Wilf beats the 1939 West Indians

Wilf seen in his Cardiff RFC kit. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Wilf Wooller saw Glamorgan to an astonishing victory over the 1939 West Indians at the Arms Park. Wilf had come down from Cambridge during the summer of 1936 and in the years before the Second World War, he worked in the coal trade at Cardiff Docks, played club cricket for St. Fagans and played rugby for Cardiff. His work commitments prevented him from regularly playing county cricket, but in 1938 he agreed to an approach from Maurice Turnbull to play for Glamorgan when the Welsh county were struck by injury.

In typically ebullient manner, Wooller marked his county debut with a return of 5/90 against Yorkshire at the Arms Park, and the following year at the same ground, Wooller made a maiden county hundred against the West Indies. Going in at 152-5, Wooller counter-attacked from the outset, with a ferocious series of hooks, cuts and cover drives. He celebrated his fifty with a huge six into the tennis courts alongside the Arms Park, and went on to reach a century in just two hours, completely wresting the initiative from the tourists.

His efforts with the bat helped Glamorgan to 377, and despite two cameo innings from `Foffie` Williams and Learie Constantine, the Welsh side secured a healthy lead of 124. Peter Judge, their new opening bowler, led the way with four wickets in the West Indies first innings, followed by two more in the tourists` second innings as the West Indies attempted to make 282 to win on the final afternoon.

But it was Wilf Wooller who put paid to any thoughts the West Indies had of victory. He started by  claiming two early wickets, and then returned later in the innings to break a spirited partnership between Derek Sealy and `Monkey` Cameron that at one stage looked like allowing the tourists to make a fighting comeback.

Fittingly, it was Wooller who picked up the final wicket, as Glamorgan celebrated another victory over a Test-playing nation. The burly all-rounder left the Arms Park to loud applause with figures of 5/69, and the following morning the correspondent of the Western  Mail newspaper suggested that Wilf “was challenging even Learie Constantine as one of cricket`s breeziest personalities.” Not bad for someone with just a handful of county appearances!

Leave a Reply