Joseph Brain was the man responsible for Glamorgan becoming a fully fledged Minor County in 1897. Through his sterling efforts on and off the field, he helped to mould a more successful side, who shared the Minor County title in 1900, and on three later occasions reached the knock-out final of the Minor County competition.
Brain had attended Clifton College, and soon displayed immense promise as a gifted right-handed batsman. In 1883 the youngster made his county debut for Gloucestershire, before going up to Oxford, where he won four Blues. Brain was also in the varsity eleven which defeated the 1884 Australians, and later that summer, he hit 108 for Gloucestershire against the tourists, to confirm his standing as one of the finest young batsmen in the West Country.
After coming down from Oxford, Brain joined his family`s brewing business, and in 1890 he was promoted to oversee their successful operations in Cardiff. The following season, he duly made his Glamorgan debut, and took over the captaincy of the county club. Over the next two decades, he became their leading batsman, scoring over 5,000 runs, which included a career best 144 against the M.C.C. at Lord`s in 1896. He also kept wicket when other wicketkeepers, including his brother William, were unavailable.
However, Brain`s efforts were not restricted to on the field, as he became the club`s most influential figure, as his adopted side sought first class status. He acted as Secretary from 1891 until 1908, and was instrumental in elevating Glamorgan into the Minor County Championship in 1897. He also used his business contacts to secure money for the club as well as decent job opportunities for some of the professionals. His business and social contacts also allowed Glamorgan to select some of the most talented amateurs from both sides of the Severn Estuary.
Sadly, Brain died after a short illness in June 1914 before the fruits of his labours saw Glamorgan`s elevation to the first class ranks.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Dr.A.K.Hignell)