Cardiff RFC Season Review 1913 - 1914

1913—14. P38, W23, L14, Dl. Points 272—194.

THE END OF A GREAT ERA

W. J. Jenkins the forward and R. F. Williams the fullback were captain and vice captain respectively for the First XV, and similarly, were Con Scanlon a forward and Fred Spencer fullback, for the Reserves. The results reflected a poor season. The scoring power rested mainly with Clem Lewis and Johnny Rogers at half-back and Billy Spiller in the centre, and Clem Lewis went to Cambridge during the season and gained his Blue “, and played only eighteen club matches. Of the forwards, only W. J. Jenkins had been capped for ales since Joe Pugsley’s time in 1911. At the beginning of the season, Percy Bush turned from France and played in the first four matches, scoring in three of them. It was hoped he would remain in Cardiff and play for his old club and help to off-set the growing popularity of the soccer” game at Ninian Park, alas for the club, he returned to Nantes. 

We suffered three defeats at the hands of Newport, we won only one match against Swansea who beat us twice and drew once with us; we lost both matches on the Leicester and Headingley tour in December, indeed, in the early part of the season we played six consecutive matches without scoring a single try. Blackheath added to our tale of woe by winning both fixtures with us, they had not previously beaten Cardiff since 1895—96; and through the brilliance of J. G. Will the fast Scottish wing we were beaten by Old Merchant Taylors by 8 points to 7 on the Cardiff Arms Park. Only two Cardiff players were capped for Wales, Clem Lewis in all four internationals, and our fullback Bobby Williams against Ireland. The season 1913—14 marked the end of an era during which the Cardiff club had learned, developed and played brilliantly. Its fame had earned the admiration of all the Rugby world.

It was an unlucky season for W. J. “Billy” Jenkins, a grand forward, Welsh international, and Barbarian. A very popular man, who was to lend assistance to the club in many ways. The best achievements of his team were the victories over the Barbarians, and the Harlequins over whom’ they scored doubles. Against the former we scored the highest number of points, but merely one goal, five tries, 20 points to nil. The Harlequins could muster some brilliant international exponents of the game at the time, with D. Lambert, J. G. G. Birkett, the brothers F. M. and Adrian Stoop and H. J. Sibree amongst their backs.

In spite of a poor season, and bad conditions for some of our home games, the gates were higher than previous seasons except for those when colonial tourists played at Cardiff, and in fact, the overdraft of the previous season, the result of the erection of the new stands, was reduced from £1,929.12.3 to £1,425.5.7, and quite a number of players were rewarded with caps and blazers. First team caps went to A. Lewis, W. Tudor Williams, Dan Callan, Hugh McLean, W. P. Thomas (this wing became Tommy Trouble” with the BBC after the war), T. Maddocks and G. Williams. There were 19 blazer awards, the recipients being : R. F. Williams, T. Maddocks, Tom Evans, Tudor Williams, W. Spiller, W. P. Thomas, Gwyn Williams, Clem Lewis, H. McLean, W. J. Jenkins, Gus Lewis, Jim Birch, J. S. Michael, Dan Callan, W. H. Thomas, Aubrey Baker, Mog Griffiths, Frank Gaccon and Con Scanlon. The best scorers were W. P. Thomas with ten tries. Tom Evans ten and Clem Lewis nine. Six players played in 30 matches or more, they were Mog Griffiths 35, Tom Evans and R. F. Williams each 32, W. J. Jenkins in 31 and Aubrey Baker and Jim Birch each 30.

The Reserve team played 31, won 17, lost 8 and drew 6 with 275 points to 115. There were 31 try scorers, indicative of the number of players tried, the top one was Stanley Williams who got eight, followed by W. P. Nicholls with seven and Con Scanlon with five. The caps awarded went to J. Jones, P.C. May, J. Coles, Fred Eames, L. Powell, C. Rees, Gus Taylor, W. D. Jenkins, T. Jones, A. Titt, J. Bass, D. Llewellyn, R. Jones and F. Klombies.

Under a working byelaw, a donation (f104.11.0) was made to Cardiff Cricket Club, four junior organisations benefited to the extent of £132, namely Cardiff Schools R.U., the Cardiff & District R.U., the Old Boys League, and medals for the Taffs Well League. A new hoarding was erected around the racquet court at the Westgate end of the ground near the County Club and our half share of the cost with the Welsh Rugby Union was £34.15.0. A new trainer was appointed out of 90 applicants, his name was Mr. P. A. Wright.

On 12th November 1913, the club staged a Past v. Present match in aid of the funds for the sufferers of the terrible Senghenydd Colliery disaster. The Past included some of our great stalwarts, H. B. Winfield, J. L. Williams, R. T. Gabe, W. L. Morgan, John Brown, Jack Powell, Jim Casey and Dai Westacott. The end of the season did not foreshadow the outbreak of World War I which was to inflict such decimation on the people of Britain and the Commonwealth, including many thousands of patriotic Rugby players. There was to be an “Official closing down of Cardiff Rugby football for five long years.

 

 

 

 

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