 points to 3. This heavy Barbarian defeat stimulated “ Old Stager” of the “Western Mail “ into writing, very scathingly—” Theirs is the solitary club n the kingdom which has no fixed home, and whose matches are only played in the holiday times. The club numbers amongst its members many of the leading players in the our countries; but up to the present no working man whatever his merits as a player, or how gentlemanly his behaviour, appears to have been included in teams sent out by this singular organisation. This social exclusiveness has in many quarters been called caddishness, and questions have been asked on frequent occasions as to how the gate money collected by the club has been distributed “. These were strong words at the time, and in the later development of more than ninety years of Barbarian history could not be justified. As to our second match on Easter Saturday we were trounced by 27 points to 12.
We gained our best victories over Old Merchant Taylors by 38 points to nil, Moseley y 29-4, and Penarth by 33 points to nil. In the later match, Percy Bush’s brother Fred Bush made his first team debut of the season and celebrated this by scoring four tries. On 13th January, prior to our match with Blackheath on The Park, Gwyn Nicholls (back from Australia) together with his elder brother Syd, appeared on the ground to the delight of the crowd. On New Year’s Day we had a visit from the Old Wesley Club from Ireland, the “ Wesleyans “ had been on a South Wales tour and had twice played Swansea, Cardiff won the match by 19 points to 3, and our players turned out in Blue and Red jerseys, the reason for which I know not.
A happy feature was the renewal of fixtures with Llanelly on 7th April and Cardiff won what was a very sporting encounter by 9 points to 3. Viv Huzzey was again top scorer with 18 tries, 13 were scored by Ricketts and 9 by Ivor P. Jones. The forward W. Phillips played in every one of the 30 matches. New caps were awarded to F. J. Box, F. Hine, Griff Hughes and H. B. Winfield. For Wales Jerry Blake played three times, Gwyn Nicholls twice, and George Dobson and Selwyn Biggs once each. lvor P. Jones was the captain of the Reserves with J. Williams the vice-captain. The record was P30, W25, L5 with 386 points to 38. Reserves caps were voted to N. Thomas, C. F. Biggs. J. Wheeler, F. F. Bush, Percy F. Bush, H. Grey, B. Hill, H. Morgan, L. George, A. Tresize, W. Plowman and J. Hart. The first named N. (Neville) Thomas was the son of one of the founders of the club, F. (Fleming) Thomas who played in the first two seasons of the club’s history. The whole of the new players to the First XV this season had come from the Reserves.
Financially there was a slight falling off of gate money, and in view of the proposed new expenditure on new stands, in conjunction with the Welsh Football Union, the committee deemed it advisable not to distribute as much money to charities as formerly, but seven of them did benefit but to a lesser degree, £77.7.Od. only; but donations totalling sixty-three pounds odd were made to local football clubs, and the Cardiff Cricket Club, and the Glamorgan County Cricket Clubs each received £25. There was still a balance of £1,751.19.Od. at Lloyds Bank, the subscription remained at 10/- per member and there were just four short of 1,000 of them.