Four members of the famous sporting family from Penarth played for Glamorgan during their Minor County days, with Rhys – the youngest of the quartet – playing in 63 Minor County matches between 1902 and 1920, as well as making a solitary County Championship appearance in 1921 when Glamorgan travelled to Kidderminster to meet Worcestershire.
An architect and surveyor by profession, Rhys was also, through marriage, related to Frank Hancock, with his wife being the sister of the great rugby player for Cardiff and Wales, and a member of the famous brewing family who like Rhys, also hailed from Somerset. He grew up in Penarth, for whom he played rugby, but cricket and hockey became his sporting passions.
A sound right-handed batsman and occasional off-spinner, Rhys followed his elder brothers into county cricket during June 1902 as he made his debut in the rain-affected draw with Monmouthshire in June 1902. After completing his training as an architect, Rhys was a regular member of the Glamorgan side from 1905 until 1911. He was also chosen in the South Wales team which met Yorkshire at the Arms Park in 1906, as well as the South Africans the following year.
In 1907 Rhys enjoyed a successful time with the bat on Glamorgan’s West of England tour which involved consecutive matches at Penzance, Exeter and Blandford Forum. Having made 93 against Devon during a productive stand with Norman Riches, the pair had a field day against Dorset sharing an unbroken stand of 244 for the fifth wicket, with Riches making a double-century and Rhys his maiden hundred for Glamorgan shortly before the close of play on the first day of the contest. He proudly walked off unbeaten on 104 and the next day saw the Glamorgan bowlers complete an innings victory.
He also enjoyed a fine start to the 1909 season, and following some elegant innings for Cardiff CC, he struck an unbeaten 83 against Monmouthshire at Rodney Parade, followed next match by his career-best 129 against Carmarthenshire at Llanelli. His innings was full of flowing drives on both sides of the wicket, plus delicate late cuts.
A fortnight later Rhys was in the runs again on the West Country tour, making 61 against Cornwall at Penzance and was duly chosen in the South Wales team which met the 1909 Australians. He enjoyed a lean time in 1910, failing to pass fifty in seventeen innings, but did serve on the county committee as the Club began their first attempt at securing first-class status. It was more his lack of form with the bat, than the failure of the fund-raising scheme that led Rhys to take a brief sabbatical from cricket, during which he won two Welsh hockey caps during 1912.
Suitably refreshed, Rhys returned to the Glamorgan side in 1913 and made a typically attractive 87 against Surrey 2nd XI at the Arms Park. Further appearances followed during 1914 before he saw service in an administrative capacity during the Great War. He returned to Minor County cricket in 1920 and the following year, although past his best, Rhys made what proved to be his one and only first-class appearance for Glamorgan at Kidderminster.
SWEET-ESCOTT, Edward Rhys
Born – Brompton Ralph, Somerset, 27 July, 1879
Died – Penarth, 1 July, 1956
Career-bests for Glamorgan:
In Minor County cricket – 129 v Carmarthenshire at Llanelli, 1909; 2/12 v Dorset at Arms Park, 1907. In First-class cricket – 13 v Worcesteshire at Kidderminster, 1921.