“A STEP BACK IN TIME”
130 YEARS AGO – SEASON 1876 / 77
Football and Concert
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
This is an extract from The Welshman dated 9th February 1877 which is a report on the previous week’s events in Cardigan:-
On Wednesday, the 31st ult., the return match between the Cardigan and Carmarthen teams was played on the ground of the former in the Netball field, and resulted in a victory for Cardigan by three tries to one. After setting off from Carmarthen’s train station for Llandyssul at 8.40am and then by Horse bus from Llandyssul to Cardigan, the Carmarthen men arrived at the Cardigan ground around half-past two p.m., and the match commenced almost immediately afterwards. The success for the Cardigians resulted in a great measure from the very excellent play of Mr W. W. Herbert, whose dash and brilliancy of play was quite worth coming miles to see, and was certainly the feature of the match.
Mr James was also a tower of strength, and was very ably backed up by Mr Lewis and Mr Williams of the Collegiate School: Mr T. N. Jones and Mr E. Lowther getting some capital runs.
For Carmarthen, Mr Samuel, Mr Norton, Mr Harries and Mr Francis showed excellent form, their playing being much admired, but we must say in this match the Cardigan team had it all their own way, the ball being perpetually near their opponent’s goal for more than half the match. The ground, owing to the wet, was in a wretched condition and we trust that at another match it will not be so heavy, so that something more of individual efforts of the players may be visible.
In the evening a really well-connected and excellent concert was given in the Guildhall in aid of the funds of the Cardigan club.
The game in general
This is an extract from “The History of Carmarthen Football Club” compiled by the late Mr T. L. Evans, BA, Senior Geography Master at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen.
Interest was added to the game with the provision of the South Wales Challenge Cup 1877-78, when both the local teams were entered. The Grammar School were defeated by Swansea at Carmarthen in the second tie while Carmarthen were able to defeat Cardiff in the first round at Swansea, an intermediate point on the railway line.
Cardiff claimed they were only informed the day before and unable to field their best team but it certainly included some of their best players including E. C. Fry, Captain, R.H. Foa and G. J. Stothert who was described not as a back but ‘in goal’. Carmarthen played two backs, Howe and Carey; 3 quarter backs D. Norton, Captain, T. Norton and W. Harries; 2 half backs, D. Samuel and Ferris; forwards, J. Rees, D. Rees, Boomer, D. Francis, Bowen, Vauden, T. Harris and Pyle. The backs were defensive with the forwards trying to drive the ball to the opposing line and even in a scrummage attempting to force the ball through. Although Cardiff disputed one touchdown (or try) – the term touchdown was used in later years to refer to a touch-down in defence, known today as a minor (earlier as a rouge).
According to the Welshman, both umpires and referee allowed the try and Cardiff was defeated by 1 goal to 1 try. The Carmarthen team included 4 Training College students, for by 1877 the College was playing the game. Another local team were the Black Diamonds.