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
Ground information
International information
First ODI 18 July 1973:
 England v  New Zealand
Last ODI 9 June 1983:
 Pakistan v  Sri Lanka
Team information
Glamorgan (1890 – present)
Swansea Cricket Club (1873 – present)
As of 12 April 2008
Source: Cricinfo

St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground is a sports venue in Swansea, Wales, owned and operated by the City and County of Swansea Council. Used mainly for rugby union and cricket, it has been the home ground of Swansea RFC and Swansea Cricket Club since it opened in 1873.

In rugby union, St Helen's was the venue for the first ever home match of the Wales national team in 1882. It continued to be used regularly by Wales, often for the Five Nations Championship, until 1954, but has staged only one full international since, in 1997. More recently, the ground has been used by the Wales women's team.

Glamorgan County Cricket Club have regularly used St Helen's as an outground since 1921. The ground has staged two One Day Internationals: England against New Zealand in 1973, and a 1983 World Cup match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

St Helen's has also staged international matches in two other sports. In rugby league, Wales played thirteen matches at the ground between 1945 and 1978, two of which were part of the 1975 World Cup tournament. A football international between Wales and Ireland took place at St Helen's in 1894.

History[edit]

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

On 19 June 1928 the ground was the venue of a mile race, for Swansea Grammar School's Sports Day, won by a teenage Dylan Thomas; he carried a newspaper photograph of his victory with him until his death.[1]

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.[2] The ground was the scene of New Zealand's first victory over Wales in 1924.[3] 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.[3] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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 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 1975 Rugby League World Cup, Australia defeated Wales 18-6 in front of 11,112 fans (this match was broadcast throughout the United Kingdom by the BBC). The two sides again played at Swansea as part of the 1978 Kangaroo tour with the Kangaroos winning 8-3 before a crowd of 4,250.

Rugby League Internationals[edit]

List of international rugby league matches played at St Helen's.[4]

Game# Date Result Attendance Notes
1 24 November 1945  Wales def.  England 26–10 30,000 1945–46 European Rugby League Championship
2 16 November 1946  England def.  Wales 19–5 25,000 1946–47 European Rugby League Championship
3 12 April 1947  Wales def.  France 12–5 12,000 1946–47 European Rugby League Championship
4 18 October 1947  New Zealand def.  Wales 28–20 18,283 1947 Wales vs New Zealand
5 6 December 1947  England def.  Wales 18–7 10,000 1947–48 European Rugby League Championship
6 20 March 1948  France def.  Wales 20–12 6,462 1948–49 European Rugby League Championship
7 20 November 1948  Australia def.  Wales 12–5 9,224 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour
8 5 February 1949  Wales def.  England 14–10 9,553 1948–49 European Rugby League Championship
9 31 March 1951 Other Nationalities def.  Wales 27–21 5,000 1950–51 European Rugby League Championship
10 16 February 1975  Wales def.  France 21–8 23,000 1975 European Rugby League Championship
11 19 October 1975  Australia def.  Wales 18–6 11,112 1975 Rugby League World Cup
12 2 November 1975  Wales def.  New Zealand 25–24 2,645 1975 Rugby League World Cup
13 15 October 1978  Australia def.  Wales 8–3 4,250 1978 Kangaroo Tour

Football[edit]

List of Wales International football matches played at St Helen's.

Date Opponent Result Attendance Notes
24 February 1894[5][6]  Ireland 4-1 7,000 Played as part of the 1893-94 British Home Championship

Cricket[edit]

Cricket pavilion

It was in this ground in 1968 that Sir Garfield Sobers hit the first 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.

International Centuries[edit]

Single ODI century has been scored at the venue.[7]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 100 Dennis Amiss  England 121  New Zealand 18 July 1973 Won

Public Transport[edit]

Southbound ftrmetro Northbound
Brynmill Lane   St. Helen's   The Slip

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dylan's Swansea". Dylanthomas.com. City and County of Swansea. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ a b "On This Day - November". Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  4. ^ St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground at Rugby League Project
  5. ^ "Welsh Newspapers Online FOOTBALL.|1894-03-01|The Aberystwith Observer - Welsh Newspapers Online". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Welsh Newspapers Online". newspapers.library.wales. Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  7. ^ "St Helen's, Swansea / Records / One-Day Internationals / High scores". Retrieved 1 January 2017. 

External links[edit]