Greg Thomas, who played for Glamorgan between 1979 and 1988, was the first fluent Welsh speaker to play Test cricket for England.
He was also the man who earned the tag of “the fastest white man” in English cricket during the mid-1980`s after some fiery spells for Glamorgan and Border. His pace and hostility won him a place on England`s tour to the Caribbean in 1985/86, and during the First Test, Greg nearly took a wicket with his first two deliveries in Test cricket, as Desmond Haynes edged his first ball over the head of first slip, before being dropped in the gully off Greg`s second delivery.
This was the first of five Tests and three One-Day Internationals in which Greg appeared during a ten-year career with the welsh county which had begun with a debut against the 1979 Sri Lankans at Swansea. His college studies mean plus a stress fracture in his back meant that Greg did not become a regular in the county side until 1984.
Nevertheless various ailments and injuries continued to hamper Greg’s career with Glamorgan, and he failed to take 50 Championship wickets during any of his seasons with the county. There was no doubt that Greg could deliver the ball at blistering pace, but he was also erratic at times, and became frustrated by the slow Welsh pitches which he felt were hindering his claims of further gaining Test recognition.
It was with much irony that Greg’s most productive summer – in 1988 when he claimed 48 first-class wickets – was also his last in Glamorgan ranks as in 1989 Greg joined Northamptonshire, before in 1989/90 being a member of Mike Gatting`s `rebel` England tour to South Africa. In 1990 Greg took a career-best 7-75, ironically for Northants against his former employers, but he lost his place with the English county the following year after sustaining a pelvic injury, and was forced to retire at the end of the 1991 season.
THOMAS, John Gregory
Born – Trebanos, 12th August 1960.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket -110 v Warwickshire at Edgbaston, 1988; 6/68 v Nottinghamshire at Sophia Gardens, 1988.
In List A cricket – 37 v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, 1983; 5/17 v Sussex at Sophia Gardens, 1985.