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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Full time for sporting landmark
Demolition of the Old Stand
By Tuesday morning much of the stand had gone
Work has begun to demolish one of Wales' most familiar sporting landmarks.

Workmen began the demolition of the Old Stand at St Helen's rugby and cricket ground, which has looked over Swansea Bay since the 1920s, on Monday night.

Among the memorable moments witnessed from the wooden benches were Sir Gary Sobers' six sixes in an over and Swansea's defeat of Australia at rugby.

It is to be replaced by a demountable stand costing around 150,000.

The demolition work follows the move by the Ospreys regional rugby side, which had played at St Helen's and Neath's Gnoll ground, to a new 20,000 all-seated arena at Morfa.

We need facilities fit for the 21st Century for a public who want to sit on proper seats rather than planks of wood
David Price

Mumbles Road, which is overlooked by the Old Stand, was closed eastbound between 1900 BST on Monday and 0830 BST on Tuesday for the work.

There will then be lane restrictions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Some of the benches will be saved with the aim of commissioning an artist to create one-off wooden monuments from them.

Demolition contactors the Cuddy Group said fans had been allowed to take away small parts for the stand for posterity.


David Price, former secretary of Swansea Cricket and Football Club, said the stand was part of the city's sporting heritage.

Old Stand at St Helen's
The stand had overlooked Swansea's seafront since the 1920s

He added: "I remember sitting in the Old Stand when I was a boy watching the All Whites. In some ways it will be sad to see it go.

"But what we need are facilities fit for the 21st Century for a public who want to sit on proper seats rather than planks of wood.

"The changing rooms were built for 15 players a side, but these days there's 25 or so in a squad and they're simply not big enough for the job anymore."

With the Ospreys kicking-off their season at the New Stadium Swansea against English champions Wasps on Friday night, St Helen's will primarily host the Swansea semi-professional rugby side and around 10 days of county cricket each summer.

Swansea Council cabinet member Gerald Clement said: "The stand is too big for the crowds we can expect to be drawn there, but its changing rooms and medical rooms are too small by modern rugby standards.

"We've always known it's in the wrong place for cricket."

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