Playing Record : P28, W16, D5, L7, Pts for 172, Pts against 85.
Club Captain : Teddy Thorogood
Capped v England : Billy Bancroft, Tom Jackson (d)
Capped v Scotland : Billy Bancroft
Capped v Ireland : Billy Bancroft, Albert Jenkin (d)
(d) = International debut, (c) = captain of international side.
Swansea RFC 1st XV 1894-95
Back Row L to R: A M Jenkin, C Coke, T Jackson.
2nd Row L to R: W J Bancroft, R S Jenkins, R Messer, T Chegwidden, E Thorogood, F Gordon.
3rd Row L to R: W Grey, S Rice, R Thomas, J Williams.
Front Row L to R: R Oldham, J Prescott, T Blackmore.
The players are photographed at the side of the Old Grandstand at St Helens which was replaced in 1923 at the Town End. Along with Billy Bancroft (far left standing) Tom Jackson was also capped for Wales v England and Albert Jenkins joined Bancroft v Ireland. Bancroft also played for Wales against Scotland this season. The red caps are Glamorgan county caps except for Bancrofts which is a rather weathered Wales Cap. The blue caps are Swansea Caps.
Back row L to R): ?,?,?,?,?,W Davies, D Williams (Trainer). 2nd Row (L to R): Dan Smith, ?, H Lloyd (Capt.), ?, D Williams, ?. Front Row (L to R): Eddie Evans, Peter Lockman, R Gribbings.
As early as 1876 Swansea had fielded two teams and by the AGM of 1880 the arrangement was formalised with the appointment of a Second XV captain. This photo of the 1894-95 seconds is the earliest known image of the second team in the club’s possession. (Club Archive)
Teddy Thorogood made his debut for Swansea in 1886. He initially played as a full back then he retired prematurely in 1889 due to ill health. He later returned, playing as a three-quarter, and took over the captaincy for 1894/95.
The new season saw a change in the captaincy in favour of forward Edward (‘Teddy’) Thorogood. He’d been with the Club as a first XV player since 1886 and so had been an integral part of the successful period under William Bowen. This experience it was hoped would galvanize the Swansea team. Moves were made by Club Secretary W. Bryant to the English Rugby Union regarding the reinstatement of the excluded James brothers but these were not to bear immediate fruit. Swansea were beaten by Newport and Cardiff in November but the emergence of a young player on the wing was remarked apon at a Llanelli match. His name was Frank Gordon and he was noted as a ferocious tackler and dependable team mate. He received the nickname of ‘General (later ‘Gennie’) Gordon’ acknowledging the late general Charles Gordon of Khartoum fame. His future with the Club was to bear great fruit as he forced his way into the first XV at St Helens this season. Swansea improved in the second half of the season and a large gate of 7,000 for the home game against English Club Oldham (featuring former Whites David Gwynn and Billy McCutcheon) and a massive 20,000 to watch Swansea draw against Llanelli, certainly helped the finances of the Club. Many people got in free after the gates at the Gors road end were forced in the latter match and enthusiasm amongst supporters was much improved from the previous campaign. Among frequent rumours of Welsh players “Going North” to the new breakaway Northern Union this season was a scare at season’s end that their own Billy Bancroft would leave to play professional cricket with the Wiltshire Club Chippenham. Meetings were held and eventually the Swansea and Wales full back was to make a public statement to quash the story. His departure was not to take place and within two seasons he was to lead the Club again in an uninterrupted 5 season tenure that was to see Swansea arrive at the pinnacle of Anglo-Welsh rugby.
Dick Burrows had been a tenacious young player. He badly injured his neck and spine in the match against Newport at St. Helen’s on 23 February 1895 and was paralysed as a result. It was believed to have been a recurrence of an injury sustained some 6 weeks earlier. He was to die 3 weeks later. It is believed that this was the 1st occasion for a player to die as a result of a rugby accident. This article dates from the Western Mail of 15th March 1895. (Courtesy Swansea Library)
Wales played England in January 1895 and St Helens hosted the match which though lost to a strong English side was to see Swansea forward Tom Jackson gain the honour of a Welsh cap alongside Billy Bancroft. Bancroft held his full back position in the matches against Scotland and Ireland. Against Ireland he was joined by Swansea forward Albert Jenkin, gaining the first of his 2 caps. Bancroft converted a Tom Pearson try to give Wales a 5 – 3 win. Against Scotland, Bancroft scored a good dropped goal from the mark but unfortunately for the mercurial and talented full back, he had a kick charged down which led to a Scottish winning try.
St Helens again hosted England in an International on 5th January 1985. The game was won by England by 14 points to 6. Swansea’s Tom Jackson won his only Welsh cap in this game where the ever present Billy Bancroft appeared again at full back. The English artist depicting the game at St Helens here, names players (from left) Badger (Wales), S M J Woods, Ward, Leslie Jones & Baker (England), Arthur Gould, Bancroft [missing tackle] & Pearson (Wales) and W B Thomson scoring for England at the Mumbles End. referee J Aikman Smith (Scotland) is far right.