William Davies (footballer, born 1855)

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William Henry Davies (1855 – 14 November 1916) was a Welsh amateur footballer who made four appearances for the Wales national football team in the 1870s and 1880s, and scored his country's first international goal.

Career outside football[edit]

Davies was born, and lived most of his life, at Oswestry, just across the border in Shropshire, England. On leaving school, Davies started working in the office of the County Court Registrar, before obtaining employment with a firm of solicitors as an accounts clerk. He later became the part-time Registrar of Births and Deaths in Oswestry.[1]

He was a strong churchman and was active in the temperance movement for many years.[1]

Davies was also a keen cricketer and played for Shropshire, before the formation of the modern county club, between 1882 and 1893, making nearly 40 appearances for the county, playing as a wicket-keeper.[2]

He died in Oswestry on 14 November 1916.[1]

Football career[edit]

Davies was a pioneer of football in Oswestry, and first played for Oswestry St Oswalds, the first football club established in the town, becoming team captain.[1] On 4 September 1875, he was present at the meeting held at Oswestry Cricket Club to form an association football club to represent the town. This was the birth of Oswestry F.C., later to evolve as Oswestry Town.[1]

In February 1876, he took part in trials organised by Llewelyn Kenrick to select Welsh players to represent their country in a match against Scotland.[3] The match was played at Hamilton Crescent, Partick, the home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club on 25 March 1876, with Davies playing at outside-right in a 2–2–6 formation.[4] The Welsh were well defeated, conceding four goals without reply.[5]

Described as "equally at home as a forward or half back (who) could pass the ball accurately and possessed good dribbling skills", Davies was sometimes criticised for selfishness, although "his presence as a forward always meant danger for opposing defences."[1]

On 18 January 1879, he was one of eight Oswestry based players to be selected for the first international match between Wales and England,[6] including three who were spending a season with Oswestry as their own club, Druids, was temporarily without a ground. The match was played at the Kennington Oval, London in atrocious weather conditions with the team captains agreeing to play only 30 minutes in each half. The match report in The Times said "In spite of the fact that a thick layer of snow covered Kennington-oval on Saturday, the match between England and Wales, announced for that day, was played."[7] England scored twice in the first half, with Davies scoring the Wales reply in the 47th minute;[8] Davies, "with his usual brilliant dash landed the first goal for Wales, amidst tremendous cheering".[9] According to Philip Gibbons, "England were surprised by the level of skill shown by the Welsh team."[10]

For the 1883–84 season, Davies played for Oswestry White Stars, helping them reach the final of the Welsh Cup where they defeated Druids 1–0 in a replay.[11]

International appearances[edit]

Davies made four appearances for Wales in official international matches, as follows:[12]

Date Venue Opponent Result[13] Goals Competition
25 March 1876 West of Scotland Cricket Ground, Partick  Scotland 0–4 0 Friendly
5 March 1877 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  Scotland 0–2 0 Friendly
18 January 1879 Kennington Oval, London  England 1–2 1 Friendly
15 March 1880 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham  England 2–3 0 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Oswestry White Stars

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. p. 46. ISBN 1-872424-11-2. 
  2. ^ "Other matches played by William Davies (38)". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Story of Welsh Football". 1876 Kenrick's Challenge. www.wrexham.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "1876 Programme". The Story of Welsh Football. www.wrexham.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Scotland 4 Wales 0 (25 March 1876)". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "England 2 Wales 1 (18 January 1879)". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "England match No. 8 (England 2 Wales 1)". www.englandfootballonline.com. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "England 2 – Wales 1 (18 January 1879 )". www.englandstats.com. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "1879 First Goal for Wales". The Story of Welsh Football. Wrexham County Borough Council. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Gibbons, Philip (2001). Association Football in Victorian England – A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. Upfront Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 1-84426-035-6. 
  11. ^ "Oswestry White Stars 1Druids 0 (14 April 1884)". Welsh Football Data Archive. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  12. ^ Samuel, Bill (2009). The Complete Wales FC 1876–2008. Soccer Books. p. 5. ISBN 1-86223-176-1. 
  13. ^ Wales score first