Jim Pressdee, who died in South Africa last night at the age of 83, was one of the best all-rounders in Glamorgan`s history, and during 1949 he became the Club`s youngest player in post-war cricket making his debut for Glamorgan in their County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at the Arms Park aged 16 years and 59 days.
After completing his National service, Pressdee developed into an aggressive right-handed batsman and a clever left-arm spinner. He subsequently formed a useful partnership with off-cutter Don Shepherd and off-spinner Jim McConnon, and many shrewd observers of Glamorgan Cricket believed that had he not lost form and confidence as a spinner, he could have followed McConnon into the England team and won honours as a Test cricketer.
In 1959 Jim moved up the batting order and recorded his maiden century against India at the Arms Park. This was the first of a dozen first-class centuries he scored for Glamorgan and at Cardiff in 1961 he etched his name into the Club’s record books by becoming the first batsman to score a century for Glamorgan in their matches against the Australian tourists.
1961 was a golden summer for Jim with the bat as he amassed in all first-class cricket 1,892 runs, but he proved that it was not a flash in the pan, as the following year he went one better by compiling a career best 1,911 runs
Between 1959 and 1962, Jim had only claimed five wickets with his left-arm spin for Glamorgan , but after some decent spells in domestic cricket in South Africa his bowling talents were encouraged by Ossie Wheatley, who had taken over the Club’s captaincy from Wilf Wooller in 1961.Jim duly returned to form during 1963, taking 104 wickets to complete the Double – thereby becomg the sixth and most recent player to achieve this outstanding feat.
The following year JIm claimed 97 wickets and played a leading role in the famous victory over the 1964 Australians at Swansea. The St.Helen’s ground – just a few miles away from his birthplace in the Mumbles – saw another outstanding bowling feat from Jim in 1965 as he claimed a career-best 9-43 in Yorkshire’s first innings of their match at Swansea – a game which remarkably saw Don Shepherd also take nine wickets in the second innings – as Glamorgan secured a famous victory as they pressed for the county title. But at the end of a summer when Glamorgan had mounted a sturdy challenge for the Championship crown, Jim’s career with the Welsh county ended as he announced that he was emigrating to South Africa
Jim continued to play for North-East Transvaal until 1969/70 before returning to his native Mumbles during the 1980s and acting as captain of the Glamorgan Colts side in the South Wales Cricket Association. In this capacity, he played a key role in the emergence of several players who went on to win the Sunday League under Hugh Morris’ captaincy in 1993, as well as the Championship-winning team, led by Matthew Maynard in 1997.
Jim was also a talented footballer and besides winning schoolboy honours for Wales, he played for Swansea Town. As far as his county career with Glamorgan was concerned, Jim scored 13,411 first-class runs and took 405 wickets at just 22.18 runs apiece. His highest first-class score came in 1965, his final season in Glamorgan’s ranks when he made an un beaten 150 against Cambridge University at Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd.
On hearing of Jim’s death, Hugh Morris, the Chief Executive of Glamorgan Cricket said:
“Jim had an outstanding career as a county cricketer with Glamorgan, and his efforts with bat and ball helped Glamorgan to a series of outstanding victories during the 1950s and 1960s, including the Club’s historic first-ever victory over the Australians at Swansea and just a few miles away from Jim’s family home in Mumbles .”
“Like many top-class all-rounders, he was worth his place in the Welsh county’s side either as a batsman or as a bowler. Jim was a great competitor, and possessed a shrewd cricket brain and, as a player myself during the 1980s, I saw first-hand evidence of Jim’s skills at nurturing young talent as a number of the promising players from his Colts XI made their way into Glamorgan’s 1st XI.”
“Everyone at Glamorgan Cricket extends their deepest sympathies to Jim’s family and his wide circle of friends, both in the U.K. as well as in South Africa.”