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Swansea University honours Welsh cricket legends

15 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Eifion & Alan Jones. Image: Swansea University

Swansea University has given honorary awards to sibling cricketing legends for their significant contribution to the game.

Alan and Eifion Jones’ extraordinary careers and unparalleled contributions to the world of cricket, not only for the city of Swansea but also for Glamorgan and Wales, were highlighted during a graduation ceremony by Swansea University’s Pro-Chancellor, Sir Roderick Evans.

Born into a family of 11 in Felindre on the northern outskirts of Swansea, Alan and Eifion’s cricketing journey began in the fields near their home. With makeshift bats crafted by their father from pieces of wood, they honed their skills on a bumpy and uneven pitch, perhaps laying the foundation for their exceptional ability to handle unpredictable ball movements.

Natural aptitude

The brothers’ talent was quickly recognised at club level, leading them to attend the weekly indoor cricket school in Neath. Despite the challenges, including a potential six-mile walk home carrying their cricket kit if they missed the bus home, their dedication and skill propelled them into the spotlight.

Alan joined Glamorgan County Cricket Club in 1957, followed by Eifion in 1961. Initially, both played as batsmen, but Eifion’s natural aptitude for wicket-keeping quickly emerged. Until their retirement in 1983, they played pivotal roles in Glamorgan County’s golden years, contributing significantly to the team’s success.

Alan, a left-hand opening batsman, was known for his unwavering concentration, quick eye, sure feet, and courage. His remarkable career included scoring over 1,000 runs in 23 consecutive seasons, captaining Glamorgan in 1977 and 1978, and being named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1978. One unforgettable innings was in July 1966 when Alan faced the formidable West Indies bowlers, scoring 161 not out and securing a victory for Glamorgan.

In recognition of his outstanding service to Welsh cricket, Alan was awarded an MBE in 1982. After retiring in 1983, he assumed the role of Glamorgan coach and later became the President of the Glamorgan Cricket Club.

Eifion, acclaimed as a master of the wicket-keeping craft, held the position for Glamorgan from the late 1960s until his retirement. He set records, including taking 94 victims in first-class cricket in 1970 and establishing the highest score by a Glamorgan wicketkeeper with 146 not out in 1968. Remarkably, his partner in that match-winning stand was none other than his brother Alan.

‘Deep honour’

On receiving his honorary award, Alan said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition, particularly from Swansea University. Having grown up in the region and spent a significant part of my cricketing career at Swansea’s St. Helens ground, I have many happy memories from that time.”

Eifion added: “It is a privilege to receive this honour from Swansea University. Last year my granddaughters graduated, and to everyone’s surprise, this year I get to wear the cloak and hat! I will always be proud of my career as a professional cricketer and to receive this honour in Swansea, a city where I played many memorable games for Glamorgan means a lot to me.”

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