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Harry Creber – A Batsman at Times Batted Both Left and Right Handed
Harry Creber was a Glamorgan great before they entered the County Championship. A left-arm seamer, he had no pretensions as a batsman and at times batted both left and right-handed. Creber was born in Birkenhead on 30 April 1872 and died in Swansea on 27 March 1939.
There was an extraordinary incident in a match. Glamorgan had to follow on and when the last man in, named Harry Creber, arrived, the umpire remarked to Syd Barnes: “I wonder how he is going to bat today?” “What do you mean?” asked Barnes. “Well,” said the umpire, “sometimes he bats right-handed and sometimes left.” Then he asked the batsman: “How are you going to bat today, Harry?”
Harry Creber indicated that he would bat left-handed. The sight screens were moved, the field changed over and Creber took guard. Then he said, “No, I think I’ll bat right-handed.” So the screens were moved again, the field changed over and Creber took guard right-handed. Barnes bowled him one just outside the off stump and Creber hit it backhanded through the slips. “By Jove,” he said, “I’m batting well left-handed. I’m going to bat left hand.” While the screens were being moved again and the field changed over, Barnes decided to put a stop to it all.
He ran up with his usual run but bowled underhand. The ball pitched about a foot outside the leg stump, came back and kept low, and hit Creber on the pad. Barnes appealed and the umpire put his hand up. Whittington, Glamorgan’s captain, protested that Harry Creber was not out and, indeed could not be out as Barnes should have been no-balled. “You ask the umpire,” Barnes told him, but the umpire had been laughing so much that he could not call Barnes.
Glamorgan protested to the MCC, but nothing more was heard of the matter. Next season, when Staffordshire played Glamorgan at Swansea, Harry Creber asked Barnes if he would have his photograph taken with him, as, he said, people seemed to think there was some ill feeling between them as a result of what had happened the year before. Syd Barnes gladly complied and that was the end of that.
From 1898 to 1922, he played for Glamorgan as an English cricketer. His bowling style was left-arm medium pace and he played 34 first-class matches as a righthanded batsman. He scored 157 runs with a high score of 13* and took 98 wickets with a best performance of seven for 47.