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Wales’ first ever International match takes place in Rhyl: Saturday 26 January 1895

By Phil Bailey


The first ever hockey international featuring a Welsh Team took place on Saturday 26 January 1895 at Rhyl against Ireland.


At the time Rhyl was the only town in the principality that possessed a hockey club, and it was this, combined with the huge effort by the members of the club, that allowed the contest to take place.


The Wales selectors met on Friday 18 January 1895 to choose their side to face the Irish. Following the announcement, some press sources expressed dissatisfaction that there were too many players picked from the Rhyl club. The consensus was that Ireland was the stronger side and should win the game.


The press’ prediction came to fruition with a 3-0 win to the Irish side.


Whilst the score line was a real testament to the strength of the Irish side, it was an even greater feat due to team having had a dreadful sea passage. They were reported as having been a most pitiful spectacle when they arrived at Holyhead, as all members of the team had been seasick on their express boat journey from North Wall.


On the morning of the match they took the slow train from Bangor to Rhyl. On arrival, both teams were photographed; Wales in black with the Prince of Wales feathers in gold, whilst Ireland had shirts with a light green centre and the shamrock in dark green.


Wales played with the X1 selected on the 18 January. Ireland had to make a last-minute change as Bud Hamilton of Dundrum was unable to play due to an indisposition, possibly still feeling the effects of the sea trip and his position was taken by HC Birmingham.


This first international started in a blinding snowstorm, which continued for the duration of the contest.


Ireland won the toss and elected to play with the wind. By half time the visitors were two goals up, and went on to win the game by 3-0, with goals from T. Beckett [2] and A. Carroll.

Throughout the game Wales made repeated powerful runs but these were spoiled by wild shooting. It was reported that splendid play was shown by Hugh Parry and James Evans.


After the match the teams and two umpires, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Barnes, were entertained to dinner by the Welsh Committee and Mr. Strachan J.P., President of the Rhyl Hockey Club.


Mr. Strachan complimented Ireland on their victory and the Irish Captain, Mr. Dobbs of Dundrum responded and hoped the Welsh Team would soon visit Ireland.



The sides were:


Wales

GK: J Evans [Rhyl and Wrexham]

Backs: BP Griffiths [Rhyl] and RB Jones [Huyton and Abergele]

Half Backs: JH Evans [Rhyl and Flintshire], Sergeant E Bennett [Chester Military and Flint], Idris Jones – Captain - [Sefton and Glamorgan]

Forwards:

RW: EW Powell – Oxford University and Montgomery

IR/IL: H Hughes [Rhyl and Llangollen ], T Evans [Rhyl and Aberystwyth]

CF: EH Parry [Rhyl and Flintshire]

LW: JWG Casson [Oxford University and Festiniog]

Reserves: FH Hughes, HT Roberts and J Roberts


Ireland

GK: J Birmingham [Palmerston]

Backs: WB Dobbs - Captain – [Dundrum] and B Ramsay [King’s Hospital]

Half Backs: JE Mills [Palmerston], T Walsh [Palmerston], W Butler [King’s Hospital]

Forwards:

P Carlton [Trinity]

H Birmingham [Palmerston]

T Beckett [King’s Hospital]

H Rutherford [Trinity]

A Carroll [Dundrum]

Reserves: D Gordon, Clifford, WD Hamilton, TC Devlin and B Hamilton [due to play but ill]

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