Neath (2)

The Gnoll ground as seen from the rugby pitch in 1990. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Glamorgan played their first Championship match at The Gnoll in 1934 after the town council offered various financial incentives. With the club`s finances in turmoil, their officials were ready to explore any new venture, and they were delighted that the game against Essex was well attended game. Neath was duly added to the club’s fixture list and in 1948 around 12,000 people watched the match with Warwickshire.

The Indoor School at Neath was opened on 28 October 1954, with the purpose-built complex acting as the club`s winter coaching base in the west. In 1969 the ground also hosted Glamorgan`s first-ever home game in the Sunday League but in 1974 the ground was dropped for almost a dozen years from the county’s fixture list.

During the early 1980s various industrial regeneration schemes began in the Neath Valley, and with the Neath Development Partnership promoting tourism and recreation in the area, cricket was the perfect vehicle for promoting their activities. As a result, Neath Borough Council offered Glamorgan a substantial sponsorship package if the Australian match in 1985 was staged at The Gnoll. The offer of around £320,000 resulted  in the tourist match being staged at The Gnoll, and the game saw Javed Miandad and Younis Ahmed add 306* for the third wicket, with Javed hitting a brilliant double century.

Javed Miandad and Younis Ahmed pose in front of the scoreboard at Neath after their record-breaking partnership against the 1985 Australians. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

The success of the game, and the off-field arrangements led to Glamorgan playing further first-class and limited overs cricket at  the  ground, in addition to the 1989 and 1993 matches with the Australians, plus the 1995 fixture with the Australian ‘A’ side. Amongst the one-day games held at Neath was the 1990 Sunday League fixture with Somerset, whose all-rounder Graham Rose hit a rapid 148 with seven mighty sixes. His 46-ball century, plus an unbeaten 136 from Jimmy Cook, saw Somerset to 360-3 – the highest ever total in the competition against Glamorgan.

A view of the Neath pavilion, taken in 1993. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Click on the link below to see the ground records at The Gnoll, Neath