Stan Hacker made 21 first-class appearances for Glamorgan as they began life in the County Championship having first played for his native Gloucestershire as a tearaway fast bowler in their 2nd XI in 1898 after impressing WG Grace with his bowling for Westbury-on-Trym in a local club match.
His first-class debut came in 1899 against Kent at Blackheath, followed by a further appearance the following month against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Despite his raw pace, Stan did not play again for Gloucestershire until 1901 when he was included in their side for the visit to Leyton to meet Essex.
It was almost twenty years before he played his next Championship match, as during the early 1900s Stan played in Herefordshire before securing a professional appointment with the Hill’s Plymouth club in Merthyr . In April 1906 he hit the headlines by taking nine wickets, including the hat-trick, against Moorlands CC of Cardiff, before two years later taking 7/29 for the Merthyr club as they beat a Glamorgan XI by 27 runs, with his haul including the wickets of Jack Brain, Vernon Hill and Billy Bancroft.
Suitably impressed by Stan’s bowling prowess, a couple of weeks later Jack Brain invited the professional to play in the county’s friendly against Wiltshire at the Arms Park. He bowled a hostile eleven-over spell and struck 26, courtesy of the long handle, and duly appeared in four further matches that summer.
He was a regular face in the Glamorgan side for the next ten years, taking 7/98 against Wiltshire at the Arms Park in 1909, 7/27 against Surrey 2nd XI in 1910 and 7/35 against Carmarthenshire at Llanelli where the local newspaper correspondent wrote “the West Walian amateurs had rarely faced such a sustained spell of fast-medium bowling with his pace and swerve proving far too good for them.”
Stan also played twice for the South Wales side against touring teams, with his first appearance coming against the 1911 Indians at the Arms Park. His efforts with the ball saw the combined XI defeat the tourists with Stan taking 6/17 and 6/64, with the Indian batsmen faring no better than the Carmarthenshire batsmen the previous summer with none being able to cope with his lively pace and probing accuracy. In 1912 Stan also claimed five wickets against the South Africans at Swansea, but the more experienced Springboks proved more resilient opponents and defeated the South Wales team by 230 runs.
Many of Stan’s best performances came against Wiltshire – a county who had courted his services in 1909 when the Chippenham club were also seeking a professional bowler for the following season who might also assist Wiltshire. A lucrative offer was on the table but they opted instead for Fred Preedy, his Glamorgan colleague. Stan never let the Wiltshire authorities forget about what he believed was the wrong decision, taking 7/69 against them at Trowbridge in 1911, followed by match figures of 11/95 at the Arms Park in 1912, a ten-wicket haul at Trowbridge the following year, and 11/70 at Cardiff in 1914.
Even after the Great War, he still wreaked havoc in the Wiltshire ranks, and in 1920 he took 9/75 and 5/128 against them in their contest at Marlborough. He didn’t appear in the return fixture and the Wiltshire batsmen must have heaved a huge sigh of relief in the changing rooms when they arrived at the Arms Park to find that other seam bowlers were being given a trial as Glamorgan sought fresh talent ahead of their Championship campaign!
By this time however, Stan had lost a lot of his venom and was an accurate medium-pacer. His work commitments in the Neath area restricted him to just six appearance in Glamorgan’s inaugural summer of first-class cricket, the first of which came against Lancashire at the Arms Park in June. But in the next, against Northamptonshire in July, he showed he still possesses some subtle skills as he claimed his one and only ten-wicket haul for the Welsh county in Championship cricket.
In August 1922 Stan played a major hand in Glamorgan’s 117-run victory over Somerset at Weston-super-Mare as the home side failed in their final day run chase with Stan claiming 6/39 with a mix of gentle swing and sharp cutters on the worn surface at Clarence Park. It proved to be his swansong in the county game as, after making seven further appearances in 1923 Stan informed the Glamorgan committee that he planned to retire from playing, having secured a post as the groundsman at Bristol Mental Hospital CC.
Stan held few pretentions as a batsman, but he did have his moments with the bat in hand, most notably in 1909 when he struck 64 against Monmouthshire at the Arms Park, with a local journalist describing his innings as “including strokes not to be usually found in the finest of coaching manuals! Unconventional they may have been, but they were highly effective, much to the delight of his colleagues who loudly applauded every muscular swipe.”
HACKER, William Stamford
Born – Chipping Sodbury, 8 December, 1876.
Died – Bristol, 8 December, 1925.
Career-bests for Glamorgan:
In Minor County cricket – 64 v Monmouthshire at Arms Park, 1909; 9/75 v Wiltshire at Marlborough, 1920.
In First-class cricket – 27 and 7/84 v Northamptonshire at Northampton, 1921.