My Christmas presents ! IMHO here are the most amazing and moving rugby videos around... three early rugby games - 1901 ! - recently discovered and restored by the British Film Institute (BFI) ... and nicely shared on YouTube for the pleasure of all rugby memorabilia fans ! (see below for more details on the "Mitchell & Kenyon Collection")
I will not comment these videos more than needed : they all come with a quality and self-explanatory commentary... and bring a true experience of rugby in Edwardian times, both on the field and in the stadiums... I love that !
Above are "magnifiscient animated pictures" (sic) from Hunslet v Leeds (February 16th, 1901), feat. Albert Goldthorpe (and here...) and brothers... below is Salford v Batley (November 2nd, 1901) feat. Jimmy Lomas scoring a try...
These videos show Northern Union teams (like most of my favorite Baines cards above...). So, it's basically Rugby League (as N.U. will be renamed in 1923)... playing with 15 players !
Actually, these games are played under 1899 N.U. rules... whereas the number of players in a team will be decreased to 13 later in 1906. Another interesting technical point under these rules is that every tackle is immediately followed by a scrum (fairly wild scrums, indeed !).
A few words about the Mitchell & Kenyon collection :
For around seventy years, 800 rolls of early nitrate film sat in sealed barrels in the basement of a shop.
Now miraculously rediscovered and restored, the Mitchell & Kenyon Collection is an amazing visual record of everyday life in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century.
It is the most exciting film discovery of recent times and promises to radically transform British film history.
All sports movies (football, rugby, cricket, etc...) have been gathered by the British Film Institute in a DVD called "Edwardian Sports" on sale here.
Again, I warmly thank this institution for sharing this memorabilia !
There's also some geek stuff : the Mitchell & Kenyon Collection on Google Earth ! (just click on this .kmz file if you have Google Earth installed - otherwise download Google Earth here before) .... Then fly over Edwardian England... Magic !
Last, but not least... I've borrowed the small Swinton Baines cards from John / ovalballs.com . Thank you Master!