Glamorganshire County Cricket Club was the first properly organized and constituted club to represent the county, formed in 1868 at The Castle Hotel in Neath. They had however a short lifespan, playing games against other county teams between 1869 and 1874 before financial problems caused the Club to fold.
The Glamorganshire club was not really representative of all the cricketers in the county. Instead it was a gentleman’s club, and as this image below shows, there were quite sizeable annual subscriptions of two guineas – well beyond the means of the average working man.
Glamorgan CCC is formed
John Llewelyn, the cricket-loving squire of Penllergaer House, north of Swansea, had been one of the individuals involved in the formation of the early club. He was disappointed about its folding and given the economic boom in the region he made strenuous efforts to resurrect the club.
In 1888 Sir John (seen below) organised a meeting of over 30 cricket officials from the leading clubs in South Wales in the Angel Hotel in Cardiff on 6th July at which Glamorgan CCC came into being. The following summer the Club played it’s inaugural match, against Warwickshire at the Arms Park.
Minor County Champions
The driving force behind Glamorgan CCCin the 1890s was Jack Brain, the former Gloucestershire batsman who had moved across the Severn estuary to run his family’s brewery in Cardiff. Through his influence, Glamorgan joined the Minor County Championship in 1897 and in 1900 they became joint champions, sharing the title with Durham and Northamptonshire.
Some people though felt that the Welsh county should have been outright winners as they had completed more victories than the two English sides!
The photograph below shows Jack Brain (sitting third left) and the rest of the Glamorgan side which shared the title, in a special commemorative photograph which was taken at the start of the 1901 season as Glamorgan proudly defended their joint title.
The success of Glamorgan in Minor County cricket before the Great War led to a campaign for elevation to first-class status. This was eventually achieved in 1921, with the photograph opposite showing Norman Riches (extreme right) leading out his side for the Welsh county’s inaugural County Championship encounter with Sussex at Cardiff Arms Park in May – a match with Glamorgan won.