Haydn Davies is regarded by many to have been the finest wicket-keeper ever to represent the Welsh county, and even in the twilight of his career in 1955 he took a record 8 dismissals in the match against the South Africans at Swansea.
He was also one of the best keepers never to have won Test honours, and the nearest he got to higher recognition was selection in the 1946 Test Trial. Haydn was unfortunate enough to be at the peak of his career at the same time as Godfrey Evans, and the England selectors regularly preferred the Kent wicket-keeper.
Davies had joined the Glamorgan staff in 1934 after graduating in Chemistry from Aberystwyth University. He duly became their regular wicket-keeper from 1937, having earlier rejected an offer to join Gloucestershire as their gloveman. After the interruption of the Second World War, Haydn played in every County Championship match between 1947 and 1957, often playing with broken fingers strapped and bandaged.
He was also a technically correct batsman, and despite having spent many hours behind the stumps he was always prepared to act in emergency as an opening batsman or fulfil the role of night-watchman if wickets fell shortly before the close of play. On his day, Haydn could be an explosive hitter and struck a career-best 80 during his Benefit Match against the 1951 South Africans at the Arms Park.
His high quality wicket-keeping and penchant for hitting sixes made him a very popular figure with Glamorgan`s supporters. Indeed, amongst the highlights of Glamorgan`s performance in the field would be Haydn`s vociferous appealing, or his joyful and deft stumpings as opponents completely misread the spin of Clay, Muncer, McConnon and Shepherd.
Haydn’s solitary wicket came in light-hearted circumstances during a drawn game at Trent Bridge in 1951 when Wilf Wooller took umbrage at comments by the home captain about their splendid new scoreboard having space to put all the bowlers details. There was space for ten so as the game meandered to a draw, Haydn was given a chance to bowl some flighted spin. “So much for your ruddy scoreboard, there’s no space for Haydn” was Wilf’s retort to the Notts captain!
Haydn was also a talented squash player and represented Wales on many occasions. After retiring, Haydn worked as the professional at the Edinburgh Squash and Tennis club.
DAVIES, Haydn George
Born – Llanelli, 23rd April 1912.
Died – Haverfordwest, 4th September 1993.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 80 v South Africans at Cardiff Arms Park, 1951; 1/20 v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, 1951.