Formation …

The Balconiers were formed during the second day’s play of the County Championship match between Glamorgan and Northamptonshire at the St. Helen’s ground, Swansea, in August 1972.

Roy Fredericks, Glamorgan’s West Indian batsman, and local hero Alan Jones (whose Benefit season this was) shared a record-breaking opening partnership of 330 with what was described as ‘a delightful display of controlled batting’. At the time, their stand was a first-wicket record for the Club (a record that stood until 2000 when Matthew Elliot and Steve James enjoyed an opening stand of 374 against Sussex at Colwyn Bay). The stand between Fredericks and Jones was also the highest partnership by any pair in the County Championship during the 1972 season.

The first ever Balconiers’ Newsletter takes up the story:

On Alan Jones being dismissed, a remark was made by Danny Lewis: “This is the sort of occasion on which a collection should be made for a player in his benefit year”…

His friends wholeheartedly agreed that a collection should be made and an approach was made to Mr. Wilfred Wooller, the Club Secretary, who replied that unfortunately it was not possible as only a certain number of collections are allowed by set rule and Alan Jones’ allocation had already been used, the last permitted one being the previous day … Danny Lewis then enquired of Mr. Wooller whether collections other than official might be made. “Certainly”, replied Mr. Wooller, “I’ll make an announcement and arrange for the buckets”. The friends who sat together, D.T.Lewis, Gwyn Rees, David Evans, Gerald Munday and Owen Pughe made the collection. The crowd was sparse, being a Monday, but the sum of £109 was collected. They were delighted – the Society was formed…

The group originally sat on what was a long balcony, outside the old pavilion room, removed later during the renovations and improvements to the present pavilion. The group then moved to a small corner of the present pavilion, overlooking the old Balcony and the search for a name was resolved – BALCONIERS.

The years since …

In the forty five years since their formation, the Balconiers have continued to go from strength to strength. Under the enthusiastic and energetic leadership of John Williams and his Committee, supported in turn by a hard-working group of loyal volunteers, the Society continues to flourish.

The Society maintains its initial aim of celebrating the individual and collective achievements of Glamorgan players. This is something it has done very effectively in the years since that initial and spontaneous celebration of the record-breaking partnership, and which is central to its broader aim of supporting Glamorgan cricket and cricketers.

An important aspect of this support is the Balconiers’ programme of residential trips to away matches – the famous ‘Daffodil Tours’. Indeed, it is probably the only supporters group in the UK to organise stay-away County Championship trips on a regular basis – as it has done for the last forty plus years.

The Balconiers also strive to ensure the continuation of first-class cricket at the historic St. Helen’s ground. The Society regularly spends money during pre-season on improving facilities at St. Helen’s and thus contributing to the continued success of the popular annual Swansea and West Wales Cricket Festival.

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