A hat-trick of stumpings

Sam Brain was Glamorgan`s first regular wicket-keeper in the Minor County Championship, and in 1893 he created a unique record, whilst playing for Gloucestershire, by making three stumpings in consecutive deliveries as sixteen year-old leg-spinner Charles Townsend took a hat-trick against Somerset at Cheltenham College.

Sam Brain. Photo credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives

His feat came shortly before the end of the second day’s play with Somerset having amassed a lead of 301. Believing they had more than enough runs in the bank, there was something of a carefree mood in the visitor’s camp as Townsend began his eighth over thinking that he might not have many more overs to bowl. It duly proved to be his final over of the day, but not quite in the manner the young leg-spinner intended. To his fourth delivery of the over, Arthur Newton advanced down the wicket, but missed the ball as he played an ungainly heave and was promptly stumped by Sam.

The Somerset professionals, George Nichols and Teddy Tyler, no doubt under instruction from their captain to go for quick runs, then repeated the stroke as in successive balls they too advanced down the wicket to the young spinner and departed in identical fashion ‘stumped Brain, bowled Townsend.`

Like his older brother Jack, Sam was educated at Clifton College, before going up to Oxford and joining the family’s brewing business during the late 1890s. Sam’s agile wicket-keeping, coupled with his bold and uninhibited strokeplay in the middle order secured him a regular place in the Glamorgan side from 1896. By the time he retired in 1908, Sam had amassed over 2,000 runs in his career for Glamorgan, and had 240 dismissals to his name. The fact that he had almost as many stumpings than catches to his name spoke volumes for his deft glovework. In June 1897 he also struck one of the fastest centuries in Glamorgan’s history during the match against Monmouthshire at Newport, with Sam reaching three-figures in just 53 minutes.

Sam Brain seen during his undergraduate days at Oxford. Photo credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

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