The Steel Company of Wales’ ground at Margam. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

The Steel Company of Wales ground at Margam played host to three Championship matches and two other first-class friendlies between 1953 and 1963.  The ground is part of the company’s purpose-built recreational complex, which is currently bounded to the north by the M4 motorway to the north and the Margam  Abbey  works  to  the  south, which were formerly owned by British  Steel and now operated by Tata Steel.

The Margam Abbey Works opened in 1923, and shortly afterwards, a cricket club was formed called Port Talbot Steelworks CC. They initially played in a field close to the Twelve Knights pub in Margam village, before moving the company’s purpose-built ground in 1946 following the acquisition by the Steel Company of Wales of 40 acres of farmland for a recreational complex. The move also saw the cricket team being renamed SCOW Margam.

In addition to a new cricket pitch, facilities were provided for rugby, soccer, hockey, golf, bowls and tennis, whilst a sports and social club was built comprising ten changing rooms on the ground floor, plus upstairs a lounge, bar and concert hall. Originally, the cricket square was located in front of the sports and social club, and this was where the county games were played. However, the square was subsequently moved further away, to allow the rugby pitch to occupy the land in front of the clubhouse, and a small cricket pavilion was built adjacent to the re-sited wicket.

The decision by Glamorgan to take first-class cricket to Margam followed the offer of financial support from the Steel Company of Wales. In 1951 the Glamorgan Club and Ground XI played for the first time at the ground, and after being impressed with the purpose-built facilities, the county’s officials allocated their friendly over the Whitsun Bank Holiday in 1953 against the Gentlemen of Ireland to Margam.

The Glamorgan players, plus the Gentlemen of Ireland, seen at Margam in 1953. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Glamorgan returned to Margam during the early 1960s with matches against Sussex in 1960, Leicestershire in 1961, Gloucestershire in 1962 and Cambridge University in 1963.The attendances however were very modest and, in addition to smoke billowing over the ground from the steel complex, the whole area was open to the elements, with players and spectators often complaining about the squally winds that blew across the ground. It came as no great surprise that Margam was deleted from the first-class calendar for 1964.  

Click on the link below to see the ground records at Margam