St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground

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St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground
St Helen's.DSC00503.JPG
Location Brynmill, Swansea, SA2 0AR
Coordinates 51°36′45″N 3°57′56″W / 51.61250°N 3.96556°W / 51.61250; -3.96556Coordinates: 51°36′45″N 3°57′56″W / 51.61250°N 3.96556°W / 51.61250; -3.96556
Owner City and County of Swansea council
Operator Swansea Council
Capacity 4,500
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1873
Opened 1873
Tenants
Swansea RFC
Swansea Cricket club

St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground is a spectator venue in Swansea, Wales. It is used for both rugby and cricket.

It is owned and operated by the City and County of Swansea council and is also used to host the local annual Guy Fawkes night fireworks display.

History[edit]

Since the ground opened in 1873 it has been the home of the Swansea Rugby Football Club, and the Swansea Cricket club.

In 2005, the venue could hold an audience of 10,500 seated before it was re-developed. The famous east stand, which had provided cloisters over part of Oystermouth Road, has since been demolished and replaced with a metallic stand unloved by locals. The tallest flood light stand in Europe is in St. Helen's Ground. In late November 2007, the ground's perimeter wall in the South East corner, next to Mumbles Road and Gorse Lane, was knocked down and a new wall built further inside the ground, in similar style to the old wall. This was to accommodate a new car park with 39 spaces for the Patti Pavilion.

Rugby[edit]

The first home international in the history of Welsh rugby was played at St. Helen's on 16 December 1882, against England.[1] The ground was the scene of New Zealand's first victory over Wales in 1924.[2] On 10 April 1954, St. Helen's staged its last international until a test match between Wales and Tonga was also played at the ground in 1997.[2] The decision to abandon Swansea as an international rugby union venue in the 1950s was prompted by overstretch of what was then a 50,000-capacity ground; delays for players and spectators travelling west along the A48, especially at Port Talbot; and higher revenues from games at Cardiff Arms Park.[1] Swansea Corporation discussed raising the capacity to 70,000 or even 82,000, but wartime bomb damage inflicted on the city forced a revision of building priorities.[1] However, the ground has been used to host three Welsh women's internationals. The first women's international at Swansea was in April 1999 against England, and the most recent was in November 2009 when Wales defeated Sweden 56-7.

Swansea RFC defeated New Zealand 11-3 at St. Helen's on 28 September 1935, becoming the first ever club side to beat the All Blacks. Swansea also defeated world champions Australia 21-6 in November 1992, when Australia played their first match of their Welsh Tour.

Between 1919 and 1952, St. Helen's was also the home of Swansea Uplands RFC until the club sought its new home in Upper Killay.

During the 1978 Kangaroo tour the Wales national rugby league team played against Australia at St Helen's before a crowd of 4,250.

Cricket[edit]

Ground information
Capacity 4,500
Owner City and County of Swansea council
International information
First ODI 18 July 1973: England v New Zealand
Last ODI 9 June 1983: Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Domestic team information
Glamorgan (1890 – present)
Swansea Cricket Club (1873 – present)
Cricket pavilion

It was in this ground in 1968 that Sir Garfield Sobers hit the first ever six sixes in one over in first-class cricket. Sobers was playing as captain of Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.

As part of their commitment to the entire country of Wales, Glamorgan County Cricket Club play some of their home matches at St. Helen's, as well as their regular home ground, SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, and Penrhyn Avenue in Rhos-on-Sea.

Wales Minor Counties Cricket Club, who have played minor counties cricket since 1988, use the ground as a home base. They are currently the only non-English team in the Minor Counties Championship.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise. Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. pp. 349–50. ISBN 0-7083-0827-9. 
  2. ^ a b "On This Day - November". Retrieved 22 November 2009. 

External links[edit]