Bala, Merionethshire born left winger Jack Evans began his football career with Bala Wanderers, and had played for Welshpool, Wrexham in 1908-09 and Cwmparc in 1909-10 before he was spotted by Southern League Cardiff City becoming the first player to be officially bought by the club when he signed for six shillings in the 1910 close season. He made his first appearance for the club on 1st September 1910 in a friendly match to mark the opening of Cardiff’s new Ninian Park ground against Aston Villa with Evans scoring the first ever goal at the ground in a 2-1 defeat.
In April 1912 he became the first ever Cardiff City player to receive a call-up for Wales for the match against Ireland, the first of 8 caps over 11 First World War interrupted years. Evans possessed a cannonball shot which was eventually nicknamed the “Bala bang” on account of the fearsome power he put into his shots. His shots were so ferocious that one goalkeeper once broke his wrist attempting to stop the ball and a Manchester City goalkeeper was knocked out cold by another shot. He was a regular for Cardiff during the decade, only leaving the club to serve his country in The Great War before returning.
A consistent scorer he went on to score 52 goals in 170 Southern League appearances before moving into a more orthodox position for Cardiff’s entry into the Football League in 1920, scoring in their inaugural match at Stockport County that August, playing 35 matches that season as Cardiff won promotion to the First Division at the first time of asking, and he was a member of their 1921 FA Cup semi final team that lost in a replay to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
He was a regular over the next four seasons in the First Division, helping The Bluebirds to finish fourth in the League Championship in 1921-22 and missing only one match the next season as they finished ninth. He played in the 1925 FA Cup Final defeat to Sheffield United at Wembley but lost his place in September the following season and left to join Bristol Rovers in the summer of 1926 already aged 37 after 60 goals in 381 matches for Cardiff City, linking up with former team mate Joe Clennell. He played two seasons at Bristol Rovers scoring 9 times in 63 games before retiring in 1928.
His shirt and runners-up medal from the 1925 FA Cup Final, as well as his first cap for Wales, are now displayed in the boardroom of Cardiff City after being bought at auction by one of the club’s directors.
NB although published in 1920 this is probably a pre-war photograph of Evans.