Tom Clark - Forward

Tom Clark
Place Of BirthNeath
ClubsSwansea, Swansea Workingmen's Club
HonoursSouth Wales
Position: forward
Clubs: Swansea Workingmen's Club, Swansea, South Wales.
Honours: Welsh SWCC winner 1880, Trial 1880.
Tom Clark was a forward who played in the early seasons for Swansea RFC while the club was establishing itself in South Wales rugby. His playing career with Swansea spanned six seasons, though he only played at the start of the last one. His first known match was as a forward in a drawn match against South Wales Rovers at the St Helens ground on 6th January 1877. Records indicate he may only have played 2 of the 11 games in the 1876-77 season, under the captaincy of Fred Meager.
He was however, heavily involved in the 1877-78 campaign where Meager led his team to a runners up position in the inaugural South Wales Challenge Cup competition, losing to Newport in the final (2nd March 1878). Tom Clark played in 9 of the 11 matches that season, showing his versatility by playing as a quarter-back twice and even as a half-back in a match against Llandovery College. During 1877-78 he also played for Swansea Workingmen’s Club against the Swansea 2nd XV, a game which the Workingmen’s Club won and Clarke scored three tries!
Clark continued to play under Fred Meager's leadership in the 1878-79 campaign (as a forward and on one occasion as a quarter-back). In 1879-80 under A H Richardson’s captaincy, the Swansea club developed into a force in Welsh rugby, culminating in the club winning the South Wales Challenge Cup in 1880. Tom Clark played in this final and his name appears on the engraved shield marking the victory over Lampeter College on 6th March 1880. The season was Swansea’s most successful to date, the club winning 10 of the 12 matches played and securing their first piece of silverware.
Clark continued to play for Swansea as Fred Meager returned for his last term as captain during 1880-81 and the club took a leading role in the formation of the Welsh Football Union. Tom Clark's final campaign was in 1881-82 under the captaincy of George Lockwood Morris who became Swansea’s first Welsh cap that season. Clark was appointed Vice-captain to Morris. But he played few games and his presence peters out early in the season with a lost game on 8th October 1881 against Newport at St Helens being his last appearance. But his career with the club had seen it pass from a fledgling club with few fixtures, to a power in Welsh rugby, represented at international level and anticipating the first international match to be held at St Helens the following season. He was a member of the first side to win silverware for the club and his red Swansea cap (later Swansea caps were blue) from 1879-80 is still at Swansea RFC, the oldest club cap in its possession.

1876-1877 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
1877-1878 7 3 1 3 0 0 0 0 0
1878-1879 7 0 4 3 0 0 0 0 0
1879-1880 6 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
1880-1881 7 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
1881-1882 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 33 15 7 11 0 0 0 0 0