CricInfo Glamorgan

Glamorgan County Cricket Club

Down Memory Lane, 8 August 1996

[Memory Match] [W.E.Jones] [This Week in History]

Memory Match

Glamorgan win the Championship at Bournemouth in 1948

Match Scorecard | Match Report

Championship Clinched For Second Time

Match Scorecard | Match Report

Obituary of W.E.Jones (Glamorgan 1938-1958)

Willie Jones, a member of Glamorgan's Championship winning side of 1948 recently died aged 79 at his home in Gloucester on July 25th. The compact left handed batsman and spin bowler made a a number of valuable contributions during the summer of 1948 as the Welsh county became County Champions for the first time.

Born in Carmarthen in October 1916, Willie had a fine record at junior level in West Wales, and was recommended to the Glamorgan officials, as captain Maurice Turnbull tried to introduce more native talent into the Glamorgan side in order to reduce the club's expenditure on importing players from England. Jones initially played for Glamorgan's Minor County side in 1936, and it was not long before his batting and bowling impressed J.T.Morgan, the second team captain, and coach Bill Hitch, the former Surrey and England bowler. The following summer the young amateur made his first-class debut against Hampshire at Swansea, but despite an extended run in the team, his batting was a little hesitant, and he made little impression at first with either bat or ball.

However, Maurice Turnbull liked what he saw of Jones' batting and bowling in the nets, and the influential Glamorgan leader firmly believed that given time and positive encouragement, Jones could develop into a fine all-rounder at county level. However, Willie`s appearances were restricted initially by his clerical job, and then by the Second World War, but when hostilities ceased Clay persuaded Jones to turn professional and to join the county's staff on a full-time basis in 1946.

Willie repaid the faith shown in him by making a maiden century against Essex at the Arms Park in 1947, and the following year, the left hander had a summer to remember as he scored 1656 runs, took 47 wickets, and emerged as an outstanding cover point. His graceful batting helped to guide the team to a series of victories, no more so than in the space of a fortnight in June when he hit 207 against Kent at Gravesend and then an unbeaten 212 against Essex at Brentwood, during which he added 313 for the 3rd wicket with Emrys Davies - a stand which is still a county record.

Despite these record-breaking performances, Jones still doubted his ability, and after his first double hundred at Gravesend, he came back into the dressing room and told his colleagues "I`ll never do that again." There were broad smiles on their faces a fortnight later when he returned to the Brentwood pavilion with 212* against his name. But Jones typically played down his performance and told them "Dieu, everybody`s going to expect me to score 200 every time I bat!"

1948 was certainly an annus mirabilis for Willie Jones' batting, but he also picked up some useful wickets with his slow left arm bowling, as Glamorgan's spin attack, led by J.C.Clay and Len Muncer exploited some helpful wickets. Wilf Wooller, the legendary Glamorgan captain, wisely introduced Jones' well flighted spinners and the two were rewarded with some cheap wickets.

It came as no surprise when Willie was chosen by the England selectors for the Test Trial in 1949, but just when it looked as if he might win a Test cap, he badly injured his knee whilst fielding at Old Trafford. His knee was strapped up, but the pain continued and it was only when Willie visited a specialist in London was the injury diagnosed as a broken knee cap, and Willie was forced to miss the rest of the season.

He eventually returned to Wooller's side in 1950, but his role was largely restricted to that of a middle order batsman. The injury also ended Willie's rugby career during which he had played as a fly half for Llanelli, Neath and Gloucester, and had played for Wales during a wartime international. There were several other fine rugby players and good footballers in the Glamorgan side at that time, not least Wooller himself, and there was often a lot of good-natured banter between Wilf and Willie over their merits as rugby players and who could kick a rugby ball the furthest. Willie held several records for drop kicking, and in 1946/1947 had kicked a record 17 goals for Gloucester. For his part, Wilf had dropped several goals for both Wales and Cardiff from inside his own half, so on one evening after play on the cricket pitch at Cardiff Arms Park, the pair decided to settle the argument for once and for all by marching out onto the adjoining rugby pitch with a pair of rugby balls. As Wilf still remembers, "Willie was a born competitor and hated losing, especially to me, so if I outkicked him, I knew that Willie would carry on the challenge until dusk, or even continue it the next evening!"

There are no records of who won these kicking contests but Wilf`s goading helped to bring the quietly-spoken West Walian out of his shell, and by the time Willie retired from county cricket in 1958 he had 13,270 runs to his name for Glamorgan, plus 189 wickets. He also developed into one of the finest square cutters of the ball, against either spin and pace, in county cricket, and on several occasions, visiting captains had to place two fielders on the third man boundary in order to stem the flow of runs from Willie`s bat.

After leaving the county game, Willie acted as the cricket coach at Dean Close School in Cheltenham, yet despite living outside Wales, he still retained a fervent passion and interest in Glamorgan cricket. In recent years, he was a regular attender at the reunions held by the Glamorgan Former Players Association , and despite being quite frail in recent years, he took great delight in meeting up with his former team mates. Even when being well into his seventies, Willie would still recall the summer of 1948 with a twinkle in his eye, and a beam on his face the events of that marvellous summer. He remained loyal to Glamorgan C.C.C. to the very end, and it was fitting that on July 25th when the news of his death reached the club's headquarters at Cardiff, play in Glamorgan's Championship match with Lancashire was halted and a minutes silence was observed in memory of one of Glamorgan's finest left-handed batsmen.

include virtual="/host.html" --> Glamorgan footer -->

Home | Index Players | Records | News Current | Info | Competi tions

Date-stamped : 11 Mar2002 - 16:28