The David’s of Porthmadog
Cricket clubs in Wales, like those in England, during the first half of the nineteenth-century were like modern-day golf clubs with members meeting up to play games amongst themselves. As transport facilities improved, especially the creation of railway lines, inter-club fixtures were possible but at the start of the season in the late nineteenth century (as well as the early twentieth century), it was still common practice for games to take place amongst club members as they prepared for sterner challenges ahead against rival clubs.
Many of these intra-club games were between the Captain’s XI against the Vice-Captain’s XI, whilst other variants included the First XI against the Next XVIII, or Married v Single. In some cases, games were played between a team of left-handers and a side of right-handers, whilst in England there are records of matches between the Under 30s and Over 30s, as well as between Smokers and Non-Smokers.
At Porthmadog in June 1894 another, and quite unusual, variant took place as the club staged a match between a team composed of members whose Christian names were David against a team who had other first names. The David’s duly lined up as follows:
David Jones senior
David Breese (capt)
David G Jones
David E Jones
David Jones junior
Led by David Breese, the Dafydd’s – as they were referred to in a match report in The Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald – made 50 before David Morris claimed 7/20 to dismiss the non-David’s for just 38.
The first record of cricket in the Carnarvonshire town dates from 1859, with the club going from strength to strength in the Edwardian and inter-War era. In 1902 they employed a professional called William Pike, who had previously been attached to the Nottinghamshire groundstaff. He remained in the town until after the Second World War and was still playing during the 1930s when well into his sixties. William was also encouraged by members of the club – and many of the David’s who took part in this match in 1894 – to open a shop selling tobacco and newspapers. As the photograph above shows, Pike’s is still there in the town today with the newsagents run by his proud descendants.