Sophia Gardens (cricket ground)

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Sophia Gardens
The Really Welsh Pavilion
Swalec Stadium logo.jpg
Ground information
Location Cardiff, Wales
Capacity 15,643[1]
Owner Cardiff City Council
Architect HLN Architects[2]
End names
River Taff End
Cathedral Road End
International information
First Test 8–12 July 2009: England v Australia
Last Test 8–12 July 2015: England v Australia
First ODI 20 May 1999: Australia v New Zealand
Last ODI 14 September 2013: England v Australia
Domestic team information
Glamorgan (1967–present)
As of 1 June 2011
Source: CricketArchive

Sophia Gardens (Welsh: Gerddi Soffia), known since 2015 as The SSE SWALEC for sponsorship reasons, is a cricket stadium in Cardiff, Wales. It is located in Sophia Gardens on the River Taff. It is home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club and is listed as an international Test cricket venue.

County cricket[edit]

The Cathedral Road End
Before the redevelopment
After the redevelopment

The venue is home to Glamorgan County Cricket Club which has played its home matches there since 24 May 1967,[3] 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.[4]

International cricket[edit]

Sophia Gardens has been an international cricket venue since 20 May 1999, when it played host to the 1999 Cricket World Cup match between Australia and New Zealand. From 2001 to 2012, the ground was a regular venue for One Day Internationals, hosting nine matches in 12 years, but it was not until 2006 that it hosted its first England match, the first match of the series against Pakistan on 30 August 2006. In 2012, the ground was named as one of three venues for the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, along with The Oval and Edgbaston; it hosted five matches, including the opener between India and South Africa on 6 June 2013, and the semi-final between India and Sri Lanka on 20 June.[5] The ground also hosted two Twenty20 Internationals between England and Pakistan in September 2010, and it is due to host another against Australia in August 2015.[6]

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. It would host its first Test match on 8 July 2009 as the opening match of an Ashes series between England and Australia.[7] This made Sophia Gardens the 100th Test match venue. In July 2011, the ECB stripped the ground of its right to host the 2012 West Indies Test because of Glamorgan's late payment of the £2.5 million fee it owed for hosting the 2011 Sri Lanka Test.[8] The ground was originally set to host a Test match against New Zealand in 2013, but this was given up in exchange for the 2013 Champions Trophy.[5] The ground was chosen as the venue for the first Test of the 2015 Ashes series.[9]

The opening ball of the 2009 Ashes series, bowled by Mitchell Johnson to Andrew Strauss.

Stadium redevelopment[edit]

The SWALEC Stadium after the redevelopment
Outside of the stadium
The Really Welsh Pavilion

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.[10] The £9.4 million redeveloped stadium,[11] with approximately half of the funding (£4.5 million) 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 £50 million into the local economy.[12][13] Construction of the redevelopment of Sophia Gardens began in April 2007,[7] 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.[14]

In June 2015, ahead of the First Test of the 2015 Ashes series, the stadium was renamed as simply "The SSE SWALEC" in reflection of the ownership of sponsors SWALEC by SSE plc.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Glamorgan secure England matches". BBC Sport (BBC). 30 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "The Ashes – a Cardiff Success" (PDF). HLN Architects. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Pavilion Plaque, Sophia Gardens
  4. ^ Powell buries his rib at Sophia Gardens
  5. ^ a b "Glamorgan host more 2013 Champions Trophy games". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 21 August 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ashes 2015: England and Australia open Test series in Cardiff". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 12 May 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b SWALEC Stadium awarded more international cricket
  8. ^ Cricket: Swalec Test match loss is confirmed
  9. ^ "Trent Bridge to host Ashes Tests in 2013 and 2015". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 September 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  10. ^ The SWALEC Stadium
  11. ^ Atherton says Cardiff ground “too small” for Ashes cricket
  12. ^ Cardiff to host Ashes Test match
  13. ^ Cardiff to host Ashes Test in 2009
  14. ^ Gladiators spoil Glamorgan’s opening-night party
  15. ^ Griffiths, Gareth (4 June 2015). "Glamorgan rename ground as The SSE SWALEC ahead of Ashes showdown between England and Australia". Wales Online (Media Wales). Retrieved 5 June 2015. 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′14″N 3°11′29″W / 51.48722°N 3.19139°W / 51.48722; -3.19139