Steve James, one of the most consistent opening batsmen in county cricket at the time, entered the Club’s record books firstly in 1997 when hit the winning runs at Taunton as Glamorgan became County Champions, and secondly in 2000 as he made the Club’s highest-ever innings as he scored an unbeaten 309 against Sussex at Colwyn Bay. His prolific run scoring had not gone unnoticed by the England selectors, and in 1998 he won two Test caps, although on both occasions he was a late call-up to the England team.
Steve had made his Glamorgan debut at the end of the 1985 season although heavy rain meant that he never actually got onto the field. The Lydney-born batsman then read Classics at Swansea University before becoming a postgraduate at Cambridge where he won a cricket Blue in 1989 and 1990 and came close to winning a place in the varsity rugby side. After leaving Cambridge, Steve won a place as Hugh Morris’ opening partner and he developed into a fine opening batsman in both the one-day and four-day forms of the county game.
His versatility was confirmed in 1995, when Steve hit an unbeaten 230 in the Championship match against Leicestershire and he finished the season as the country’s leading run scorer in the Sunday League. His quick running between the wickets and selection of deft strokes have been a feature of the former Monmouth schoolboy’s play, as well as his ability to play a long innings. This was evident when he made 235 against Nottinghamshire at Worksop in 1996, and aggregated 1,766 runs in first-class cricket.
Steve He topped this in 1997 with 1,775 runs at an average of 68, and the mild-mannered Glamorgan opener ended the season as the country’s leading runscorer. During this golden summer, Steve hit seven hundreds, including three in succession during August, plus a vital century in the NatWest semi-final with Essex. His was also appointed vice-captain of the England A team in East Africa and Sri Lanka during 1997/98.
In 2001 Steve sustained a knee injury during a Benson and Hedges Cup match against Gloucestershire at Bristol. Despite a series of keyhole surgery operations, he further aggravated the injury after the opening match of the 2003 season, and even though he had a further operation on his patella, Steve announced his retirement during February 2004. He had been Glamorgan’s captain during 2002 and 2003, and has subsequently become a leading journalist and broadcaster on rugby and cricket.
JAMES, Stephen Peter
Born Lydney, 7th September, 1967.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 309* v Sussex at Colwyn Bay, 2000.
In List A cricket – 135 v Combined Universities at Sophia Gardens, 1992.