1928—29. P42, W25, L13, D4. Points —326 to 241
A SCOTTISH INTERNATIONAL RETIRES ON THE CARDIFF ARMS PARK
JIM “OCKER” BURNS PLAYS FOR BLACKHEATH
After the death of James Merrett of the Rugby committee, a former Reserve scrum half the late “eighties “, I was appointed to take over the record of match results and scorers; details of converted goal scorers had not been registered up to that time; I had already instituted a players’ match record in my year of captaincy. Consequently I separated the results of our two teams for greater and more understandable convenience, have done so for our two Senior Teams ever since, as well as those of Cardiff Extras of 1964—69. The First (1st) XV results for 1928—29 were: . Our fullback B. 0. “Ossie” Male, already the possessor of eleven Welsh caps, appointed captain by the club members, and he nominated Kevin P. J. Turnbull, the en haired forward as. his deputy.
With the exception of a home match with Skewen, on the same day as one with Maesteg away, the fixture list of the First (1st) XV was comprised solely of first class s. That of the Second (1st) XV included Pontypridd, Maesteg, Cheltenham, Pontypool, ester (2), Coventry, Bath (2), Guys Hospital, Abertillery, London Welsh, Bradford, Manchester, London Irish, Northampton (2), Bedford, Penarth and Ebbw Vale. Consiqunently, the club met the highest number of first class clubs in this season than in any year in its history. The playing results of both XV’s were creditable, and the appointment the committee of a permanent captain for The Other Side “, Syd Cravos, was fully justified. His team results were: P34, W19, L14, Dl, with 329 points to 241.
IA. Cornish and I had fully retired, Bobby Delahay had gone to Torquay, but some of players were emerging into greatness—Norman Fender a splendid back row forward, Tommy Stone versatile full-back, R. W. Boon the “cheeky chappie” on the wing, an rounder, E. Gwyn Davies and Graham Jones in the three quarters; we had the expericed back row man T. M. Williams, and we acquired a splendid prize from Llanelly in person of Archie Skym, one of the greatest Welsh forwards of his time. The club had probably the best galaxy of talent since the war, and three Cardiff High School Old Boys e to make their appearance, they were Geoff Babbage at forward, Jackie Bowcott, de half, and Stan Hughes at centre, there were some half-a-dozen Glamorgan County ice Force players available, and we did not miss the services of P.C. Dick Power of the Monmouthshire Police—the Welsh heavyweight boxing champion who retired after a few matches this season.
The season’s results which follow should be of significant interest as they illustrate the s of opposition met by Male’s team and Cravos’s team on the same day, and the very low margin of defeat or victory in quite a number of matches. Blackheath suffered most losing by 42 points to three, they paid the penalty of being two men short and Cardiff’s Burns and Jack Poole of the Glamorgan Wanderers filled their two vacancies. Ossie e kicked eight goals in this match and 67 in all for the season. For Male’s XV our wings E. Gwyn Davies 31, and A. T. Thomas 14 were the top try scorers, followed by R. Boon 13, Graham Jones 10 and John Roberts nine. Three who qualified for caps were W. Boon, the forward Harry Brothers and A. T. Thomas who was later to become known as “Akka” in his role as player and committee man.
Cliff Cameron the wing in Syd Cravos’s XV scored the most tries, sixteen. Incidentally, Vic Cravos, playing against Old Edwardians at home in December, scored a try from the full-back position which was converted by his brother and captain, Syd, with whose XV the following qualified for club caps : W. Barrett, Jim Coughlin, A. Clarke, Frank Kempson, Dr. T. J. Pittard and Tommy Stone.
In the Welsh international scene, Cardiff had the best representation since the war, three quarters E. Gwyn Davies, John Roberts and H. M. Bowcott; Frank Williams outside half, who had secured a post as sports master in Wakefield, W. “ Bill” Roberts also at outside half and P.C. Bob Barrell the forward. John and “ Bill” Roberts played in the same Welsh team against England, and were in opposing teams for Cambridge and Oxford in the Varsity match of 1928.
A matter which gave much pleasure to club and public was the fact that A. L. Gracie, the Harlequin centre who scored the winning try for Scotland v. Wales on the Cardiff Arms Park in 1923 and was shouldered high off the field by the admiring Welshmen, was now playing for Manchester. He wrote the “Quins” and begged them to allow him to play for them against Cardiff in their Easter Monday match. Could he be allowed to play his last game before his retirement . , . on the Cardiff Arms Park? His request was granted, he played, perhaps not so brilliantly in the twilight of his career. But surely this was a grand happening to recall in the annals of Rugby football I Quite a different event occurred on 9th February on the Arms Park in the Cardiff/LIanelly game. Dai John the “Scarlets” outside half was injured early in the match and went off the field, and the former Cardiff wing three-quarter, “Codger” Johnson ran on to the field as a replacement with the tacit agreement of Cardiff’s captain, Ossie Male. A sporting gesture this, but against the bye laws and a matter on which the Welsh Rugby Union took appropriate action with a mild censure on both clubs, who, in breaching the laws, had acted with a spontaneous sporting gesture.
By the end of the season the running of “Two First Fifteens” had invoked some criticism. The committee minutes show that many meetings were held to discuss their continuance, and complaints had been received in one form or another, from Leicester, Northampton, Pontypool, Cheltenham, Aberavon and Neath whose clubs did not want to play our “other team “, the Second (1st) XV that was. The two first named cancelled fixtures for 1929—30 for which season the number of first class fixtures with the Second (1st) XV dropped sharply. The Rugby programmes under the editorship of Mr. I. T. Austin at a price of two pence was a remarkably fine production which contained some twelve sheets of very readable, topical and photographic material. Of its class it was probably the best Rugby football programme in Britain. But yet, the club still refused the application of the BBC to broadcast matches.