Ernest Jones was one of the emerging generation of homegrown players who appeared for Glamorgan during the 1890s and 1900s. In contrast to others with grey whiskers, Ernest was a fresh-faced nineteen year-old when he made his Glamorgan debut against Monmouthshire at the Arms Park in 1890. Indeed, he was still a student at Wycliffe School in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire when he made his debut for Swansea in club cricket during 1886, and a series of highly impressive innings led to his county call-up.
He confirmed his rich potential by making 73 in the return match with Monmouthshire at Rodney Parade in 1890. Two years later, the opening batsman came within four runs of a maiden county hundred as he posted 96 against Devon at the Arms Park, whilst in 1896 he went one run better against Surrey 2nd XI in the inaugural Minor County Championship encounter at The Oval.
After a lean summer in 1897, his maiden century duly came during June 1898 on his home soil at St. Helen’s as he struck 101 against Cornwall. His work as a chartered shipbroker in his family’s business at Swansea Docks prevented him from playing on a regular basis, especially in games away from St. Helen’s, so it was not until July 1903, once again at Swansea, that he made his second hundred in the Minor County competition, batting at number three, and completing a handsome 152 against Berkshire.
By this time, Ernest was very much one of the senior figures in the affairs of Glamorgan Cricket and in 1905 was chosen in the South Wales side in their two-day match against Yorkshire at the Arms Park. Opening the batting with Arthur Silverlock, the prolific batsman from Monmouthshire, Ernest only made 2 in both innings as the White Rose side eased to a 70-run victory.
Four years later, Ernest was given the honour of leading the South Wales team against the 1909 Australians at the Arms Park. By now, he was very much a veteran and lower in the order but, batting at number six, he made a respectable 17 runs in the three-day match. To the delight of the 10,000 spectators who were shoe-horned into the Cardiff ground, the South Wales batsmen had made a decent start with Arthur Silverlock and Norman Riches adding 74 for the first wicket, and by early-afternoon, the Welsh side had reached 150-3 with Billy Bancroft and Edward Sweet-Escott both scoring freely against the visiting bowlers, before a collapse took place in mid-afternoon, with Ernest being one of the batsman to fall cheaply as the tourists gained the upper hand.
The Welsh batters could not repeat their heroics batting for a second time, as the tourists eased to an eight-wicket victory before carrying on batting for exhibition purposes. Despite the reverse, there were many positives for Ernest and the other seniors to smile about, and with the future of Glamorgan Cricket appearing to be in good hands, he was happy to bow out of Minor County cricket.
However, in 1911 with Glamorgan pressing for a place in the knockout finals of the Minor County competition, Ernest was recalled for the match against Buckinghamshire at Aylesbury. Batting at number 4, he made a typically fluent 64 to give Glamorgan a first innings lead, but the weather intervened on the second day and prevented them form securing the victory they needed and a place in the finals.
After retiring from cricket, Ernest continued to be a leading figure in the shipbroking world and acted as Chairman of the Swansea Pilotage Authority, serving in this capacity from 1930 until his death in 1941.
JONES, Ernest William.
Born – Swansea, 24 October 1870.
Died – Swansea, 15 September 1941.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Championship – 152 v Berkshire at St. Helen’s, Swansea, 1903.
Minor County Friendlies – 97 v Surrey 2nd XI at The Oval, 1896.