Alec Boswell Timms

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A.B. Timms
Full name Alexander Boswell Timms
Date of birth (1872-03-02)2 March 1872
Place of birth Geelong, Australia
Date of death 5 May 1922(1922-05-05) (aged 50)
Place of death Marylebone, England
School The Geelong College
University Edinburgh University
College of Surgeons
Occupation(s) medical doctor
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
- Edinburgh University RFC
Edinburgh Wanderers
Cardiff RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Isles

Alexander "Alec" Boswell Timms (2 March 1872 – 5 May 1922)[1] was an Australian-born international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Edinburgh Wanderers and Edinburgh University. Timms played international rugby for Scotland and was selected for the British Isles team on its 1899 tour of Australia.

Personal history[edit]

Timms was born in Australia, at Mount Hesse Station west of Geelong where his father owned a sheep farm.[2] He grew up in Geelong, attended Melbourne Grammar School before transferring to The Geelong College where he captained the school[3] in Australian rules football, his talent earning him the nickname "Shako" and played some senior games for both Geelong College and the Geelong Football Club in 1892.[4][5]

He was sent to Edinburgh to study as a medical doctor. After finishing his degree at Edinburgh University he progressed to the College of Surgeons and took the Scottish triple qualifications in 1903.[6]

Rugby career[edit]

Timms came to note as a rugby player while representing club team Edinburgh Wanderers and Edinburgh University RFC, and it was while playing for the former club that he was first selected to represent Scotland's national team. Timms was brought into the squad as a temporary replacement for JJ Gowans at centre in Scotland's opening game of the 1896 Home Nations Championship, played away to Wales at the Cardiff Arms Park. Scotland lost by two tries to nil and Timms was replaced by a returning Gowan for the next international.

Before Timms would win his second Scotland cap, he was selected to represent Matthew Mullineux's British Isles team on the 1899 tour of Australia. Timms scored two tries in the opening match of the campaign, against Central Southern,[7] but missed the next four games, including the First Test against Australia. Timms regained his place for the sixth game of the tour, and missed only two more games, becoming a regular fixture in the team. After the British lost the First Test match of the tour, and Mullineux made several changes to improve his team for the Second Test. Timms was brought in at centre as replacement for Charles Adamson, and was partnered with Gwyn Nicholls, with whom he would be paired at centre for the remaining three Tests. The British won the last three Tests, with Timms scoring a try in the Third Test at Sydney.

On returning to Britain, Timms found himself back in the Scotland team, playing two games of the 1900 Home Nations Championship. From this point Timms was a regular member of the Scottish team until 1905. He played in two Triple Crown winning Championships, in 1901 and 1903. Timms was switched to the wing position for the 1904 Home Nations Championship, during a period when he moved to Wales to set up a practice in Cardiff, joining Cardiff RFC at the same time. Timms was back at centre for the Scotland team in 1905 for the games against Ireland and England. Timms scored a try in the loss to Ireland, but was given the honour, in his final international game, of captaining Scotland in the encounter against England. Scotland beat England 8-0 to retain the Calcutta Cup.