Emrys Davies gave yeoman service to Glamorgan in a career spanning 30 years, during which time the left-handed batter and left-arm spinner became the Club`s first player to perform the Double of a thousand runs and a hundred wickets. In all, during his outstanding career, Emrys scored 26,566 runs in all first-class cricket, hit 32 centuries and took a total of 903 wickets at an average of 29.26.
Born in Carmarthenshire in 1904, Emrys made his Glamorgan debut in 1924, after some excellent performances for Llanelli CC and the West Wales county. However, his early years with Glamorgan were quite modest ones, and there were calls for his contract to be terminated. However, Johnnie Clay believed that Emrys had a sound enough batting technique to make the grade, and all that was needed was greater experience and confidence. Maurice Turnbull agreed and they continued to support Emrys, who eventually hit a maiden century against Essex at the Arms Park in 1932.
As Johnnie had believed, this proved to be the turning point in Emrys` career, with the left-hander moving up to open the batting with Arnold Dyson. Their partnership, until 1947, proved to be amongst the most successful in Glamorgan’s history with Emrys proving that his nickname of ‘The Rock’ was a most fitting one. He also developed into a fine spin bowler, and in 1935 Emrys became the first Glamorgan player to achieve the `Double` of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets, whilst in 1937 he scored a century and took a hat-trick against Leicestershire – click here to read more about his remarkable feat.
Emrys’ finest innings for Glamorgan came at Newport in 1939 when he occupied the crease for seven and a half hours in making an unbeaten 287 against Gloucestershire. It stood for over sixty year as the highest individual score in the county’s history, and Emrys might have been the first to score a triple hundred had the Gloucestershire captain not placed all of his fielders on the boundary towards the end of his marathon innings.
His all-round abilities were duly acknowledged by the England selectors who included him on the 1939-40 M.C.C. tour to India, but almost as soon as Emrys had started to think about the prospect of playing for England, War was declared and the tour was cancelled. But Emrys – whose temperament and outlook was once described as being more akin to a Methodist minister than a professional sportsman – was not robbed of the opportunity of appearing in Test cricket as, after retiring from playing in 1954, he became one of the country`s top umpires and stood in 9 Tests from 1956 until 1959. One of these games was the famous Test at Old Trafford when Jim Laker took 19 wickets for 90 runs against Australia.
DAVIES, David Emrys
Born – Sandy, Carmarthenshire, 27 June 1904.
Died – Llanelli, 10 November 1975.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
First-class – 287* v Gloucestershire at Rodney Parade, Newport, 1939; 6/24 v Leicestershire at Rodney Parade, Newport, 1935.