Norman Riches led Glamorgan in their inaugural season of Championship cricket in 1921, after having been their leading batsmen when the Welsh county participated in the Minor County Championship. The right-handed batsman made his Glamorgan debut in 1900 as a seventeen year old, before training as a dentist, and appearing during his college vacations.
In 1904 he played his first major innings for the county with 183 against Monmouthshire at Swansea. However, his finest season was 1911, when he became the first player in Minor County history to aggregate over 1,000 runs in a season. Riches was widely regarded as the best batsman outside the first-class game, and when available, was chosen for the Minor Counties in their games against touring teams and first-class sides. On one occasion, he also came very close to being drafted into the M.C.C. party to tour the West Indies.
As a youngster, Riches was an energetic cover fielder and was a safe catcher close to the wicket. Later in his career, Riches took to wicket-keeping and his glovework showed the same sense of purpose and resolve as his batting. Indeed, the veteran frequently went behind the stumps in 1921 when Glamorgan entered the County Championship. His batting certainly did not suffer, as he fittingly ended the season as Glamorgan`s leading run scorer. 1921 also saw Riches become the club`s first batsman to pass a thousand runs in first-class crickert, and he proved his undoubted class against all of the county attacks.
His dental commitments prevented him from appearing on a regular basis after 1921, but when he did play, he was still able to show his undoubted class, and in 1928, at the age of 45, he hit a masterful 140 against a powerful Lancashire attack. Riches played his final Championship match in 1934, aged 51, but continued to play club cricket for Cardiff C.C. until after the Second World War. Riches subsequently became a Trustee and a Patron of Glamorgan C.C.C.
(Article: Copyright © 2000 Dr.A.K.Hignell)