Haydn Davies was one of the finest wicketkeepers who never played for England. His career was interrupted by the Second World War, when he served as a captain in the Royal Artillery. He was selected to play in the Test Trial in 1946, but unfortunately his career coincided with that of Godfrey Evans who was for many years a regular member of the England team.
He first played for Glamorgan in 1935 and was awarded his county cap in 1938. In 1939 he caught seven batsmen in the Bank Holiday match against the West Indies and helped to dismiss six batsmen in one innings in the match against Leicestershire. He did not miss a championship match between 1947 and 1957, appearing in 254 consecutive matches, and occasionally captained Glamorgan during the absence of Wilfred Wooller. In spite of his heavy build and apparently cumbersome gait, which led to him being known as ‘Panda’, he was exceptionally agile and nimble and was responsible for numerous dramatic dismissals as a wicketkeeper, which, together with his vociferous appeals and ability to hit huge sixes, made him a very popular figure with Glamorgan supporters and also on the county circuit. His highest score of 80 not out was achieved in his Benefit Match against South Africa in 1951. In 1955 he contributed to the dismissal of eight South African batsmen at Swansea. He retired in 1958, having played 423 matches, scored 6,613 runs, and taken 585 catches and 204 stumpings.
In his younger years he had been a talented rugby player and was awarded two Welsh Schoolboy caps in 1931. He was a skilful squash player and also represented Wales at this sport. Following his retirement from cricket he became the professional at the Edinburgh Squash and Tennis Club, and was appointed as its secretary in 1964. He returned in the mid-1970s to run a public house in Pembrokeshire.
Haydn Davies died at Haverfordwest on 4 September 1993.
D. Huw Owen, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2015