Dreams of Test Cricket

Glamorgan’s success in the Minor County Championship during the 1890s and 1900s fuelled the ambitions of the Welsh county’s officials.

Having been joint Minor County champions in 1900, the Club secured a match against the 1902 Australians at the Arms Park. The game saw a combined Glamorgan and Wiltshire side challenge the tourists and despite ending in defeat, it led to many plaudits about the arrangements made by the Club’s officials.

The only stumbling block was the small and antiquated pavilion which almost forty years after its creation, had become totally inadequate for the Edwardian cricketers. With dreams of staging further international games, the Glamorgan officials organized a fund-raising campaign for the creation of a proper pavilion which could serve the needs of both the cricketers as well as the rugby players who used the adjoining rugby ground.

A postcard, dated 1908 showing the Arms Park (both rugby and cricket) plus the impressive pavilion. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archive.

The delightful image above shows the impressive pavilion which was opened in 1904. At the end of the season, the Glamorgan officials approached the MCC about Cardiff hosting the opening match of the 1905 Test series against Australia. Nottinghamshire also made a bid to stage the game and by the slender margin of just one vote, the MCC officials opted in favour of Trent Bridge rather than the Arms Park.

November 1905 saw the Welsh rugby team defeat New Zealand at the Arms Park. Had the MCC vote gone the other way this seminal year in Welsh sport would have also seen Test cricket come to the Welsh capital.

Another postcard of the Arms Park pavilion. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.