The annual meeting of the members of this club was held in a large room at the Legs of Man Hotel on Thursday evening. Mr. C.A. Cronshaw, the president of the club, occupied the chair, and included in a very large attendance were Messrs. J.W. Clegg, H. Mills, J. Slevin, W. Millington, J. Armstrong, W.H. Marsden, W. Thomas, R. Hilton, J. Harrison, J. Henderson, W. Best, J. Fairhurst, J. Saxon, W. Morris, J. Whitehead, W. Grime, J. Charnock, W. Kay, j. Sumner, T. Wilson, R. Hardacre, J. Stuart, F.H. Taylor, Dr. Bradbury, Dr. Parker, Molyneux, W. Wilson, F. Atkinson, J. Halliwell, J. Hunter, R.E. Kellett, Darbyshire, J. Hunter, Ellis Wardle (secretary), &c.
THE ANNUAL REPORT - Mr. Ellis Wardle, in presenting a statement of the doings of the club during the past season, said that 43 matches had been played, of which 30 had been won, 10 lost, and 3 drawn. The points scored by Wigan were 38 goals, 60 tries, and 154 minors, against 16 goals, 23 tries, and 89 minors scored by their opponents. (Cheers.) In obtaining these points, Slevin was credited with 21 tries - (loud cheers) - W. Atkinson 13 -(cheers.) - E. Bullough 9, W. Halliwell 7, J. Mitchinson 6, E. Dempsey 6, Joseph Halton 4, J. Hatton 3, S. Swift 3, W. Baldwin 3, J. Hunter 3, R. Seddon 3, T. Brayshay 2, and one each by J. Lowe, J. Bibby, J. Telford, J. MacNamara, J. Williamson, C. Samuels, J. Roberts and D. Yates. Dropped goals were scored by Slevin (2), W. Baldwin (1), and Jack Hunter (1). Pilkington, the full back, kicked two goals from catches in the field of play. (Applause.)
The "A" team had also done very well, having played 22 matches, out of which they had won 13, lost 6, and drawn 3. (Cheers.) Looking forward to next season, he informed them that fixtures had been again arranged with Swinton, Broughton, Warrington, Manningham, Tyldesley, Barrow, Kendal Hornets, Widnes, St. Helens Recreation, Mossley, and other clubs. New fixtures had already been made with Broughton Rangers, Brighouse rangers, Leeds St. Johns, Cardiff (one match), and Leigh. (Applause.)
Mr. J.W. Clegg said he had very great pleasure in proposing that the report be adopted. He thought that as members of the Wigan Rugby Football club they must feel greatly pleased with the success that had followed them. They started in rather an unsatisfactory manner, but they improved very quickly, won their way through each competition they put their hand to, and succeeded in bringing the two cups, which they saw on the table that night, to Wigan. (Cheers.) They had a very hard struggle for the West Lancashire Cup, and he wished that the competition for the Wigan Cup had also been as keen. (Hear, hear.)
The doings of the club, as read by the secretary, were the best that had ever been read, and one reason of this was that the chosen team had scarcely ever failed to turn up. (Hear, hear.) They had scarcely ever gone away short of men; this had helped the committee a great deal, and had contributed greatly to the success they had attained.
He did not think there was a club in Lancashire that had greater reason to be proud than Wigan, considering how they started the season, and he sincerely trusted that the next season's work would be quite as successful. - Mr. J.G. Stuart, in seconding the motion, said they all had reason to congratulate themselves o the results achieved. - The proposition was then heartily carried.
THE CLUB'S FINANCES - Mr. J. Armstrong was then called upon to present his "budget." This turned out to be a very exhaustive analysis of the financial position of the club, and from it we gathered that the total income during the past year amounted to £1,123 14s. 11d., the principal items in this sum being £936 7s. 9d. in "match takings," £64 13s. in members' subscriptions, £20 9s. from the London and North-Western Railway Co. for commission on trips, and a special donation of £20 from Mr. Millington. We cannot afford space to go into details.
The expenditure amounted in all to £1,198 1s., but Mr. Armstrong explained that this included £248 15s. 10d. which had been spent in liquidating old accounts that had been allowed to fall into arrears. There was thus an actual cash balance in the bank of £15 13s. 11d., but there were still outstanding accounts, £71 5s. 11d., and they would see that if the club was liquidated they would be £100 8s. to the good. (Loud applause.) -
Mr. Aspinall asked if Mr. Dixon had ever been asked to give up the books containing the past accounts of the club? -
Mr. Clegg replied that Mr. Dixon had been requested repeatedly to make up the books. He had, however, now gone away, and they could not get him to do so. He had not refused, but kept neglecting to do it. -
Mr. Aspinall: Surely there are means of making him do it. -
Mr. Clegg said the committee had not thought of making him. -
Mr. Jos. Taylor: Does the treasurer think he has not got in all the old outstanding accounts?
Mr. Armstrong: I have not been able to get the books, but I think we have got them all in. -
Mr. Jos. Taylor said he had very great pleasure in proposing that the accounts be adopted. He had been a member of the club for many years, and he was sure that they never had a more satisfactory balance sheet rendered; they had never been given more details of expenditure than they had had that night, and it reflected great credit on their treasurer. (Cheers.) It was a pleasure to the members to have the accounts put before them in this way, a way they had not been accustomed to. The way in which the finances of the club had been managed had become a bye word in the town, but it could not be said of this year's accounts that they were anything but satisfactory. (Applause.) - Mr. Charnock seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.
VOTES OF THANKS - Mr. Charnock moved that the best thanks of the club be presented to the retiring officers. - Mr. Molyneux seconded, and the motion was carried with applause. - Mr. Cronshaw, in responding, said that the vote of thanks amply repaid them for the efforts they had put forth during the past year.- Dr. Bradbury, in proposing a vote of thanks to the players, said that as one who had watched both teams play during the past season, it gave him great pleasure to compliment them on the way they had represented their club. (Applause.) - Mr. Clegg seconded, and assured them that the committee had never been so satisfied with a number of players as they had been that season. They had two members of their team in the county ranks; one of them was pretty sure to stick there for some time, and so was the other if he could only get the better of his "gammy" leg. (Cheers and laughter.) He thought Wigan would have still greater influence as regarded the county team in the future than in the past. He trusted that they always would have such a team to represent them as they had at the present time. (Cheers) - The motion was carried with applause, and Mr. Slevin briefly responded.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS - Mr. Councillor Millington proposed the re-election of Mr. C.A. Cronshaw as the president, and this was seconded by Mr. J. Underwood. it was heartily adopted, and Mr. Cronshaw acknowledged the honour. This would be his fourth year of office, and he took it they appreciated his services. At the same time he was not a thin-skinned man - (laughter) - and if at any time they thought they could improve on him, he would most readily relinquish the post. He tanked them for their confidence, and assured them it would never be misplaced.
Vice Presidents - Messrs. H. Mills and J.F. Ashton were re-elected vice presidents, and Mr. Mills responded. - Captain of the First Team. - Mr. J. Sumner proposed, Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded, and it was enthusiastically carried, that Mr. James Slevin be re-elected captain of the first team. - Mr. Slevin, who was accorded a most flattering and uproarious greeting, said he was proud to be the captain of such a team as Wigan possessed at the present time. (Cheers.)
He had an idea some time ago of giving up football, thinking he was "jiggered up," - (laughter) - but he had altered his mind and was ready to do his best during the coming season. (Cheers) He hoped the players would stick together. He thanked them one and all for again selecting him as captain and before sitting down he would like to nominate Jack Hunter as vice-captain. (Loud cheers.) - Mr. Hilton seconded the motion, which was carried with acclamation. - Mr.Hunter also responded and in the course of a neat little speech contradicted a report which said he was going to give up football and would not play with Wigan again. Such was not his intention; he hoped for many years yet to be able to assist the Wigan team (cheers), which was now better than it had ever been.
The Second Team - Mr. S. Bithell was appointed captain of the second team, and Mr. J. Halliwell was elected as his deputy. - Treasurer. - Mr. John Armstrong was elected treasurer for another year, and was vociferously cheered on rising to respond. - Secretary - The same honour was conferred upon Mr. Ellis Wardle, and that gentleman acknowledged it in a long and eloquent speech - The Committee - Voting papers were handed round to the members present, and the "ballot" resulted in the election of the following gentlemen: - J.W. Clegg (79), W. Millington (73), J. Wardle (70), Jas. Harrison (65), Dr. Bradbury (63), Dr. Parker (62). J. Underwood (54), J. Saxon (53), W. Marsden (49), Wm. Grime (46). Nine of these were on the committee for the past season, the one change being Dr. Bradbury in the place of Mr. F. Atkinson.
MISCELLANEOUS GRIEVANCES - Several grievances were ventilated by the members. Mr. J. Sumner suggested that something should be done to the turnstiles in order to prevent people getting in without paying; Dr. Bradbury hinted that greater vigilance might be used in seeing that the members' stand was really used by "members only;" Mr. Jos. Taylor said it would be a considerable source of income if a small extra charge were made for the stand alongside the members' stand, for which no charge at all was now made. - Mr. R. Hilton asked when the stands were to be covered, and was told that this would be done when the club was out of debt, - Mr. Charnock, seconded by Mr. Whitehead, forced a vote on the question as to whether the members should be free to the ground under any circumstances, or whether they should pay in exceptional cases, such as cup ties, &c. These two members asserted that they had a right to enter the ground with their membership ticket on every occasion whatever, but on a vote being taken they were defeated by 35 votes to 27. - It was also proposed that the membership fee of the club be reduced from 7s. 6d. to 5s., but this was defeated by a large majority.
THE RUGBY FOOTBALL LEAGUE - Mr. Clegg announced that some of the clubs in West Lancashire were forming themselves into a league, similar to the Association League which was formed last year. They were to play home and away matches with each other, and the club coming out of the contest most successfully carried off the cup. - Mr. Mills said the number was confined to about eight clubs, with five of which Wigan already had fixtures. - The general opinion seemed to be that the League contest would be a great improvement on the West Lancashire Cup Competition, and that Wigan should join the other clubs in the attempt to form it. These clubs were announced to be Warrington, Tyldesley, Leigh, Widnes, St. Helens Recreation, St. Helens, and Aspull.
AUDITORS - Mr. R. Hilton and Mr. W. Grime were elected auditors for the forthcoming year.
A vote of thanks to the chairman closed the formal proceedings, and the member were about to depart, when the chairman asked them in Mr. Millington's name to drink the health of the club. The cups won by Wigan during the past season were then utilised, and the members finished up the evening's work in a most jovial manner.