Glamorgan beat Surrey inside two days at the Arms Park in 1948.

The Arms Park: the scene during 1948 of one of Glamorgan’s greatest-ever victories. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

By the middle of August 1948, Glamorgan`s title bid was in full swing, but after some interruptions from the weather, Surrey and Yorkshire were both breathing down the neck of the Welsh county. It meant that the contest between Glamorgan and Surrey at Cardiff Arms Park in mid-August became a vital contest which could decide the outcome of the county title.

Surrey arrrived at Cardiff with a strong side, but Glamorgan were without all-rounder Allan Watkins, who had been chosen for the England side in Fifth Test, whilst opening batsman Phil Clift was carrying an injury. Few disagreed with Wilf Wooller`s decision to retain the veteran batsman Arnold Dyson in the side, and more than a few eyebrows were raised when Wooller sent out an invitation to another veteran, Johnnie Clay,  to join the team for what was arguably the most important game in Glamorgan`s history.

When the captains went out to toss, the Cardiff wicket was still a little bit moist after overnight rain, but despite the damp, Wooller opted to bat first, believing that the wicket would deteriorate as the game progressed. His decision was vindicated as Dyson and Emrys Davies drew on all of their vast experience to add 91 for the first wicket. Wooller then promoted himself up the order, hitting an aggressive 89 to guide his side to a useful total of 239.

Surrey had an hour`s batting at the end of the first day, yet even the most optimistic of Glamorgan`s supporters could hardly have predicted what would happen in the next sixty minutes play. Hever and Wooller took three wickets each with the new ball, before Clay, in the space of an over, took the wickets of McIntyre, Bedser and Laker, to leave Surrey reeling at 47-9 when the umpires called time.

In the fourth over of the next morning, Clay finished off the Surrey innings, and Wooller had no hesitation in asking them to follow-on 189 runs behind. Conditions appeared at first to be easier for batting, with the Surrey openers being in no trouble against the new ball bowlers. But the introduction of spin changed everything, as Muncer and Clay induced another collapse, and at one stage it looked as if the match might even finish before lunch. But Bernie Constable and Arthur McIntyre offered staunch resistance to take the game into the afternoon session.

News of Glamorgan`s dramatic headway had been buzzing around the nearby centre of Cardiff, and when play resumed after lunch, there were around 10,000 people in the Arms Park ground. Wooller reintroduced Clay into the attack, and the wily veteran soon bowled Laker, before having Clark well caught at short-leg by the delighted Glamorgan captain. He then deceived Constable with a slower ball, and soon afterwards, McMahon hit Willie Jones straight to Clay at mid-off, and Glamorgan had recorded an amazing innings victory.

It was most fitting that Clay should lead the team off with match figures of 10/65, with everyone associated with the Welsh club realising that they needed just one more victory to become County Champions for the first time in their history.

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