London News & Search
The Oval was evacuated tonight after an arrow was fired into the middle of the ground.
Scores of witnesses described how the stands of the famous cricket ground were swiftly cleared after the security alert at just after 4.30pm on Thursday, in what onlookers called “extraordinary scenes”.
Play between Surrey and Middlesex was stopped and armed police arrived after the object – which officers said was either a an arrow or crossbow belt – landed on the outfield near to the players and the umpire.
Surrey player Stuart Meaker tweeted: “Well… we have just officially gone off the field because a metal tipped arrow just landed on the pitch!!”
Police said they are not treating the incident as terrorist-related.
A photo emerged of an umpire standing on the grass holding the arrow, which is red with yellow and red plastic vanes.
Describing the moment the arrow fell, a spokesman for Surrey cricket club said: “We were about to bowl the next ball and the arrow appeared two pitches to the side of the pitch we’re playing on at the moment.
“The umpires took it out of the ground and got the players off as quickly as possible. Everybody in the ground has now been asked to take cover, there is nobody out in the stands or out in the open in any form.”
The club added: “All the seating hangs over the concourse, so they’re all under the seating at the moment in the concourse area, which is fully covered.
Middlesex fan Jeremy Lawrence saw players being rushed off the pitch shortly after the arrow landed.
He said: “I was sitting by the players’ entrance talking to a fan and all of a sudden I saw all of the players and the umpires run off the pitch.
“I thought, ‘it’s not raining, what’s going on?’ and one of the Surrey cricketers, Rikki Clarke, said ‘somebody’s fired an arrow onto the pitch’.”
Mr Lawrence said he thought it looked “like a crossbow arrow”, and that nobody was sure where it had come from.
“It was a very ghastly-looking thing,” he said.
He added: “It could have done damage to everybody, it’s by the good grace it hasn’t.”
Mr Lawrence, who is a regular attendee at the Oval said he had “never seen anything like it”.
The match was stopped after the first ball of the 69th over with Middlesex at 214 for seven in their second innings on the fourth and final day.
Spectators in the stands said they told to go inside and “take cover” for safety after the arrow landed, while one sports journalist at the scene described how staff told people inside the ground that “this is a very serious incident”.
Police swarmed to the ground in south London after the alert, with photos from the scene showing at least four emergency cars parked up outside the entrance as people can be seen walking out the gates.
A Met Police statement said: “Police were made aware at 16:35hrs on Thursday of reports that an arrow or crossbow bolt had been loosed into the Oval cricket ground.
“Officers are on scene. The ground is in the process of a controlled evacuation. At this early stage it is believed that the object came from outside of the ground.”
No one was injured and no arrests have yet been made, the Met spokesman said.
London News & Search