Jim McConnon made his Glamorgan debut in 1950 ater a football career with Aston Villa and various Welsh League clubs. Although he was 28 years old when he played his first game for the county, McConnon soon established a name for himself as an off-spin bowler, taking 136 wickets in his second season of county cricket, as well as claiming a hat-trick in Glamorgan`s victory over the South Africans at Swansea.
At times, McConnon doubted his own abilities, but with gently cajoling by captain Wilf Wooller and other senior players, McConnon developed into a bowler with sharp spin and clever flight, and his name entered the notebooks of the England selectors. However, McConnon missed much of 1952 with a knee injury, but he returned to the side in 1953, and took 97 first-class wickets. He was also a more than useful lower order batsman, and his standing as a potential Test spinner was confimed with his selection in the Commonwealth touring party to India in 1953/54.
McConnon enjoyed further success in 1954, and besides claiming 105 wickets, he was selected in the England side for two Tests against Pakistan. He began his Test career with a return of 3/12 from six overs, as well as four catches, and was rewarded with a place on the Ashes tour in 1954/55. It did not prove to be a happy tour for McConnon. He sustained several injuries whilst in Australia and a badly broken finger eventually led to him returning home early.
Although he never played again at Test level, McConnon continued to be a highly effective spinner in county cricket, and formed a highly potent off-spin partnership with Don Shepherd. The pair were highly effective on the dry, dusty wickets at St.Helen`s, and were supported by some excellent fielders close to the wicket. McConnon was awarded a Benefit in 1961, and retired from the first-class game at the end of the season.
(Article: Copyright © 2000 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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