Edward Morgan Baker, a centre three-quarter, was born in 1874 and was educated at Denstone College where he captained the rugby team in 1892/93. He then went up to Keble College, Oxford and while there won four Blues in 1893-96 scoring a try in his last appearance against Cambridge.
While in his first year at university, Baker was elected to represent the famous Barbarian club making his debut against Carlisle and District. He went on to make nine appearances for the Baa-Baas.
Baker won seven England caps playing against Scotland, Ireland and Wales in 1895 and again in 1896 and against Wales in 1897. All these international appearances were made while he was still a student.
His first cap was notable for the fact that also making his debut was another Moseley clergyman, R.H.B. Cattell, and the two played in the side for all but the last of Baker’s England appearances although Cattell moved to Blackheath in 1896.
In four of Baker’s England games the Moseley legend, J.F. ‘Fred’ Byrne was at fullback and in Baker’s last international Fred’s brother Frank made his one and only England appearance alongside his brother.
During England’s defeat by Ireland in Leeds in 1896 Baker crossed the goal line but in attempting to touch down behind the posts he put his foot over the dead ball line and the score did not count. What, if any, ‘unclerical’ words the reverend gentleman may have uttered is not known!
He was ordained in 1897 and severed various churches in Aston and Wolverhampton until 1912. During his time in the west Midlands Baker played for both Moseley and Wolverhampton. Incidentally, one of his churches in Wolverhampton, St. George’s, is now a Sainsbury supermarket.
Following his time in Wolverhampton he moved to Australia and started to take an interest in education by combining the roles of warden of St. John’s College, Brisbane University with various church positions. One of his churches was in Woollongabba the area in which the famous Test cricket ground, the Gabba, is situated.
In 1919 Baker finally gave up the active priesthood and became headmaster of King’s School, Parramatta where he remained until he retired in 1932. On his retirement he moved to Andover in Hampshire and died in Winchester in 1940.
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