A STEP BACK IN TIME
(By Percy Jones)
THERE AT THE START
Carmarthen Football Club played their first recognised match against Llanelli Football Club in 1875. The game was probably introduced into Carmarthen by A.F.Laloe who in 1874 became the Headmaster of the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. Cardiff Football Club played their first recorded match on the 2nd December 1876 against Newport at Wentloog Marshes. (The term “Rugby” was to be introduced much later).
Both clubs were therefore at the forefront of the birth of rugby in Wales and actually played against each other in 1877 in the following competition:-
The South Wales Challenge Cup
(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)
Carmarthen Football Club – v – Cardiff Football Club
(Played on Wednesday 28th November 1877 at Swansea KO 2.0pm)
This is an account of this match taken from both the Carmarthen Journal and the Welshman:-
A match for the South Wales Challenge Cup took place between Carmarthen FC and Cardiff FC on Wednesday 28th November on the cricket ground at Swansea. The ground was in very bad condition and rendered the play very heavy but both teams nevertheless played well.
Cardiff was represented by:-
E. C. Fry (captain) and W. J. M. Herbert (quarter backs); W. G. Jones an d R. H. Fox (half backs); G. J. Stothert (in goal); E. Thomas, A Duncan, L. Batchelor, F. Trays, J. A. Jones, Thomas, F. Perch, B. Treatt and J. S. Thomas (forwards).
The Carmarthen team was formed as follows:-
D. Norton (captain); T. Norton and W. Harries (quarter backs); D. Samuels and Ferris (half backs); Howe and Carey (backs); J. Rees, D. Rees, Boomer, D. Francis, Bowen, Vanden, T. Harries and Pyle (forwards).
The Cardiff team was placed at great disadvantage in not receiving notice of the match until the previous night and therefore the club was unable to field more than six of its first team.
Fox kicked off for Cardiff. The ball being well returned was at once carried down to the Cardiff headquarters and kept there for a short time. But the Cardiff men now made a united rush and in their turn, carried the ball to the Carmarthen citadel and Herbert gained for them a try. The place by Fox for a goal was a failure.
After this the Carmarthen men were irresistible. They carried the ball the whole length of the ground and forced their opponents to touch down twice in self-defence in succession. Half time found the ball deep in Cardiff headquarters which had been kept there for a short time.
Ends being changed saw Fox being unable to resume due to injury. Carmarthen kicked off and the ball being well followed up, a “scrummage” was formed within the Cardiff’s twenty five. Fry, the Cardiff captain made a good drop but the ball bounded to one of the Carmarthen half-backs (D. Samuel) who made an excellent run by which he brought the ball back to the Cardiff goal. A “srummage” was formed and the Carmarthen forwards forced through their opponents and Boomer obtained for them a try. The place was entrusted to Carey who, by an excellent kick, secured the downfall of the Cardiff citadel, the ball passing over their cross bar. An objection was raised by the Cardiff captain to the try but as both umpires as well as referee allowed the try, the objection was overruled.
After this, the Carmarthen men played in good form but nevertheless their goal was once in danger owing to the good play of Fry and Jones for Cardiff but they gradually forced their opponents back and forced them to touch down once more in self-defence before time was called.
Thus the game resulted after an hour and a quarter’s play in a goal (disputed) and 3 touchdowns for Carmarthen against a try and two touchdowns for Cardiff.
The earliest team photograph at the club is for the 1886 – 1887 season. Does anyone have an earlier photograph than this? If so, please let us know.