Ambitious plans to transform Sardis Road rugby ground have today received funding support from the Welsh Collaborative Sports Facilities Group. Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Coleg y Cymoedd have also committed funding to deliver the new sporting facility for Pontypridd RFC, college learners and other local sports clubs.
With the support of Council Leader Andrew Morgan and local MP Owen Smith, Pontypridd RFC, the Council and Coleg y Cymoedd recently submitted a funding bid to the Collaborative Sports Facilities Group – which includes the WRU, FAW, Welsh Hockey and Sport Wales - to part-fund a rugby standard 4G pitch on Sardis Road. This new pitch will allow back to back matches to be played all year round and will provide a new sporting venue for Coleg y Cymoedd learners to further enhance the range of sports opportunities offered to young students.
County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said:
“I have been delighted to be part of the group which has worked to develop this ambitious proposal which will transform the training and match facility at Sardis Road rugby ground.
“The local MP Owen Smith, the Council, Pontypridd RFC and Coleg y Cymoedd have worked collaboratively to seek to deliver a new 4G pitch at the Sardis Road ground. The proposal seeks to address the match play issues Pontypridd RFC have faced over a number of years and in doing so will provide new capacity for local clubs from other sporting disciplines to utilise this state of the art pitch.
“This new pitch will provide a new sporting venue for Coleg y Cymoedd students and will further enhance the range of sports opportunities offered by the college in addition to those already offered for young learners.
Owen Smith, Member of Parliament for Pontypridd said:
“As a lifelong Ponty fan I am just delighted to have been able to play my part in bringing this new investment to Sardis Road. The Club, the Council, Coleg y Cymoedd and the Sport Wales Collaboration Group are all to be congratulated and thanked for the hard work and commitment they have shown, working together to create a new partnership and to fund the new pitch.
“Sardis Road is an iconic ground for us here in Pontypridd and for the global rugby community, but it has suffered with wear and tear and poor weather in recent years. When I first brought the partners together several months ago we all agreed that a new playing surface was vital if the club, the College and the wider community was to make the most of the famous Sardis brand in future, and I am delighted that we have been able to progress so quickly, in time for next season.
“I think this is just the beginning of a great new chapter in the proud history of Sardis Road and Pontypridd RFC. Working together we can build on this development to keep our ground, our team and our community where we want to be – and always will be - at the heart of Welsh rugby.”
Judith Evans, Coleg y Cymoedd Principal, added:
“The College is delighted to be involved with this project which will be a huge asset to our Sports department. We have invested and continue to invest in our Estates programme, and have superb academic facilities but sadly lack sports fields. Now, working with Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC and Pontypridd RFC we have the opportunity to offer our learners a first class facility to develop and maintain their skills to the highest standard.
“The college has an excellent reputation for producing sportsmen and women, many of whom have represented and even captained the Welsh Youth rugby teams. The facilities at Sardis Road will also provide an impressive venue when hosting matches.”
Mr Peter Howells, Director of Finance at Pontypridd Rugby Football Club, said:
“During a history of 140 years, many exciting things have happened at our club, such as finishing top of leagues, winning National Cup competitions and producing quality rugby players. However, I do believe that the latest news of a new 4G surface being laid at Sardis Road could very well top the lot.”
Adele Baumgardt, vice-chair of Sport Wales, said:
“The investment will breathe new life into a historic sporting hub at the heart of the town. The facility will serve a wide spectrum of sporting needs, becoming a hub of excellence, growing the game of rugby in the community and giving more opportunities for under-represented groups such as women and girls.
“The numbers of people being able to play sport on the pitch annually will increase from hundreds to thousands, meaning a new generation of people in the community getting to enjoy sport.
“The development has received considerable support from key partners and stakeholders and this has been a credit to the plans at Sardis Road.
“This is another significant milestone in our work to support a network of new artificial pitches across Wales.”
This investment in Sardis Road will see the new facility used during the day time by Coleg y Cymoedd for their successful rugby academy and then in the evening by Pontypridd RFC. The proposal will see the venue turned into a wider community sporting facility available for use by other local sporting clubs. A local recreation league will also be developed on the pitch allowing everyone to benefit from this new modern facility.
The Collaboration Sports Facilities Group membership is made up of representatives from Hockey Wales, Welsh Football Trust, Welsh Rugby Union and Sport Wales. Its aim is to ensure the future development of artificial surfaces, ATP and 4G, meet the needs of both the users and the wider community but also allow each sport to grow and develop across Wales.