Percy Morris was a member of Glaamorgan’s first-ever team in the County Championship. A Swansea man through and through, it was fitting that the all-rounder’s best-ever bowling figures for Glamorgan, as well as his highest score in the County Championship should later come at the St. Helen’s ground.
Indeed, it was at the ground overlooking Swansea Bay where the son of Major Bertie Morris of Ael-y-Bryn House in the Mumbles had been coached from a young age by various members of the Bancroft family. Percy’s father had trained at RMC Woolwich before serving with the Royal Artillery, but with a growing family back home in the Mumbles, he resigned his commission and became a metal merchant .
But in January 1900 Major Morris died prematurely of pneumonia aged just 39 and, after completing his studies, it was young Percy who subsequently took over the running of what became a highly successful brokerage. The young businessman also secured a place in the Swansea 1st XI, and in June 1906 after making an impressive hundred against Cardiff, the opening batsman was invited to make his Glamorgan debut against Monmouthshire at the Swansea ground where he had played so much of his early cricket.
It did not prove to be a fairytale start as batting at number three, he made just 8 and 12, but more substantial innings came his way during 1907, plus a maiden wicket against Lancashire 2nd XI at the Arms Park, but his bourgeoning business meant that he was only able to make fleeting appearances at county level.
He was able to find more time to play in 1911 – the summer he was elevated to the captaincy of the Swansea club – and he was rewarded with half-centuries against Surrey 2nd XI at The Oval, as well as Wiltshire at the Arms Park. The following summer he made his first-class debut, fittingly at St. Helen’s, as he appeared for the South Wales side against the 1912 South Africans. Percy though made 0 and 2 batting at number five as the tourists won by the comprehensive margin of 230 runs.
By a strange stroke of coincidence, some of Percy’s best performances for Glamorgan came against Surrey as he struck another assured fifty against them at The Oval in 1913, followed by a seven-wicket match haul in the fixture at the Arms Park in August 1920.
Percy’s finest hour however with the ball came three weeks later, fittingly at St. Helen’s where his, by now, nagging medium-pace bowling saw him take 9/28 in the MCC’’s first innings of what was Glamorgan’s final-ever game as a Minor County. He also struck an assertive 39 before the welsh county celebrated their elevation by winning the contest by ten wickets.
1921 saw Percy captain the Swansea club again besides making the first of eight Championship appearances, including the Welsh county’s inaugural first-class fixture against Sussex when he opened the bowling at the Arms Park. He made further appearance that summer, against Hampshire at Cardiff, but his business commitments allowed him to appear on five occasions during 1922, with two further appearances at Swansea, plus the Midlands and West tour with games in Leicester, Worcester and Bristol.
Three years later, Percy made his final appearance for Glamorgan, against Essex at Swansea where he opened the batting with Norman Riches and made 30 and 3. He continued to play in club cricket for Swansea during the 1920s.
MORRIS, William Percy
Born – Swansea, 19th June, 1881
Died – Swansea, 30th July, 1975
Minor County – 56 v Wiltshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1911; 9/28 v MCC at Swansea, 1920.
First-class – 30 v Essex at Swansea, 1925; 1/11 v Leicestershire at Leicester (Aylestone Road) 1922.