Jack Bevan, the son of an industrialist from Llanelli, played in one match for Glamorgan in 1920, besides making several appearances for his native Carmarthenshire before the Great War. He subsequently served on the Glamorgan committee and was the Club’s Chair when they won the County Championship in 1948.
Educated at Clifton College and Cambridge University, Jack had inherited his father Isaiah’s love of ball-games. Isaiah had been a popular captain of Llanelli CC in the 1880s, besides being a founding member of the town’s rugby club. Tragically, in January 1893, Isaiah was crushed, and instantly killed by falling dockside machinery at Briton Ferry. After completing his education, Jack Bevan stepped into his late father’s shoes and oversaw the management of the family’s steelworks at Briton Ferry and Llanelli. He still found plenty of time to play in club cricket for Neath and Llanelli, as well as for Carmarthenshire from 1909 onwards.
He made his Minor County debut aged 22 for the West Wales side against Glamorgan at Stradey Park and the young all-rounder batted at number 11 in the order on his first county appearance, besides going wicketless. His maiden wicket for Carmarthenshire came in the match a few weeks later against Cornwall at Camborne. In July 1911 Jack appeared again for Carmarthenshire in their Minor County Championship match with Glamorgan at Swansea, and his haul of 4/51 included the wicket of Tal Whittington, the opposition captain, who posted a fine 176.
His finest hour in Carmarthenshire ranks came at Stradey Park in July 1914 when he struck an unbeaten 108 against an all-amateur Glamorgan side, before taking 5/59 and then leading his team off the Llanelli ground after they had recorded a thrilling victory by five runs. By this time, other things were on Jack’s mind, especially ensuring the output of steel from his factories would be sufficient to meet the military demands and after ensuring that all was well at his family’s works, he joined the Royal Field Artillery and went off to serve King and Country.
He soon rose to the rank of Colonel with the Royal Field Artillery whose units were responsible for the medium caliber guns, larger howitzers and trench mortars which were deployed close to the front line. In September 1918 during the advance on the Hindenburg, Colonel Bevan was awarded the Military Cross as Allied plus Australian troops crossed the Somme River and broke German lines near the town of Mont Saint-Quentin. His citation duly said that it was for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty throughout sixteen days operations. On one occasion he voluntarily carried a message under heavy, hostile machine-gun fire at about 300 yards range.”
Once hostilities ceased, Jack returned to South Wales and returned to the world of cricket and business as he continued to manage the family’s steelworks in Llanelli. His high standing in cricketing circles in South Wales is evidenced by the fact that in June 1920 he was chosen in the Gentlemen of Glamorgan team which met the Players of Glamorgan in a two-day contest at The Gnoll in Neath.
A couple of weeks later he made his one and only appearance for Glamorgan against Monmouthshire at Ebbw Vale. After the Great War, Jack was largely a specialist batter, and occupied the number five slot for Glamorgan in their match in 1920 against Monmouthshire. It was a role he fulfilled as well for Carmarthenshire in their all-amateur games with Glamorgan at Llanelli and Swansea in 1920, although in the match at Stradey Park he also did service for a while as wicket-keeper following an injury to the regular gloveman before opening the bowling when Glamorgan batted for a second time!
The 1920s also saw Jack commence various roles off the field with Glamorgan CCC, as he joined the Club’s committee in 1923 and oversaw the introduction of various Carmarthenshire players into the Glamorgan side including Dai and Emrys Davies. Indeed, Jack’s devotion to the west Wales county as well as recognition of his high social standing can be gauged from the fact that in 1929 he was appointed High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire.
In the 1930s he was overjoyed when Glamorgan staged County Championship matches at the Stradey Park ground, with the inaugural game against Worcestershire in 1934 drawing a bumper crowd. When the Second World War broke out, Jack agreed to act as Chair of the Emergency committee which oversaw the Club’s affairs during the wartime years, and when hostilities were over, he remained in the position of Chair. Indeed, after his lifetime of service to cricket and the sporting community in West Wales, there was no more delighted person than Jack Bevan who, as the Glamorgan Chair in 1948, could celebrate when the Welsh county won the County Championship title for the first-ever time.
BEVAN, John Maybery (Jack)
Born – Llanelli, 12 September 1886.
Died – Swansea, 24 June 1970.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendly – 3 v Monmouthshire at Ebbw Vale, 1920.