The Early Years

The first tour matches in December 1890 took place against Hartlepool Rovers and Bradford when, despite the formidable strength of Northern rugby in those days, Hartlepool were defeated, and Bradford drawn.

Swinton was abandoned because of frost. The second tour in March 1891 saw matches against Cardiff, which represented the growing power of Welsh rugby and on the following day, with more success, against Devon County. Incidentally the Cardiff fixture was the first of a long and unbroken series, except for the War Years, from 1891 to 1996. Indeed for a number of seasons there used to be a Christmas and Easter Tour of South Wales and Cardiff were met twice a year.

The Early Years

Left to right: J.Wilson, Smartt, Parke, Schulze, Morton, Bolton, Water, Vassall, F Wilson.

The migratory nature of the Barbarian existence would preclude naming all the clubs played over the years except in a full history. But after a good many years of a variety of fixtures at places as diverse and far apart as Plymouth, Dublin and Birkenhead Park among others, the fixture list eventually settled to a regular pattern of approximately six matches per year; Leicester at Christmas, The Edgar Mobbs Memorial Match against the East Midlands in March, and The Easter Tour of Penarth, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.