Cricket in Wales
Cricket is a popular sport in Wales. With its roots beginning in the late 18th century, Cricket has been played throughout Wales ever since. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is Wales' only first-class team, and Welsh players are eligible to represent England as the team represents both England and Wales. Cricket is played within the Welsh schools system, and is considered one of the country's main summer sports.
Cricket, as a sport, found its origins in England, with its first set of rules adopted in 1744. By 1787 the Marylebone Cricket Club, cricket's first ruling body was founded in London. Before the creation of the MCC, cricket had spread to Wales, with the first recorded match played at Llanegwad in Carmarthenshire. The first club to be mentioned is Swansea, in 1785.
With the development of the railways and better transportation links, the game of cricket began to spread slowly across Wales and by the 1830s the first interclub fixtures were regularly played. On 5 May 1845, Cardiff Cricket Club was inaugurated, and after three years using the rented field at Longcross, now the location of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, the team became associated with the Cardiff Arms Park. Both the Arms Park and St. Helen's, in Swansea were cricket venues before they became associated with rugby union. By 1850 cricket had become a popular activity in many schools, and this in turn helped cricket to be adopted as a working-class sport rather than one associated with the gentry as it occurred in England.
1859 saw the first match between select English and Welsh teams, when the All England XI played a South Wales XXII. The South Wales team were victorious and this led to the first attempt to form a first-class team in Wales. Although county teams were formed after this date, most were short lived; but in 1888 Glamorgan County Cricket Club was formed, which would become the most important first-class team in Wales. Glamorgan entered the Minor Counties Cricket Championship in 1897 and was joined by other county teams from Wales: Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire and Denbighshire. In 1921 Glamorgan became the first county team to gain first-class status, and was the 17th member of the County Championship.
From its earliest days Glamorgan refused to designate a county headquarters, playing its matches at both St. Helen's in Swansea and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, in an attempt to remain neutral to the two main cities of the county. In 1975, St. Helen's Ground in Swansea held the first international game to be played outside the normal Test venues of England, hosting a One-day International between England and New Zealand.
Glamorgan County Cricket Club is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship. They also play the one day National League, a one day knock out competition called the Friends Provident Trophy, and the short-form Twenty20 Cup.
- See main article: List of cricket grounds in England and Wales
On 8 July 2009 the SWALEC Stadium, formerly known as Sophia Gardens held its first Test match, when it hosted the first match of the 2009 Ashes test series. The game ended in a draw.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA) and the Cricket Council. They are full members of the International Cricket Council.
The Cricket Board of Wales (CBW) is the governing body of cricket in Wales. It is an umbrella partnership body comprising the Welsh Cricket Association, Glamorgan Cricket, Wales Minor Counties, the Welsh Schools Cricket Association and Sport Wales.
A Welsh cricket team has appeared on a number of occasions. Generally however, Wales do not field a team in international competition, with players instead playing for England.
The following Welsh people have played Test cricket for England: Johnnie Clay, Robert Croft, Jeff Jones, Simon Jones, Tony Lewis, Austin Matthews, Hugh Morris, Gilbert Parkhouse, Pat Pocock, Greg Thomas, Maurice Turnbull, Cyril Walters, Steve Watkin and Allan Watkins.
England is a founding Test cricket, One Day International and Twenty20 nation. England played in the first ever Test match in 1877 (against Australia in Melbourne) and also the first ever One-day International in 1971 (also against Australia in Melbourne).
Each summer, two foreign national teams visit England to play seven Test matches and numerous One Day Internationals. In the British winter the England team tours abroad. The highest profile rival of the England cricket team is the Australian team, with which it competes for The Ashes, one of the most famous trophies in British sport.
Recently there have been calls from Welsh fans for the country to be represented by its own national team as in other sports. Criticism has been made of the England and Wales Cricket Board using only the England name whilst utilising Welsh players such as Simon Jones, who was instrumental in England winning the Ashes from Australia in 2005.
In 2005 the ECB concluded a commercial arrangement with BSkyB which gave Sky the exclusive television rights for live Test cricket in England for four years (the 2006 to 2009 seasons). This deal, which took live Test cricket for home England matches away from terrestrial television for the first time generated substantial future revenues for English cricket, but was criticised by many England cricket supporters and others.
The Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year is an annual award voted by the Cricket Writers' Club for the best young cricket player in England and Wales, and has been awarded since 1950.
- Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.