William Pullen – who played for Glamorgan during 1895 – had been something of a child prodigy, playing for Somerset in a friendly against Hampshire in 1881 when only fifteen years and two months old. He subsequently played for his native Gloucestershire before enjoying a distinguished academic career, chiefly at Cardiff University, which resulted in the batter appearing for the Welsh county.
His father, Sam, had been a leading member of Clifton CC in addition to the South Wales Cricket Club, so it was no surprise that young William inherited his father’s love of cricket. He made his first appearance for Gloucestershire aged sixteen and made a composed 71 against Yorkshire at the Cheltenham Festival, an innings described in ‘Cricket – A Weekly Record of the Game’ as “a display of extraordinary merit for a cricketer of such inexperience.”
The College Ground proved to be a hunting ground for the young batsman two years later, as he made a career-best 161 against Middlesex. By this time, he had commenced his training as an engineer under the tutelage of Tom Hurry Riches, the superintendent of the locomotive department of the Taff Vale Railway, based in Cardiff and himself an enthusiastic cricketer who in 1880 played for Cardiff against the United South of England.
Whilst based in Cardiff, he also played for the town club as well as the South Wales CC before taking a sabbatical from county cricket in 1886 having secured a Whitworth Scholarship and becoming a student at the Royal College of Science in London. In 1887 William returned to the West County to commence a doctorate at Bristol University, and for the next few years mixed his studies with playing for Gloucestershire and the Thornbury club. In one game for the latter, he and EM Grace added 311 for the first wicket.
In 1892 William became a junior lecturer at Cardiff University – a decision which brought to an end his first-class career with Gloucestershire, but the resumption of his association with the Cardiff club plus a brief return to county cricket in 1895 as he appeared in all four of Glamorgan’s inter-county games, plus the matches against the MCC and Vernon Hill’s XI.
It proved to be William’s only summer with the Welsh county following his appointment as Head of the Mechanical Engineering department at the South Western Polytechnic, Chelsea. Professional Pullen then moved to Lancashire following his promotion to Senior Inspector of the county’s Technological Branch of the Board of Education. During these years, he also co-authored several books on engineering, besides being an examiner at the City and Guilds of London Institute. In 1926 William retired from teaching and examining and moved to live in Southampton, coincidentally the town where his county cricket career had begun as a teenager back in 1881.
PULLEN, William Wade Fitzherbert.
Born – Itchington, Gloucestershire, 24 June 1866.
Died – Southampton, 9 August 1937.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendlies – 77 v Herefordshire at Hereford, 1895.