Willie Jones was a member of Glamorgan’s Championship-winning tea of 1948, with the mild- mannered Welsh speaker enjoying a purple patch of form mid-summer as he struck two double hundreds within the space of a fortnight, starting with 207 against Kent at Gravesend, followed by an unbeaten 212 against Essex at Brentwood, during a record breaking partnership of 313 for the third wicket with Emrys Davies.
The left-handed batsman and spin bowler had joined the Glamorgan staff in 1935 and initially learnt his trade with the county`s second eleven who were playing in the Minor County Championship. In 1937 Willie was drafted into the 1st XI and, as befitted a talented rugby player, he impressed with his swift running and safe catching, whether close to the wicket, or in the outfield.
His fielding and ever-developing batting skills won him a regular place in Glamorgan team from 1938, and during the years either side of the Second World War, Willie mixed playing county cricket in the summer with club rugby during the winter for Llanelli, Neath and Gloucester. With other rugby players in the Glamorgan side, there was always a lot of friendly banter and leg puling in the county`s dressing room about who was the finest player. Indeed, Willie would wager with Wilf Wooller that he could kick a rugby ball further than the Glamorgan skipper, and often after play at the Arms Park, the pair would have a kicking contest on the adjoining rugby field.
Willie duly became the mainstay of Glamorgan`s middle order after the Second World War, and became a gifted strokemaker, always ready to punish any wayward deliveries. He topped the Club’s Championship batting averages during 1948, amassing 1,425 runs at an average of 41.91 and was chosen to appear in the 1949 Test Trial. However, he sustained an injury whilst fielding and missed much of the season. He regained fitness in 1950, but no further opportunities came his way to impress at the highest level. He took a Benefit Year in 1953, before retiring at the end of the 1958 season and becoming a respected coach at Dean Close School in Cheltenham.
JONES, William Edward
Born – Carmarthen, 31st October 1916.
Died – Gloucester, 25th July 1996.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 212* v Essex at Brentwood, 1948; 5/50 v Kent at Gravesend, 1949.