Newport (1)

Rodney Ontong bowls to Derbyshire’s Michael Holding during Glamorgan’s Sunday League match at Rodney Parade in 1988. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Glamorgan’s merger in 1934 with Monmouthshire saw regular first-class and one-day matches being staged at a number of grounds in Gwent, including the Rodney Parade ground in Newport. It had been created in 1877 following Newport Athletic Club securing the lease of seven acres of land, owned by Lord Tredegar on the east bank of the Usk and to the south of Newport Bridge.

Over the next few years, various small-scale improvements took place as Lord Tredegar encouraged the creation of a proper facility for the town`s young sportsmen. Initially, all activities took place on the one sports field, but during the mid 1890s Lord Tredegar leased a further five acres of land to the Athletic Club,  allowing a self-contained cricket ground to be laid out with a purpose-built pavilion, terrace seating, and a scoreboard. The work was completed by 1901, and on 1 June Lord Tredegar formally opened the new Rodney Parade cricket ground, and a special game was staged by Newport CC against Cardiff CC.

1901 also saw Monmouthshire being admitted to the Minor County competition, and the Rodney Parade ground became their home base.  However, they suffered a rather unfortunate start to their new career with a pair of innings defeats against rivals Glamorgan. In the match at the Arms Park, Herbie Morgan lashed the Monmouthshire attack for 254 as Glamorgan raced to 538, but there were mitigating circumstances as Monmouthshire started the game without four team members who had been delayed by a train accident in the Newport tunnel.

The groundstaff at Rodney Parade in 1907. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Things soon improved, and in 1905 Monmouthshire finished second in the table, after some fine batting displays from Edward Stone Phillips, another member of the brewing family, who had won a Blue at Cambridge the previous year. Despite becoming a Director of the Brewery, Phillips found plenty of time to play for both Newport and Monmouthshire, hitting 133* against Glamorgan in 1905, and 150 against the same opponents in the following year.

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