Glamorgan beat the 1964 Australians

1964 saw Glamorgan, under the captaincy of Ossie Wheatley, defeat the Australians for the first time in their history. This victory was staged in front of an enormous, and partisan crowd at St. Helen`s over the August Bank Holiday, and all with Glamorgan fielding a side which had an unfamiliar and inexperienced look about it.

Euros Lewis opened the batting with Alan Jones, Billy Slade came into the middle order, reserve wicket-keeper Eifion Jones took over behind the stumps, and young West Indian pace bowler Tony Cordle opened the bowling instead of Jeff Jones. Even the most ardent of Glamorgan supporters could not have predicted the manner in which this young side would record a famous victory.

Ossie Wheatley won the toss and on the slow, bare Swansea wicket, his batsmen then struggled against the lively Australian attack. Alan Jones drew on his experience of playing State cricket in Australia, and the gritty left-hander launched the innings in an aggressive way. Peter Walker and Alan Rees chipped in with useful contributions of 41 and 48, whilst Don Shepherd also weighed in with a quick-fire 24 to see Glamorgan to their total of 197.

It seemed on the face of it a modest score, but a shower in mid-afternoon had dampened the wicket, just to the liking of Don Shepherd and Jim Pressdee. The two spinners proved almost unplayable, even to Bill Lawry, fresh from his 106 in the Fourth Test at Old Trafford. He fell to Don Shepherd for just seven, to the accompaniment of a loud cheer from the crowd. However, an even louder roar occured a few overs later when Jim Pressdee bowled Bobby Simpson for just two – a fine achievement given the fact that the Australian skipper had made 311 at Old Trafford.

The tourists had collapsed to 39-6 by the time stumps were drawn at the end of a very dramatic day, and the pubs all over South Wales that Saturday night, as well as on Sunday, were full of talk about a Welsh victory. The National Eisteddfod was being held just down the road from the Swansea ground, and on the Saturday night and Sunday, the tourists visited the Welsh festival of music, drama and culture,  and if any of the Australian tourists had been in any doubts, their visit to the Eisteddfod proved that they were playing in a most patriotic area.

The crowd at St.Helen’s toast a famous victory over the Australians. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

A crowd of around 25,000 crammed themselves into the famous St.Helen`s ground on Bank Holiday Monday, and right from the first ball, there was an air of expectancy and Celtic fervour, more akin to a Welsh rugby international. However, Tom Veivers had other ideas and mixing caution with aggression, he led a brave fightback with Johnny Martin. However, Martin`s resistance was eventually bowled by Don Shepherd, and further wickets followed as the Australians were dismissed for just 101, to give the young Glamorgan side an invaluable lead.

Although the weather was now set fair, the Swansea wicket was still responding to spin and only Tony Lewis and Alan Rees looked really comfortable, especially against the leg-spin of Bobby Simpson. His skillfully flighted bowling saw Glamorgan collapse from 126-4 to 172 all out. The equation therefore was that Australia needed 268 to win and preserve their unbeaten tour record.

With an hour and a half remaining, plus all of the final day, Simpson opened the second innings alongside Bill Lawry. The pair launched the run-chase in a watchful way, with both batsmen being prepared to use their feet against the Glamorgan spinners, and make some carefully controlled strokes. They had taken the score to 59 when Simpson fell to a fine catch at silly mid-off by Peter Walker off Don Shepherd`s bowling, and the day`s play ended with the tourists on 75-1.

193 runs were needed on Tuesday, with the Australians knowing that they could continue to play in a quiet way as they had all day to pursue their target. For their part, Glamorgan needed quick wickets, and in a shade over half an hour, the Welsh prayers were answered as Shepherd took two wickets in his opening six overs, whilst the dangerous Norman O`Neill also fell to a superb running catch by Tony Lewis.

With the Swansea scoreboard reading 92-4, Glamorgan had regained the initiative, but opener Bill Lawry was still at the crease and in a most obdurate mood. Lawry continued to stubbornly defend, whilst Tom Veivers counter-attacked for the second time in the match. Veivers hit both spinners for huge sixes, and with Lawry looking in no trouble at the other end, it seemed as if Glamorgan`s grip on the match was starting to loosen.

The pair had added 77 in 90 minutes when Veivers went for one shot too many against Pressdee, and was bowled to the accompaniment of a mighty roar from the crowd. Wicket-keeper Barry Jarman then gave Lawry useful support until Lawry after almost five hours at the wicket pulled a long hop from Jim Pressdee straight into the hands of Alan Rees at mid-wicket.

The buzz of expectation grew louder as the crestfallen Lawry trudged off the ground, and his departure signalled the end of the Australian resistance, as Shepherd and Pressdee worked their way through the tail. Shepherd, in particular, was in magnificent form, taking in all, five wickets in a marathon spell of controlled off-spin. The final hour of his spell saw him overcome both cramp, and the last of the Australian batsmen, as the last four wickets fell for 25 runs.

It was Jim Pressdee who took the final wicket when Neil Hawke was caught by wicket-keeper Eifion Jones. The crowd ran onto the field to applaud their heroes and it seemed as if half of Wales surged across the St. Helen`s outfield to join in with the ecstatic celebrations in the pavilion. Champagne corks popped, speeches were made and the songs grew louder as it became clear that this was not just a victory for Glamorgan, for it was a day which had seen Wales win!

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