A Step Back in Time Report 1891/92 Sports and Athletics




(By Percy Jones)

 SEASON 1891-92

(By kind permission of the Carmarthen Journal)



(The Welshman 2nd April 1892)

The present hunting season, which is now fast drawing to a close, has, like its predecessor, suffered a good deal from frost, the great enemy of foxhunters. Even in March, meets had to be abandoned on account of the arctic state of the weather; for a whole fortnight hounds had to be confined to their kennels. But King Frost did not hold sway absolutely throughout the whole season and notwithstanding his presence at times, the Carmarthenshire foxhounds have, on the whole, had a very successful time of it. All the meets have been well attended; sport has been excellent; foxes have been by no means scarce; there have been very few blank days. The other evening I was told that fourteen braces have already been killed; while at least twenty five braces saved their brushes by going to ground. Next year however, it is hoped they will give the hounds many a good run.

The master of the pack, Mr W. J. Buckley, whose popularity among sportsmen and farmers is really boundless, has therefore every reason to be satisfied with the doings of the hounds during the season and while he remains at the head of affairs, the success of the hunt is assured for many years to come. It was originally intended, I believe, to cease hunting on or about the 17th April next, but at least a week’s grace has been allowed, for arrangements have been made for a meet on the 22nd of that month. Soon after that date, the period of inactivity will come about and the breeding season will commence. I understand that eight or nine couples will be introduced into the pack from some other hunt, and about a proportionate number will be drafted from it. Next year’s pack will, in all probability, consist of thirty couples being about two couples more than at present.

It is hardly necessary to say that the huntsman, “Tom” Davies has carried out his duties satisfactorily. He has been a most worthy successor to that veteran “Jack” Rees. The history of the pack is indelibly woven with the doings of these men; during the years preceding its purchase by Mr Buckley they were both looked upon as part of the pack itself. The position of whip has this season been filled by Phillip Davies and it is only fair to say that although young, he has done his work very well indeed. But this is hardly to be wondered at. In the first place, he is a son of “Tom” the huntsman and has inherited much of his father’s sporting instincts; in the next place, he has had a good deal of experience with hounds and their management. He served as a boy in the Maesgwynne stables and latterly we find him acting as second horseman with the Tivyside hounds.

While speaking of foxhunting, I am reminded of a good story that comes from Yorkshire. You know a Yorkshireman can tell a good story as well as buy a good horse. The other day, so the story goes, Lord Zetland’s hounds ran a fox to ground. The fox was bolted and killed. In about twenty minutes afterwards, some quarrymen put a terrier into the earth and another fox was found. The terrier apparently killed the fox. The quarrymen then proceeded to cut off the brush and the operation having been finished, Reynard jumped up and escaped, minus of course his brush. What a tale that fox must have told his brethren!

It is not, perhaps, a very far cry from fox-hunting to steeple chasing. Votaries of the latter sport have, of course, had their eyes turned towards the Grand National or the Cross Country Derby as some of the papers called it. The race came off on Friday, the course being as usual at Aintree, Liverpool. The result was a great surprise to everybody. Cloister was made favourite, the Primale holding the next place in popular estimation, while some predicted that Tenby would carry off the prize. The last-named, by the way, is a Pembrokeshire bred horse. He was bred by Mr Kay of Gumfreston near Tenby and is brother to Bruin, a horse that was very well known in this district until he unfortunately met with an accident in his stable and died from the effects. Tenby is now owned by Mr A. M. Singer and has greatly distinguished himself in England. It was therefore a very unfortunate thing that he came to grief. The winner was found in Father O’Flyn, a horse owned by Mr Wilson. Of course, we should have known that this was going to be the case for does not the song tell us that “Father O’Flyn is the flower of them all?”

During this season there has been no football club at Carmarthen recognised as fully representative of the town; so “The Wanderers” have come to be looked upon as the premier team. On the whole, they have had a very successful season. Up to the present time they have played fifteen matches. Of these they have won ten, and one was drawn in their favour, while in three of the matches in which they were defeated, the play was so even that practically the Wanderers showed as good form as their opponents. Tom Thomas has proved an excellent captain and has done rare service among the forwards. As for Harry Lewis, the vice-captain, he has shown really marvellous form; never has he played with greater success than this year. Next year I hope to see the Wanderers make a very good struggle for the district challenge cup. I do not see that this is at all impossible; they have done extremely well considering this is the first year they have been established on proper lines.

On Saturday, the Wanderers met the Carmarthen Grammar School. It was their fourth encounter during the present season. On the three previous occasions, the Wanderers won somewhat easily, but on Saturday the school played with unusual stubbornness and vigour and finally were defeated by only a dropped goal and 6 minors to nil. Harry Lewis dropped the goal for the Wanderers.    

Of the first rate matches played in South Wales, on Saturday, none attracted more attention as the Newport –v- Swansea match which was played at |Swansea. Both teams have an excellent record, Newport being the best in the kingdom; they have not lost a match during the whole season. To lose, therefore, would have been a very serious matter for them. But they did not lose. They were victorious by 2 goals (1 dropped) and 3 miners to 1 goal and 4 minors. The visitors, therefore, were far from having matters all their own way and Swansea’s play was very creditable.

It is an exaggeration to say that in no previous year have the prospects of the Carmarthen Cricket Club looked so rosy as they do this year. The club has been re-started under the most favourable auspices. The one great difficulty faced in Carmarthen by cricketers is the want for a suitable ground. This year, therefore, the Mayor Mr T. Jenkins obviated that difficulty; he very generously offered the club, on reasonable terms, the use of his field near the Friary. No place could be more suitable. The field is centrally situated and has a very even surface and after a little rolling an almost perfect pitch could be made there.

The club is fortunate in having for its president such a thorough sportsman as the mayor; it has also been lucky in obtaining the services, as vice-presidents, of such excellent cricketers as Mr D. E. Stephens and Mr Vincent Thomas. As for the captainship, the club could hardly have done better than to appoint Mr R. M. Thomas. He is an excellent cricketer; a capital batsman and a tricky bowler. In past years he rendered very useful services to the Carmarthen Club; but in more recent times he has been playing for Tenby, there being no club in Carmarthen. The club was also very happy in its selection of hon. Sec. Mr James Morgan is not only well qualified the secretarial duties, but he is also a most efficient cricketer. A good many still remember his performances when a student at the Training College. Among those who have already joined the club are several old cricketers. These include Mr Talbot Norton (who used to be a very good wicket-keeper); Mr A. O. Norton, Mr D. P. Morgan, Mr Lewis Hughes and Mr W. H. Jones, &c. Play will begin in all probability about Easter.

A well attended meeting of the committee of the Carmarthen Cricket Club was held at the Boar’s Head Hotel on Tuesday evening. The Mayor (the president of the club) presided and at the outset relieved the committee of much anxiety by declaring amid loud applause that he would this year give his field free of rent. Mr Jenkins had previously intimated that he would rent it on “reasonable terms,” but this extreme kindness on his part was not expected and a hearty vote of thanks was tendered to him for his munificence.

The chief business of the evening was to appoint a ground man. There were several applications for the post. On the motion of Mr Colby Evans, it was unanimously agreed that Mr W. A. Dexter of Nottingham be appointed. From a letter written by Mr Dixon, captain of the Notts Eleven, it appears that Dexter is “a fast right-hand bowler; a straight, fair bat and a useful man at the nets.”

The Hon. Sec. (Mr James Morgan) reported that matches had already been arranged with the following clubs: – Tenby, Llanelly, Connaught Rangers (who are stationed at Pembroke Dock), Kidwelly, Pontyberem, and Pembroke Dock. Answers were also expected from several other local clubs.

It was decided to inaugurate the season with a match – Married v. Single, to be played on Easter Monday next. The committee are anxious to see all young men interested in cricket become members of the club and thus give the club their support. The fee is only 5s and now that a good ground man has been engaged every opportunity will be afforded members to become excellent cricketers.