Darren Thomas, who played for Glamorgan for fifteen years, was a member of the side that won the County Championship in 1997, besides taking the best-ever analysis for Glamorgan in one-day cricket, with figures of 7-/6 against Surrey at Swansea in 1998.
Darren had hit the headlines on his county debut in 1992 when he took 5/80 against Derbyshire at Chesterfield aged 17 years and 212 days. Despite being erratic at times, there was no denying that Darren could bowl with genuine pace and hostility, and under the wise guidance of coach Duncan Fletcher he made rapid headway during 1997. His greater accuracy and strike rate were two of the chief factors behind Glamorgan’s Championship quest, and it was fitting that Thomas should bowl Glamorgan to victory at Taunton and the Championship title.
Darren consolidated on this headway with 71 first-class victims at 24 apiece in 1998, and deservedly won a place in the England A party for the 1998/99 tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Another wicket-laden summer followed for Glamorgan during 1999 together with another A tour to Bangladesh and New Zealand in 1999/2000.
Darren continued to make many important contributions with both bat and ball in 2001 and 2002, when he recorded his first match haul of ten wickets for the Welsh county as well as a hundred against Essex at Chelmsford. His aggressive batting in one-day games has helped to secure several victories, whilst later in the competition a return of 3/32 against Warwickshire in the quarter-final at Cardiff helped Glamorgan clinch a place at the T20 Finals Day.
The following year he also became Glamorgan’s first-ever 12th man to score a century in first-class cricket. It came against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl after Darren had been nominated as the player to be replaced by Simon Jones following his release from the England squad. Darren duly made 105 against an attack that boasted Shane Warne, but the leg-spinner posed no threat to Darren as he repeatedly reverse-swept the Australian to the boundary!
After a Benefit Year in 2006, Darren left Glamorgan and joined Essex for the 2007 season. However, he sustained a shoulder injury during pre-season matches and after failing to recover from the injury, he announced his retirement. Darren had a short spell as an umpire before becoming a well-respected coach.
THOMAS, Stuart Darren
Born – Morriston, 25th January 1975.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 138 v Essex at Chelmsford, 2001; 7/33 v Durham at Sophia Gardens, 2002.
In List A cricket – 71* v Surrey at The Oval, 2002; 7/16 v Surrey at Swansea, 1998.
In T20 cricket – 43* v Northamptonshire at Northampton, 2004; 3/32 v Warwickshire at Sophia Gardens, 2004