England right-arm off-spinner Jim McConnon was born on 21 June 1922 at Burnopfield, Durham. He was a right-hand batsman who played for Glamorgan and England. Jim McConnon died on January 26, 2003at his home in Altrincham, at the age of 80.
The former Glamorgan spinner made 243 appearances for the Welsh county between 1950 till 1961. At this time, he took 799 wickets. In the only second season of county cricket, Jim was instrumental in securing a dramatic victory for Glamorgan against the 1951 South Africans at Swansea.
Together with fellow spinner Len Muncer, his fine bowling saw the Springboks collapse for 54 without loss to 83 all out as they chased a victory target of 147. In the space of just three-quarters of an hour, Jim McConnon took 6 for 10 including a hat trick. These magnificent efforts of Jim, make Glamorgan the first county side to defeat the South Africans on their tour.
In all Jim McConnon took 136 wickets in the 1951 season. This remarkable performance at St Helen’s saw the tall off-spinner move onto the fringe of the English team. After taking a career-best 8 for 36 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Jim won selection in the Commonwealth XI for their tour to India in 1953-54.
The following summer he won two Test Caps in the series 1954 against Pakistan. He took 3 for 12 in his first six overs in an England sweater. Jim’s promising performance led to his inclusion ahead of Jim Laker for the 1954-55 Ashes tour to Australia. However, he sustained a series of injuries whilst in Australia and had not returned home early after breaking the finger.
Despite never playing again for England. Jim continued to be an effective spinner at the county level and formed a successful partnership with Don Shepherd. Who had converted to spin from the seam? Jim McConnon took 99 wickets in the 1957 season. And then 113 wickets in 1959 as well as developing into a forceful later-order batsman. He scored his career-best 95 against Middlesex at the Arms Park in 1958.
Jim McConnon had first joined Glamorgan at the age of 28 after a spell as a professional footballer with Aston Villa and various Welsh League clubs. He soon established a name for himself as an off-spin bowler. At that time, Jim McConnon doubted his own abilities.
But with gently cajoling by captain Wilf Wooler and other senior players. McConnon developed into a bowler with sharp spin and clever flight. His name entered the notebooks of the England selectors. However, he missed much of 1952 with a knee injury, but he returned to the side in 1953 and took 97 wickets first-class wickets.
He was also a more than useful lower-order batsman. His standing as a potential Test spinner was confirmed with his selection in the Commonwealth touring party in India in 1953-54. Jim McConnon enjoyed further success in 1954, and besides claiming 105 wickets he was selected in the England side for two tests against Pakistan.
He started his Test career with a return of 3 for 12 from six overs, as well as four catches. This performance was rewarded with a place on the Ashes Tour of 1954-55. It did not prove to be a happy hour for him. He formed a highly potent off-the-spin partnership with Don Shepherd.
The pair were highly effective on the dry, dusty wickets at St Helen’s. He was well-supported by some excellent fielders to close to the wicket. Jim McConnon was awarded a Benefit in 1961 and retired from first-class cricket at the end of that season.