Johnnie Clay takes 17 wickets against Worcestershire at Swansea in 1937.

In 1937 Johnnie Clay created a Glamorgan record by taking 176 wickets, with his finest hour during a wonderful summer coming at Swansea as he claimed 17/212 against Worcestershire – the best-ever match figures in Glamorgan`s history.

What was even more remarkable about Clay`s performance was that the Swansea wicket in Worcestershire`s first innings gave the off-spinner little assistance whatsoever. But with skillful flight, change of pace and subtle variations, Clay took 9/66 with only three Worcestershire batsmen getting into double figures against the wily veteran.

Johnnie Clay – the debonair gentleman and a devilish spinner. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

The Welsh batsmen then put the wicket into perspective, with Maurice Turnbull characteristically leading from the front with a career best 233, made in a shade over four hours at the crease. Like a good wine, Turnbull`s innings got better with time, with his first hundred taking 110 minutes, whilst his second came in a further 78 minutes. In all, Turnbull hit three sixes and thirty one fours, with a mix of strong drives and powerful cuts, dominating the bowling in masterly fashion, and it put into context Worcestershire`s modest first innings efforts. His partnership of 165 for the sixth wicket with George Lavis took just two hours, and when Glamorgan were all out, they had a lead of 294.

The Worcestershire batsmen made a better fist of things in their second innings, with their openers adding 87 before they were separated. Sid Martin and Bernard Quaife each made half centuries with some fierce blows, with Martin striking five sixes, including three from Clay. But Turnbull was not in the slightest bit worried by this show of aggression, and he had great faith in his wily bowler. Turnbull simply pushed his fielders deeper, as Clay with a genial smile on his face, gave the ball plenty of air.

Martin eventually holed out to Lavis, and although Quaife remained undefeated, the lower order had few answers to Clay`s nagging spin. He finished with 8/146 as Glamorgan strolled to a nine-wicket win, and at the end of the game, in tribute to their wonderful efforts, the spectators at St. Helen`s made special presentations to the Glamorgan captain and his astute lieutenant for their outstanding efforts,  both in this comprehensive victory and the rest of the season, which saw the Welsh county finish the season in seventh place in the Championship.

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