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Early Games With Cardiff
Early Games With Cardiff 

Moseley’s first match with Cardiff was a home fixture, on 11th December 1880, which ended as a draw, the home side having scored one try and four touchdowns to their visitors’ one try and three touchdowns[1].


Moseley were due to visit Cardiff later in the season but do not seem to have done so although this is not certain. All histories of the Cardiff club record the match as abandoned which seems to imply that a start was actually made, on the other hand, the Western Mail, in its report of the following season’s game at the Arms Park refers to the previous year’s fixture at Moseley but makes no mention of the abandoned game.


Thus the match between Cardiff and Moseley, at Cardiff Arms Park, on 15th October 1881 was probably the latter’s first visit to Wales. The Western Mail reported that the fixture was ‘the first important one of the Cardiff season’ and was against ‘the leading exponents of the Rugby Union game in the Midlands’.


Since the previous season improvements had been made to the ground ‘by levelling and returfing…and a spacious grandstand had been erected for the convenience of the spectators in general and of the ladies in particular’.


The game was reported by the Western Mail to have been ‘very pleasantly contested throughout, the utmost good feeling prevailing on both sides’ which sounds a little tame for an Anglo-Welsh encounter!


Prior to this fixture Moseley had already played and won three matches and took to the field against a Cardiff side that was missing several regular players. The home team were further weakened during the first half when one of their three quarters was forced to leave the field due to injury[2].


The first score of the match, apart from a touchdown to Moseley, was a try under the posts by visiting forward P. Lea, which was easily converted by Moseley captain, Albert Smith. Visiting forward F. Fowler then touched down a second try but on this occasion Smith missed the conversion.


Shortly before half time Smith ran in for another try but the Cardiff players disputed the score saying that there had been an earlier infringement and the unsuccessful conversion attempt was taken under protest[3].


During the interval the players, according to the Western Mail, ‘made a vigorous attack upon the lemons provided for their refreshment’.


Early in the second half the home side was further weakened when the Cardiff captain and another forward collided and had to retire hurt thus reducing the home side to 12 men.


Later in the half, following a line out, full back G. Jones dropped a goal for the visitors and this proved to be the final score of the match, which Moseley won by one goal, one dropped goal, one try, one disputed try and five touchdowns to one touchdown.


After the match the two sides dined together at the Queen’s Hotel and had ‘a very enjoyable evening’.

[1] A touchdown was recorded when a team was forced to ground the ball in its own in-goal area in self-defence. Touchdowns were only used to decide matches in cup competitions.

[2] Replacements were not introduced until almost a century later.

[3] The majority of matches at this time did not have a referee but two umpires, one from each side, and not surprisingly there were many disputes about scores.