Wadley, Fred

Fred Wadley was a durable prop forward who played in other positions in the pack when required and was a first team regular from 1927 until he retired in 1935, playing 287 games. He captained the club in his last three seasons and also captained Gloucestershire. He was on the winning side in three County Championship Finals and was an England trialist on several occasions in an outstanding career.

Alfred James “Fred” Wadley was born in Gloucester in 1902. He made his debut for Gloucester in 1926-27 and became a regular the following year, playing 38 times in his first full season.

He was a reserve for England trials at Kingsholm and Northampton in December 1929 and later that season played for Gloucestershire in their semi-final victory over Middlesex and in their victory in the final over Lancashire at Waterloo.

Fred played for The Rest against England in the final trial at Twickenham on 3 January 1931 and two weeks later was a reserve for England against Wales. He played in Gloucestershire’s Championship Final victory over Warwick at Kingsholm. The following year he played for Gloucestershire and Somerset at Bristol in the first match of the 1931-32 South Afican tour and in a third consecutive Championship Final victory, this time over Durham at Blaydon.

He became club captain in 1932-33 and in the following season captained the club to a record 29 victories. That season The Times considered Gloucester to be the Club of the Year. He played in every game of the 1933-34 and 1934-35 seasons – a run of 78 games. At the end of 1934-35, his third and final season as captain, he retired and was elected a life member of the club. He continued his association with Gloucester and later served on the Committee.

A collection of Fred Wadley’s memorabilia including match programmes and invitations to appear in major matches forms part of the Gloucester Rugby archive.

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