Position: Half Back
|Place Of Birth||Swansea|
William Henry Gwynn was born in 1856. A schoolmaster,
Gwynn played as a half-back for Wales on 5 occasions between 1884 and 1885
and will be remembered for being one of the first and most able advocates of
the passing game, encouraging movement of the ball across the width of the
pitch and back. He was renowned for his passing of the ball direct from the
base of the scrum from out between his legs. He later became the
WRU’s 1st paid secretary (1892 – 1896) and was also an International Rugby
Football board representative (1892 – 1895).
Gwynn was an Association football player before taking up the Union game and had captained the undefeated Battersea College XI for two seasons in the late 1870's before changing codes. he also was a renowned cricketer and member of Swansea Cricket Club where he played in the summer months gaining a reputation and a sound batsman and good fast bowler heading both batting and bowling averages. He made his debut for Swansea in 1877, being Vice-Captain to George Morris in 1883-84 before captaining them for 2 seasons (1884/85 and 1885/86) and winning the South Wales Challenge Cup in 1880 and again in 1887 with Swansea.
As a Welsh international Gwynn showed great footballing
skills, no doubt gained from his soccer days. He was prone to the occasional
lapse as when he dummied the English defence in 1884, running over the try line
and dropping the ball as he looked for support. But his skills on the field
redeemed him and he was reselected after this mishap! He later assisted with
the Swansea club’s administration after he stopped playing and served as a
coach on several occasions.
On 13 May 1893, he refereed the 1st ever soccer match between Swansea Town and Cardiff City on the Vetch field. He also played cricket for Swansea and Glamorgan. He died following a stroke in 1895. A benevolent fund was raised by the Swansea Club for his family and a Testimonial match authorised by the Welsh Football Union in Dec 1896 which raised the large sum of £30 for their former Secretary.
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