Norman Biggs was the oldest of three sports-mad brothers who all represented Glamorgan CCC and Cardiff RFC, whilst in Norman’s case he also won eight Welsh rugby caps in the late 1880s and early 1890s. His father, John Biggs, was a master brewer from Somerset who lived in the affluent inner suburb of Park Place in Cardiff, and owned several premises in the Welsh capital as well as in Bath which were both subsidiaries of Hancock’s.
Norman showed rich promise as a schoolboy sportsman, and during the late 1880s the student at Cardiff College won a place at Cambridge University. Indeed, in December 1888 he became the youngest player to be capped by Wales as he took the field at St. Helen’s, Swansea aged just 18 years and one month against New Zealand. Broken ribs whilst playing at Cambridge prevented Norman from adding a rugby Blue to his impressive sporting c.v.
After coming down, Norman took up a post in the South Wales Constabulary, but he still found plenty of time to play rugby for Cardiff and cricket for the St. Andrews club. His fine play on the wing for the town club won him further international honours and during January 1893 Norman dazzled on the wing for Wales and scored a fine try in a dramatic 12-11 victory over England at the Arms Park. During the Spring of 1893, Norman was drafted into the scratch XI for the match at the Arms Park against a Cardiff and District XI. He made 6 and 5, but despite the odd appearance for the Water Rats in fund-raising matches, this was the nearest Norman came to a place in the county’s eleven.
Norman led the Cardiff rugby XV in 1893/94, and continued to play on the right wing for Wales before leaving South Wales to work in both London and Bath. During this time, Norman played rugby for London Welsh, Richmond and Somerset, besides captaining Bath in 1899/1900. He served as a private in the Glamorgan Yeomanry during the Boer War, but in 1901 was invalided home after being struck by a sniper’s bullet which entered one of his legs below the knee and exited through the thigh.
Norman duly recovered and returned to the Cape before securing a position as Superintendent in the Nigerian Police. However, in February 1908, he met a decidedly sticky fate as he was struck by a poisoned arrow during a native ambush in the Sakaba district near a village called Chinuka. Norman survived for a further five days but succumbed to secondary bleeding from the wound.
BIGGS, Norman Witchell .
Born – Cardiff, 3 November 1870.
Died – Sakaba, Nigeria, 27 February 1908.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendly – 6 v Cardiff and District XI at Cardiff Arms Park,1893.