Sophia Gardens (cricket ground)

Last updated
Sophia Gardens
Cardiff Wales Stadium
The Discover Leeks Pavilion
Ground information
Location Cardiff, Wales
Coordinates 51°29′14″N3°11′29″W / 51.48722°N 3.19139°W / 51.48722; -3.19139 Coordinates: 51°29′14″N3°11′29″W / 51.48722°N 3.19139°W / 51.48722; -3.19139
Capacity15,643 [1]
Owner Cardiff City Council
ArchitectHLN Architects [2]
End names
River Taff End SophiaGardensCricketGroundPitchDimensions.svg
Cathedral Road End
International information
First Test8–12 July 2009:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Last Test8–11 July 2015:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
First ODI20 May 1999:
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia v Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Last ODI15 June 2019:
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa v Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan
First T20I5 September 2010:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Last T20I5 May 2019:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Only WODI17 August 2003:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Only WT20I31 August 2015:
Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Team information
Glamorgan (1967–present)
Welsh Fire (2019–present)
As of 31 August 2020
Source: ESPNcricinfo

The Cardiff Wales Stadium, which is part of Sophia Gardens Cardiff (Welsh : Gerddi Soffia Caerdydd), 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

The Cathedral Road End
Sophia Gardens before the redevelopment.jpg
Before the redevelopment
(The Cathedral Road Stand)
Cathedral Road end, SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.jpg
After the redevelopment
(renamed the Castell Howell Stand)

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

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 ground was one of 11 venues for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. It was host for four group matches. [10]

Opening Ball.jpg
The opening ball of the 2009 Ashes series, bowled by Mitchell Johnson to Andrew Strauss. In the background is the Riverside Stand

Stadium redevelopment

Sophia Gardens after redevelopment
Outside of the SWALEC Stadium.jpg
The Croeso Stand (left) and the Foster's Grandstand (right)
Really Welsh Pavilion, SWALEC Stadium.jpg
The Discover Leeks Pavilion

The £9.4 million cost to redevelop stadium was funded by with approximately half (£4.5 million) being provided in the form of a Cardiff Council loan. [11] 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]

Stadium naming rights

The logos used during the SWALEC sponsorship deal
Swalec Stadium logo.jpg
Used from 2008 until 2015
Used from 2015 until early 2018

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, worth in excess of £1.5 million over 10 years. [15]

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. [16] The new logo from June 2015 was designed to reflect the shape of the stadium. [17] In April 2018 the stadium officially reverted to its traditional name of Sophia Gardens following the end of the sponsorship deal. [18]

See also


  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.[ permanent dead link ]
  3. Pavilion Plaque, Sophia Gardens
  4. Powell buries his rib at Sophia Gardens
  5. 1 2 "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. 1 2 SWALEC Stadium awarded more international cricket Archived 2008-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  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. "ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 schedule announced". ICC. 14 June 2019.
  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. Cricket: Sophia Gardens ground to be renamed Swalec Stadium
  16. 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.
  17. SSE
  18. Booth, Dominic (30 April 2018) Iconic Cardiff sporting venue renamed as sponsorship deal comes to an end, Wales Online . Retrieved 6 May 2018.

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