Robert Lewis was another member of the industrial bourgeoise of the Rhondda Valleys to enjoy a short, but successful, cricketing career with Glamorgan, appearing in nine of their Minor County Friendly matches between 1890 and 1892.
He was one of nine children born to Josiah Lewis of Ty’n-y-cymmer House in Llantrisant and was educated at Christ College, Brecon where he played in the school’s XI between 1883 and 1886, showing great promise as a left-handed batter and spinner. Indeed, it was whilst at school that Robert played in his first major match, albeit as a guest in the Worcestershire side who were playing the South Wales CC at Boughton Park. Having gone along with William Morgan, his step-brother, ostensibly to watch the game and enjoy the socializing, he ended up as a late substitute, and batted at number eleven in each innings.
In 1886 Robert made his debut for the South Wales CC and two years later, played alongside his step brother for Glamorgan in the trial match against Llwynypia. 1890 saw the young lawyer make his county debut, appearing against Monmouthshire at Rodney Parade, before joining William Morgan and the rest of the Glamorgan squad for their short tour to London, with games at Lord’s and The Oval before playing Somerset at Coombe Park in Bath where his step-brother was in the process of buying property.
The game against the West Country side saw Robert record his one and only half-century for Glamorgan. He re-appeared for the county in four matches in 1891, including the fixtures at Lord’s, Bristol and Exeter, and it was in the game away to Gloucestershire where Robert claimed career-best figures of 3/9 with his left-arm spin. His final game for the Welsh county came during May 1892 when he played against Wiltshire at Swindon, although the following season Robert played for the MCC on their three-match tour to Wales and the Marches, during which he played against Herefordshire and Monmouthshire as well as his former Glamorgan colleagues at Swansea.
Robert initially worked as a lawyer, besides serving on the Glamorgan committee from 1892 until 1895 when he moved to work in the City of London. Indeed, it was whilst living in Paddington that he heard of the tragic death of his brother Dr Ivor Ajax Lewis, who was the Medical Officer for Llantrisant and Porth. Ivor was also a noted fives player besides being a keen golfer and in April 1901 after enjoying a round at the Royal Porthcawl course, he had dined with a friend at the Cardiff and County Club but had a violent and fatal allergic reaction having eaten mussels soup.
A couple of years later, Robert and his wife left London and retired to Carmarthenshire, and they were living at Rock Cottage in Ferryside at the time of his death in December 1913.
LEWIS, Robert Ajax.
Born – Llantrisant, 24 July 1868.
Died – Ferryside, Carmarthenshire, 13 December 1913.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendlies – 52 v Somerset at Bath, 1890 and 3/9 v Gloucestershire at Bristol, 1891.