Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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v Bristol 10th April 1897


This was the 16th fixture between the sides. Clifton had previously only won 2, drawn 2 and lost 11. Earlier in the season they had played each other and Bristol had won 16-5.

Standing (L-R): H.S.Sinnott, T.W.Baker, A.W.Board, W.J.Lias, W.H.Birch, T.W.H.Inskip, H.Mills. Sitting: J.M.Greenwood, T.S.Duffett, E.W.Baker, W.E.Paul, H.N.Spencer, C.W.W.James. On Ground: E.S.B.Smith, T.Taylor, A.B.Cridland.

The above photo was taken just before the match v Bristol outside the pavilion at the County Ground on 10th April 1897. The game ended in a 6-5 victory for Bristol. Bristol scored a try in the last second as the whistle went for full-time. Clifton claiming that the ball had been touched down after the whistle.

The report in The Bristol Times and Mirror on 12th April 1897 said

BRISTOL V CLIFTON. - The brilliant sunshine and warm mild air which prevailed on Saturday afternoon gave notice that the football season was coming to an end. Though it was hardly an ideal day for active participants in the game, it was very pleasant for the spectators, who mustered upon the County Ground in large numbers to witness the return match between Bristol and Clifton. Feeling concerning the game ran higher even than usual, for it was recognized that Clifton had an excellent chance of making the issue a very narrow one, even if they did not actually carry off the palm of victory. The teams turned out exactly in the order announced, and were ten minutes late only. The game was started by Birch, and Percy Hussey found touch smartly. A penalty left Bristol in a good position, and Needs whipped out to Parsons, who gave to Reggie Hussey. He delayed his pass a second too long and so lost his brother a try. A rushing dribble took Clifton back to neutral ground, where Spencer broke right away, and gave Bostock Smith, but he knocked on. A moment later, taking advantage of an opening made by James, Spencer was off again with the ball at his feet, and was smartly stopped by Smithson. In a series of scrums Clifton held their own for a while, and then gave way, but Cridland recovered the lost ground by a speedy rush. A couple of kicks by Needs drove Clifton back again. When in the centre, Bristol were penalized for legs up, and, though Birch failed to utilize the advantage, Lias popped in a useful little kick. Lias then whipped out to James, who ran well and gave to E.W.Baker, who was bustled into touch close by the corner. A vigorous push took the game from this dangerous proximity to the goal line, and Fenner kicked, but a mistake of Smithson's brought Clifton close to the line again. A nice kick by Reggie Hussey followed, and a pretty bit of play was seen, Needs going away in his best style, and Percy Hussey snapped the pass and grounding the ball beneath the posts Smithson missed the goal. With the resumption there was a spell of even play, broken by one of Reggie Hussey's clever, dashing dribbles. Lias came to the relief of his side and E.W.Baker found touch. Pearce was conspicuous by a dribble, but Lias's cleverness was again valuable and following his kick Inskip actually dribbled over the line. The ball, however, was kicked back into play and a scrum formed under the posts. A pretty run and punt by Reggie Hussey sent Bristol off, and a kick by Parsons went dead. The drop out was vigorously returned by R.Hussey, who helped pull Paul down. Another dead ball resulted from a kick by Fenner, and the next episode of interests was a fine charge by Bingham. Half time arrived with Bristol pressing and leading by a try. The interchange of kicks which followed the kick off left Bristol with a substantial advantage. Through Fenner missing a pass Clifton were enable to get upon level terms, and some loose play on the left saw Spencer and E.W.Baker sprinting away on the wing. From a penalty by the 25, Board had a shot at goal. But his kick was knocked down. If Fenner had gathered in Needs tardy punt he would have had a rare chance. Another opportunity was given him a moment later, and he got within a couple of yards of the corner before James dashed round and found touch. When the ball came in Parsons looked a likely scorer, but he was grassed, and his pass went wide. Hale shot at goal met with the same fate as Board's, and Parsons was speeding for home when Paul had him down again. A penalty on their own goal line was not of much service to Clifton, but an opening by James, which Lias accepted, gave them breathing space, and James was inainly instrumental in opening up another hot attack. Some exciting play followed, Needs running clean away, and Fenner misjudging the ball. Smithson kicked and followed up in his most dashing, and Lias fielding from Reggie Hussey, went sailing up the touch-line until Reggie tackled him splendidly. Parsons made a game attempt to clear, but found in Spencer an insuperable obstacle. A moment later James took a pass from Lias and went clean in, Watkins Baker converting. Two points to the bad, Bristol made a fine effort. They reached their opponents' quarters, where their stay was brief, Clifton rushing over the half-way line and more than holding their own. The prospects of Bristol pulling off the match were almost nil, as it wanted no more than a minute to time when Reggie Hussey was away and gave to Parsons. It looked as if the centre man would go in himself, but he was shut in an transferred to Fenner who touched down in the corner. The goal kick failed, and "no-side" was at once called, with the score - Bristol, two tries (6 points); Clifton, one goal (5 points). Teams:- Bristol: Smithson, back; Percy Hussey, reggie Hussey, Parsons, and Fenner, three-quarters; Needs and Pearce, halves; Jarman, Bingham, Thomson, Martin, Hale, Shellard, Blizzard, and Gell, forwards. Clifton: Paul, back; Bostock Smith, Spencer, T.W.Baker and E.W.Baker, threequarters; Lias and James, halves; Birch, Duffett, Cridland, Taylor, Mills, Greenwood, Board, and Inskip, forwards. Referee, Mr. Phelps (Gloucester).

The players were

Joseph B. Smithson Born abt. Carlisle, Cumbria. In 1901 living at 13 Salisbury Road, Redland, Bristol. A Leather Merchants Clerk.
Percival Arthur Hussey Born abt. 1877 Torquay, Devon. In 1901 living at 10 Frederick Place, Clifton, Bristol. A Clerk with a Wholesale Provision Merchant. In 1881 living in Burton-upon-Treant. Father Loius a brewer. Joined Bristol from the Oakfield Club.
Reginald Stafford Hussey Born abt. 1877 Torquay, Devon. In 1901 living at 10 Frederick Place, Clifton, Bristol. A Clerk with a Wholesale Provision Merchant. In 1881 living in Burton-upon-Treant. Father Loius a brewer. Joined Bristol from the Oakfield Club.
Richard G. Parsons Born abt. 1874 Seend, Wiltshire. In 1901 living at 30 Southernhay Avenue, Clifton Wood, Bristol. A Grocery Storekeeper. Joined Bristol from the Oakfield Club.
Edwin Fenner Born abt. 1869 Bristol. A Furniture Dealer. In 1901 living at 28 Theresa Avenue, Ashley Down. Next to Bristol RFCs ground, the County Ground.
W.Needs Possibly William Needs. Born abt. 1871 Newport, Wales. In 1901 living at 95 Richmond Street, Bristol.
Walter T. Pearce ex Carlton. Played for Gloucestershire. Became President of the RFU from 1929-1931. Died in 1940.
J. Wallace Jarman The Bristol Captain and first international in 1900. Born 15th July 1872. Emigrated to Canada in 1920. Died in September 1950 in Vancouver.
H.B.F.Bingham Believed to be Herbert B. F. Bingham. Born abt. 1876 Shanklin, Isle of Wight.
W. 'Tommy' Thompson Born 12th March 1868. Ex. Carlton. Captained Bristol from 1890/91 for 4 seasons. Went to South Africa for business reasons. Played for Transvaal. Returned to Bristol in 1896. Died 18th December 1899 of pneumonia. Funeral service at St. Nicholas Church. Buried at Arnos Vale Cemetry, Bristol.
B.S.Martin ?
Walter Henry Hale Born 6th March 1870, Bristol. Died August 12th 1956, Bishopston, Bristol. Played rugby and cricket for both Somerset and Gloucestershire. He also played professional football for Burnley from 1893-1896. He umpired the Gloucestershire v Cambridge University Cricket match on 21/22nd June 1939. His son also went on to play rugby for Bristol.
Edward Shellard Believed to be Edward J. Shellard. Born abt. 1871 Bristol. In 1891 living with his brother and his family at 24 Shadwell Road, Horfield, Bristol. In 1901 married to Alice and living at 18 Elliston Road, Redland, Bristol.
Ernest A. E. Blizzard Born abt. 1872 Bristol. An Architects Clerk. In 1901 living at 28 Nevil Road, Ashley Down. Next to Bristol RFCs ground, the County Ground.
George A. Gell Born abt. 1872 Bristol. In 1891 living at 10 Nottingham Road, Ashley Down. Next to Bristol RFCs ground, the County Ground. A Mercantile Clerk. His father, Alfred, was a Greengrocer and died in 1882 aged only 38.


Walter Edgar Paul The Clifton Captain. Born 27th March 1874. Clifton College 1882 - 1891. Killed at Ypres on 31st July 1917. One of the 44 Clifton players that died in World War 1 click here
Edward Samuel Bostock Smith Born abt. 1877 Bristol. Became President of the Gloucestershire RFU. Was at the unveiling of the War Memorial in 1931 . His brother Claude was one of the 44 Clifton players that died in World War 1. click here
H.N.Spencer Believed to be Henry Spencer. Born 20th September 1883. Clifton College 1897-1898. Aged only 16 when this match was played. Asst. Div. Off. London Fire Brigade 1909. WW1 Lt-Cmr. Royal Navy. Died 1922.
Tom Watkins Baker Started with Clifton in 1896 and then he joined Bristol. He left with several other players in 1901 but did return to Clifton in 1907. He became President of Bristol Saracens RFC between 1906-07 and 1908-1910
Edward Watkins Baker Born on 30th June 1878. He went to Edinburgh University in 1898 who he played rugby and cricket for. He also played rugby for Bristol, Harlequins, Edinburgh Wanderers, Blackheath and Gloucestershire. He became Clifton's only Barbarian. He died on 12th January 1967 in Vancouver, Canada. click here
William John Lias Born March 13th 1868 in Kensington. Son of the clergyman and author John James Lias. Went to Hailbury School. Attended Jesus College, Cambridge from 1886, BA 1889, MA 1898. Editor of the Cambridge Review 1890-1. Headmaster of the Downs School, Clifton 1893-98. Called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, May 1, 1901. Practised at Liverpool. Served in the Great War, 1914-19 (Capt., Lancs. Fusiliers, and R.E.; mentioned in despatches). Professor of International Law at Sheffield University, 1924-9. Judge of County Courts, Circuit No. 13 (Sheffield), 1922-30; of County Court No. 59 (Plymouth) District, 1930-40. He died on July 20th 1941 at Torquay. click here
C.W.W.James ?
William H. T. Birch Born 1869 in Cape of Good Hope , South Africa. Captained Clifton in 1891-92. Had 2 trials for England 1894-95. Captained Gloucestershire. Later moved to Bristol Rugby Club. During the 1881 census he was at a Private School in Ham Lane, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham. He was a Clerk in a Solicitors office. In 1891 he was a lodger at 20 Clyde Road, Redland, Bristol. In 1901 he was a lodger at 64 Oakfield Road, Clifton, Bristol. For more click here
Thomas S. Duffett Born abt. 1867 Bristol. In 1891 and 1901 living at 10 Redland Park, Bristol. A cashier at Bristol Gas Light Company. His father and brother all worked for the Bristol Gas Light Company.
Arthur Bernard Cridland Born 18th May 1873 Mangotsfield, Bristol. Clifton College 1883-1885. In 1891 living at The Laurels, 16 Staple Hill, Bristol. Surgeon. Married Evelyn Fisher Smith in 1908 in Wolverhampton. Father Arthur Cridland, a Boot and Shoe Manufacturer. He died on St. Peters Day 1934 at Salisbury House, Wolverhampton.
T.Taylor ?
H.Mills ?
J.M.Greenwood ?
Arthur William Board Born 18th March 1877. Clifton College 1891-1895. In 1891 he was living at Derrystone, Tyndall Park Road, Clifton. His father, Joseph, was a Wine Distiller. In 1891 there were 10 children, 3 sons and 7 daughters. He married Agnes Mary F Allison, of Norton Villa, Victoria Road, Clifton in 1901. He died in 1967.
Thomas Walker Hobart Inskip Born 5th March 1876 in Clifton, Bristol. He attended Clifton College from 1886 - 1894. King's College, Cambridge. He made several appearances for Bristol RFC while at Cambridge University the following season. He married in 1914 Lady Augusta Orr-Ewing, eldest daughter of the seventh Earl of Glasgow and widow of Charles Orr Ewing, Unionist MP for Ayr Burghs. He was MP for Central Bristol from 1918-29, Knighted in 1922 and MP for Fareham 1931-39. He become Viscount Caldecote of Bristol in 1939. He was Leader of the House of Lords in 1940 and Lord Chief Justice from 1940-46. He held many other positions of influence and note throughout his life. He died on October 11th 1947 at his home, Greystones, Enton, Godalming, Surrey. He was buried at Caldecote, near Baldock, Hertfordshire. His nephew John Hampden Inskip went on to play for Clifton RFC from 1901. click here
H.S.Sinnott In above picture. ?. Possibly substitute.

The following season the fixture was controversially dropped by Bristol. It was reinstated in 1898-99 season when Bristol won 19-0 and 28-5. In 1899-1900 Bristol won 47-0 and 26-0.