Brief history of Barry Athletic Club Ground
by Andrew Hignell - Hon Statistician and Historian to Glamorgan CCC

Ground:Barry Athletic Cricket Club, Barry Island

The Barry Atletic Cricket Club's ground at Barry Island, some nine miles from Cardiff, staged a number of friendly games both during and after the Second World War, as well as 2nd XI fixtures during the 1960's and 1970's. The ground is situated at the western end of the Island, close to the popular promenade along Whitmore Bay.


The ground is leased from the Earl of Plymouth at a peppercorn rent - the Plymouth Estate having bought the island in 1878 from the Traherne family. The lease stipulates that the land can only be used for recreation. Indeed, estate records note a request in 1879 from the workers to visit the island for a picnic and games, including cricket.


The development of cricket in Barry stems from the growth of the town's docks from the 1870s onwards. It prompted an influx of people, and the earliest games on record in the town invloved engineers and labourers employed at the Docks. In 1890 Barry Cricket Club was formed, with their earliest games taking place at Porthkerry Park, on land owned by the Romilly family. In 1904 they acquired the area of land on Barry Island, on which they laid out their own wicket and developed a permanent base.


By the inter-war period the Barry club had become a successful club, with several of their players, including Ronnie Boon, Harold Dickinson and Frank Pinch, turning out for Glamorgan. In the early 1930's the Glamorgan club started to stage Club and Ground games at the Island ground, and following thier entry into the Minor County Championship in 1935, the ground hosted fixtures against Berkshire in 1936 and 1937, as well as the two day frienddly with the Phoenix Club of Ireland in 1938.


The ground saw 'county' action during the Second World War as Glamorgan staged a number of special exhibition and fund raising contests. Other grounds were unavailable, but the wicket at Barry was still in a decent state, so the following games were staged at the ground:


June 12th, 1943 - Glamorgan (109) beat Anti-Aircraft Command (88) by 29 runs (This was followed by a time limit game between the two teams - each batting for 45 minutes : A.A.C 93-6 beat Glamorgan 84-4 by 9 runs)


August 14th, 1943 - Glamorgan (101) beat The R.A.F (75) by 26 runs


July 8th, 1944 - Glamorgan (151-5) beat Learie Constantine's XI (147) by 5 wickets


August 5th, 1944 - Glamorgan (248-6d) beat the West of England (193) by 55 runs


July 14th, 1945 - Glamorgan (127) beat Learie Constantine's XI (110) by 17 runs


County cricket returned to the ground after the War, with Glamorgan 2nd XI playing their Gloucestershire counterparts in 1946 at the Island ground. Two years later Glamorgan 2nd XI re-entered the Minor County Championship, and the Barry ground was allocated the games in 1948 against Lancashire II, in 1949 against Devon and Middlesex II, and in 1950 with the latter once again. The success of these games, and the decent attendances from the holidaymakers led to Glamorgan in 1950 deciding to take the two-day friendly against the R.A.F. to Barry. The scores were as follows:


July 12, 13th, 1950 - Glamorgan 245 (S.W.Montgomery 84, A.Wainwright 3-47) and 25-0 R.A.F. 137 (J.E.McConnon 7-33) and 180 (A.C.Shirreff 56, J.E.McConnon 4-23)


The Barry club had hoped that the ground might stage a first-class venue, but the absence of permanent seating, and the popularity of other venues, has meant that Glamorgan's visits have been subsequently restricted to 2nd XI games.


(Article: Copyright © 2009 Dr.A.K.Hignell)


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