November 04, 1938, Velindre, Glamorgan, Wales
Left hand bat
Right arm offbreak
All cricket, certainly the British county scene and, above all, the Welsh game, are much the poorer for the retirement of Alan Jones. Glamorgan's major batsman for more than 20 years, he scored more runs and more centuries, made a thousand in a season more often, than any other player in the county's history, and shared in the record stand for any wicket. He was also the ideal senior pro, recalling the great holders of that office in a more idealistic day than this.
It is strange that he should have set so many records, for he was never a record-chaser. It is, though, a savage irony that his only selection for England was in the massive con trick - as cynical as any ever pulled in cricket - which called the England v The Rest of the World fixtures of 1970 `Test matches'. So, like Don Shepherd, he was never to play for England; these two Welshmen must be the finest cricketers of the post-war - or perhaps any other - period never to win a Test cap.
Alan Jones was a splendid county cricketer. Contented and conscientious as his county's senior pro, he did not aspire to power; but twice, at Glamorgan's need, he took over the captaincy in characteristically dutiful fashion. Nothing flashy or risky, of course; all according to the book, but he was unfailingly sympathetic towards the younger players, many of whom flourished more handsomely under him than at any other time. He took that post most notably in 1977, after the most violent upheaval inside the team, and throughout the membership, that Glamorgan had ever known. Then, Alan Jones did not merely compel respect, he alone seemed above any suspicion. He lifted a side afflicted with self-doubt not simply to self-respect, but to the final of the Gillette Cup. Always, though, he was happy to hand over control and return to concentrate on what he saw as his real purpose, that of making runs - Glamorgan runs, of course.
A Welsh-speaker from West Wales - Velindre, near Swansea - he reached the first team of Clydach, one of the strongest clubs in the area, when he was 15. In the same year he first went to the county's indoor school at Neath, where George Lavis, with characteristic perception, reported his assets as `a quick eye, sure feet and courage'; a judgment completely valid to the end of his career.
He joined the Glamorgan staff in 1955; went to his National Service in 1958; returned and joined into the county side in 1960 to identify his ability with 895 runs at 21.30. Then he began his amazingly consistent progress as an opening batsman, who never had a truly settled and effective partner - and who, indeed, constantly sheltered and helped younger players - but scored a thousand runs in every season from 1961 to 1983.
A stocky left-hander, in different ways he recalled Maurice Leyland, Emrys Davies and John Edrich. Fundamentally correct and determined, he created the left-hander's stock impression of heavy-handedness. In addition to all the shifts and nudges of the opening batsman against the new ball, he played with controlled power though the arc between cover point and mid-on. At need, too, he could push the scoring rate along by resource rather than slogging. Modest, kind, cheerful, personable, invariably fit, he will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace, and few will match his 36,049 runs. His standing in his native country was indicated by his testimonial of £35,000 in 1980. There is no-one of quite his - old-fashioned? - quality in the game today
John Arlott, WCM, 1984
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