In 1948/49 Allan Watkins became Glamorgan`s first Centurion in Test cricket, scoring 111 in the Fourth Test against South Africa at Johannesburg. In all, Watkins won 15 caps for England and for many years this stood as the Glamorgan record for the most number of appearances in Test matches for England.
The all-rounder gave yeoman service to Glamorgan from 1939 until 1961, and in his early years, he mixed county cricket with professional football for Plymouth Argyle and Cardiff City. Watkins was a solid and enterprising left-handed batsman, who could also bowl left arm seam and cutters, and his all-round skills made him one of the most valuable members of Wilf Wooller`s squad. His energetic efforts and never-say-die attitude made him a popular figure with Glamorgan`s supporters and a highly respected figure on the county circuit. His qualities were also recognised by the England selectors who appointed him as senior professional on their tour to India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1951/52. He wholeheartedly undertook the role of stock bowler and also finished the tour as the leading run scorer in the Test series with India. His determination was also to the fore during a nine hour innings in the First Test at Delhi and his 137* helped to save England from defeat.
In 1954 and 1955, Watkins performed the Double, before serving as Senior Professional on the M.C.C. `A` tour to Pakistan in 1955/56. This proved to be his final tour in England colours, as by the mid-1950`s Trevor Bailey of Essex became established as England`s leading all-rounder. But Watkins continued to be a heavy scorer at county level, passing 1,000 runs in every season bar one from 1947 until 1960, as well as taking over 50 wickets in seven out of eight seasons between 1949 and 1956. 28 of his 29 centuries for Glamorgan were in Championship fixtures, whilst in both 1947 and 1949, Watkins hit four centuries in the season.
Inevitably, these stoic efforts took their toll, and by the early 1960`s Watkins was increasingly troubled by asthma. He retired on medical advice mid-way through the 1962 season, and subsequently became a popular coach at Oundle School.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Dr.A.K.Hignell)