Saturday, 6 November 2010

Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey: Welsh Rugby's Would-be Captain

My maternal grandparents were from the Huzzey family.

I found this info from someone else's family tree online:

Henry Vivian Huzzey was born on 24 Jul 1876. He married Edith Mary Evans. Henry was employed as Rugby Footballer.
Edith Mary Evans [Parents] was born in 1878. She died on 29 Jan 1952. She married Henry Vivian Huzzey.
They had the following children:

M i Vivian Huzzey

F ii Winifred Huzzey

M iii Child 3 Huzzey

M iv Child 4 Huzzey

M v Child 5 Huzzey
Vivian Huzzey (Child one) is my maternal grandfather, born in 1900, making Henry Vivian Huzzey and Edith Mary Evans my maternal great-grand parents.

Wikipedia gives my great grandfather's full name as Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey, but he is best known as Viv Huzzey and being one of Welsh rugby's best wingers.

You can read his full Wikipedia page here.

What's clear is that Viv Huzzey was one of the few people to play both international rugby and baseball, as well as being one of the earliest players to 'cross codes' to move from Cardiff rugby union to Oldham rugby league.

It seems that this was down to 'internal politics' and Viv Huzzey (surely the Shane Williams of his day) being deliberately overlooked for the job of Welsh captain, when everyone assumed the job was going to be his.

In fact, although he only gained 5 caps for Wales, limited because he changed codes, he remains in the Top 100 try-scorers of Welsh Rugby, as listed at the WRU Top 100 Try Scorers page having scored 4 tries in those 5 games.

Interestingly, on 02/04/1898 playing against England he scored one try (worth 3 points) and one drop goal (worth 4 points). How times - and the value of tries and drop goals! - have changed.

He is also listed as playing in position "2" while he was a winger.

The book that most of the information on Wikipedia seems to come from is Prince Gwyn: Gwyn Nicholls and the First Golden Era of Welsh Rugby by rugby correspondent and journalist David Parry-Jones.

Interestingly the match against England in the 1899 Four Nations championship, at which Viv Huzzey scored two tries, was played at Swansea. A full breakdown of that season's Four Nations is on this Wikipedia page.

I have one query concerning my great grandfather and that is why he refused to go on the British Lions tour to Australia in 1899. According to an account on the Official British & Irish Lions site for the Tour to Australia in 2013:

In the end, the final place was filled by Scottish international Alf Bucher, after failed approaches were made to recruit fellow Scot James Couper and Welsh wing Viv Huzzey.
Perhaps as they weren't professional players they had to miss out on months of work and could it have been that Viv Huzzey simply could not afford that?

The same site says that only 9 of the 21 tour team of 1899 had played international rugby, so it seems likely that Viv Huzzey wasn't the only one who could spare the time (months!) or cope financially in regard to the tour.

His wing partner at Cardiff and Wales E. G. Nicholls (Gwyn Nicholls) did go on the tour.

Viv Huzzey was a hero of Welsh rugby, and he was my great grandfather.

Now I may be wrong, my memory is world-renowned for being like a sieve, but I recall being told some years ago that my great grandfather owned pubs in Cardiff. If that is true I will try and dig out more info.

Viv Huzzey's WRU Page
ESPN stats page

P.S. On Welsh Rugby and Baseball. I found a Cognitive Edge blog entry with this which sums up the situation well:

OK, a trivia question for you: how many people have been capped by Wales at both Rugby and Baseball? Just to help you out the first was Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey born in 1876 and the most recent Mark Ring, first baseball cap in 1984. For those who don't know Cardiff and Newport in Wales along with Liverpool in England are the main centres for baseball in the UK. There are differences however, a point being scored for every base making a a British home run four and teams (like cricket) are eleven in number and there are two innings. As you would expect the main international match of the year is between England and Wales and was won in 2008 by Wales (the last English win was 1995).

As someone who played both baseball and rugby for school teams I can concur that Cardiff is certainly one of the centres for baseball in the UK. I wonder if there is some kind of "Irish" connection, as it seems strange that Cardiff/Newport and Liverpool are baseball hotspots, areas with quite a lot of Irish influence - or am I clutching at straws?

No comments:

Post a Comment

No foul language please