The South Wales Cricket Club, formed in 1859, was the first representative side in the region, with the Club coming into being following the victory at Newport by a XXII of Newport and South Wales against the All-England Eleven. The South Wales CC remained in existence until 1886, with their leading personalities subsequently playing a leading role in the formation of Glamorgan CCC in 1888.
However, the South Wales CC was largely a gentleman’s eleven, rather than being a team truly representative of the region, and the highlights of the Club’s fixture list was an annual tour to the London area to play teams such as the MCC.
WG Grace was a Welshman!
Dr. WG Grace was the greatest English cricketer of the Victorian and Edwardian era, and in 1864 – when he was only fifteen years old – he guested for the South Wales CC against the Gentlemen of Sussex at Hove. The teenager scored 170, with nineteen fours in a masterly innings which belied his youth. Below is an extract from the scorebook for that game.
South Wales meet the 1878 Australians
In July 1878, the South Wales CC also organised a prestigious two-day contest against the touring Australians at the St. Helen’s ground in Swansea. Below is a newspaper advert for this contest which was the first major match in Wales against an international touring team.
The South Wales Challenge Cup
The South Wales CC also gave a boost to club cricket in the region by inaugurating the South Wales Challenge Cup in 1879 . This was the first inter-club competition with the image below showing the large silver trophy which was presented to the winning club. It is the oldest sporting trophy in the Principality.
EU David and the South Wales CC
The South Wales CC team of the 1880s included several of the leading amateurs who subsequently went on to play in county cricket for Glamorgan. One of these was Edmund David, seen in the image below from 1895 sat front right in a striped blazer and cap. David was the son of the vicar of St. Fagans and in 1889 he led Glamorgan in their inaugural match.
The demise of the South Wales CC
By the mid 1880s there were calls for proper organisations to be created to represent the counties of South Wales. The South Wales CC therefore disbanded in 1886 with the Club’s members being encouraged to form new county-based organisations.
Below is a newspaper sketch of one of the movers behind this plan – John Price Jones, a Cardiff-based architect, and a leading member of both Cardiff CC and the South Wales CC who used his influence in political and social circles to help arrange the meeting at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff in July 1888 at which Glamorgan CCC came into being.