Glamorgan beat the 1951 South Africans.

Th crowd swarm onto the outfield at Swansea to congratulate the victorious Glamorgan team after their stunning victory over the 1951 Springboks. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Glamorgan were the only county side to defeat the 1951 South Africans, yet even the most partisan of Welshmen would have been hard pressed to forecast a Glamorgan win when Wilf Wooller`s side were dismissed for a modest 111 after being put in on a rain affected wicket.

During the afternoon session, Glamorgan fought back with Len Muncer taking 5/9 in a fine spell of off-spin, leaving the Springboks at 34-7 at tea. After the interval Athol Rowan and Percy Mansell counter-attacked the bowling, adding 52 in even time for the eighth wicket, before the tourists were also dismissed for 111 to leave honours all square on first innings.

With the St. Helen`s wicket starting to take spin, Glamorgan`s batsmen knew that they had to be positive in their approach. For his part, Wilf Wooller needed few invitations to attack the bowling, and if there was anyone who was not going to go down without a fight it was the Welsh county`s leader. He hit a typically aggressive 46, and together with doughty support from Jim Pleass, Glamorgan were able to set the tourists a target of 147.

By tea on the second day, the South Africans had reached 54 without loss and the game appeared to be heading away from Glamorgan, as neither of their spinners seemed able to pierce the defense of Springbok openers John Waite or Russell Endean. During the interval, Wooller spoke to his team in the dressing room, cajoling his bowlers for one last effort, and telling them that all that was needed was one wicket, as others would quickly follow.

His words proved prophetic as a quite remarkable passage of play then followed, witnessed by an increasingly animated crowd of 25,000, as all ten wickets fell within the space of three quarters of hour, and all for just 29 runs. The chief tormentors were Len Muncer, who claimed 4/10, and Jim McConnon, who took 6/10, including a hat-trick. Both were aided by some breathtaking catches close to the wicket, including one by Wilf Wooller at silly mid-on, after deflecting a firm on-drive from Clive van Ryneveld and then clutching onto the rebound inches from the turf.

Even Gilbert Parkhouse, fielding as substitute for Emrys Davies, took two fine catches, and all despite nursing a wrist injury. His second effort was holding onto a huge skier from Athol Rowan, and Parkhouse`s catch ended this classic match in Glamorgan`s favour. It also prompted a huge invasion of the ground, as Wilf Wooller was carried shoulder-high from the field. The spectators then gathered in front of the Swansea pavilion, sang the Welsh National Anthem, and toasted the players with many glasses of champagne.

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