Rugby Memorabilia Society

1895 Scotland v Wales

Scotland v Wales
26th January 1895
Raeburn Place ‘Edinburgh’

Scotland & Wales Team illustrations - Evening Express 26th Jan 1895.jpg
Illustrations of the Scottish and Welsh sides
South Wales Daily News 26th January 1895

“Welsh Athlete’ telegraphs from Edinburgh at eleven pm on Friday:
The Eastern contingent of the Welsh players arrived here just before ten o’clock, after a tiresome journey, that was alternated with bleak winds and heavy falls of snow. The most severe of these was experienced between Pontypool Road and Shrewsbury, and again later on in the evening when passing through Cumberland hills and Carlisle. Here the snow lay in considerable depth, and the strength of the wind was such as to force the snow through the crevices of the saloon doors. The Westerners had just arrived after a journey that must have been even more tiresome. At the time of writing the weather is very mild, and there seems no reason that the match should not be contested, as the secretary of the Scottish Union has just informed me, the ground is , if anything on the soft side. The Welsh team make their headquarters at the Royal Hotel. The match commences at 2.45 sharp.

Telegraphing at noon to-day (Saturday) from Edinburgh:
“Welsh Athlete” says: The Welsh officials, together with the Captain, have inspected the Raeburn Place Ground. Three parts of the field of play is quite playable, but at the one end, between the 25 flag and the goal post the ground is as hard as adamant, whilst at both ends behind the posts the ground has not been protected, and is in a similar condition. The general impression existing amongst the Welsh officials is that ground is unfit for play. Mr Holmes of the Midland Counties (who is the referee in the match), has just departed to inspect the condition of the ground. A strong impression still prevails amongst the officials is that the match will not be played.

A few minutes after half past one this afternoon (Saturday) afternoon Mr Holmes (referee), Mr W.S M Lagan (Scotland) and Mr H Lyne (Wales) returned from the Raeburn Place Ground and stated that in order that the match might be played, the ground would be shortened some fifteen or seventeen yards at the end where it was very hard. The old goal posts could not be taken up and fresh ones are in course of erection. These steps have been taken at the advice of Mr A.J Gould, the Welsh Captain, who otherwise would probably not have played. The majority of the Welsh officials still seem against the game taking place but, of course, the matter is now definitely settled.

Evening Express 26th Jan 1895
Illustration from the Evening Express 26th January 1895

The morning opened somewhat dull in Edinburgh and with a keen frost still prevailing, the opinion, even before the ground was visited, was freely held that there was a decided question as to whether the match would after all be played. The opinion of those members of the Welsh committee who visited the ground was decidedly against playing it. Probably in mind the crushing defeat sustained at Birkenhead last year, when the hard condition of the ground suited the wearers of the rose infinitely better than it did the wearers of the Leek. Gould when viewing the ground distinctly stated that the 25 or 20 yards near the bottom goal post was unfit for play, and he on behalf of his team, objected to playing on it. His suggestion that the goal-posts should be moved fifteen yards nearer to each other, so as to avoid play on this patch, was at the time ‘pooh-poohed”. When Mr Holmes in company of Messrs M Lagan and Lyne visited the ground and expressed the same opinion the Scotsmen rather than give up on the match decided to do this. The other part of the field with the exception of one or two hard lumps was quite fit for play, although outside the touch lines and the goal lines the ground was as hard as adamant.

South Wales Daily News 26th Jan 1895 - Scottish Team (2).jpg South Wales Daily News 26th Jan 1895 - Welsh Team (2).jpg
Illustrations of the Scottish and Welsh sides
Evening Express 26th January 1895

Interest in the match was general in Scotland’s capital, and at an early hour a constant stream of spectators began to make their way towards Raeburn Place enclosure. The space around the field of play was soon filled up by the crowd, and then about half an hour before the match commenced the Grand Stands specially erected for the occasion began to fill. What opinions could be gathered from the crowd all pointed to the fact that they consider Scotland, with her present team, had a great chance of winning. Possibly the wish was father to the thought, for they doubtless, had in mind the two defeats Wales had inflicted on them at Newport and on the scene with the most present encounter. The idea of shortening the ground commented on somewhat adversely by the players, who suggested that a good goal dropped might easily win the match. There was no change in the composition of either team, the men turning out exactly as advertised.

It was some twenty minutes past the advertised time when, after the usual photographing process, the teams took the field.

1895 Welsh Team vs Scotland (Raeburn Place) Rugby Memorabilia Society
Welsh Team Photo
G Bowen (linesman), H Packer, J Hannen, T.C Graham, C.B Nicholl, F Mills, E George, A.W Boucher
E Lloyd, T.W Pearson, A.J Gould, F.C Parfitt, T Pook
D Badger, S Biggs, W Bancroft

There would be present about 8000 spectators. The Sun was shining brightly but the frost was still keen and every moment saw the ground getting harder. Gould led his men on to the field first and received a hearty cheer. Gibson followed at the head of his men directly afterwards, the Scotch also receiving an enthusiastic reception. The Scotsmen winning the toss chose to play from the town end, with a slight breeze in their favour.

The Scoring was as follows
Early in the second half Bancroft had a kick charged down and Gowans, popping up from the far wing scored the first points of the match, with his try converted by A Smith. Not long after the Scots punted the ball in an attempt to clear their line and the ball came to Bancroft who just inside the half-way line took sight and dropped a beautiful goal. Wales forward Frank Mills had a try disallowed when the ball ended just over the temporary tape that marked the shortened goal-line.
Scotland would go on to win their other international matches of 1895 (beating Ireland 6-0 & also beating England in Richmond 6 points to 3) and win the triple crown for the second time in their history.

Evening Express - 28th Jan 1895
Illustration from the Evening Express 28th January 1895

Scotland: 5
Gowans (try), A Smith (conversion)

Wales: 4
Bancroft (Goal from a mark)

E Holmes (England)

Raeburn Place ‘Edinburgh’


A Smith, J Gowans, W Neilson, G Campbell, R Welsh, J Simpson, M Elliot, H Dods, H Smith, W McEwan, W Cownie, T Scott, W Gibson (Captain), G Neilson, J MacMillan

H Packer, J Hannen, T.C Graham, C.B Nicholl, F Mills, E George, A.W Boucher, E Lloyd, T.W Pearson, A.J Gould (Captain), F.C Parfitt, T Pook, D Badger,S Biggs,W Bancroft

If you would like to read the full match report please go to:

Peter Douglas-Davies