Henry Vivian Pugh Huzzey - Position Right Wing/Three Quarter Back
Viv was born on 24/07/1876 at Varteg Hill, near Pontypool, but by 1881 his family had moved to Cardiff and were living in 21 Rawden Place, Canton. Records show that he was an outstanding sports all-rounder, played cricket for Grangetown Conservative Club & skittles for Canton Conservative Club. As well as playing rugby for Canton, Viv was a great baseball player who served on the committee of Canton Baseball Club during the summer of 1892. He continued his baseball over the years playing base #1 and also bowling for Grange and was capped a number of times for Wales.
Viv finally joined Cardiff RFC in season 1894-95 playing in the 'Rags', on loan to Llwynypia RFC and appearances for the Cardiff & District. Over the 5 seasons from 1895-1900, he was top try scorer with a total of 110 tries for the Blue & Blacks. His game benefitted playing alongside the great Gwyn Nicholls “A brilliant exponent of the game, he has a rare turn of speed, wonderful length with his punts, and, in partnership with Nicholls has proved a most prolific scorer.”
Evening Express columnist Percy Bush under heading ‘Referees’(21/12/1907) wrote:“Talking about referees reminds one of the touch judges. I remember one touch judge winning a match for an English side against Cardiff. Cardiff were two points behind, and time was about seven seconds in front. Viv Huzzey was given the ball, cut himself out a clear course, and started to run in from about thirty yards out and about four yards from the touch line. All seemed lost for the home team, but they had forgotten their ‘toucher.’ He calmly dug his gentle ‘tootsie’ into the ground just over the touch-line and immediately hoisted his flag. Huzzey was called back, and given ‘in touch.’ I only hope that that judge now has to hold an asbestos flag at arm’s length all day and night. He died about three months after the match.”
Viv's first of 5 caps for Wales came against Ireland in Limerick on 19/3/1898, scoring 1 try, but perhaps his most memorable match came when he scored 2 second half tries on the right wing, in the ‘Crushing Defeat of the English Team’ by 26pts to 3pts played at St Helens, Swansea on 7th January 1899 :-
Try 1 – “From a Welsh scrimmage on the England 25, a ball was sent to Nicholls who ran right between England’s Rotherham and Royds, and, bearing to the right, threw out to Huzzey who slipped past the English full back Gamlin and scored a beautiful try, which Bancroft converted”.
Try 2 – “No more than 6 yards out from his own goal-line, full back Gamlin punted to touch. England worked out a few yards towards the centre of the field and then the Welsh right wing got another chance. Nicholls caught an awkward one handed pass nearly on his knees from Skrimshire and slipped past Royds. Running up to Gamlin, Nicholls threw out to Huzzey who beat the English custodian and scored a try which Bancroft again converted.”
Anglo-Australian Tour Selection
Viv was selected with Nicholls for the first Anglo-Australian (Lions) Tour in 1899, but had to turn down the invitation. Such a tour would likely take a number of months, including sea voyage, and work commitments/ finance may have been a contributing factor for his decision.
Cardiff RFC nominations for Captaincy
At a meeting, during the summer of 1900 two nominations for captaincy were received. Gwyn Nicholls who had skippered the side for the two previous seasons was prepared to stand down in favour of Viv Huzzey. However this did not meet with general approval and Gwyn was re-elected captain for a third season. This rejection, may be interpreted as the reason why Huzzey sought pastures new with the Northern Union.
Crosses Codes & Goes North
“Huzzey, the Welsh International goes north – Oldham Pay a Big Price” – Evening Express 1st October 1900.
Viv joined Oldham RL in the 1900-01 season playing 40 club matches over 2 seasons, scoring 21 tries and 6 goals and winning the Lancashire Championship in 1900-01. It was reported that Oldham made a £150 down payment, a weekly wage of £3 and a public house thrown in, to secure the deal & services of Huzzey.
Viv was married at St Catherine’s Church, Canton to the daughter of publican Mr W Evans of the Splotlands Hotel in October 1898 and for a short time became a publican of the Windsor Arms Hotel, Bute Docks. Following his rugby league career he returned to Cardiff and played the sports he loved. Viv died on the 16th August, 1929 home in his native Wales and was buried at Cathays Cemetary, Cardiff. A brilliant sportsman, gone, but not forgotten.