Support our Nation today - please donate here
Sport

Continued absence of Glamorgan Cricket Club from St Helen’s in Swansea ‘heartbreaking’

25 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Applause at St Helen\’s, Swansea, as visiting captain and Ashes winner Paul Collingwood.

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

The chairman of a cricket-loving volunteer group has described the continued absence of Glamorgan Cricket Club from Swansea’s premier ground as “heart-breaking”.

The county side is playing a fixture this summer at The Gnoll, Neath, but won’t be stopping off at the seaside at St Helen’s as they used to – before the Covid pandemic at least.

John Williams, chairman of St Helen’s Balconiers, which has promoted and raised funds for Glamorgan since 1972, said: “I feel as if I have been thrown out of my own home and been powerless to do anything about it.”

Announcing its 2022 fixture list late last week Glamorgan head of operations, Dan Cherry, said: “Regrettably, we are unable to play at St Helen’s this year, with the facilities no longer able to support the hosting of domestic cricket at the venue.”

A club spokesman said no professional cricket had been played at the Swansea Council-owned ground since 2019 and that it had significant concerns that the  surface and outfield would not meet the required standards to host first-class cricket this year. He also said operational infrastructure was lacking.

The spokesman added that all counties have been given until April next year to meet new minimum standards.

He said Glamorgan CC has been in touch with the council about St Helen’s and had a good relationship with it and with St Helen’s Balconiers.

The county side, he added, wanted to develop a centre of excellence in West Wales to grow the game.

For Mr Williams and the Balconiers, the fixture announcement was another blow. He said he felt that well over a century of cricket heritage at St Helen’s had been disrespected. “It’s so sad – heart-breaking,” he said.

Mr Williams, of Sketty, said the Baloniers had raised £450,000 over the last 12 years for Glamorgan, and had arranged an annual awards evening at no cost to the county side since 1973.

Of St Helen’s itself, he said: “There is no ground in the country where you can watch cricket and have a view of a bay like Swansea.

“Ask all the county sides – they all want to come to St Helen’s.”

‘First-class’

The roll call of famous cricket and rugby players to have graced St Helen’s is lengthy.

Australians Sir Don Bradman, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall, Bill Lawry and recently Glenn McGrath all donned their whites there, as did West Indian maestros Sir

Garfield Sobers – who made first-class cricket history by clubbing six sixes there in an over in 1968 – and Sir Clive Lloyd.

Mr Williams said the Swansea area has been “a nursery” for Glamorgan, nurturing players including Alan Jones, Robert Croft, David Hemp and the late Don Shepherd.

Swansea Council said the outfield and wicket at St Helen’s will undergo their usual council maintenance regime in readiness for the 2022 cricket season, and that it expected Swansea CC to play there as they did last season.

“We’ve maintained St Helen’s to first-class cricket standards for many years although we’re aware of new ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) guidelines due to come in shortly,” said a council spokesman.

The authority, he said, was committed to facilitating the development and delivery of sport in Swansea at community, student and elite levels.

The spokesman added: “We continue to have a strong partnership with the club and Balconiers. We look forward to this continuing in the future.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Grayham Jones
8 months ago

Glamorgan have got to play in the welsh games not The English game

Brian Clement
Brian Clement
8 months ago

Glamorgan, as a cricketing entity, is becoming more and more irrelevant to the people of Wales. The obsession with being seen as an English county, and having international fixtures in Cardiff, has put so many cricketing fans off. Snubbing St Helen’s is hardly surprising as it is the the latest in a line of very poor, misguided decisions.

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
8 months ago

When I practised in Swansea I once strolled down to St.Helens for the last 2 hours of a 1st class game. Watched Greg Thomas (Trebanws) bowling thunderbolts, against the backdrop of Swansea Bay and the Mumbles. And found out about the Balconiers – all great credit to them. All that’s best in Welsh cricket. As with rugby, the pro game does not necessarily work well for Wales as things are. Brian Clement is right. As with rugby, I suspect we’ll have to do something. Maybe rebuild from the South Wales Cricket Association, and the rugby Premiership. Rugby has a reasonable… Read more »

Rob
Rob
8 months ago

Wales should have its own Cricket Team. We shouldn’t be denied this just to keep Glamorgan happy. Imagine this applied to football. No national team, Bale and Ramsey to play for England, in order for Cardiff & Swansea to remain in the English pyramid?
Perhaps the Welsh team could play in St Helens

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Cracking idea Rob. St Helen’s should stake a claim to be the base for Wales CC. This would be very warmly welcomed in Swansea, and across our nation. Time for a change!

Dafydd
Dafydd
8 months ago

Would love to support cricket but that is never going to happen whilst Wales are ensnared by the ameoba of English cricket. It a bl###y disgrace that we can’t create our own national team. Ive no doubt that support for the sport would soar here in Wales if we did. Cant it be subsidised to get it started?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.