Simon Jones joined the Glamorgan staff in 1997 after finishing his A-levels at Millfield School. He is the son of former Glamorgan and England pace bowler Jeff Jones, and the right-arm fast bowler had an impressive record at junior level, opening the bowling for Millfield and Welsh junior teams.
Jones made his 2nd XI debut for the Welsh county in 1996, and during 1998 he made his first-class debut for Glamorgan against Durham. The young Llangennech bowler developed his bowling skills further during 1999 under the wise guidance of coaches Duncan Fletcher and John Derrick, whilst over the winter of 1999/2000, the young paceman also worked with Lynn Davies, the former Olympic long jump star, in an attempt to eradicate the problem of no-balls.
Jones was hampered by injury in 2000, but not before a return of 4-47 against Warwickshire at Cardiff emphasised his potential. His pace on the slow Welsh wickets continued to impress many good judges, and in 2001/02, he spent the winter in Adelaide with the E.C.B. National Academy.
The following summer he was selected in a 14-man party for the second Test against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston, and although he did not make the final XI at Edgbaston, the Welshman proudly made his England debut two Tests later, against India at Lord's. He enjoyed a fine debut, striking a stirring 44 after coming in at number 10, with his lusty innings including seven fours and a six. Jones also claimed four wickets, but was hampered by a side strain that subsequently kept him out of action for almost the rest of the season.
After a return to fitness, Jones was included in England's squad for the Ashes tour in 2002/03, and after some impressive spells in the warm-up games, he was chosen for the first Test in Brisbane. But after taking the wicket of Justin Langer, Jones ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as he attempted a sliding stop in the field.
This freak injury ended his tour, but after reconstructive surgery, he returned to action in August 2003 for Glamorgan`s 2nd XI, followed by a further spell with the E.C.B. Academy and then with the England A team in the Far East and India. After proving his form and fitness with a 10 wicket match haul against Tamil Nadu, he was drafted into the England team for the tour to the West Indies in the Spring of 2004. He took 11 wickets in the series and subsequently became the first Glamorgan to be awarded a central contract by the ECB.
In 2004 Simon recorded five wicket hauls for Glamorgan against Somerset and Yorkshire, and continued to enjoy success with England. He featured in their Test series with New Zealand and the West Indies, and during 2004/05 he appeared in four of the Tests in the series with South Africa, and became a key member of England`s four-man pace attack that defeated the Springboks. The 2004/05 also saw Simon tour Namibia and Zimbabwe with England, and he made his debut in one-day internationals after appearing in 2 games in the series against Zimbabwe.
2005 was a year to remember for Simon, as he became of a member of England`s Ashes-winning side, and he topped the England bowling averages with 18 wickets at just 21 runs apiece, including hauls of 5/44 at Trent Bridge and 6/53 in the first innings at Old Trafford - the best ever return by a Glamorgan bowler in Test cricket for England.
A host of honours have subsequently come Simon`s way, including the MBE in the Queen`s New Year`s Honour List. However, since the end of the Ashes series he has struggled with knee and ankle problems, and after missing the final Test of the 2005 Ashes series, as well as the series with Pakistan with an ankle spur, he was forced home prior to the start of the series with India in 2005/06 after sustaining damage to his knee ligaments.
After successfully undergoing a course of rehabilitation, he re-joined the Glamorgan squad for their pre-season work prior to the start of the 2006 season. However, he was affected by further niggling injuries to his knee and back during the summer, and at times, lacked rhythm in his run-up, claiming just one Championship wicket.
At the end of the 2007 season, he lost his central contract with England, and after receiving offers from other English counties, he decided to join Worcestershire in 2008 on a two-year contract.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Dr.A.K.Hignell)