Bertie Letcher was one of the homegrown young cricketers who appeared for Glmaorgan during the 1890s.
Educated at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, Bertie made a duck on his first appearance in the match against Monmouthshire at the Arms Park in 1890, but met with far more success opening the bowling and in this capacity, he went on to claim over a hundred wickets for Glamorgan, and became a mainstay in the county’s attack during the 1890s and 1900s.
His father, Richard, had been a member of the South Wales CC in addition to being a leading figure with Swansea Cricket and Football Club before moving to Cardiff to work for the Glamorganshire Banking Company where he rose to the position of Manager.
Bertie inherited his father’s love of ball games and showed great promise for Swansea CC as well as London University where he was captain of both the cricket and rugby teams. After securing a post in Swansea as an insurance broker, Bertie played rugby and cricket for the town club, and regularly made himself available to play for Glamorgan.
His brisk seam bowling was a great asset to the county side, especially as the Club’s finances restricted the number of professional bowlers who could be hired. In July 1891 he took a career-best 7/66 against Monmouthshire at the Arms Park – the first of four five-wicket hauls he claimed during his county career., with other highlights being 5/42 against Monmouthshire at Swansea in 1894, 5/10 against Herefordshire at Hereford in 1896, 5/45 against Worcestershire at Kidderminster in 1897.
He was also a very handy middle-order batter and in 1895 he struck 156 against the South Wales CC at Swansea. It was his only hundred for Glamorgan and took full advantage of some gentle bowling by the veterans in a match designed to celebrate the close links between the two organizations. In all, Bertie struck ten half-centuries, including 72 against the MCC at Cardiff in 1896, 73 against Monmouthshire at Newport in 1897 and 75 against Devon at Exeter in 1907.
Bertie led Swansea CC in 1894 and 1895 before three years later moving to Cardiff and joining the town club. With his office based at Cardiff Docks, he also joined the Cardiff Exchange Club, based at the Coal Exchange in Mount Stuart Square and played for their cricket team in their friendlies against local clubs and gentlemen’s teams such as the Earl of Plymouth’s XI. Whilst based in Swansea, he had been good friends with the Bransby Williams family of Killay House so he frequently appeared for the Public Schools Nondescripts team who played matches in the grounds of the House.
He also joined the Glamorgan committee in 1895, and between 1904 and 1908 acted as assistant secretary to Jack Brain. Bertie moved to Northern Ireland shortly before the Great War having become the manager of an insurance brokerage based in Belfast. He died in 1941 whilst on holiday in Bermuda.
Bertie had also played rugby for Swansea RFC between 1890/91 and 1893/94, chiefly for the Club’s 2nd XV.
LETCHER, Harold Bertie.
Born – Swansea, 4 June 1871.
Died – Bermuda, 15 June 1942.
Batting and Fielding Record
|MC Friendlies||3061||167||1629||84 (+2)||19.40||3||–|
Minor County Championship – 75 v Devon at Exeter, 1907 and 5/45 v Worcestershire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1897.
Minor County Friendlies – 156 v South Wales CC at St. Helen’s, Swansea, 1895 and 7/66 v Monmouthshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1891.