WALES RUGBY LEAGUE LIONS – THE STORY BEHIND THE GREAT BRITAIN RUGBY LEAGUE TOUR OF 1950.
The tourists played 25 matches. They won 22 and lost only 3 games. However, two of those matches were the 2nd and 3rd Tests. Meaning the Australian Kangaroos won the Ashes Series. The first time since 1920.
Wales Rugby League Lions. First Ashes Test 1950.
The first Test was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Williams and Gwyther were selected in the Great Britain team. In some of the worst conditions ever seen at a big match. Torrential rain, combined with two curtain-raiser matches had left the field looking like a battlefield from World War One. The game was a tight affair. And just as it looked like the Kangaroos were gaining the upper hand. Wigan’s Ernie Ashcroft intercepted an Australian pass in his own half. He sprinted downfield to halfway. And then passed to his club colleague Jack Hilton who scored a crucial try. They won the game by 6 points to 4.
Second Ashes Test 1950.
In the Second Test. Once again Williams and Gwyther retained their selection. The weather in Brisbane was in sharp contrast to the week before in Sydney. Things started well for Great Britain. Tommy Bradshaw scored a try. Dickie Williams then had a try disallowed. In between Australia kicked a penalty and Johnny Graves scored a fortunate try. Ernie Ashcroft was then denied a try for a double movement. Bradshaw objected and was sent off. Two minutes later Dickie Williams had another try disallowed. Ken Gee objected and he too was sent off. Great Britain was reduced to only eleven players. And Australia scored through Keith Holman to win the game 15 points to 3.
Third Ashes Test 1950.
In the deciding Third Test. Only the Belle Vue duo of Elwyn Gwyther and Doug Phillips represented Wales. Forty tons of sand was poured on to the pitch. In an attempt to make it more playable than the first test encounter. At the Sydney Cricket Ground. The game was a tight affair. Australia kicked a penalty through Clive Churchill. Great Britain replied through Ernest Ward. But the final score followed an exciting backline move. The St George winger Ron Roberts scored a try in the corner. The crowd was delirious. Australia had regained the Ashes after 30 long years.
Celebrating the Wales Rugby League Lions & Great Britain Rugby League Ashes Teams
Ellis Rugby celebrates the history of the game. Our items include Wales Rugby League Shirt 1975 Vintage Style and the Wales Rugby Union Shirt Vintage Jersey. In addition, we offer a stylish Great Britain Rugby League range.
Wales Rugby League Lions of 1950.
He later transferred to Leeds. And won caps for Wales Rugby League. Also, he played in all three Ashes Test matches on the 1950 Great Britain Rugby League tour. In addition, two years earlier in 1947, he represented Great Britain in the home series against the New Zealand Kiwis. And in 1951 played in the first test against New Zealand at Odsal Stadium, Bradford.
Frank Osmond played rugby union for Newport RFC. The tough hooker signed for rugby league club Swinton. He was a valuable member of the 1950 Great Britain Rugby League tour. Also, he won 14 caps for Wales Rugby League from 1948 to 1951.
During the war, Phillips played for the Combined Services XV. He played in a rugby union match at Odsal Stadium, Bradford in April 1944. Against the Combined Services rugby league XV. Phillips scored the opening try of the game. And although the league XV ran out 15–10 winners. Phillips’s performance in this game brought him to the attention of several rugby league clubs. And he signed for Oldham towards the end of 1944.
Phillips was first selected to play for Wales in 1945. And went on to win 10 caps between 1945 and 1951 scoring a try in a game against England in 1949. He was also selected to play for Great Britain. Also, he was a member of both the 1946 and 1950 touring teams to Australia and New Zealand. He gained four caps. Three in 1946 and one in 1950.
In 1950, he toured Australasia with the Great Britain squad. But, his appearances were restricted to five.. This was due to a broken collar bone during the game against North Coast at Kempsey.
His domestic career also included two Challenge Cup Final appearances at Wembley. The first was in 1954 when Halifax drew with Warrington, the tie was settled in the famous Odsal replay where he had a try disallowed in a defeat for Halifax. His next Wembley appearance came in 1956 against St. Helens. Once again, Halifax was the losing side. He made 13 appearances for Wales Rugby League. And scored nine tries.
Williams was born in Mountain Ash and played rugby union for the Mountain Ash RFC club. And Bristol RUFC. The talented Stand-Off switched to rugby league with Leeds. He later moved across the city to Hunslet. He won 13 caps for Wales Rugby League. And also won 12 caps for Great Britain Rugby League. Including two Test matches against Australia on the 1950 tour.