|Owner||Cardiff City Council|
|River Taff End
Cathedral Road End
|First Test||8–12 July 2009: England v Australia|
|Last Test||26–30 May 2011: England v Sri Lanka|
|First ODI||20 May 1999: Australia v New Zealand|
|Last ODI||14 September 2013: England v Australia|
|Domestic team information|
|As of 1 June 2011
The Glamorgan County Cricket Ground at Sophia Gardens, or SWALEC Stadium (Welsh: Stadiwm SWALEC) as it is currently known under a naming rights deal, is a cricket stadium on the west bank of the River Taff in Cardiff, 1.6 kilometres (one mile) north of Cardiff Arms Park. The park in which the stadium was constructed is Sophia Gardens (Welsh: Gerddi Soffia). It was named after Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings. Daughter of the 1st Marquess of Hastings and wife to the 2nd Marquess of Bute, Lady Sophia was concerned to provide open space for recreation in the rapidly expanding city in the late 19th century, in which her husband was heavily involved. The park was acquired by Cardiff City Council, then the Cardiff Corporation, from the Marquis of Bute in 1947.
The venue is home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club which has played its home matches there since 24 May 1967, after moving away from Cardiff Arms Park. A 125-year lease of the ground was acquired in 1995, with the previous leaseholders, Cardiff Athletic Club, moving its cricket section (Cardiff Cricket Club) to the Diamond Ground in Whitchurch. Beside the cricket ground is the large sports hall complex of the Sport Wales National Centre. Cardiff Corinthians F.C. have previously used the area for football. In July 2007, Glamorgan cricketer Mike Powell was granted his wish to have a rib, removed during surgery, buried at the ground.
Five limited overs internationals have been hosted at Sophia Gardens since 1999. On 11 April 2008, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that the venue would host a series of major Test matches over the next four years. They had already announced a limited overs international between England and South Africa on 3 September 2008 and that it would host its first Test match on 8 July 2009 as the opening match of an Ashes series between England and Australia. This made Sophia Gardens the 100th Test match venue.
The first Test staged at the ground started on 8 July 2009. England won the toss and decided to bat first, with Andrew Strauss scoring the first Test runs at the venue and Ben Hilfenhaus taking the first wicket. The match was drawn. By July 2011, the ECB confirmed that the ground had been dropped as a Test venue because of Glamorgan's failure to pay back £2.5m to the ECB after an England and Sri Lanka Test in May 2011. This had been resolved by the following September, when the stadium was set to host a Test match in the 2015 Ashes series between England and Australia.
On 4 March 2008, Glamorgan Cricket Club announced a 10 year sponsorship deal with SWALEC, thought to be the biggest single sponsorship by a county cricket club, giving SWALEC the naming rights to the new stadium, which is worth in excess of £1.5 million over 10 years. The GB£9.4 million redeveloped stadium, with approximately half of the funding (£4.5m) being provided in the form of a Cardiff Council loan. It is possible that the revamped stadium could host seven Test matches, nine One Day Internationals and two World Cup games up to 2028, injecting at least £50m into the local economy. Construction of the redevelopment of Sophia Gardens began in April 2007, and the redeveloped stadium was first opened for competitive matches on 9 May 2008, when the Glamorgan Dragons played the Gloucestershire Gladiators in a Friends Provident Trophy match in which the Gladiators won by six wickets.
- Sport in Cardiff
- List of cricket grounds in England and Wales
- List of sports venues with sole naming rights
- Cricket Wales
- "Glamorgan secure England matches". BBC Sport (BBC). 30 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- "The Ashes – a Cardiff Success". HLN Architects. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- Pavilion Plaque, Sophia Gardens
- Powell buries his rib at Sophia Gardens
- SWALEC Stadium awarded more international cricket
- Cricket: Swalec Test match loss is confirmed
- Trent Bridge to host Ashes Tests in 2013 and 2015
- The SWALEC Stadium
- Atherton says Cardiff ground “too small” for Ashes cricket
- Cardiff to host Ashes Test match
- Cardiff to host Ashes Test in 2009
- Gladiators spoil Glamorgan’s opening-night party
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to SWALEC Stadium.|