Glamorgan are mourning the death of Allan Watkins, the county’s first player to score a century for England and the first to appear in an Ashes Test. He has died aged 89.
The all-rounder appeared in the final Test of the 1948 Ashes series at the Oval – Don Bradman’s last appearance for Australia. He went on to make 15 Test appearances over the next four years.
In February 1949 Watkins scored his first Test hundred – 111 in the fourth Test against South Africa at Johannesburg.
Watkins had made his Glamorgan debut in 1939 but combined cricket with a professional football career which saw him play for Plymouth Argyle and Cardiff City.
In fact, the left-hander’s maiden century for Glamorgan, against Surrey at the Arms Park in 1946, came about after the Argyle manager had agreed to release him from training.
He went on the MCC tour to India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1951-52, a tour which saw him finish as the leading run-scorer in the Test series with India, including 137 not out in the first Test in Delhi – a nine-hour vigil in the searing heat which saved England from defeat. All the more impressive considering he was an asthma sufferer.
Watkins was a consistent scorer in county cricket, passing 1,000 runs in every season bar one from 1947 – the summer when he won his Glamorgan cap – until 1960, as well as taking over 50 wickets in seven out of eight seasons between 1949 and 1956.
In all he made 407 appearances for Glamorgan, during which he scored 17,419 runs, including 29 first-class hundreds, and took 774 wickets.
Watkins retired from county cricket mid-way through the 1962 season, and subsequently took up a coaching post at Oundle School, besides playing minor county cricket for Suffolk in 1965 and 1966. He remained at Oundle throughout the next four decades.