Rhys Gabe was another multi-talented sportsman and Welsh rugby international who played county cricket for Glamorgan. However, he failed to score on his only appearance for the Welsh county, in the trial game against a Colts XVIII at the Arms Park in 1906. He did however take two catches, and impressed with his speedy fielding, as befitted someone who had scored one of the most extraordinary tries in rugby history.
His audacious efforts came during the Wales-England international in 1908 at Bristol – a game which was played in thick fog – and followed the ball going loose after a maul. After pretending to pick up the ball, Percy Bush ran off in one direction whilst Rhys with ball in hand ran in the opposite direction and headed towards the try-line. Given the poor visibility, the England players were unsure which of the two Welshmen had the ball. When they eventually discovered that Percy was the decoy, they headed to the try-line, only to find the referee standing there with Rhys who duly touched the ball down!
This was undoubtedly the most dramatic of his 24 appearances in a Welsh jersey, having made his debut whilst a player with Llanelli against Ireland in 1901 on the wing before switching to the centre. The change of position followed his move to Cardiff where he formed a devastating partnership with Gwyn Nicholls, scoring in all 51 tries during his 115 appearances between 1902/03 and 1909/10.
After Rhys completed his training to teach mathematics at Borough Road College, he secured a post at Howard Gardens School in the Welsh capital and joined Cardiff RFC and Cardiff CC. He was also a talented cyclist and billiards player and whilst at the training college, he also represented Borough Road at water polo. In later life Rhys took up golf and became a leading member of the Radyr and Cardiff clubs.
One of his uncles was Dr. John Rees Gabe, a surgeon and gynaecologist in London, who performed a post-mortem on the last of the women murdered in Whitechapel by Jack the Ripper during November 1888.
GABE, Rhys Thomas.
Born – Llangennech, 22 June 1880.
Died – Cardiff, 15 September 1967.
Batting and Fielding Record