Brief history of the BP Refinery Ground, Llandarcy
by Dr.A.K.Hignell - Hon Statistician and Historian to Glamorgan CCC
In 1921 National Oil Refineries Ltd built a refinery at Llandarcy, a small village some two miles south-west of Neath, close to the mouth of the River Neath. The company also acquired an area of adjoining farmland and decided to provide recreational facilities for their employees. This led to the establishment of a cricket club, and the company (later to be taken over by B.P.) oversaw ground improvements, the construction of changing rooms and a pavilion, as well as the creation of a decent wicket.
May 1949 saw the visit of a Glamorgan Club and Ground XI for a game with the Oil Refinery side, and after being suitably impressed with the facilities, Glamorgan 2nd XI played their Minor County fixture with Gloucestershire 2nd XI in 1950 at the Llandarcy ground. Rain however washed out the first day's play, but on the second day, Glamorgan declared on 163-8 and then bowled out Gloucestershire for 105 to win by 58 runs.
By this time Len Pitchford, the former Glamorgan batsman was acting as the groundsman, and he undertook further improvents to the wicket. His efforts were rewarded with annual second eleven, as well as club and ground games, at the B.P. ground from 1950 onwards, together with Glamorgan's two day match against the Pakistani Eaglets in 1958. Pitchford had hoped that this friendly might even lead to a first-class game being staged at the ground, but rain washed out play.
Pitchford's dream of first-class cricket at Llandarcy eventually took place in 1971 as the ground was allocated Glamorgan's match with Oxford University, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations at the refinery complex. In subsequent years, the ground has continued to host second eleven games, and in the late 1980's it was the home venue for the Glamorgan Colts side that took part in the South Wales Cricket Association.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dr.A.K.Hignell)