Glamorgan Cricket are saddened to learn of the death of former player Allan Watkins, aged 89.
Watkins, the first Glamorgan player to score a Test hundred and the first to appear in an Ashes Test, died yesterday afternoon in a Kidderminster hospital, following a short illness.
In 407 appearances for Glamorgan, during a 23-year career, Watkins scored 17,419 runs and took 774 wickets, with his tally of 29 first-class hundreds placing him seventh in the Club’s all-time list.
He also won 15 Test caps between 1948 and 1952, and made his Ashes debut in the final Test of the 1948 series, at the Oval – a match which marked Don Bradman’s final Test appearance for Australia.
In February 1949, Allan became Glamorgan’s first Centurion in Test cricket, scoring 111 in the Fourth Test of the series against South Africa at Johannesburg. The Usk-born batsman marked this achievement by calling his home ‘Ellis Park’, in memory of the Johannesburg ground.
Watkins was also an outstanding footballer, and in the late 1930s he mixed playing cricket with professional football as a wing-half for both Plymouth Argyle and Cardiff City. In fact, his maiden century for Glamorgan, against Surrey at the Arms Park in 1946, only came after the Argyle manager had agreed to release the speedy winger from training.
His career-best performances both came in 1954, with a score of 170* against Leicestershire at Swansea, and figures of 7/28 against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, including a remarkable spell of four wickets in five balls.
“I always had the highest respect for Allan, both as a cricketer and a man, and it was a great privilege to play in the same team as him,” said former Glamorgan player Don Shepherd. “I think he should have played for England many more times. He could do everything.
“He was a very fine bowler. He swung the ball quite violently under the right conditions, but he always beat the bat with a smile. He was a very good all-round batsman, and his fielding was little short of miraculous at times. He was one of the greatest short legs there’s ever been.”
Glamorgan Cricket Chief Executive, Alan Hamer, said: “Everyone at Glamorgan is very sorry to hear of Allan’s death. He is a legend of the Club and his achievements for both Glamorgan and England mean that he will always be a huge part of our history. Our condolences and best wishes go to his family.”