Turning the table on Notts – Swansea, 1927.

1927 had been a disastrous season for Glamorgan – they had not won any of their 25 Championship matches, and travelled to Swansea for the final game of the season to play Nottinghamshire who were poised to clinch the county title. In fact, all that Nottinghamshire needed to become champions was a draw, so with Glamorgan having such a dreadful season, plans had already been set in motion in Nottingham for a civic reception to celebrate their title winning season.

But Glamorgan turned the form book upside down and won this game against everyone`s expectations. In fact, apart from a short time on the first day, the Welsh side were in complete control throughout a quite remarkable game. By mid-afternoon on the first day, Frank Ryan, the idiosyncratic spinner, had claimed five wickets as Nottinghamshire were dismissed for 233. Everyone had expected Glamorgan to meekly fold but a partnership of 158 then followed for the first wicket by Eddie Bates and John Bell, with each of the Yorkshire-born batsmen dominating the Nottinghamshire attack.

Eddie Bates – who made a superb 163 against Nottinghamshire at Swansea in 1927.
Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Bell was eventually trapped for 57, and although four of his colleagues soon followed him back to the St. Helen`s pavilion, Bates remained undeterred. He received stoic support from Arnold Dyson, Joe Hills and wicket-keeper Dennis Sullivan, and by the time Bates was eventually dismissed for 163, Glamorgan had reached a quite impressive 375, and had a useful lead on first innings of 142.

With only a day to go, and the Swansea wicket appearing to be quite benign, the Nottinghamshire batsmen knew that all was required to become county champions was to occupy the crease for the rest of the game. Given the modest form of the Glamorgan bowlers it seemed a formality, but Jack Mercer and Frank Ryan had other ideas – Mercer quickly took the first three wickets in a fine new ball spell that reduced Nottinghamshire to 30-3, and sent the alarm bells ringing in their camp.

Ryan then got into the action as he tricked and teased the visiting batsmen with his subtle spin. Every false stroke brought a wicket, as the Nottinghamshire players returned to the pavilion almost shell-shocked, realizing that their dream was rapidly turning into a nightmare. Indeed, there are tales of one of the Nottinghamshire tail-enders sitting in the pavilion with tears flooding down his cheeks as his team-mates came back to the dressing rooms at regular intervals. His side were finally dismissed for 61 as Glamorgan secured a rare innings victory, and the county title ultimately went to Lancashire.

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