Teddy Rooney was the eldest of three brothers who all played for Cardiff CC and Glamorgan CCC during their early days as a Minor County.
Their father Samuel Rooney had been born in Barnet, Hertfordshire in 1841 to a family who had originally hailed from Ireland. Samuel was a surveyor and architect by training, who worked initially in the London area before moving to Cardiff in 1874. The Rooney’s initially lived in the suburb of Canton, to the west of the town, before moving to Cathays – another suburb to the north – which had a thriving Irish community. The rapid expansion of the town and docks of Cardiff meant that there was plenty of work for Samuel Rooney and his sons, with the family’s business going from strength to strength.
Much of the property development in the Cardiff suburbs was on a leasehold basis, allowing small builders and architects such as the Rooney’s to operate on a successful basis, designing and building individual properties on a piecemeal basis. Samuel initially had small offices in the town centre in Queen Street and subsequently St. Mary Street, before moving to a larger and more prestigious premises at Cefn Mably Chambers in Quay Street as his son’s joined the family business.
The Chambers were a most convenient location for the Rooney’s as they were opposite Cardiff Arms Park where the brothers played cricket in the summer and rugby in the winter. Teddy was a useful rugby player, playing initially for Canton Richmonds RFC before appearing as a three-quarter for Cardiff 1st XV between 1889/90 and 1894/95. However, he met with more success playing for their 2nd XV, whom he captained in 1893/94 and 1894/95. No doubt, his links in the business world, as well as his talents with the oval ball, assisted his elevation to this position. He had many good friends in the rugby world, not least Gwyn Nicholls who married his sister and acted as assistant manager of the Grand Hotel opposite the Arms Park.
Teddy initially played cricket for Taff Vale CC, who were based in Cathays, near his family’s home and the railway company’s works. The all-rounder subsequently joined Cardiff CC and his prowess with both bat and ball for the town club led to his selection twice for Glamorgan during 1890 in their away matches against Monmouthshire and Somerset. He batted at number five on his debut in the match at Newport, before dropping down the order in the match at Lansdown CC’s ground in Bath which resulted in a comfortable innings victory for the Somerset side. Despite decent performances in subsequent years for Cardiff CC, he was not chosen again.
Teddy got married in July 1892 and initially lived in Canton and Roath, before moving to live in Hammersmith in London. The couple subsequently returned to South Wales in 1907 and lived in Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan, where Teddy and his wife ran the Kemeys Hotel.
ROONEY, Edward James (‘Teddy’).
Born – Shoreditch, 25 September 1868.
Died – East Glamorgan Hospital, Church Village, 6 October 1945.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendlies – 11 v Somerset at Bath, 1890 and 2/23 v Monmouthshire at Rodney Parade, Newport, 1890.