History

The following is an extract from the Miskin Manor CC Centenary Brochure and chronicles the Club’s first 100 years:

Miskin Manor Cricket Club (1882 1982)

T. W. J. Anstee

The year 1882 is regarded as the year in which cricket was first played at Miskin Manor. The same field (then named Ynys Pare and later to be changed to Glyn Pare) has been the venue for matches ever since and must surely rank amongst the most picturesque of cricket grounds in South Wales.

The manor was purchased by David Williams, Esq. during the mid-nineteenth century and he did much to develop the grounds and gardens. He was followed by his son, Gwilym, later to become His Honour Judge Gwilym Williams, who used Miskin Manor as his family home. It was his sons, Rhys, who became Sir Rhys Rhys- Williams, and Justin who constructed the ground out of a hayfield; this was at a time when cricket was being developed in different parts of Wales and much depended on the good will and interest shown by landowners, eg The Marquis of Bute in Cardiff, Lord Windsor at St Fagans, The Earl of Jersey in Briton Ferry and Sir John Llewellyn at Ynysygerwn. The players in those early days were likely to have been ‘guests’ of the sponsors and probably not more than five or six annual fixtures were arranged, but the game grew in popularity as it spread through the social strata. The Glamorgan Cricket Club was formed in 1888 although it did not enter the County Cham­pionship until 1921.

Since its origins, the Miskin Manor Cricket Club has been inextricably linked with the William~ fam­ily and the Presidency of the Club has always remained with that family. Indeed, in the past, the Club only survived as a financially viable organisation through its own efforts and the generosity shown by succeeding Presidents in allowing its continued use of the ground. Despite his busy political career, the present Club President, Sir Brandon Rhys-Williams, Bt., M.P., maintains a keen interest in the affairs and welfare of the Club.

During the 1914-18 World War cricket was discontinued at Miskin and it is believed the game was not resumed there until 1927-28. In the meantime, the manor house itself was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1922 and all the early cricket records were lost.

By the early 1930’s records show that the Miskin Club had developed considerably. The ‘Miskin team’ had gained a formidable reputation but facilities were limited; changing and catering were accommodated in temporary tenting, while the scorers toiled in an old toll-house purchased by Sir Rhys For many years previously this had stood at the entrance to Pontyclun. Specially arranged matches, through the auspices of the Club’s President, against Glamorgan County C. C. and against the Glamorgan Police C. C. attracted considerable local interest. Notable amongst the players who contributed much to the game at this time were Police Sgt. H. N. Stallworthy, Trevor Williams, W. C. (Tag) Williams, Eddie Russell, Alf Cox and Dai Hammond, scorer of several centuries for the Club and who was later to be selected for Nottinghamshire, his adopted home county. Of personal interest to the Club’s President was his being able to witness the encouraging exploits with bat and ball of his eldest child, Master Glyn, who played at the ground initially in specially arranged Junior XI fixtures when on Summer vacation from Eton. He went on to play in the senior team whenever the opportunity presented itself in the years up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

No cricket was played on the ground between the end of the 1939 season and the latter half of the 1946 season because most of the members were enlisted into H. M. Forces. Five of these members lost their lives while on active service and it was indeed a tragedy for Sir Rhys Rhys-Williams that the list of deceased members included his son, Glyn, who was killed while serving as a Captain in the Welsh Guards during the North African campaign in 1943.

With the cessation of hostilities and the return to near normal conditions in 1946 came the return of many members from active service plus an influx of newcomers. The Club was reformed with Mr. Rhys Jenkins as Club Chairman and Mr. W. Gurnos Jones as Secretary, resuming posts they had held with distinction for some years before the War. Mr. Jones resigned at the 1946 Annual General Meeting and for his past services was honoured with life membership of the Club. He was suc­ceeded in office by Vernon G. Jones who was also a playing member. Changing and refreshment facilities were again provided for in a marquee and somewhat primitive equipment was used for the maintenance and up-keep of the ground. The Club’s finances were extremely limited. However, en­thusiastically led by their Chairman, the members were united in their efforts to erect a fitting memorial to their fallen friends and, by thrift and hard work, they raised sufficient funds to build a pavilion which was in keeping with the picturesque setting of Miskin Manor and its immediate sur­roundings. This pavilion is still in use. At the official opening by the Club’s President on 17th August 1947 he unveiled a plaque to the five former members who gave their lives for their country, viz Capt Glyn David Rhys-Williams (Welsh Guards) ; FIO John Bartlett (RAF) ; PlO Griff Jenkins (RAF) ; F/Sgt. Lionel Francis (RAF.) and L. A C. Gordon Edwards (RAF.).All members present on that occasion were elated when Sir Rhys elected to re-name the ground Glyn Parc, a lasting tribute to his son who loved the game so dearly.

Over the next decade the General Committee, backed by an industrious Welfare Committee, made continuous efforts to improve the somewhat parlous state of the Club’s finances in the face of ever rising costs. In the main, income was derived from donations, subscriptions and profits made from various raffles, special matches, annual Christmas Draws and dances. For several years the highlight of the close season was the Club’s Annual Dinner held at either the Royal or Queen’s Hotel, Cardiff. Tremendous commitment was shown, in turn, by several groundsmen in concert with players and committee members to bring about improvements to the cricket square and the outfield. Constant efforts were made to eradicate the cause of the ‘Miskin creeper, which could humiliatingly dismiss many a batsman when a high score seemed in prospect. The ladies too played a significant part in helping to establish the Club on a firm footing.

On the field of play the considerable reputation in earlier years was being quickly restored. With the improved facilities, the players were able to pit their strength against stronger clubs who were being encouraged to play at Glyn Parc Viv Williams registered the Club’s first post-war century in 1948. Ron Underwood and V G Jones provided a consistently good opening attack and many players were capable of substantial all-round performances. In 1948 the Club became affiliated to the Glamorgan County C. C. which led to the resumption of home fixtures with a representative County XI, an arrangement which continued well into the 1950’s. Over much the same period the visits by a representative team of the Glamorgan County Police also drew large numbers of spectators. Creditable performances against such formidable opposition did much to restore the home club’s prestige. The Mid-Week XI proved a good breeding ground for younger players and, together with the en­couraging efforts of the Youth XI, led to the formation of a recognised Second XI for the 1950 season The first half of the 1950’s saw the Club consolidating its overall playing strength In 1950 Brecon Sports Club was included in the First XI fixture list, which was to lead to regular First XI and Second XI home and away games between the two clubs in later years. A Whitsun tour to Somerset, where three games were played in the Weston-Super-Mare area, was initiated in 1952 and continued annually until 1956. In 1953 Miskin won the Coronation Year Knock-Out Competition sponsored by Llantrisant and Llantwit Fardre R D. C. and, in the same year, the Pontyclun Cricket Knock-Out Cup Competition (the Cup donated by Trevor Williams) was launched and ran for 15 consecutive seasons. Such games, like the local ‘derby’ games between Miskin and Pontyclun Institute, could reliably generate tremendous local interest. Miskin won the Cup more times than any other club which took part in the Competition

In the late 1950’s three young members of the Club were selected to play for the Welsh Secondary Schools and in 1958 the First XI enjoyed its best season in the recorded history of the Club up to that time. Under the captaincy of T. M. (Trevor) Thomas the premier side finished the season undefeated and won the Pontyclun Knock-Out Cup for the fourth year in succession. Noel Alleyne, who had joined the Club the previous season, spearheaded the bowling attack and his feats with the bat and in the field evidenced his being one of the best all-rounders ever to have played for the Club. He played for Pontardulais C. C. in the South Wales League in 1959 but returned to Miskin the following season. The 1958 success of the First XI was very much a team effort and was closely followed by the achievements of the Second XI, captained by Eddie Beynon, which lost only two matches. At the end of the season, Tom Anstee, who had acted as the Club’s official umpire over many years, tendered his resignation and at the 1959 Annual General Meeting was made a life member in recognition of his services as a committee member and as umpire. At the same Meeting another long-serv­ing member, Norton Jenkins, was also made a life member for his considerable earlier efforts for the Club, both on and off the field.

On the administrative side of the Club’s affairs, Glyn Alien, who had succeeded Vernon G. Jones as Hon. Secretary in 1950, himself resigned this office in 1953 but remained as Hon. Fixture Secretary with T. M. Thomas taking over as Hon Secretary. In 1958 Roy McIntosh, an assiduous worker for the Club and Second XI player, used remarkable percipience in masterminding the launching of the weekly ‘tote’, jointly funded by Miskin Manor C. C. and Pontyclun R.F.C. and which has been a constantly important source of revenue to both Clubs ever since.

With the Club’s greatly improved financial status by 1961, planning for the future could be more confidently undertaken than at any time previously. Expensive mechanical equipment was purchased and additional considerable sums of money were outlayed on ground maintenance and repairs to the pavilion. In 1962 Wyndham Clarke took over from G. T. Jenkins as Hon. Treasurer, who was made a life member for his executive and playing service to the Club. In the same year the first tour of South Devon over the August Bank Holiday period was made and such tours have continued without interruption ever since. Initially, four games were played but were increased to six following the opening of the Severn Bridge. It is of interest that the year of the Club’s centenary will coincide with the 21st anniversary of the Devon tour. Throughout the whole of this time the Bank Holiday Monday fixture has been against Brixham C. C. and strong ties have been-forged between the two Clubs. 1964 was the most successful season for the First XI since 1958 and was accredited to good all-round perfor­mances. The unbeaten tour record of the two previous seasons was lost, but those present still remember the exhilarating innings by Noel Alleyne in the win against Brixham C. C. The following season Ken Jones finished up top run scorer in the First XI which included a century against Ystrad Rhondda and Noel Alleyne registered the best all-round performance in the Club since the War with a score of 73 runs and bowling figures of 7 for 8 in the same game. This was closely followed by Viv WiIliams’ 53 and 5 for 39 and, in the following season, the same player achieved 76 not out and 6 wickets for 2 runs in a Second XI game. In 1969 Wyndham (Gabby) Thomas with 552 runs to his credit, came close to beating the Club record of 570 runs set up by Viv Williams in 1946 and Owen Beynon and Trevor Roach topped.50 wickets.each. That same year Brixham were beaten by 9 wickets.

The three years 1967 – 1969 were highly successful seasons for the Second XI – with a strong blend of older experienced players with up and coming youngsters, the team posed formidable opposition for its opponents. They were unfortunate not to have finished the 1968 season unbeaten, although they were well beaten in the only game they lost, and won the Pontyclun and District Knock-Out Cup. In the final Neil McIntosh recorded 74 not out which was the highest score ever in the competition.

However, during the latter years of the 1960’s playing achievements were over-shadowed by tragedies which befell the Club with the deaths in 1966 and 1967 of two stalwart members, followed by the death in 1969 of its long-serving and industrious Chairman. In October, 1966 the untimely death of Ray McIntosh, hard working committee member and former Second XI captain, occurred and was closely followed by the sudden death in January 1967 of Eddie Beynon, formerly Vice-Chairman, First XI skipper and captain of the Second XI for eleven consecutive seasons between 1950-1960. Both were highly regarded in the locality and Eddie was respected in rugby and cricket circles, having been a Welsh Rugby Union referee and a former player both with Swansea R.F. C. and Pontardulais C. C. In token of the respect in which they were held, two impressive silver Cups were purchased by the Club for annual competition, viz the Eddie Beynon Cup awarded for the highest individual score in the First XI and Second XI, each winner to hold the Cup for six months and simi­larly, the Roy McIntosh Cup awarded to the player in either side taking the highest number of wickets in an innings. Personal replicas are made available for each recipient and the first awards were made at the end of the 1967 season. In August 1969 the Club Chairman, Mr Rhys Jenkins, who had been in failing health, passed away at the age of 79 years. Mr Jenkins had been the Club’s only Chairman since the mid 1930’s though his connections with the Club went back long before that. He gave yeoman service and nothing seemed to give him more pleasure than the rise amongst the cricketing fraternity of South Wales, and beyond, of the Club in which he had endowed so much effort. A suitably inscribed garden-type seat was installed at Glyn Parc to the memory of Mr Jenkins.

The 1970’s opened with the Club making considerable financial outlay on extensions and modifications to the pavilion and general improvements to the ground. Both First and Second XI fell disappointedly below their potential during the earlier years of this period. John Barnes set up a new tour record in 1970 by scoring 191 runs and finished up top scorer in the First XI. He and Ken Jones shouldered the main batting responsibilities during 1970-73; Dave Harwood and Don Hurford spearheaded the bowling, whilst the wealth in all-rounders indicated strength in depth. Weekly indoor net practice sessions from January to April 1972 at the newly opened Sports Centre, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, helped players prepare for the forthcoming season and such activities have continued each year ever since. In the 1972 season Don Hurford took five wickets or more on five occasions for the First XI and Barrie Melhuish scored most runs. In the Second XI T. M. Thomas notched up six 50’s (three in successive innings) and in one particular game (v Dinas Powys), Owen Beynon bowled unchanged throughout the Dinas Powys innings and then scored an undefeated half-century as one of the opening batsmen. The Devon tour of that year produced a mixed bag of results but Miskin received notable recognition by Brixham C. C. in being awarded the ‘Clay Shield’ for being the best team and most sociable club they had encountered during that season. The First XI match against Tredegar Stars in 1973 produced another record when Ted Clarke (81) and John Barnes (73) shared a stand of 157 runs. Notably too that year was the Club’s winning of the Pontypridd C. C Knock-Out Cup.

Miskin’s entry into competitive cricket in 1974 opened up exciting challenges but the initial elation was tempered by the news of further tragedy in October of that year when the Club lost one of its most illustrious members. Trevor (T. M.) Thomas, player since 1949 and indefatigable Hon. Secretary since 1953, passed away suddenly. He had captained both First and Second Xl’s with distinction and was an ever present member of tour parties. In his professional field as a geologist, he was inter­nationally recognised and applied much the same diligence and resource to his cricketing abilities. He prided himself on being a compact, hard-hitting batsman and registered many high scores dur­ing his career. In the field he was keen and possessed a very safe pair of hands. He eagerly encour­aged younger players and many benefited from his guidance He was a most able administrator, was well known in South Wales cricketing circles and served on the general committee of the Glamorgan County C. C. ‘T M’, forthright in manner, was one of the game’s unforgettable characters and his name will always be synonymous with that of Miskin Manor C. C. His ashes were scattered on the field.

In keeping with his desires, Trevor’s family very generously donated £500 to boost the Club’s funds and for special use towards the maintenance and general upkeep of Glyn Parc as a tribute to his ser­vices for the Club and with ‘T M’s’ expressed wishes in mind, an appeal fund was launched which led to the erection of a permanent score-box on the field. It was officially opened in August 1977 when Miskin entertained a team headed by Tony Lewis (former captain of both England and Glamorgan County CC.)

At the 1974 A.G.M. the duties of Hon. Secretary were divided into (a) General Secretary and (b) Fix­ture Secretary, with Brian Claypole being appointed to the former post and Barrie Melhuish to the latter. At the same Meeting it was unanimously decided that a T. M. Thomas Award should be pro­vided by the Club and awarded annually for the best player on tour with the winner being selected by the tourists themselves.  The first recipient in 1975 was Nigel Lapham.

In their first two years in the Monmouthshire County Cricket Association League (later to be re­named Gwent C. C. A L) both the First XI and Second XI won their respective Divisions, but not in the same season. In 1974 Barrie Melhuish scored a century, the first to be recorded for nine years. In 1975 the’ 200 Club’, a fund raising venture, was launched mainly through the enterprise of Ken Jones who, at the AG.M. of that year was made a life member in recognition of his considerable services, both on and off the field. That Meeting also marked the resignation of T. W. J. Anstee, who had been Club Chairman since 1969, and he too was to be honoured later with life membership. He was suc­ceeded in office by Clive Jones.

Both Miskin teams were unplaced in the league in 1976. That year was the first season for Miskin to compete in the prestigious Village Cricket Championship but the Club met with early defeat. How­ever, apart from league fixtures, friendly matches were increasing in number and standard. As well as a First XI and Second XI the Club was able to field a regular Mid-Week XI, a Sunday XI and a Youth XI.

Whatever achievements had taken place in the past, 1977 must surely rank as the most illustrious season in the history of the Club. Both the First XI and Second XI won their respective Divisions in the Gwent C.C.AL. – two players, viz Gabe Treharne and John Barnes, scored centuries and Re­ggie Shah became the first Miskin bowler to take 100 wickets in a season. In the Village Champion­ship, Miskin won their way into the last 16 teams which remained out of 835 entries and having ac­counted for Brithdir, Hills Plymouth, St. Fagans and Sully Centurions, went on to beat Dafen in the South Wales Zone final. Fired with enthusiasm, the Club’s following went from strength to strength and some 300 supporters travelled to Coalpit Heath, near Bristol. to cheer them to victory but in the next round they were beaten by Cookley, who went on to win the Championship. A magnificent team effort showed itself in all the games for which much was due to the tireless efforts of the skip­per, Keith Davies, whose unbeaten half-century against Dafen was his crowning glory. In the July two teams and supporters had journeyed to Kidderminster where, in a lighter vein, two games were played against opponents arranged by Derek Telling, a former Miskin player. These games have continued on a home and away basis on alternate years and are enjoyed as much for their social con­tent as for the cricket.

In 1978 Miskin joined the more formidable Welsh Cup Cricket Conference. In this first season the First XI failed to distinguish itself though John Gabe finished top scorer in the league. In a friendly game, a nine wickets win was scored over Neath C. C. and in another, Barrie Melhuish gained an un­beaten 108. The Second XI however, won their division at the first time of asking. At the Annual General Meeting Clive Jones resigned from the Chair, a change that was regretted by members be­cause he had done much to steer the Club during the advent of Saturday league and Sunday Knock­Out cricket to Glyn Pare. He was succeeded by Gabe Treharne, who, in turn, gave way the following year to Neville Evans, the present Chairman.

The following season, two more centuries were scored, one by Noel Alleyne and the other by John Gabe. The First XI struggled to hold a place in the league but the Second XI won its Division for the second season in succession, which meant a total of four league wins in six seasons, plus being run­ners up in one of the two other seasons Miskin met with early defeat in the Village Cricket Competi­tion but, encouragingly, the under 15’s team played five games and won them all and there was good response to the coaching sessions for the under 11’s organised by Keith Davies. At the Annual General Meeting discussions regarding the purchase and erection of a new pavilion were resumed and have been actively pursued since. No one worked harder in re-opening negotiations, and during the early planning stages, than Brian Claypole, Hon. Secretary, who gave unstintingly of his time and effort to help ensure the project got off the ground. Unfortunately, he left the area to live and work in the London area before arrangements were finalised but the good work he started was con­tinued by his successor, Howard Thomas. With generous financial support from the Sports Council of Wales and the Taff Ely Borough Council plus the successful launching of Donation and Debenture Schemes by the Club, work on the pavilion is now underway and, hopefully, will be completed in this cente­nary season.

In the opening of this present decade, Miskin failed to achieve creditable positions in either Division but, recapturing some of the form of previous years, reached the semi-final of the W. C. C. A. Knock ­Out competition. In the Village Cricket Championship defeat was suffered in the fourth round at the hands of one of the previous season’s finalists, Ynysygerwn. The Brixham C. C. with whom Miskin has built up a very good sporting relationship, visited Glyn Parc for the first time ever over the last week-end of April 1980 and, apart from two keenly fought games, a good time was had socially. As well as winning both encounters, in one of which John Gabe scored a century, Miskin sent a com­bined First and Second XI on the Sunday afternoon to play a friendly against Barry Athletic C. C However, it so happened that the fixture had been doubly booked, so Barry stood down and witnes­sed Miskin beating Cefn Fforest. In another friendly against touring Sheldon Marlborough, Gwilym Ballinger scored 101, his first century for the Club. For the Second XI Kevin Campbell and Roger Wil­liams batted consistently well and on the Devon tour, John Gabe scored an aggregate of 197 to es­tablish another tour record. Other high spots of the season were the quality performances by the under 15’s XI on their way to winning the W.C.C.A (under 15’s) Knock-Out Cup. Mention must be made of the consistently good performances with the bat by Dean Oakley and Andrew Thomas who seemed mature beyond their years. The bowling honours were shared by David Treharne, Martin Lawrence and Simon Tudball. All in all, the whole team gave unflaggingly of themselves. Such a wealth of young talent augurs well for the future and much credit is due to those senior members who offer guidance and encouragement. Probably, with such promise in prospect, Mrs Lilian Painter, who with her late husband, enjoyed watching matches at Glyn Parc, generously donated the ‘George Painter Memorial Cup’ to be awarded annually to the ‘Best Young Player of the Year’. The first winner, for the 1980 season, was Dean Oakley.

In the Spring of 1981, heavy rain caused severe flooding of the cricket field and emergency action was necessary to salvage the field maintenance equipment. The week-end visit by Brixham C. C. at the end of April was turned into a non-playing event by the weather. The Saturday game was rained off and snow prevented the Sunday match from taking place, but the organised social activities more than compensated for the unscheduled disappointments.

In the league the First XI were in contention for top honours for most of the season but disappointed near the end, mainly through batting inconsistencies, and finished in third position. The Second XI were runners-up in their Division. In the Village Cricket Competition the Club was beaten in the third round but this blow was softened later by the success of near neighbours, St. Fagans in win­ning the competition final at Lord’s. For the first time since they were introduced in 1967, the Eddie Beynon and Roy Mclntosh awards were won in the First XI by the same person, Peter Morgan, with a score of 79 not out and 6 wickets for 12 runs. T. P. Roach won the Roy McIntosh award (2nd XI) with the incredible performance of taking 6 wickets for 0 runs.

Last season Miskin Manor was the Club selected to organise, on behalf of the W. C. C.A. (3 Divisions), the awards presentation evening. A highly enjoyable function was held at the Pontyclun Athletic Club; the buffet provided by the ladies of the Club earned the praise of all present. One visitor was heard to say to a friend: ‘what else did you expect, Miskin always provide the best teas in the league 1.

Before concluding this chronological survey of the Club’s fortunes, it is only fitting that special men­tion should be recorded of the un stinting efforts on behalf of the Club by Wyndham Clarke. He first joined Miskin in 1946 and in this centenary year, will complete 20 years continuous service as Hon. Treasurer. During this time, he has experienced many changes in the Club’s affairs but his constant presence and wise counsel, plus his totally loyal commitment, have contributed substantially to the Club’s ever rising status.

Throughout its history, Miskin Manor C. C. has met and overcome many obstacles so that today everyone associated with the Club can be proud of the facilities provided and the position it holds in South Wales cricket. From the occasional fixtures at the turn of the century, through the mounting fixture-list of its middle years, the Club can now boast a playing strength to enable it to field a First XI and Second XI in the W.C.CA, a mid-week XI, a Sunday XI, participants in the Village Cricket Com­petition, a Youth XI and an under 11 ‘s XI as well as playing host to visiting touring sides. In all, some­thing in excess of 50 home games are being played and, in recognition of this, praise should be made particularly of the efforts of Barrie Melhuish, Hon. Fixture Secretary, and the immeasurable contribu­tions by John Painter, not only in helping out with the general up-keep of the cricket field, but more particularly in his maintenance of the mechanical equipment which, over the many years, must have saved the Club a very considerable sum of money. Howell Wilkins too, the Club’s groundsman for the past six years, deserves to be complimented for the manner in which he has generally cared for the ground and for the considerable improvement he has brought to the square despite ever increas­ing wear and tear. The high scores consistently recorded at Glyn Parc by Miskin players and oppo­nents alike are, in themselves, testimony to this. At its best, the field is as majestic a sight as any cricket lover could wish to see.

Unfortunately, space precludes the mention of more detailed facts and apologies are offered to any­one not mentioned; no offence was intended. With specially arranged functions and fixtures, and with the erection of a bigger and better pavilion (the old one is in a near state of collapse) in this centenary year, anyone who has ever been associated with the Club at any time, can justly feel proud whatever their contribution. It will be the wish of many that the weather this Summer will be abnormally good to enable all the arrangements to go ahead as planned.

%d bloggers like this: