St Helen’s ArchivePreserving the past for the future

1877-1878 Season


Swansea RFC season breakdown 1877-1878

This season saw Swansea play nine games between November and March winning three and losing four. The season started badly with heavy losses away to Llandovery College and Newport, before Cardiff were beaten at home and a draw made with Llanelli at Stradey Park. 1877-78 saw the introduction of the South Wales Challenge Cup overseen by the South Wales Football Club (predecessor to the WRU), with a 2 Guinea subscription by participating Clubs. Eighteen South Wales Clubs competed for the Cup which was to promote the growth of the game in south Wales. Abergavenny defaulted on their first round match v Swansea who went on under their captain Fred Meager to beat Carmarthen Grammar School away (December) and Neath at home (January) to reach the final of the inaugural competition. In February, Cardiff beat a visiting Swansea team by 2 goals to nil at Sophia Gardens and a draw resulted in Llandovery College’s visit to St Helens. A Newport side in its own Invincible Season beat Swansea in the first ever South Wales Challenge Cup Final at Bridgend on 2nd March 1878.


The South Wales Challenge Cup trophy introduced in 1877-78

Newspaper cutting, Western Mail Monday 4th March 1878 p3. South Wales Challenge Cup - FINAL

The Annual Athletics meetings at St Helens and organised by the Swansea football Club was keenly looked forward to by Swansea residents and athletes from the surrounding towns and villages. On bank Holiday Monday (22nd April) 1878 14 different events were held at the ground including a 5 mile walking race, 100 yards, 2 mile bicycle race and 1 mile run, all with cash prizes. There was a 440 yards Club only race which Phillip Ingram won (2nd: W T Far, 3rd: K W Kendall) and the place kicking was won by James Doggett of the Swansea Club. Many future players would emerge from these games under the watchful eyes of the Club committee and the activities were seen as a healthy advertisement for outdoor sports at a time when manual labour under suffocating conditions left little time for exercise in the fresh air.

Newspaper cutting, Western Mail Tuesday 23rd April 1878 p3. Swansea FC - Annual Athletics