Fly at a higher game: The story of TAL Whittington and the elevation of Glamorgan CCC into the County Championship

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Written by Andrew Hignell

This is a story about a man whose family were dedicated to promoting sport in Neath, and who oversaw Glamorgan’s elevation into first-class cricket. It’s a tale of a man whose dashing deeds with the bat helped the Welsh county to a series of important victories, but it’s also a story about debt, doodlebugs and death in a London hospital whilst undergoing throat surgery.

This is the story of Tal Whittington, the man who in 1920 and 1921 took a sabbatical from his solicitor’s practice in Neath to secure an agreement with existing Championship teams for a minimum of 16 fixtures and thus help the county achieve their long-held dream of ‘flying at a higher game’, as eloquently expressed by JTD Llewelyn, the club’s founding father back in 1888.

But behind his laurels on the cricketing fields of South Wales and further afield was a man who during the mid-1920s was declared bankrupt, having taken part in several unsuccessful business schemes, losing money in dubious investments and becoming involved with money lenders.

After retiring from county cricket, he moved away from his home town and became a schoolmaster in Sussex and Cornwall, before dying in a London hospital during the Blitz of 1944 as an operation went tragically wrong.
The latest volume in the Cricket Witness series draws on a wealth of secondary sources to tell for the first time of the highs and lows in the life of the first-ever life member of Glamorgan CCC.

The book’s publication in 2021 coincides with the Welsh county’s centenary as a first-class club.

It is also available in a special Glamorgan Anniversary Package with The Daffodil Blooms, an earlier volume in the Cricket Witness series, which tells the story of Glamorgan’s first Championship title in 1948.