Haydn Davies – 500 not out!

The silver tankard presented to Haydn Davies.
Photo Credit – Museum of Welsh Cricket.

The Museum of Welsh Cricket was delighted to receive recently this silver tankard, presented to Glamorgan wicketkeeper, Haydn Davies, by one of the Club’s Vice-Presidents, Jack Kemp, to mark the Welsh county’s victory over Yorkshire on 1 July 1953 – the first time they had beaten the Tykes in Championship cricket!

Played at Cardiff Arms Park before a crowd of 12,000 on the first day, the match was, initially, a close-run affair. Yorkshire were dismissed for 218 in their first innings with Don Shepherd taking 4 wickets for 26 runs. The game turned, however, on the afternoon of the second day. After a poor start the Glamorgan innings was rescued with a brilliant 90 by Wilf Wooller, supported by Jim Pleass and Jim McConnon. Then, in the last hour, defending a slim first innings lead of 59, McConnon reduced Yorkshire to 49-5 with an exceptional spell taking all 5 wickets for 17 runs in 6.4 overs.

Victory was secured the following day when Yorkshire slumped to 99 all out. Jim McConnon took a further two wickets and the winning run was hit by Phil Clift on the stroke of one o’clock. Admittedly the Yorkshire side was missing Hutton, Wardle and Watson, on Test Duty against Lindsay Hassett’s Australians at Lord’s. Nevertheless, the victory, which moved Glamorgan up to second place in the Championship, was celebrated long and hard with three magnums of champagne presented to the team by the Supporters’ Club. It was the first time since entering the County Championship that Glamorgan had beaten Yorkshire, who had won the Championship on 12 occasions since 1921. It also meant that Glamorgan had – at last – registered wins against each of the first-class county teams.

The inscription on the tankard – Photo Credit – Museum of Welsh Cricket.

What is not so well known is that this match also had another champagne moment when wicket-keeper, Haydn Davies, secured his 500th victim for Glamorgan – hence the inscription on this tankard, as seen in the photograph above. It happened during McConnon’s lethal spell on the evening of the second day. Ted Lester, who had top scored for Yorkshire in the first innings, was dismissed caught by Clift off McConnon. The next batsman was a 21-year old Raymond Illingworth in his first season as a regular in the Yorkshire side.  Illingworth was already making his mark with both bat and ball having scored 146 not out against Essex at Hull earlier in the season. The Western Mail’s Nomad described Illingworth as being stumped first ball in “brilliant fashion” by Haydn with the wicket- keeper claiming a pair of further victims during the second innings.

For Haydn, it was one of many highlights in a career that spanned 23 years. He retired five years later in 1958 having played 423 matches, scored 6,613 runs and taken 585 catches and 204 stumpings.

(The tankard was presented to Haydn after Glamorgan’s friendly against a Neath and District XI at The Gnoll on the evening of 4 September, 1953.)

Tony Peters

Museum Volunteer

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