Emrys Davies – 287* at Newport, 1939.

The match between Gloucestershire and Glamorgan at Newport in 1939 saw in excess of 1,200 runs being scored on a wicket where almost every bowler, either fast or slow, proved ineffective. The sole exception was Gloucestershire`s Tom Goddard who took 4/45 in Glamorgan`s first innings as the Welsh batsmen played a series of rash strokes against the spinner and threw away the advantage that Maurice Turnbull had secured in winning the toss on the shirt-front track.

The only Glamorgan batsman to prosper in their first innings was Arnold Dyson, and he had made a watchful 99 when Goddard bowled Jack Mercer to wrap up the innings. Mercer and Peter Judge each claimed an early victim when Gloucestershire batted, but this only hastened the arrival of master batsman Wally Hammond, the visiting captain.

Hammond proceeded to make a magnificent triple hundred with two sixes and thirty five fours in a wonderful innings. In particular, the Gloucestershire captain drove with ferocious power and hit one ball out of the ground and through a window of a power station alongside the Rodney Parade ground. Hammond completely dominated the Glamorgan attack, sharing stands of 168 with George Emmett and then 214 with Jack Crapp. The Welsh bowlers wilted under the onslaught as Hammond registered the highest ever score against Glamorgan, and, at tea on the second day, he declared the innings with Gloucestershire boasting a first innings lead of 309.

“The Rock”: Emrys Davies.
Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

During the remaining session on the second day, Arnold Dyson and Emrys Davies restored Glamorgan`s morale with an opening stand of 131,  as both openers made an unbeaten half-century before the close of play on a day that had seen the small matter of 496 runs being scored for the loss of just two wickets.

By the final morning, the wicket had shown little sign of deteriorating, and Emrys Davies, in particular, was in defiant mood, taking the score to 255 before Dyson was dismissed. Davies remained unperturbed by Dyson`s dismissal, and the solid left-hander went on to occupy the crease for the rest of the match, recording what stood for 61 years as the highest individual innings for Glamorgan, as the Welsh side also made their largest ever total in first-class cricket.

Davies received useful support from Turnbull, with the Glamorgan captain stroking an elegant 77 whilst at the other end Davies continued to work the ball around and reached a maiden double hundred. Later in the afternoon, he gained the support of Dai Davies, who realised that his namesake could become Glamorgan`s first ever triple centurion. With a special prize also on offer for the season`s highest score, Dai Davies generously gave as much of the strike as possible to Emrys in an attempt to allow him to reach 300 before stumps were drawn.

However, Hammond also had his eye on the prize for the season`s highest innings, and as the match entered its final hour, the Gloucestershire captain employed increasingly more defensive fields as Davies` score mounted. By the last few overs, Hammond had every fielder around the boundary ropes, restricting a quite weary Davies to just singles.

When the umpires finally pulled up the stumps, Emrys Davies was unbeaten on 287, a new Glamorgan record, and he had almost single-handedly guided his side to 577-4. There were many loud cheers for the left-hander as he finally walked off the field, and there were also a few jeers for Hammond in protest at his negative tactics which had prevented Emrys from becoming the first Glamorgan batsman to reach 300.

Leave a Reply