Glamorgan County Cricket Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Walker - an integral member of Glamorgan’s Championship-winning team of 1969 and a man who featured in the Club’s historic victories over the 1964 and 1968 Australians.
Peter was undoubtedly the finest close catcher in post-war county cricket. He fully utilised his tall frame when standing fearlessly at short-leg, or in the slips, and he held many stunning catches. His tally of 609 Championship catches is the fifth highest in the history of the English competition.
During his outstanding career with Glamorgan from 1956 until 1972, Peter set a host of fielding records which still stand today, including eight catches in the match with Derbyshire at Swansea in 1970, a Club record of 67 catches in 1961 and a career tally of 656 victims for the Welsh county – 175 of which came whilst fielding to the off-cutters of Don Shepherd.
Not surprisingly, the entry ‘c Walker b Shepherd’ is the most common dismissal in the Club’s annals.
Gareth Williams, Chairman of Glamorgan Cricket, said, "Everyone at Glamorgan is saddened to hear this news. Peter was a club legend, a man who gave everything he could to the club he loved while playing, and later in an off-field capacity. He gave so much back to the game, in particular through his work with Cricket Wales and the National Cricket Centre, and through his outstanding service as President of Glamorgan."
Hugh Morris, Chief Executive, said, “A combination of world-class catching ability, aggressive batting and accurate spin made him a triple threat and a brilliant all-rounder. He helped Glamorgan to win a County Championship title and represented England, making him a true legend of the club. We may never see another player quite like him, and he will be missed by everyone at the club.
“Our thoughts go out to his family, and his friends."
Peter was born in Bristol but grew up in South Africa, before spending a couple of years in the Merchant Navy. As a schoolboy in Johannesburg, Walker had been coached by Allan Watkins and other Glamorgan players, so when in Bristol on shore-leave Peter decided to contact his old coach in Cardiff.
A trial with Glamorgan quickly followed in the spartan and makeshift indoor nets along the corridor of the North Stand of Cardiff Arms Park, together with the offer of summer contracts for 1954 and 1955.
Peter joined the full-time staff in 1956 as an attacking middle order batsman and a left arm swing bowler, and in 1959 he passed the 1,500 run mark.
The following year he won three Test caps for England, playing in their series against South Africa and in 1961 Peter performed the treble in as he scored 1,347 first-class runs, took 101 wickets in all games and held 73 catches. In the history of county cricket, only Wally Hammond and Micky Stewart have bettered this outstanding seasonal return.
During the 1960s Peter also adapted his bowling style to left-arm spin, and his all-round skills made him a key and an integral member of the Glamorgan side of the 1960's.
He played a leading role in Glamorgan’s victories over the 1964 and 1968 Australian tourists, with Peter taking a vital catch off his own bowling in the latter game to dismiss Paul Sheahan and turn the game in the Welsh county’s favour.
In 1969 Peter was also a key member of Glamorgan’s team which won the County Championship, besides finishing as runners-up the following year.
Peter retired at the end of the 1972 season and became a leading broadcaster and journalist, acting as the anchorman of BBC TV’s coverage of the Sunday League besides founding Merlin TV in 1985 with colleague David Parry-Jones, with the company duly becoming the largest independent broadcasting company in Wales.
In 1996 Peter returned to the cricket world as he became the first Director of Cricket Development of the Cricket Board of Wales, overseeing the introduction of a nationwide coaching framework across Wales and the development of the National Cricket Centre at Glamorgan's headquarters at Sophia Gardens.
He also acted as an advisor to the Club’s committee between 2009 and 2010 and serving as President of Glamorgan CCC. The following year, also saw Peter deservedly awarded with an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to cricket.
Peter will be missed by everyone at Glamorgan CCC and our thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time.