Cricket in Wales

Cricket is a popular sport in Wales with its roots beginning in the late 18th century and has been played throughout Wales ever since. All cricket within Wales is regulated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) making it effectively part of all cricket played within the English cricket system. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is Wales' only first-class County team, and Welsh players are eligible to represent England as Wales does not currently have its own Test cricket team or cricket body. Cricket is played within the Welsh schools system, and is considered one of the country's main summer sports.

Cricket in Wales
The entrance to the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, the home of Welsh cricket.
Governing bodyEngland and Wales Cricket Board
National team(s)Wales
National competitions
International competitions


Cricket, as a sport, has its origins in England, with its first known set of rules written in 1744. The earliest definite reference to cricket in Wales is in 1763 when it was played at Pembroke.[1] The first recorded match was played at Llanegwad in Carmarthenshire.[2] The first club to be mentioned is Swansea, in 1785.[2] By c. 1800 matches were also being played in the north, specifically in Holywell; there are records of further matches in the Hanmer area in the 1820s.

With the development of the railways and better transportation links, the game of cricket began to spread slowly across Wales and by the 1830s the first interclub fixtures were regularly played.[2] On 5 May 1845, Cardiff Cricket Club was inaugurated, and after three years using the rented field at Longcross, now the location of the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, the team became associated with the Cardiff Arms Park.[3] Both the Arms Park and St. Helen's, in Swansea were cricket venues before they became associated with rugby union. By 1850 cricket had become a popular activity in many schools, and this in turn helped cricket to be adopted as a working-class sport rather than one associated with the gentry as it occurred in England.

1859 saw the first match between select English and Welsh teams, when the All England XI played a South Wales XXII.[2] The South Wales team were victorious and this led to the first attempt to form a first-class team in Wales. Although county teams were formed after this date, most were short lived; but in 1888 Glamorgan County Cricket Club was formed, which would become the most important first-class team in Wales. Glamorgan entered the Minor Counties Cricket Championship in 1897 and was joined by other county teams from Wales: Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire and Denbighshire. In 1921 Glamorgan became the first county team to gain first-class status, and was the 17th member of the County Championship.

From its earliest days Glamorgan refused to designate a county headquarters, playing its matches at both St. Helen's in Swansea and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, in an attempt to remain neutral to the two main cities of the county. In 1975, St. Helen's Ground in Swansea held the first international game to be played outside the normal Test venues of England, hosting a One-day International between England and New Zealand.[2]

Domestic competitions

Glamorgan County Cricket Club is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship. They also play the one day National League, a one-day knock out competition called the Friends Provident Trophy, and the short-form Twenty20 Blast.

Wales Minor Counties Cricket Club also plays in the English Minor Counties competition which is a season-long competition in England for county clubs that do not have first-class status.

Two Welsh cricket leagues have received ECB accreditation: the North Wales Premier Cricket League and the South Wales Cricket League.

Cricket Grounds

See main article: List of cricket grounds in England and Wales

Glamorgan play at the following grounds: Penrhyn Avenue in Colwyn Bay, St. Helen's in Swansea and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

On 8 July 2009 the SWALEC Stadium, formerly known as Sophia Gardens held its first Test match, when it hosted the first match of the 2009 Ashes Series. The game ended in a draw.

List of Cricket grounds

Official name (known as)City or townCounty side/use spanCapacityEnds/notesRef
BP Oil Refinery Ltd GroundLlandarcyGlamorgan (1971)[4]
Cardiff Arms ParkCardiffGlamorgan (1896–1966)7,000 North Stand
 Westgate Street End
Cowbridge Cricket GroundCowbridgeGlamorgan (1931–1932)[6]
Hoover's Sports GroundMerthyr TydfilGlamorgan (1988–1989)[7]
Miskin Manor Cricket Club GroundMiskin Manor(has held a Women's ODI)[8]
Parc-y-Dwrlyn GroundPentyrchGlamorgan (1993)[9]
Pontarddulais ParkPontarddulaisWales Minor Counties (1992–present)[10]
Sophia GardensCardiffGlamorgan (1967–present)
Wales Minor Counties (1988 & 2000–2002)
15,600• River Taff End
• Cathedral Road End
(has held ODIs, T20Is and Women's ODIs)
Sully Centurions Cricket Club GroundSullyWales Minor Counties (2002)[13]
St. Helen'sSwanseaGlamorgan (1897–present)
Wales Minor Counties (1989–2008)
4,500 Mumbles Road End
 Pavilion End
(has held ODIs and a Women's ODI)
Steel Company of Wales GroundMargamGlamorgan (1953–1963)[15]
The GnollNeathGlamorgan (1934–1995)
Wales Minor Counties (2000)
6,000 Llantwit Road End
 Dyfed Road End
Ynysangharad ParkPontypriddGlamorgan (1926–1999)
Wales Minor Counties (1995–2004)
5,000 River End
 Nursury End

Governing body

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA) and the Cricket Council. They are full members of the International Cricket Council.

Cricket Wales[18] is the governing body of cricket in Wales. It is an umbrella partnership body comprising the Welsh Cricket Association, Glamorgan Cricket, Wales Minor Counties, the Welsh Schools Cricket Association and Sport Wales.

National team

A Welsh cricket team has appeared on a number of occasions. Generally however, Wales do not field a team in international competition, with players instead playing for England.

The following Welsh people have played Test cricket for England: Johnnie Clay, Robert Croft, Jeff Jones, Simon Jones, Tony Lewis, Austin Matthews, Hugh Morris, Gilbert Parkhouse, Pat Pocock, Greg Thomas, Matthew Maynard, Maurice Turnbull, Cyril Walters, Steve Watkin and Allan Watkins.

England is a founding Test cricket, One Day International and Twenty20 nation. England played in the first ever Test match in 1877 (against Australia in Melbourne) and also the first ever One-day International in 1971 (also against Australia in Melbourne).

Each summer, two foreign national teams visit England to play seven Test matches and numerous One Day Internationals. In the British winter the England team tours abroad. The highest profile rival of the England cricket team is the Australian team, with which it competes for the Ashes, one of the most famous trophies in British sport.

Recently there have been calls from Welsh fans for the country to be represented by its own national team as in other sports, in the same way that Scotland is. Criticism has been made of the England and Wales Cricket Board using only the England name whilst utilising Welsh players such as Simon Jones and Geraint Jones, both of whom were instrumental in England regaining the Ashes from Australia in 2005.[19]

Notable Welsh cricketers

The following Welsh people have played Test cricket for England:

  • Johnnie Clay -: Clay played one Test match for England in 1935.[20]
  • Robert Croft -: Croft played international cricket for both England and Wales. He is first Welsh cricketer to score 10,000 runs and take 1,000 wickets in first-class cricket.[21]
  • Geraint Jones -: Born in Papua New Guinea and brought up in Australia, Jones qualified to play for England through his Welsh parents. Jones was the England wicketkeeper between 2004 and 2006, most notably part of the team that regained the Ashes from Australia in 2005. He subsequently represented the Papua New Guinea national cricket team.
  • Jeff Jones -: He took forty-four wickets in fifteen Tests for England from 1964 to 1968.[22]
  • Simon Jones -: He became an integral member of England's triumphant Ashes-winning team in 2005. Jones's pace and mastery of reverse-swing carried him to 18 wickets at 21 in four Tests, before he was forced to sit out a nervy final match due to an ankle problem.[23]
  • Tony Lewis -: 9 Tests. He is the only Glamorgan cricketer to captain England and lead a major tour abroad. He went on to become the face of BBC Television cricket coverage in the 1990s, and become president of the MCC.[24]
  • Austin Matthews -: He played for Northamptonshire, Glamorgan and single Test for England.[25]
  • Hugh Morris -: He played in three Tests for England in 1991.[26]
  • Gilbert Parkhouse -: He played in seven Tests for England in 1950, 1950–51 and 1959.[27]
  • Pat Pocock -: He played in twenty Tests and one ODI for England from 1968 to 1985.[28]
  • Greg Thomas -: He played in five Tests and three ODIs for England between 1986 and 1987.[29]
  • Maurice Turnbull -: He played in nine Tests for England from 1930 to 1936.[30]
  • Cyril Walters -: He had most of his success after leaving Glamorgan to do duty as captain-secretary of Worcestershire.[31]
  • Steve Watkin -: He played three Test matches in 1991 and 1993, and four One Day Internationals in 1993 and 1994.[32]
  • Allan Watkins -: He played for England in fifteen Tests from 1948 to 1952.[33]
  • Matthew Maynard -: He played four tests for England from 1988 to 1993 and 14 one day internationals. Captain of Glamorgan CC, England backroom staff for Ashes winning series 2005 and presently Director of Cricket at Somerset [34][35]


Cricket has always struggled for attention in Wales, where rugby and football are the two most popular sports. The lack of a national team has also meant that cricket has a harder time capturing the popular imagination in the way the Welsh national rugby and football teams often do.

In 2005 the ECB concluded a commercial arrangement with Sky, giving it the exclusive television rights for live Test cricket in England for four years (the 2006 to 2009 seasons). This deal, which took live Test cricket for home England matches away from terrestrial television for the first time generated substantial future revenues for English cricket, but was criticised by many England cricket supporters and others.

The Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year is an annual award voted by the Cricket Writers' Club for the best young cricket player in England and Wales, and has been awarded since 1950.


  • Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. Eyre & Spottiswoode.
  • Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.

See also


  1. Bowen, p. 265.
  2. Davies (2008), pg 177.
  3. Davies, D.E. (1975). Cardiff Rugby Club, History and Statistics 1876-1975. Risca: The Starling Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-9504421-0-0.
  4. BP Oil Refinery Ltd Ground, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  5. Cardiff Arms Park, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  6. Cowbridge Cricket Ground, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  7. Hoover's Sports Ground, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  8. Miskin Manor Cricket Club Ground, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  9. Parc-y-Dwrlyn Ground, Retrieved on 28 July 2010.
  10. Pontarddulais Park, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  11. Trent Bridge to host Ashes Tests in 2013 and 2015, BBC Retrieved on 22 September 2011.
  12. SWALEC Stadium, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  13. Sully Centurions Cricket Club Ground, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  14. St Helen's, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  15. Station Road, Darley Dale, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  16. The Gnoll, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  17. Ynysangharad Park, Retrieved on 6 August 2010.
  18. "Cricket Wales".
  19. Campaign for a truly National Welsh Cricket Team. The only Welsh cricketer to captain England on a major tour abroad is Tony Lewis, 1972-73.
  20. "The Home of CricketArchive".
  21. "Croft".
  22. "Jeff Jones". Cricinfo.
  23. "Simon Jones". Cricinfo.
  24. "Tony Lewis". Cricinfo.
  25. "Austin Matthews". Cricinfo.
  26. "Hugh Morris". Cricinfo.
  27. "Gilbert Parkhouse". Cricinfo.
  28. "Pat Pocock". Cricinfo.
  29. "The Home of CricketArchive".
  30. "Maurice Turnbull". Cricinfo.
  31. "Cyril Walters". Cricinfo.
  32. "Steve Watkin". Cricinfo.
  33. "Allan Watkins". Cricinfo.
  34. "ECB Cricket | Live Cricket news, Fixtures and Results". Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  35. Marketing, Liquorice. "Somerset County Cricket Club Website". Retrieved 2016-04-25.