Many consider Gilbert Parkhouse to have been the most graceful of any Welsh-born batsmen to play for Glamorgan. Born in Swansea and educated at Wycliffe College, he shone as a schoolboy sportsman, and was offered trials by Gloucestershire. However, Gilbert remained loyal to Wales, and opted to play cricket for Glamorgan and went on to win 7 Test caps between 1950 and 1959.
After appearing in wartime friendlies and completing his National Service, Gilbert made his long awaited debut for the Welsh county in 1948. He soon showed class with the bat, amassing over 1,200 runs in his debut season. Despite being slightly built, the youngster reeled off a wide range of forcing strokes, and became an immaculate timer of the ball. He also developed into a safe fielder in the slips, and was deservedly given his county cap at the end of the Championship winning season.
Gilbert moved up from number three to partner opener Emrys Davies in 1950, and they shared a partnership of 241 against Somerset at Swansea, as well as 233 against Surrey at Swansea. During the summer, he produced some elegant displays of batting, equally at home against the fast bowlers and the slower spinners. His excellent run of form also resulted in his selection for England in the Test series against the 1950 West Indies. During the summer Gilbert scored 1,742 runs, including three consecutive hundreds, and his fine form was rewarded with a place on the England tour to Australia and New Zealand. However, Gilbert struggled with poor health ‘Down Under’ and failed to compete with the likes of Len Hutton, Cyril Washbrook, Bill Edrich and Denis Compton for a Test place.
It highlighted the rich vein of batting talent that the England selectors were able to ignore the claims of the phlegmatic Welshman, and all despite him season after season clocking up over 1,000 runs. Indeed, it was only whilst amassing a club record 2,071 runs in 1959 that Gilbert was recalled to the England side for the Third and Fourth Tests against India, and then after sharing an opening partnership of 146, he was omitted for the Fifth Test.
Gilbert continued to play for Glamorgan until 1964, when after some niggling back injuries, he retired from county cricket, and took up a post as coach with Worcestershire and then Stewarts-Melville College in Edinburgh from 1966 until 1987.
PARKHOUSE, William Gilbert Anthony
Born – Swansea, 12th October 1925.
Died – Carmarthen, 10th August 2000.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 201 v Kent at Swansea, 1956; 1/4 v Surrey at Llanelli, 1952.
In List A cricket – 17 v Essex at Neath, 1964.