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A Guide To The Oval Cricket Ground

Apr 2, 2008
The Oval cricket ground is the heart of English Cricket. Situated in Kennington, London the stadium has had a number of different titles over the last few years. These different names have been used as a result of a number of different sponsorships deals and the most notable of these names are the 'AMP Oval', the 'Fosters Oval' and more recently the 'Brit Oval'. Whilst these names reflect the growing commercial interest of the game of cricket the stadium is synonymous with the history of English sport. In reference to the stadiums role in the development of modern sports it has been nicknamed the 'Grand Old Lady'.

The ground has a long and illustrious past which has seen a number of high profile international sporting events as well as a long list of prestigious domestic events for a number of different sports. The venue began life as a market garden and has always been owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. In 1845 the surrey county cricket club was formed and the grounds were leased to the club for the purpose of cricket. The ground was leased for 120 pounds per annum for a period of 31 years. The club also paid a further 300 pounds to have the area turfed this turf was taken from tooting common.

In 1868 the venue played host to the first ever game played by a team touring England. The aboriginal cricket tour of England was a monumental occasion that drew a huge 20,000 crowd. In 1880 the venue held another monumental cricket game when the Australian team competed against England in the first ever test match. Two years later in 1882 the venue played host to a historic match between the English and the Australians which the Australians won. A journalist published an obituary in the paper announced the death of cricket. During the subsequent tour of Australia the Englsh captain Ivo Bligh was presented with a small terracotta urn and the fixture was subsequently titles The Ashes.

The famous and current pavilion at The Oval was completed ready for the 1896 season. South Africa were the second ever visiting national team to play a test match when they played England in 1907. 1928 saw the arrival of the West Indies, New Zealand visited in 1931, India in 1936, Pakistan in 1954 and Sri Lanka in 1998. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have never played at The Oval.

The Oval has a long and sordid history as a venue for a variety of different activities alongside cricket. During the Second World War it was suggested that the venue be used for a prisoner of war camp. The Oval was never used for this purpose but poet Philip Larkin referenced the venue in a poem he wrote about the First World War. The venue has also been used as a venue for football and in 1872 it played host to the first ever FA cup final and it played hosted the FA cup finals from between 1872 to 1892.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been at the forefront The Oval Cricket Hospitality and been preparing for the season's upcoming fixtures.
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