Jeff Jones won 15 Test caps for England, and had it not been for a serious elbow injury sustained early in the 1968 season, the left-arm fast bowler would surely have won many more.
Jones made his first-class debut in 1960 against Kent at Blackheath, and by 1962 was the county`s new ball bowler. He was regarded as the fastest left-arm bowler the club had ever had, and he confirmed his rich potential with a hat-trick against Yorkshire at Harrogate. His talents were also recognised by the England selectors, and he toured East Africa and India with the M.C.C. in 1963/64, making his Test debut at Bombay in 1963/64, remarkably whilst still uncapped by Glamorgan.
1965 saw Jones produce one of the most lethal spells of bowling by a home-grown player, taking career best figures of 13-9-11-8 on a damp green wicket at Grace Road. At the end of the season, Jones duly won his county cap, and won selection on the 1965/66 M.C.C. tour to Australia and New Zealand. He prospered on the hard and pacy wickets, and after a match return of 7/98 against Western Australia at Perth, he came into the England side for the Second Test, and held his place for the rest of the series. Indeed, during the Fourth Test at Adelaide, Jones took 6/118 - these remain the best ever bowling figures by a Glamorgan bowler in international cricket.
Jones played in the first two Tests of the home series with the West Indies in 1966, and in 1967 he claimed 100 wickets for Glamorgan, and was chosen to tour the West Indies in 1967/68 with the M.C.C. He claimed five wickets in the infamous Second Test at Kingston, but his finest hour was undoubtedly in the final Test at Georgetown, Guyana. Jones had very modest pretentions as a batsman, yet the number eleven successfully blocked out the final over to secure the series for England.
Many felt that Jones would play a key role in the 1968 Ashes series, but early in the season he damaged shoulder and elbow ligaments at Ilford early in the season. He was sent for specialist treatment and subsequently missed the rest of the season. But even worse followed later in the summer when a consultant found arthritis in his elbow joint and a severe wearing of the bone. Jeff tried to modify his action over the winter of 1968/69, and considered making a comeback to county cricket. But he was forced into a premature retirement from first-class cricket, with 15 Test caps to his name. In recent years he has played in club cricket as a spinner, as well as appearing for the Old England side. His son Simon is also currently playing in the Glamorgan side.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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