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Page last updated at 06:37 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 07:37 UK

Thomas' Stradey heartbreak

Sunset over Stradey
The rugby world is preparing for the sun to set over Stradey Park

As the sun prepares to set on top-flight rugby at Llanelli's Stradey Park legendary Scarlets captain Delme Thomas has spoken of heartbreak at its demise.

Bristol will be the last visitors to the ground on Friday, ending 129 years of Scarlets rugby there.

In a controversial move, the Scarlets have sold off Stradey for housing to finance their new stadium at Pemberton

As part of a series of BBC Sport Wales interviews to mark the ground's closure, Thomas admits mixed emotions.

Thomas said: "To think Stradey Park won't be there any more is heartbreaking for me."

Delme Thomas' memories of 1972

Thomas added of the impending move to the new stadium, Parc y Scarlets and Friday's game in the EDF Energy Cup: "It's going to be very emotional to see the final whistle blown at Stradey Park.

"I played for 15 seasons at Stradey and I feel quite sad they're moving the ground.

Yes, you have to move with the times - I understand that.

"But Stradey has so much history attached to it and to think they're going to build houses there . . . I can't grasp it."

Thomas played at Stradey Park for 15 years and led them to the historic 9-3 win over New Zealand there in 1972.

Huw Llywelyn Davies

He added: "It's very hard for me to accept what's going to happen to Stradey Park.

"I have great memories of the place and it's known throughout the world. If you go to Australia or New Zealand everybody knows where Stradey Park is and to think it won't be there any more is heartbreaking for me, to be honest.

"Parc y Scarlets will be a wonderful new stadium, but to me it won't be Stradey.

"It's going to be totally different and I'm looking forward to seeing the new stadium.

"But it's going to be very emotional for me when they play the last game at Stradey, having played there for so long and having such great memories of the place.

"I played all my rugby there and it means a lot to me that I played there. It's known throughout the world and when you mention Stradey Park it's something special.

see also
Heaven and hell of Stradey Park
21 Oct 08 |  Scarlets
Stradey Park - the bare facts
20 Oct 08 |  Scarlets
Farewell to iconic rugby landmark
07 Jul 08 |  South west
Stradey inquiry backs rugby club
12 Nov 07 |  South west
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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