NINE Welsh internationals lined up for Oswestry in 1879.

In January all but two players in the Welsh line-up which lost 2-1 to England in the side’s first ever meeting at Kennington Oval were chosen from the ranks of the border club.

However the side failed to win the Welsh Cup.

The Welsh national team was just three years old and the national cup even younger.

However Oswestry had been among the pioneers of the association game which had taken root in north and mid Wales in the previous decade.

Another had been the Druids club of Ruabon which had dropped the bombshell of folding on the eve of the season after being temporarily evicted from their ground.

The Druids side had dominated the Welsh national team since its inception and now all such stars needed new clubs.

Most had joined rivals Oswestry, including Football Association of Wales chairman and national team captain Llewellyn Kenrick who joined an Oswestry side on the rise and, along with Wrexham, tipped for the cup.

The Wrexham Guardian wrote in 1878 ‘The next important club is the Oswestry, the fastest in the Association, possessing individual players superior to any of the other clubs, but lacking that unity of action requisite to pull them through cup ties.

‘They also appear to be non-stayers, for towards the end of their games they go to pieces deplorably.

‘However, whoever plays them in the ties must look out for the first 20 minutes, for depend upon it they will work like demons.’

While some had tipped Oswestry to challenge, the transfer of Kenrick to a rival club had irked one anonymous reader who wrote to the Wrexham Guardian in January 1879 arguing ‘Are Oswestry not counting their chickens before they are hatched, for if they beat Wrexham they will still have Newtown or Bangor to play, and both are strong.’

It is unlikely the Oswestry players listened to such doubters as nine of their number made the trip to London to take on England a week later for the first international match between the neighbours.

John Price along with Llangollen’s William Roberts joined the Oswestry nine of Kenrick, George Glascodine, William Davies, George Higham, Thomas Owen, William Shone, Denis Heywood, William Williams and Digby Owen in losing 2-1 before full time was called on the hour due to snow.

William Davies scored Wales’ first ever goal against England.

Following a noble defeat, Oswestry had still been expected to win the Welsh Cup by many.

However the wonder team crashed out of the cup at the hands of Wrexham in the semi-finals, ending their hopes of silverware with the Welsh Cup lifted by Newtown White Stars, the most unlikely of winners.

Adding insult to injury the final had been contested at Oswestry Cricket Field.

Oswestry had more success in England in following years, competing in the FA Cup and winning its first county cup in 1882 though faring poorly in the Welsh Cup in the shadow of town rivals Oswestry White Stars.

And it would be the White Stars who brought the Welsh Cup across the border for the first time in 1884.

Fittingly former team-mates from that snowy day in London had lined up on opposing sides for the replayed final in Wrexham with William Williams lining up for the Druids while William Davies was part of the White Stars side which brought the cup back to Oswestry following a 1-0 victory.

Druids avenged the defeat in the final a year later which proved the swansong of the White Stars club while town rivals Oswestry Town folded six years later, bringing an end to one of Welsh football’s pioneer clubs.