History

A brief history of Glamorgan

Sam Collins

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Formed 1888
First-class debut 1921
Admitted to Championship1921
County Championship 1948, 1969, 1997
Gillette/NatWest/C&G Best - Runners-up 1997
Benson & Hedges Best - Runners-up 2000
Sunday League1993, 2001 (Div Two), 2002, 2004
Twenty20 Best - Semi-finals 2004

Glamorgan were formed on July 6 1888 when cricket officials met at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff. They were the last team before Durham to be admitted to the County Championship, in 1921, having performing consistently well in the Minor Counties Championship prior to World War One, and are the sole Welsh representatives.

They won their inaugural first-class match against Sussex in 1921 by 23 runs, but this was rare bright spot as the club won only once more and finished bottom of the table in their first season. It was a similar story for much of their first decade in first-class cricket, save for occasional highlights such as the defeat of the West Indies in 1923. It was a vicious circle for the county, as continued poor performance meant they could not afford to pay professional players, and as a consequence the team's results remained undistinguished.

The influence of the spinner Johnnie Clay and the batsman Maurice Turnbull in this period cannot be overstated, as they helped to keep Glamorgan afloat, both on the pitch and off, through their business contacts. When the Championship restarted after World War Two, the club was in much better shape, although tragically without Turnbull who had been killed in the war. Wilf Wooller was the new captain, and it was an emotional day for the whole of Wales when he lifted the Championship for the first time in the club's history in 1948.

Wooller remained at the club in several capacities for the next 30 years, overseeing a second Championship under Tony Lewis in 1969, as well as the development of top Welsh players such as Alan Jones and Don Shepherd and the recruitment of overseas stars such as Majid Khan.

Lewis became chairman of the club in the late 1980s, and supervised a period in which Viv Richards helped them to their first Sunday League win in 1993. Matthew Maynard captained them to the Championship in 1997, a side that was coached by Duncan Fletcher and contained the speed of Waqar Younis allied to the runs of Steve James. They added the Sunday League in 2002 and 2004, and the club's Sophia Gardens Ground was awarded test-status in 2006, but they remain unable to match the financial clout of some of their rivals. Many feel that the redevelopment of the ground has been at the cost of the team, as financial constraints have seen them unable to afford overseas players in recent years.

Sam Collins is a freelance journalist based in London

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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