Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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v Gloucester 26th September 1903



played at Kingsholm, Gloucester.

Gloucester 3 - Clifton 5

Three-quarter backs
Three-quarter backs
E.F.Eberle, E.W.Baker, Claude W. Baker, P.J.Slee
Cecil W. Baker, Leonard W. Baker
A.J.Gardner (captain), J.H.Inskip, V.Green-Armytage
A.V.Board, A.C.Godwin, E.E.Davis, H.Clissold

At this time the Gloucester club would sell Death Cards. These said "Death of Clifton" and were on sale up until half time during this match.

An account of the match appeared in The Bristol Times & Mirror on 28th September 1903 and said

Our heartiest congratulations to Clifton, who on Saturday achieved one of the finest successes of the club’s history in defeating Gloucester, at Kingsholm, by five points to three. Not for many years have the town club been beaten by the Cliftonians on their own ground, and the match, which generally opens the Gloucester season, is looked upon more as a practice game than a serious encounter. This year, however, Gloucester have already played several games, whereas Clifton have not started their fixtures. Gloucester were without Romans and Smith, and Clifton had G.H.Beloe, D.A.Clark, H.C.Hicks, and T.Miller amongst their absentees. The two Bakers, however, who came in at half, did so well that it seems hardly just to send them back into the second fifteen next week, after filling the vacancies with such conspicuous success.

It may be argued that Gloucester under estimated their opponents, but if they did so, after the shock Stroud gave them last week, they deserved the reverse sustained. At the same time, Clifton made the most of their chances, except the shot at goal missed by Eddie Baker from a free, and defended splendidly; whereas Gloucester played raggedly, and did not show the finish the visitors did. From the records of the past two seasons it is evident that Clifton are treating football in a much more serious way than for many years past, and as a result the side has improved wonderfully. It is interesting to note that in 1899-1900 Gloucester secured 60 points against the Cliftonians, and in 1900-01 no fewer than 130. In 1901-02 the points were reduced to 94, leat season to 53, and this year one would not be surprised to find that Clifton achieved a double success. It is the first time, at any rate, for many seasons that Clifton have commenced the year with points in hand, and such a big success should encourage Gardner and his men to many other victories during 1903-04.

Clifton playing against the full glare of a summer like sun, went away with a dash which was irresistible, and at once got close down to the home line. The ‘Cestrians, by strenuous effort, relieved the strain for the moment, but Clifton quickly carried play down to the Gloucester end again, and pressed with vigour which caused the supporters of the city club some anxiety. The defence, though clumsy, was dogged, and many clever bouts of passing by the Clifton back division were spoilt; but at length Eddie Baker, who was prominent throughout made a splendid opening for Eberle, the latter scoring in the corner, and Baker converting from a difficult position.

The second portion of the game was very similar to the the first. Clifton had by far the best of the play.. Their backs were clever, and the forwards worked well together. The display they gave was altogether finished, and in pleasing and striking contrast to the ragged play of the Gloucester contingent. Only Goulding among the forwards, and L. Vears at the back, played with intelligence. The former made some really brilliant efforts, and the latter was always cool, and tackled well, and kicked with good judgement, though failed at an apparently easy place kick, which if successful, would have given Gloucester the victory by one point. Stephens made several good attempts, but, taken altogether, the Gloucester play was weak. There were, certainly, as previously mentioned, two or three absentees, the captain, George Romans, being one; but it is extremely doubtful wheather the result would have been different had he been in his old position at full back, as L. Vears proved an excellent substitute. For the visitors the brothers Eddie and Claude Baker, E. F. Eberle, and P. J. Slee were throughout conspicuous for good play, and the whole of the back division worked well together. Gloucester managed to score a try, so that Clifton only won by a couple of points; but this by no means adequately indicates their superiority.

The players were

Frank Oliver Wills

He was born on the 3rd April 1882. The son of Frank William Wills, who also played for Clifton in the 1869 and 1872 sides. Part of the tobacco dynasty. He joined Clifton RFC in 1900-01. He died in 1972.

Ellison Fuller Eberle

He was born on the 4th July 1883. Educated at Clifton College from 1894 to 1899. He captained Clifton from 1907 to 1909. He married Margaret Anne Proctor Wills, the daughter of Sir George Alfred Wills. In 1932, after Sir George Wills' death, they bought Goldney House, Clifton from the trustees of his estate. In 1956, in accordance with his late wife's wish. he sold Goldney House to Bristol University and it became student accommodation. He died on 2nd May 1968. For more click here

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. For more click here
Claude Watkins Baker

He was born on the 11th July 1883. He was educated at Clifton College from 1893 to 1899. He joined Clifton RFC in 1901-02. In 1920 he married, a 17 year old, Kathleen Helena Lee in Scarborough, Yorkshire. He was Manager of a Tea and Rubber Estate in Ceylon. He died at St. James Hospital in Leeds in 1958.

Percy J. Slee He was born in Swansea. Clifton Captain 1905-07.
Cecil Leecroft Watkins Baker

He was born on the 27th July 1881. He was educated at Clifton College from 1892 to 1897.

Leonard Frere Watkins Baker

He was born on the 3rd August 1882. He was educated at Clifton College from 1892 to 1896. He joined Clifton RFC in 1900-01.

Alfred John Gardner (captain)

He was born on the 19 th January 1882. He joined Clifton RFC in 1902-03. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School. He played rugby and table tennis for Gloucestershire. He was a founder of Bristol Lawn Tennis Club in 1912. He died on the 17 th May 1948. For more click here

John Hampden Inskip

He was born on the 16th December 1879 in Clifton, Bristol. He was educated at Clifton College from 1890-98 and then Kings College, Cambridge. He joined Clifton RFC in 1901-02. He was a solicitor. He held the office of Lord Mayor of Bristol in 1931, and the office of Alderman of Bristol in 1932. He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.) in 1937. He died on the 8th April, 1960. For more click here

Vivian Bartley Green-Armytage He was born on the 14th August 1882. He was educated at Clifton College from 1898 to 1901. He became a senior gynaecologist on Harley Street.
Archibald Vyvyan Board He was born on the 5th February 1884. He was educated at Clifton College from 1893 to 1902. Knighted. Worked for the Foreign Office.
Arthur C. Godwin He was born about 1885 in Stoke Bishop, Bristol. His father James was an Iron Merchant.
E.E.Davis ?
Harry Clissold Died in World War 1. For more click here
Ernest Gardiner Died in World War 1. For more click here



It was on this day that George Fuller Eberle was so badly injured captaining Bristol against Bridgwater that he would never play again. George, the brother of Victor and Ellison, had previously played for Clifton and Oxford. He was on the verge of being selected to play for England. For more click here