Cardiff Arms Park


Cardiff Arms Park

Infobox Stadium
stadium_name = Cardiff Arms Park
nickname = "The National Stadium"


location = Cardiff, Wales
coordinates = coord|51|28|43|N|3|10|57|W|display=inline,title
broke_ground =
opened = 1881
renovated = 5 October 1912,
1934,
1956,
7 April 1984
closed = 27 April 1997
demolished = 1997
owner = Cardiff Athletic Club & WRU, from 1968 only the WRU
surface = Grass
construction_cost = £9M
architect = Osborne V Webb & Partners
main_contractors = G A Williamson and
Andrew Scott & Co
tenants = Cardiff RFC until 1969
Wales national rugby union team from 1964
1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
seating_capacity = 65,000 (1984)
53,000 (1997)
Infobox Stadium
stadium_name = Cardiff Arms Park
nickname = "Cardiff Rugby Ground"
"(Replaced the Cricket Ground)"


location = Cardiff, Wales
coordinates = coord|51|28|47|N|3|11|1|W|
broke_ground = 1967
opened = 1969
renovated =
closed =
demolished =
owner = Cardiff Athletic Club
surface = Grass
construction_cost =
architect = Osborne V Webb & Partners
main_contractors = G A Williamson and
Andrew Scott & Co
tenants = Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC
seating_capacity = 16,500 (1969)cite web
url= http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/rugbynation/heineken-cup/2007/06/22/time-blues-quit-arms-park-91466-19336682/
publisher= icWales
title= Time Blues quit Arms Park?
accessdate=2008-04-26
]
12,500 (present day)cite web
url= http://www.wru.co.uk/10351_8941.php
publisher= Welsh Rugby Union Limited
title= Blues fans snap up tickets
accessdate=2008-04-26
]
Infobox_Stadium
stadium_name = Cardiff Arms Park
nickname = "Cricket Ground"


location = Cardiff, Wales
coordinates = coord|51|28|47|N|3|11|1|W
broke_ground =
opened = 1848
renovated =
closed = 1966
demolished = 1966
owner = Cardiff Athletic Club
surface = Grass
construction_cost =
architect =
tenants = Glamorgan County Cricket Club and Cardiff Cricket Club
seating_capacity = 7,000cite web
url= http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/england/content/ground/56873.html
publisher= Cricinfo (ESPN)
title= Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales
accessdate=2008-04-23
]

Cardiff Arms Park (Welsh: "Parc yr Arfau Caerdydd"), also known as The Arms Park, is a rugby union stadium situated in the centre of Cardiff, Wales. The history of the rugby ground starts with the first stands appearing for spectators in the ground in 1881–1882, although the Arms Park had cricket played on the site since 1848.cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/Creation.html |publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Cardiff Arms Park, A short History - The Creation of the Arms Park |accessdate=2008-05-21] It is today the home to two rugby union teams, the Cardiff Blues and Cardiff Rugby Football Club.cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/wales/1092730.stm |publisher=BBC |title= Arms Park groundsman's dream job |accessdate=2008-04-23]

Until 1966, the site had a cricket ground to the north and a rugby ground to the south. The cricket ground was home to the only Welsh first-class cricket club, Glamorgan County Cricket Club. The rugby ground was host to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 and home to Cardiff RFC and the Wales national rugby union team. From 1970, the site had two rugby union stadiums: the Cardiff Rugby Ground, which had replaced the cricket ground, and the National Stadium. The National Stadium was home to the Wales national rugby union team and it was officially opened on 7 April 1984, however by 1999 the Millennium Stadium had replaced it as the national stadium of Wales. The Cardiff Rugby Ground has remained the home of Cardiff RFC, yet the future of the rugby stadium is in doubt, with the announcement in 2007 that the Cardiff Blues will be moving to the new Cardiff City stadium in August 2009.

The site has been host to many sports, apart from rugby union and cricket; they include athletics, association football, greyhound racing, tennis,cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Sophia_Gardens/Post_War.html |publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Post-war developments in Sophia Gardens |accessdate=2008-03-17] British baseball and boxing. The site also has a bowling green to the north of Cardiff Rugby Ground, which is used by Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club, this is the bowls section of the Cardiff Athletic Club.cite web |url= http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/expats/expats-newsletter/page.cfm?objectid=17989536&method=full&siteid=50082|publisher= Media Wales (icWales.co.uk) |title= Old battles reignite over shared ground plans|accessdate=2008-05-21] The National Stadium also hosted many music concerts including The Rolling Stones, U2 and Michael Jackson.

History

The Cardiff Arms Park site was originally called the Great Park,cite journal | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006| month = | title = The Cardiff Centenary Walk | journal = | volume = | issue = | pages = | id = | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-11 | quote = ] a swampy meadow behind the Cardiff Arms Hotel. Cardiff Arms Park was named after this hotel/pub, however by 1878, the building had been demolished.cite web |url= http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=48207 |publisher= University of London & History of Parliament Trust |title= 'The older inns of Cardiff', Cardiff Records: volume 5 (1905), pp. 438-445. |accessdate=2008-04-26]

From 1803, the Cardiff Arms Hotel and the Park had became the property of the Bute family.cite web |url= http://www.glamro.gov.uk/check/Building%20of%20a%20Capital%202/Teach/a_recreation.html |publisher= Glamorgan Record Office |title= Parks and Gardens |accessdate=2008-04-26] The Arms Park soon became a popular place for sporting events, and by 1848, Cardiff Cricket Club was using the site for its cricket matches. The 3rd Marquess of Bute stipulated that the ground could only be used for "recreational purposes". At that time Cardiff Arms Park had a cricket ground to the north and a rugby union ground to the south.

1881–2 saw the first stands for spectators; it held 300 spectators and cost GB£50.cite book |last= "Red Dragon" |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= "Reminiscences of the Cardiff Rugby Football Club", "Opening ceremony of the new stands, Cardiff Arms Park", 5 October 1912| |year= 1912 |publisher= Cardiff Rugby Football Club |location=|pages=] In 1890, new standing areas were constructed along the entire length of the ground, with additional stands erected in 1896.

Redevelopment of 1912

By 1912 the Cardiff Football Ground, as it was then known, had a new south stand and temporary stands on the north, east and west ends of the ground. The south stand was covered, while the north terrace was initially without a roof. The improvements were partly funded by the WRU. The opening ceremony took place on 5 October 1912, with a match between Newport RFC and Cardiff RFC. The new ground was opened by Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart. This new development increased the ground capacity to 43,000 and much improved the facilities at the ground compared to the earlier stands.cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/Rugby.html|publisher=Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title=Rugby at Cardiff Arms Park |accessdate=2008-02-16]

In 1922 John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute, had sold the entire site and it was bought by the Cardiff Arms Park Company Limited for GB£30,000, it was then leased to the Cardiff Athletic Club (cricket and rugby sections) for 99 years at a cost of £200 per annum.cite web |url= http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0750expats/newsletter/tm_headline=old-battles-reignite-over-shared-ground-plans&method=full&objectid=17989536&page=2&siteid=50082-name_page.html |publisher= icWales |title= Old battles reignite over shared ground plans - Members stand firmly behind their club's historical base |accessdate=2008-04-26] cite journal |last= Harris CBE LLD (Hons)|first= Kenneth M|authorlink= |coauthors= |title= "The Story of the Development of the National Rugby Ground" 7 April 1984| |year= 1984 |publisher= Welsh Rugby Union |location=|pages=]

New North Stand and South Stand redevelopments

During 1934 the cricket pavilion had been demolished to make way for the new North Stand, which was built on the rugby union ground, costing around £20,000.cite web |url= http://www.glamro.gov.uk/check/Building%20of%20a%20Capital%202/A_Leisure.html |publisher= Glamorgan Record Office |title= "Cardiff: the building of a capital" |accessdate=2008-05-05] However in 1941 the new North Stand and part of the west terracing had been badly damaged in the Blitz by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.cite web |url= http://www.millenniumstadium.com/3473_3558.php |pubnbsplisher= Millennium Stadium plc |title= History of the Millennium Stadium-Cardiff Arms Park Site |accessdate=2008-04-29]

At a general meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in June 1953, they made a decision, "That until such time as the facilities at Swansea were improved, all international matches be played at Cardiff". At the same time, plans were made for a new South Stand, which was estimated to cost £60,000, however the tender price came out at GB£90,000, a compromise was made, and it was decided to build a new upper South Stand costing £64,000 instead, with the Cardiff Athletic Club contributing £15,000 and the remainder coming from the WRU. The new South Stand opened in 1956, in time for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. This brought the overall capacity of the Arms Park up to 60,000, of which 12,800 spectators were seated and the remained standing.

The Arms Park hosted the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, which was used for the athletics events, but this event caused damage to the drainage system, so much so, that other rugby unions (England, Scotland and Ireland) complained after the Games about the state of the pitch. The Development Committee was set up to resolve this issue on a permanent basis. They looked at various sites in Cardiff, but they all proved to be unsatisfactory. They also could not agree a solution with the Cardiff Athletic Club, so they purchased about 80 acres of land at Island Farm in Bridgend, which was previously used as a prisoner-of-war camp. It is best known for the being the camp where the biggest escape attempt was made by German prisoners of war in Great Britain during the Second World War.cite web |url= http://www.islandfarm.fsnet.co.uk/ |publisher= www.islandfarm.fsnet.co.uk/ |title= Island Farm, Prisoner of War Camp: 198 / Special Camp: XI |accessdate=2007-08-15] Due to problems including transport issues Glamorgan County Council never gave outline planning permission for the proposals and by June 1964 the scheme was abandoned. At that stage, the cricket ground to the north was still being used by Glamorgan County Cricket Club, and the rugby union ground to the south was used by the national Wales team and Cardiff RFC.

By 7 October 1966, the first floodlit game was held at Cardiff Arms Park, a game in which Cardiff RFC beat the Barbarians by 12 points to 8.cite web |url= http://pirate.cardiffschools.net/index1.htm|publisher=Cardiff Council |title=Cardiff Timeline |accessdate=2008-04-29]

The National Stadium

The National Stadium, which was also known as the Welsh National Rugby Ground, was designed by Osborne V Webb & Partners and built by G A Williamson & Associates of Porthcawl and Andrew Scott & Company of Port Talbot.cite web |url= http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/item10/10307 |publisher= Culturenet Cymru |title= Cardiff Arms Park, 1997 |accessdate=2008-05-01] [cite web |url= http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=o0BsU6JbpYAC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=%22o.v.+webb%22&source=web&ots=GdgRniPb5y&sig=sEXQboi_pt5pQ9ZYh7_eZqUF-KE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result|publisher= Google Books and Concrete Society |title= Stadia, Arenas and Grandstands By P. Thompson, J. J. A. Tolloczko, Jean Benedetti, J. N. Clarke, Concrete Society |accessdate=2008-09-04]

After agreement from the Cardiff Athletic Club, the freehold of the south ground was transferred solely to the WRU in July 1968. Work could then begin on the new National Stadium. Glamorgan County Cricket Club would move to Sophia Gardens and the cricket ground to the north would be demolished and a new rugby union stadium built for Cardiff RFC, who would move out of the south ground, allowing the National Stadium to be built, for the sole use of the national rugby union team.

On 17 October 1970, the new North Stand and the Cardiff RFC ground was completed, the North Stand cost just over GB£1 million. The West Stand was opened in 1977 and the new East Terrace was completed by March 1980. By the time the final South Stand had been completed and the Stadium officially opened on 7 April 1984, the South Stand had cost £4.5M. At the start of the project, the total cost was estimated at £2.25M, although by time it was finished in 1984, it had risen by nearly four times that amount. The two stadiums on the site both had approximately east-west alignment; the Cardiff Rugby Ground to the north (Castle Street) end, and the National Stadium to the south (Wood Street) end. The original capacity was 65,000 but this had to be reduced in later years to 53,000 for safety reasons. 11,000 of these were on the East Terrace and the conversion to all-seater stadium would have reduced the stadium capacity still further to 47,500. This capacity would have been much less than Twickenham and the other major rugby venues and also less than the demand for tickets to major events.cite web |url= http://www.panstadia.com/vol3/33-022.htm |publisher= www.panstadia.com |title= In the heart of the city|accessdate=2008-05-01]

The first evening game to be played under floodlights was held on 4 September 1991 at 8.00pm, between Wales and France.cite web |url= http://www.rugbyrelics.com/Museum/topics/Tickets.htm |publisher= www.rugbyrelics.com |title= This night time international against France opened the new floodlights at Cardiff Arms Park |accessdate=2008-05-01] The last international match to be held at the National Stadium was between Wales and England on 15 March 1997, and the last ever match that was held at the National Stadium was on 26 April 1997 between Cardiff and Swansea, Cardiff won the WRU Challenge Cup by 33 points to 26 points.cite web |url= http://www.napit.co.uk/viewus/infobank/rugby/wruchallengecup.php |publisher= Napit.co.uk |title= WRU Challenge Cup |accessdate=2008-05-01]

The Millennium Stadium

Just thirteen years later in 1997, the National Stadium was considered too small and did not have the facilities required of the time and it was demolished and a new stadium, the Millennium Stadium, was built in its place (completed to a north-south alignment and opened in June 1999). This would become the fourth redevelopment of the Cardiff Arms Park site.cite web |url= http://www.millenniumstadium.com/3473_3557.php |publisher= The Millennium Stadium |title= Background to the Millennium Stadium Project |accessdate=2008-05-05] Although the Millennium Stadium is on roughly two thirds of the old National Stadium site, it is not considered to be part of Cardiff Arms Park; therefore, Cardiff Arms Park is not used in the address of the Millennium Stadium.cite web |url= http://www.millenniumstadium.com/3473_3567.php |publisher= The Millennium Stadium |title= Millennium Stadium Address |accessdate=2008-05-05]

Cardiff Rugby Ground

Infobox Awards
title = Cardiff Rugby Ground, Cardiff Arms Park
halign = center
award1 = multiple image | align = center | direction = horizontal | header = | header_align = left/right/center | header_background = | footer = | footer_align = center | footer_background = | width = |


| width1 = 116 | caption1 =
bmibaby.com Stand
|
| width2 = 131 | caption2 =
Westgate Street end

award2 = double image |center|Cardiff Arms Park, South Stand and Millennium Stadium (North Stand).jpg|118|West Stand, Arms Park.jpg|129|
South Stand|
River Taff end

award3 = double image |center|Entrance to Cardiff Arms Park.jpg|122|Clubhouse, Cardiff Athletic Club.jpg|129|
South entrance|
The Clubhouse

award4 = double image |center|Gwyn Nicholls Memorial Gates 02.jpg|125|Gwyn Nicholls Memorial Gates 01.jpg|128|
Gwyn Nicholls Memorial Gates (north entrance)

Only the Cardiff Rugby Ground now use the name Cardiff Arms Park. Cardiff Rugby Ground has two main stands, the North Stand, which was renamed the bmibaby.com Stand in August 2002,cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/low/rugby_union/celtic/2191474.stm|publisher= BBC |title= Cardiff fly away with new deal|accessdate=2008-05-24] and the South Stand. Both the bmibaby.com Stand and the South Stand have terracing below seating. The other ends of the ground are the Westgate Street end (east), which has rows of seating below executive boxes, plus the club shop, and the River Taff end (west), which has 26 executive boxes.cite web |url= http://www.freewebs.com/tims92/og041cardiffblues.htm|publisher= T.S. Rigby|title= Cardiff Blues, Cardiff Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-24] Cardiff Rugby Ground has two main entrances, the south entrance, and the Gwyn Nicholls Memorial Gates (north entrance), which was unveiled on 26 December 1949 in honour of the Welsh international rugby player Gwyn Nicholls.cite web |url= http://www.scrum.com/2444_34795.php|publisher= Scrum.com |title= Dynamic Welsh duo to be inducted into International Rugby Hall of Fame|accessdate=2008-05-25] The Ground also has a clubhouse situated in the corner between the South Stand and the Westgate Street end.

The South Stand of the Cardiff Rugby Ground formed a complete unit with the North Stand of the National Stadium. Now the same structure of the South Stand of the Cardiff Rugby Ground is also physically attached to the North Stand of the Millennium Stadium. This section is known colloquially as Glanmor's Gap, after Glanmor Griffiths, former chair and President of the WRU.cite web |url= http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/expats/expats-newsletter/page.cfm?objectid=17989536&method=full&siteid=50082 |publisher= icWales |title= Old battles reignite over shared ground plans |accessdate=2008-04-29] This came about because the WRU were unable to secure enough funding to include the North Stand in the Millennium Stadium, and the National Lottery Commission would not provide any additional funds to be used for the construction of a new ground for Cardiff RFC. The Millennium Stadium was therefore built with the old reinforced concrete structure of the National Stadium (North Stand) and the new steel Millennium Stadium structure built around it.

There is doubt about the future of Cardiff Arms Park after 2010. It was announced on 19 September 2007, that the Cardiff Blues team were to move from Cardiff Arms Park for the season 2009–2010 to the new Cardiff City stadium at Leckwith and become tenants of Cardiff City FC. Cardiff RFC Ltd, the company which runs Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC, still has a 15 year lease on the Arms Park, but it is not known if the small crowds, in the region of 1,000 spectators, who regularly support Cardiff RFC, would not be enough to justify remaining at the Ground. The Ground is still owned by Cardiff Athletic Club, and it is believed that Cardiff Blues pay owners Cardiff Athletic Club rent in the region of £100,000 per annum.cite web |url=http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/rugbynation/magners-league/2007/05/23/ground-share-plan-hailed-as-capital-idea-91466-19169378/ |publisher= Media Wales (icWales.co.uk)|title= Ground-share plan hailed as capital idea|accessdate=2008-05-24] However, it still has the original requirement on the lease, that the land will only be used for "recreational purposes", as stipulated by the Bute family. But the Cardiff Arms Park site is a prime piece of real estate in the centre of Cardiff, which means that it may be difficult to sell the land to property developers. The estimated value of the whole Arms Park site could be at least GB£15 million, although with the "recreational use" requirement, its actual value could be a lot less than that figure. A decision by Cardiff Athletic Club on the future of Cardiff Arms Park could be made during 2008.cite web |url= http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0600soccer/0200news/tm_headline=stadium-switch-turns-spotlight-on-arms-park&method=full&objectid=19816411&siteid=50082-name_page.html |publisher=icWales (Media Wales) |title=Stadium switch turns spotlight on Arms Park |accessdate=2008-02-27]

The move to the new stadium is expected to improve the facilities for both players and supporters. In addition, Cardiff Blues chairman, Peter Thomas, said "A Blues move away from their traditional Cardiff Arms Park home could enable the WRU to complete the Millennium Stadium with an extra 8,000-plus fans able to see games in the (redeveloped) North Stand (Glanmor's Gap)" and "From a rugby point of view, we might attract more fans from the Valleys if we moved away from the Arms Park", Cardiff Blues currently attract an average home gate attendance of 8,866 supporters (2007/08 season)

Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club

Infobox Awards |box_width= 19em
title = Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club, Cardiff Arms Park
award1 =
award1 = multiple image | align = center | direction = horizontal | header = | header_align = left/right/center | header_background = | footer = | footer_align = center | footer_background = | width = |
| width1 = 179 | caption1 =
The clubhouse and bowling green
|
| width2 = 82 | caption2 =
The main gates

Cardiff Arms Park is best known as a rugby union stadium, however Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club (CABC) was established in 1923,cite web |url= http://www.cabcbowls.co.uk/|publisher= Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club |title= Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club |accessdate=2008-06-05] and ever since then the club has used the Arms Park as its bowling club. The bowls club is a section of the Cardiff Athletic Club and shares many of the facilities of the Cardiff Arms Park athletics centre.cite web |url= http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/body_and_soul/article605568.ece|publisher= Times Newspapers Ltd.|title= Let the good times roll|accessdate=2008-06-05]

The Club has produced two Welsh international bowlers; Mr. C Standfast in 1937 and Mr. B Hawkins who represented Wales in the 1982 World Pairs and captained his country in 1982 and 1984.

Usage

Association football

The Riverside Football Club, founded in 1899, played some matches at the Arms Park until 1910, when they moved to Ninian Park, and later became Cardiff City Football Club.

On 31 May 1989, Wales played its first international game against West Germany at the National Stadium. It was also the first ever international football match held in Great Britain that was watched by all-seater spectators. cite journal | last = Pursey MBE| first = Ivor| authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 1989| month = May| title = History In The Making: Wales V. West Germany. A Message from the President of the F.A.W. | journal = Football Association of Wales match programme| volume = | issue = Wednesday 31 May 1989| pages = | id = | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-11 | quote = ]

Athletics (track and field)

In 1958, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games were held in Cardiff. The event has been the biggest sporting event ever held in Wales, however it would not have been possible without the financial support given by the WRU and the Cardiff Athletic Club. Both the opening and closing ceremonies took place at Cardiff Arms Park, plus all the track and field events, on what had been the greyhound track. It would turn out to be the last time that South Africa would participate in the Games until 1994. South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth Games in 1961.

Baseball & British baseball

Baseball was established early on in Cardiff, and one of the earliest of games to be held at the Arms Park was on 18 May 1918. It was a charity match in aid of the Prisoner of War Fund between Welsh and American teams of the U.S. Beaufort & U.S. Jupiter. British baseball matches have also regularly taken place at the Arms Park and hosted the annual England versus Wales international game every four years.cite web |url= http://www.weltchmedia.com/baseball.html |publisher= Welsh Baseball Union |title= The web page of the Welsh Baseball Union |accessdate=2008-05-06] cite web |url= http://www.grangealbionbaseball.co.uk/9.html |publisher= Grange Albion Baseball Club |title= Grange Albion Baseball Club |accessdate=2008-05-06] The games are now usually held at Roath Park.

Boxing

Around 25,000 spectators watched international boxing on 1 October 1993, at the National Stadium with a World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight title bout between Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno. Lewis beat Bruno by a technical knockout in the 7th round, in what was called the "Battle of Britain".cite web |url= http://www.boxing2007.com/PressRelease/2008/MaskaevPeterStatistics.htm |publisher= pound4pound.com|title= WBC Statistics|accessdate=2008-05-12] On 30 September 1995, Steve Robinson the World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Featherweight Champion, lost against Prince Naseem Hamed at the Cardiff Rugby Ground in 8 rounds.cite web |url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A28661691|publisher= BBC|title= Cardiff's greatest fight nights |accessdate=2008-05-12]

Cricket

In 1845 Cardiff Cricket Club was formed, by 1848 they had moved to their new home at the Arms Park.cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/Early_Cricket.html |publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Cardiff Arms Park - a short History - Early Cricket in Cardiff |accessdate=2008-05-07] Glamorgan Cricket Club, at the time not a first-class county, played their first match at Cardiff Arms Park in June 1869, against Monmouthshire.cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/Early_County_Cricket.html |publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Cardiff Arms Park - a short History - Early County Cricket at the Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-07] They played their first-ever County Championship match there in 1921,cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/Glamorgan_First_Win.html|publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Cardiff Arms Park - a short History - Championship cricket at the Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-07] competing there every season (except while first-class cricket was suspended during the Second World War), their last match being against Somerset in August 1966. Glamorgan then moved to a new ground Sophia Gardens on the opposite bank of the River Taff to the Arms Park,cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/History/Cardiff_Arms_Park/County_End.html|publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive|title= Cardiff Arms Park - a short History - The end of county cricket at the Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-07] following work on the creation of a national rugby stadium, later named the National Stadium. The first first-class cricket match actually to be held on the ground was between West of England and East of England, on 20 June 1910. In all more than 240 first-class cricket matches were played at Cardiff Arms Park.cite web |url= http://cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Grounds/90/381_f.html|publisher= CricketArchive|title= First-Class Matches played on Cardiff Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-07]

Only one List A game was ever played at the ground, and this was only the second match of its type: Glamorgan's Gillette Cup fixture against Somerset on 22 May 1963.cite web |url= http://www.cricketarchive.com/Glamorgan/Grounds/381_a.html |publisher= Glamorgan County Cricket Club & CricketArchive |title= Glamorgan List A Matches played on Cardiff Arms Park|accessdate=2008-05-06] Except for the aforementioned 1910 game, the only major match not to involve Glamorgan was a Test Trial in July 1932, which was badly affected by the weather and saw play on only one of the scheduled three days.

Greyhound racing

To help pay for the upkeep of the site, a greyhound track was opened in 1927. The Arms Park (Cardiff) Greyhound Racing Company Limited signed a 50-year lease in 1937, with Cardiff Athletic Club, the owners of the Arms Park, having no rights to break the agreement or to review the rental until the 50 years were up. However the last greyhound race was actually held at the National Stadium was on 30 July 1977.cite web |url= http://pirate.cardiffschools.net/index1.htm |publisher= cardiffschools.net |title= Cardiff Timeline|accessdate=2008-05-07]

Rugby union

In 1876, the Cardiff RFC was formed and soon after they also used the park. On 12 April 1884, the first international match was played at the ground between Wales and Ireland, when 5,000 people watched Wales beat Ireland by 2 tries and a drop goal to nil. The Arms Park rugby ground became the permanent home of the Wales national rugby union team in 1964. Later, the National Stadium was also home to the WRU Challenge Cup from 1972 until the last ever match held at the Stadium on 26 April 1997, at a much reduced capacity, between Cardiff RFC and Swansea RFC. Cardiff RFC won the match by 33 point to 26, with the last try scored by Nigel Walker.cite web |url=http://www.wru.co.uk/86_641.php|publisher= Welsh Rugby Union Limited|title= Konica Minolta Cup: a brief history|accessdate=2008-05-07]

The National Stadium hosted four games in the 1991 Rugby World Cup, including the 3rd / 4th place play-off.cite web |url= http://www.therugbyworldcup.co.uk/1991.html |publisher= therugbyworldcup.co.uk |title= RWC 1991 Staged in Europe |accessdate=2008-04-29] The National Stadium was also host to the inaugural Heineken Cup final of 1995-6 when Toulouse beat Cardiff RFC by 21 to 18 after extra time, in front of 21,800 spectators.cite web |url= http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/79_119.php
publisher= ERC |title= Toulouse Win Inaugural Tournament |accessdate=2008-04-29
] The following final in 1996-7 was also held at the National Stadium, this time it was between Brive and Leicester Tigers. Brive won the match 28 points to 9, in front of a crowd of 41,664.cite web |url= http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/80_118.php |publisher= ERC |title= Brive the Champions |accessdate=2008-04-29] The Heineken Cup is Europe's premier Rugby Union club competition.

In 2008, the Cardiff Rugby Ground hosted all the games in Pool A of the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship and also the semi-final on 18 June 2008, in which England beat South Africa 26–18.cite web |url= http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=18&art_id=vn20080619070737915C982514 |publisher= Independent News & Media|title= England kill off Baby Boks' world title hopes |accessdate=2008-06-19]

The greatest match, the greatest try

The stadium is best known as the venue for what some say was the "the greatest try ever scored" by Gareth Edwards for the Barbarians against the New Zealand All Blacks in what is also called "the greatest match ever played" on 27 January 1973.cite web |url= http://www.sportingindex.com/extraspread/sports-zone/great-sporting-years.htm|publisher= Sporting Index Ltd |title= Greatest Sporting Years of the last 100 years - 1973 |accessdate=2008-05-11] cite web |url= http://www.amazon.com/1973-All-Blacks-Barbarians-DVD/dp/B000UO9CPK|publisher= Amazon.com, Inc.|title= 1973 All Blacks vs Barbarians DVD|accessdate=2008-05-11] The final score was 23 points to 11 to the Barbarians (this translates to 27 points to 13, in today's scoring system).

The game is one I will never forget and those of us who played in it will never be allowed to forget. It is a match that will live with me forever. People tend only to remember the first four minutes of the game because of the try, but what they forgot is the great deal of good rugby played afterwards, much of which came from the All Blacks. After the success of the 1971 Lions tour, which captured the imagination of the whole country, it was an opportunity to bring a lot of that side together again.cite web |url= http://www.sportingo.com/Rugby/a2680_Was-this-greatest-rugby-try |publisher= SportBuzz |title=Was this the greatest rugby try of all time? |accessdate=2008-02-26]

—Gareth Edwards

The scorers were for the Barbarians: Tries: Gareth Edwards, Fergus Slattery, John Bevan, J P R Williams; Conversions: Phil Bennett (2); Penalty: Phil Bennett.For the All Blacks: Tries: Grant Batty (2); Penalty: Joseph Karam.

Concerts and conferences

Major music concerts were also held at the National Stadium:

* David Bowie: "Glass Spider Tour" 21 June 1987.cite web |url= http://www.bowiewonderworld.com/tours/tour87.htm |publisher= Paul Kinder |title= 1987 The Glass Spider World Tour (June)|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* U2: "Joshua Tree Tour" 25 July 1987.cite web |url= http://www.u2achtung.com/03/setlists/tournee.php?id=7 |publisher= U2achtung.com|title= Joshua Tree Tour Leg 2 - Europe|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Michael Jackson: "Bad World Tour" 26 July 1988.cite web |url= http://www.michael-jackson-trader.com/tours/badtourdates.html |publisher= Michael Jackson Trader|title= Michael Jackson Bad World Tour Dates |accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Simple Minds: 5 August 1989. [cite web |url= http://flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/333774915/ |publisher= flickr.com |title= Simple Minds @ Cardiff Arms Park|accessdate=2008-09-04]
* The Rolling Stones: "Urban Jungle Tour" 16 July 1990.cite web |url= http://www.timeisonourside.com/chron1990.html|publisher= Time Is On Our Side (Ian McPherson) |title= The Rolling Stones Chronicle, 1990, Head back to the jungle |accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Status Quo: 8 June 1991. [cite web |url= http://www.chuckberry.de/tour1991.htm#Status%20Quo|publisher= Wolfgang Guhl |title= Tour Information 1991 |accessdate=2008-09-04]
* 10,000 Voices World Choir, with Tom Jones and Dennis O'Neill 23 May 1992.cite web |url= http://www.songsofshirleybassey.co.uk/info/trkl058.html |publisher= www.songsofshirleybassey.co.uk|title= 10,000 Voices II|accessdate=2008-02-27]
* Dire Straits: "European Tour" 11 June 1992.cite web |url= http://www.working-on-it.com/diary/diary.php?www=mfn&tri=all&year=yes |publisher= MK diary |title= MK diary, 1992|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Michael Jackson: "Dangerous World Tour" 5 August 1992.cite web |url= http://www.michael-jackson-trader.com/tours/dangeroustourdates.html|publisher= Michael Jackson Trader|title= Michael Jacksons Dangerous Tour Dates|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* 10,000 Voices World Choir with Shirley Bassey 29 May 1993.
* U2: "Zoo TV Tour" 18 August 1993.cite web |url= http://www.u2-vertigo-tour.com/show627.html|publisher= Matthias Mühlbradt & Martin Stieglmayer|title= Zoo TV Tour - U2, 1993-08-18: Arms Park - Cardiff, Wales|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Jose Carreras: 30 July 1994.cite web |url= http://pirate.cardiffschools.net/cons.htm |publisher= cardiffschools.net|title= Jose Carreras at The Arms Park |accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Bon Jovi: "These Days Tour" 21 June 1995, supported by Van Halen: "The Balance Tour". [cite web |url= http://bonjovi-live.ru/tours/Tour_TD.php
publisher= Alexandr Smolin|title= These days tour |accessdate=2008-09-18
]
* R.E.M.: "Monster Tour" 23 July 1995.cite web |url= http://www.remchronicle.com/gig.php?showid=973 |publisher= remchronicle.com|title= 1995-07-23 Cardiff, Wa |accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Tina Turner: "Wildest Dreams Tour" 14 July 1996.cite web |url= http://www.tina.marco-skulschus.de/index.php?file=1996tourdates.html&class=OutputTourdates |publisher= marco-skulschus.de |title= Wildest Dreams World Tour 1996/97|accessdate=2008-05-11]
* Jehovah's Witnesses have held their annual conventions at the National Stadium for many years and continue to do so at the Millennium Stadium.cite web |url= http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page29.html |publisher=The Christian Expositor|title= 'Orthodox' Heretics|accessdate=2008-05-11] cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/3079941.stm |publisher= BBC |title=Witnesses unite at stadium |accessdate=2008-05-11]

Singing tradition

The National Stadium was known primarily as the venue for massed voices singing such hymns as "Cwm Rhondda", "Calon Lân", "Men of Harlech" and "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" ("Land of my Fathers" - the national anthem of Wales).cite web |url= http://www.auswelshmalechoir.org.au/pages/history1.html |publisher= The Australian Welsh Male Choir|title= Praise the Lord, we are a musical Nation|accessdate=2008-05-11] The legendary atmosphere including singing of the crowd was said to be worth at least a try or a goal to the home nation.cite web |url= http://www.cardiffmatchday.co.uk/home.html |publisher=Cardiff Match Day |title= Cardiff Arms Park, The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff |accessdate=2008-02-27] This tradition of singing has now passed onto the Millennium Stadium.

The Arms Park has its own choir, called the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir. It was formed in 1966 as the Cardiff Athletic Club Male Voice Choir, and today performs internationally with a schedule of concerts and tours. In 2000, the choir changed their name to become the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir.cite web |url= http://www.malevoicechoir.net/capmc/|publisher= www.cardiffarmsparkmalechoir.co.uk|title=Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir |accessdate=2008-05-11]

See also

* Sport in Cardiff

Notes

References

*Harris, K. M. "The Story of the Development of the National Rugby Ground", 7 April 1984. [http://www.rugbyrelics.com/images/aaaaa/wx/02.jpgCover of the booklet on www.rugbyrelics.com]

External links

* [http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/item10/10307 Photographs of the National Stadium in April 1997, prior to demolition]
* [http://foebane.co.cc/msconstruction/ Photographic history of the demolition of the National Stadium]
* [http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMd7PQavavw&feature=related Gareth Edwards try for the Barbarians Vs All Blacks, 27 January 1973, at the National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park]
* [http://cardiffarmsparkmalechoir.moonfruit.com/ Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir website]
* [http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/item1/31606 The opening ceremony of the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Cardiff Arms Park]




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