Throwback Thursday: Arthur Wellard
Arthur Wellard is one of Somerset’s best known big hitters and even though he didn’t make his debut until he was 25, he enjoyed a long career with the County, playing between 1927 and 1950. During that time he hit more than 500 maximums!
After a two year qualifying period, during which time he worked as cricket professional for Weston super Mare CC, Arthur Wellard took 131 wickets in his first season in 1929. He also claimed 10 wickets in a match for the first time during his fourth County Championship appearance against his native Kent, with figures of six for 108 and four for 28.
From then on Arthur Wellard remained a regular member of the Somerset side. Twice the big hearted fast bowler, whose antics with the bat in the lower middle order thrilled the Somerset fans, hit five sixes in an over and on both occasions achieved the feat at the Rowden Road Ground at Wells.
The first occasion was in 1936 when the big hitter took on Derbyshire bowler Tom Armstrong. Arthur went onto make 86 in that innings, his runs coming from seven sixes and eight fours.
The very popular all rounder repeated the feat at the same venue two years later, against Kent when it was Frank Woolley who was the unfortunate bowler. Indeed Woolley was taken off after two overs that had cost 40 runs!
Between 1927 and 1950 Arthur Wellard played in 391 matches for Somerset in which he scored 11432 runs at an average of 19.34 including two centuries, with a highest of 112 against Surrey in 1934 and Lancashire in 1935.
He took 1517 wickets at an average of 24,32 and enjoyed his career best eight for 52 against Worcestershire at Bath in 1947, when he was 45 years old!
He is the second highest wicket-taker for Somerset, behind Jack White who claimed 2166., He also claimed five or more wickets in an innings on 105 occasions, again second behind White with 185, and second also in the 10 wicket hauls with 24 behind White’s 57.
In 1936 Arthur Wellard was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
In 1938 he took 169 wickets for Somerset, the most by any player in a season and in 1946 at the age of 44 he became the oldest player to claim 100 wickets in a season for the County.
Arthur achieved the double (1000 runs and 100 wickets) twice, in both 1933 and 1935.
Arthur played in two Test Matches, once against New Zealand in 1937 and then against Australia the next summer. He was a formidable cricketer and would have no doubt loved the challenge posed by modern one-day cricket!