Dan Thissen was the first man to keep wicket for Glamorgan in their inaugural game in 1889, besides being their highest scorer in the match against Warwickshire at the Arms Park.
Born and raised in the Duke Hotel, Morriston, Dan initially played alongside his brothers Frederick and John in the town’s cricket team, before changing allegiance to Swansea in 1889. That summer proved to be an important one for the gloveman as he was chosen to appear in all four of Glamorgan’s matches,. Despite batting at number eleven in the first match, against Warwickshire at the Arms Park, Dan ended up as the top scorer making 32 and sharing in a jaunty tenth wicket stand of 56 with Swansea club-mate Astley Samuel during which the pair confused their English opponents by calling to each other in Welsh!
Dan was Glamorgan’s first choice wicket-keeper until 1893 when Sam Brain became available on a regular basis. However, Dan continued to perform with credit for Swansea and appeared for Glamorgan whenever Brain was unavailable, appearing in two Minor County Championship matches – away to Cornwall in 1897 and the game at The Oval against Surrey 2nd XI in 1900. At around sixteen stone, Dan was a burly yet agile presence behind the stumps and often stood up to the opening bowlers. He also built up a fine relationship with Harry Creber, the talented bowler of left-arm spin and cutters, with Dan letting Harry know what he believed might be an effective delivery with a series of subtle signals.
Towards the end of the 1907 season, Dan indicated to the Swansea officials that, with his fiftieth birthday approaching, he intended to retire. But Creber, Samuel and others persuaded him to continue and Dan duly played a further five seasons.
Away from cricket, Dan was a shipping clerk at a tin-plate works besides acting as a deacon at The Old Siloh, Landore. Indeed, it was his duties at the congregational chapel which led him to rarely agree to play cricket on Sundays.
THISSEN, Daniel Richard.
Born – Morriston, December 1857.
Died – Landore, Swansea, 12 November 1928.
Batting and Fielding Record
Career Best Performances
Minor County Championship – 10 v Surrey 2nd XI at The Oval, 1900.
Minor County Friendlies – 44* v Wiltshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1892.