The first Groundsman I remember was an old cricketer named Alf Davies, who at one time was the Landlord of the Bridgend Hotel in Crickhowell. Alf Davies loved that ground and woe betide any kid found to fall short of his standards of behaviour. The Ground in those days was owned by the Welfare Association and the Groundsman single-handedly was responsible for the maintenance of the Rugby / Soccer field in addition to the Bowling Green, Tennis Courts and Cricket Ground. Alf Davies cut the outfield with a Ransome and Marles hand mower and tended the immaculate square with loving care - he had a long bladed penknife with which he cut off the root of any offending weed. The rolling of the wickets was carried out by use of a huge, concrete filled iron roller fitted with wooden sharves for horses. A horse wasn't needed as Alf enrolled any youngster in sight to push the roller. Any of these unfortunates knows full well that there is a considerable slope on the ground as the effort to return the roller to its resting place by the top sight screen was considerable. The big advantage Alf had was that he held the key to a locker in the Home Dressing Room which contained a rough selection of practice kit - easy, no roller pushing, no practice!!
First Class County Cricket came to Ebbw Vale for the first time in 1946 and the condition of the ground must have been an important factor.
The first Glamorgan Count match played at Ebbw Vale was against Worcestershire and was a great success, so much so that later that summer when the Llanelli ground was deemed unfit for first class cricket their fixture with Notts was relocated to Ebbw Vale.
The Committee must also have worked hard to bring first class cricket to Ebbw Vale and the Officers I remember were Edgar Watkins (Chairman), Silwyn Davies (Secretary) and Trevor Henry (Treasurer). Mr Watkins was incidentally an old Ebbw Vale player and was the father of John, a stalwart of Ebbw Vale Cricket for many years.
Cricket in those days drew huge attendances, with people seated on temporary 3-tier benches along the river boundary and Rugby end, with every square yard of the bank occupied. Matches always were held during the Steelworkers and Miners Holidays which accounted for much of the crowd - there weren't many counter attractions either, not many cars and no-one had heard of Benidorm!!
The great broadcaster John Arlott did a commentary on one match from a table situated in front of the old Tea-Rooms and proceeded to "blow the gaff" on all kids from the County School who had "mwched" the day off from school.
During one of those early matches in the late 40's I earned 7s 6p (37p) a day plus packed lunches for operating the Scorebox. Glamorgan used to sell off all the old match balls for £1 10s (£1:50p) each and I well remember buying one from the Glamorgan Captain Wilf Wooller at the close of play on the third and final day of a match, supplementing earnings with pocket money.
At this time boys used to organise their own cricket matches against teams from other districts in the locality. Glanyrafon versus Cwm, New Houses and Willowtown were regular fixtures, generally played on Frenches Field (opposite Queens Villas and College Mews on Beaufort Road). This used to be a very rough football field and an even rougher cricket pitch (ask Bob Parsons or John Watkins) but our gang had a leather seam ball - known as a "Casey" as opposed to a "Corky" ball.