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Full Name: Ernest Francis Carless
Born: 09 September 1912
Came from: Cardiff City Went to: Appointed Groundsman
First game: 16 March 1946 Last game: 01 January 1947
Appearances: 15 (15/0) Goals: 1
Although the Second World War was at an end, the Football League divided its competition into regional sections for the 1945-46 season because of the exceptional conditions at that time, with so many players still serving in the Armed Forces or employed on essential war work. Argyle played in the Football League South that season, against first-class opposition such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Aston Villa and Wolves. It proved impossible for the Pilgrims to field a regular side; 72 players made an appearance and performances inevitably suffered. From week to week the club called on Armed Services players who were stationed in the area, guest players from other League clubs and local amateurs to supplement its registered playing staff.
Carless was one of 27 in the guest category. Born in Cadoxton, a suburb of Barry, in Glamorgan, the inside-forward started his career as a youth with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1931 but failed to make the grade. Leaving Molineux he returned home to play locally with Barry Town before he was given a second chance by Cardiff City in 1932. However, he made only two appearances despite being on the books at the Ninian Park club for several years. Records show him also with Altrincham Town before returning home for a second spell with Barry Town. Arriving at Home Park in 1946, he played 15 times as a guest in the Football League South and then signed up to make four Football League appearances the following season when the traditional league programme resumed.
One of the reasons for Carless's relatively limited League exposure was that he was a multi-talented sportsman; primarily a wicket-keeper, he was also a right-handed batsman who bowled off breaks. He was captain of Cardiff Cricket Club during his time at Ninian Park and made his first-class debut for Glamorgan in 1934 against Middlesex, playing his second match shortly after against Surrey. During the War he played in fund-raising matches for Glamorgan as well as appearing for the county's 2nd XI in Minor Counties matches. Incredibly, when first-class cricket resumed after the cessation of hostilities he played one further game for Glamorgan – his third and final, some twelve years after his debut – following an injury crisis for the county prior to a match against Essex. In his three appearances he scored 35 runs, averaging 11.66 and top-scoring with 25.
In 1947, shortly after the last of his footballing appearances for Argyle, he was offered the role of Groundsman at Home Park, which he duly accepted. This enabled him to continue his cricketing career, playing in the Minor Counties League for Devon between 1947 and 1949. Having already played four Minor Counties games for Glamorgan, he added a further seven appearances with Devon to his tally – his last game coming, ironically, against a Glamorgan 2nd XI. 'Ernie' as he was known by all that knew him, died at the age of 75 in 1987 back in Barry, where his name lives on in memorial gates outside Barry Athletic Cricket Club.
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APPEARANCE DETAILS [reselect competitions]
The details below reflect appearances in all first-team competitions.
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