Dai Davies was Glamorgan`s first home-bred professional to make an impact in first-class cricket. During his career from 1923 to 1939, the Llanelli-born all-rounder scored over 15,000 runs, and took 275 wickets. He was also a fine fielder, holding 195 catches, and was described by Jack Hobbs as the finest cover point he ever saw.
Dai initially played for his native Carmarthenshire and worked in the Llanelli steelworks. His fine all-round performances at both club and Minor County level drew the attention of the Glamorgan selectors. They were keen to blood local talent and Dai won a regular place in the Glamorgan side from 1923. Over the next 16 years, Davies became one of the county`s most consistent and reliable batsmen, scoring three consecutive hundreds in 1928, including 165* against Sussex at Eastbourne.
In 1932 Davies played one of his most memorable innings during the match with Nottinghamshire at the Arms Park, scoring 106 and sharing a stand of 220 for the third wicket with Maurice Turnbull as the visiting bowlers experimented with `Bodyline` bowling. In 1939 Davies scored a career best double-hundred during the ill-tempered match with Somerset at Newport. The Glamorgan players had been annoyed by the visitors slow play on the first day, so when they prolonged their innings into the second day, Maurice Turnbull told his batsmen to stay out in the middle for the rest of the game. Davies duly answered his captain`s request with an innings of 216.
After the Second World War, Davies became a first-class umpire, and stood in 23 Tests between 1947 and 1958. He was also standing in the match at Bournemouth in 1948 when Glamorgan defeated Hampshire to win the Championship for the first time. Legend has it that when Dai gave the last Hampshire man out, leg before wicket, he said "That`s out and we`ve won the Championship!"
(Article: Copyright © 2000 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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