Breconshire was another area of Wales where, from the mid-19th century onwards, various teams were formed to represent the county. Cricket in Victorian Breconshire was given a boost by the presence of a large garrison in the county town, as well as Christ College – a leading public school where the playing of cricket was actively encouraged.

The Brecon Town and Garrison Club

Formed in 1848, the Brecon Town and Garrison Club was one of the leading clubs in south Wales during the second half of the 19th century. The presence of the Garrison in Brecon gave a major boost to cricket, as the soldiers were encouraged to play cricket, which was seen as a form of healthy and manly recreation.

The formation of Breconshire – 1850

The Breconshire club was formed in 1850, with its members largely drawn from prominent personalities associated with the Brecon Town and Garrison club. Their first fixture was against a side representing Monmouthshire at Abergavenny. The county side, as well as the Brecon Town and Garrison club, had the full support of leading local figures, such as Lord Glanusk By the 1860s Breconshire had annual fixtures against other Welsh county sides including Glamorganshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The image below shows the Breconshire side of 1911.

Breconshire seen at Builth Wells in 1911, Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives

Christ College, Brecon

Cricket in Breconshire was boosted by the presence of promising young talent at Christ College, Brecon. Cricket was first played at the famous public school in 1858, and from 1865 they had an annual challenge against Llandovery College. The image below shows the pupils at the Brecon school celebrating their success over Llandovery in 1905.

Scholars at Christ College, Brecon celebrate their victory over Llandovery in 1905. Credit – Christ College Archives.

The first cricket Blue from Wales

Thomas Babington Jones was the first Welshman to win a cricket Blue at Oxford. The former pupil of Christ College Brecon won a Blue in 1874 whilst he was reading Law at Jesus College. The left-handed batsman played for Breconshire between 1869 and 1887, besides appearing regularly for the South Wales CC from 1874. He subsequently became a prominent solicitor on the South Wales circuit.

Glamorgan play in Breconshire

In 1993 Glamorgan staged their one-day friendly against Zimbabwe at Christ College, Brecon. This was the Welsh county’s first major match on Breconshire soil and saw Glamorgan win by 53 runs. A number of former pupils from Christ College have played for Glamorgan since the Second World War, including Andrew Davies who was a talented all-rounder and a member of Glamorgan’s highly successful one-day squad of the early 2000s.