British Sports Hall of Fame 1923: W.J.A Davies, Tom Richardson, Freddie Welsh and George Wilkinson

The four latest additions to my British Hall of Fame are:

W.J.A.  “Dave” Davies (Rugby Union) – with Cyril Kershaw he formed a brilliant half-back pairing for England.  Over four seasons they played together fourteen times and helped England win two home international titles outright and share another.  He played 22 times for England between 1913 and 1923 captaining the team eleven times.  He remained England’s most capped fly-half until 1989 and was only on the losing side once in international rugby.

Tom Richardson (Cricket) – arguably the best bowler in the world when at his peak in the 1890s.  His 290 wickets in the county championship in 1895 was a record which remained until 1928. He only took 174 matches to reach 1000 first-class wickets which was a record.  He took over 200 wickets in three seasons.  He played 14 Tets for England taking 88 wickets, and 2104 first-class wickets.

Freddie Welsh (Boxing) – The world lightweight champion from 1914 to 1917.  He first won the British title in 1909 and after losing it in 1911 regained it the following year.  He remained British champion until he relinquished it in 1919.  He defended the title three times in America and also retained it through many “no contest” bouts where the holder kept the title unless knocked out.  In his pro career he only lost five of 168 fights (87 fights excluding no contests).  As an amateur he was the first winner of the Lonsdale Belt.

George Wilkinson (Water Polo) – Often regarded as the world’s first great water polo player.  He won three Olympic gold medals.  The first was with the Manchester Osborne club team in 1900 and the others were as part of the Great Britain team in 1908 and 1912.  He was a reserve for the 1920 and 1924 Games but didn’t play.  He won 24 caps for England between 1900 and 1922 and was a prolific goalscorer.


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