“That’s out and we’ve won the Championship!”

These are perhaps the most famous words in the Club’s history, uttered by umpire Dai Davies as he stood in Glamorgan’s match at Bournemouth in August 1948 as his former county defeated Hampshire to become County Champions for the first time in their history.

Dai Davies, seen during his playing career with the Welsh county.
Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Glamorgan had travelled to the South Coast needing one more victory to clinch the title and the omens looked good as Wilf Wooller won the toss and chose to bat first. But after barely ten minutes play, rain started to fall, and the Glamorgan team spent the rest of the first day in the Dean Park pavilion, eagerly trying to find out details of  the progress of Yorkshire, their nearest pursuers, at Taunton.

These were the days when Sunday was a day of rest for county cricketers, and no doubt several must have said a prayer or three in the local churches that Monday and Tuesday should have fine weather. Their prayers were answered as play began on Monday under clear blue skies. Eleven and a quarter hours playing time remained, so Wilf Wooller told his batsmen to score 300 as quickly as possible, so that he could declare in the late afternoon, and have an hour or so at the Hampshire batsmen.

Everything went as “The Skipper” wanted – Emrys Davies, Willie Jones and Arnold Dyson all make quickfire half centuries, as Glamorgan raced to 315. Wooller then fired up his bowlers, asking for an all-out attack before the close of play. His bowlers and fielders went out and did him proud as Hampshire slumped to 47/6. All of the home batsmen were harried into making mistakes by some accurate bowling and spirited fielding.

Of all the wickets to fall on that sunny evening, perhaps it was the wicket of Hampshire`s opener Neville Rogers which epitomised Glamorgan`s fire and passion. Gilbert Parkhouse, standing fearlessly at short-leg, flung himself full length to cling onto a firm leg-side shot from the Hampshire batsman,  and in the words of John Arlott, watching from the Press Box, “with that catch the match was virtually won, because it crystallised Glamorgan`s immense psychological advantage which they never lost.”

Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny again, and Wilf Wooller led his side out in mid-morning knowing that his side were poised for a historic victory. Hampshire`s first innings soon folded and the Glamorgan captain had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on. With the score on 22, Norman Hever bowled Rogers, but at the end of the over he limped off with a foot injury. His departure prompted a bowling change, and knowing that his spinners were in-form, Wooller brought on Johnnie Clay and Len Muncer, supported by a cluster of fielders close to the bat.

It seemed as if everything that Wilf Wooller touched in 1948 turned to gold, as within a dozen overs, his spinners had claimed four more wickets. Hampshire captain Desmond Eager then launched a counter-attack, hitting some lusty blows over the in-field, but with the score on 101-5 at lunch, Glamorgan were well on top. There was even better news awaiting Wilf Wooller as he went back to the dressing room, as a telegram had come through from Taunton that Somerset had forced Yorkshire to follow on. The county title would therefore be Glamorgan`s if they could take the last five Hampshire wickets.

In the second over after lunch, Jim Bailey was run out, and soon afterwards Johnnie Clay started to work his way through the Hampshire tail, dismissing `Dinty` Dawson, Leo Harrison and `Lofty` Herman. By sheer coincidence, the umpire standing at Clay`s end was Dai Davies, the veteran all-rounder from the inter-war period. It was therefore quite fitting that these two great figures in Glamorgan`s history should combine in an amusing way when a ball from Clay rapped Hampshire`s last man Charlie Knott on the pads in front of the stumps. Clay led a rousing appeal to which Davies smiled and said “That`s out, and we`ve won the Championship!”

Leave a Reply