The Oval

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For other uses, see oval.
Image:Gasholders at the Oval.JPG
The famous gasometers, which are now listed buildings.

The Oval is an international cricket ground in Kennington, London. It is often referred to as the 'Kennington Oval' (not to be confused with Kensington Oval in Barbados), but in recent years has been officially titled as the 'Fosters Oval', 'AMP Oval,' and, currently, as the 'Brit Oval' due to various commercial sponsorship deals. It is located in the London Borough of Lambeth.

It is the home ground of Surrey C.C.C., and also traditionally hosts the final Test match of each English summer in late August or early September.

The nearest tube station is also called Oval, but the ground can also be easily reached from Vauxhall.

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[edit] History

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The clock outside the Members' Pavilion.
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Crowds leaving the main forecourt through the Hobbs gate.

In 1844, Kennington Oval was a market garden. The Oval was (and still is) owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. Surrey County Cricket Club was set up in 1845. The Duchy was willing to grant a lease of the land for the purpose of a cricket ground, and, on 10 March, 1845, the Club signed a lease with the Otter Trustees, who held the land from the Duchy of Cornwall, 'to convert it into a subscription Cricket Ground', for 31 years at a rent of £120 per annum plus taxes (£20 more). The original contract for turfing the Oval cost £300; 10,000 grass turfs came from Tooting Common.

In 1868, 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England, the first tour of England by any foreign side.

Thanks to C. W. Alcock, the Secretary of Surrey from 1872 to 1907, the first ever Test match in England was played at the Oval in 1880 between England and Australia. In 1882, Australia won the Ashes Test by seven runs within two days. The Sporting Times printed a mocking obituary notice for English cricket, which duly led to The Ashes trophy, which is still contested whenever England plays Australia. The first Test double-century was scored at the Oval in 1884 by Australia's Billy Murdoch.

In 1907, South Africa became the 2nd visiting Test team to play a Test match at this venue. In 1928, West Indies played its first Test match at this venue followed by New Zealand in 1931. In 1936, India became the 5th foreign visiting Test side to play at the Oval, followed by Pakistan in 1954 and Sri Lanka in 1998. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are yet to play a Test match at the venue.

The first One-day International match at this venue was played on September 7, 1973 between England and West Indies. It had the privilege of hosting matches of the 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1999 World Cups. It also hosted five of the fifteen matches in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, including the final. No floodlit day/night international match has been played here to date, although Surrey have played several floodlit one-day matches.

During the Second World War, the Oval was intended for use as a prisoner of war camp, although it was never employed as such.

[edit] End names

The names of the ends are the Pavilion End and the Vauxhall End.

[edit] Vauxhall End development

Image:OCS Stand (Surrey v Yorkshire in foreground).JPG
The new OCS Stand as pictured from the Pavilion directly opposite.
Image:OCS Stand at the Oval from the Peter May Stand.JPG
The OCS Stand as pictured from the Peter May Stand

At the end of the 2002 cricket season, Surrey started redeveloping the Vauxhall End. The development included knocking down the outdated Surridge, Fender, Jardine and Peter May north stands, and creating in their place a large, state-of-the-art, four tier grandstand. This work was completed in May 2005, increasing ground capacity to around 23,000.

Image:OCS Stand from the Bedser Stand at the Oval.JPG
The OCS Stand as pictured from the Bedser Stand

[edit] Football

The Oval has also been an important site in the historical development of football, before the game had its own separate national stadium. On March 16 1872, The Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0 to win the first ever FA Cup. The Oval hosted all subsequent FA Cup finals (1873 excluded) up until 1892.

A year after that first FA Cup final, on March 8 1873, the England national team played its first home match at the Oval, against Scotland. Their 4-2 win was the first victory in international competition. England would continue to play occasionally at the Oval until 1889.

The Oval is one of two grounds (Bramall Lane in Sheffield being the other) to have staged both England Football and Cricket internationals, and also FA Cup Finals.

In recent years, the Oval holds an exhibition match for Australian rules football in October each year , between better performing Australian teams or to show the rivalry between certain clubs. In 2005, a record crowd for Australian rules football in England (18,884) saw the Fremantle Football Club defeat the West Coast Eagles.

[edit] Baseball

The Oval is currently being considered as a potential site to host a small number of regular season Major League Baseball games during the 2007 season. MLB is also considering sites in Rome, Paris, Munich, Germany, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. Regular season games previously have been played in international sites in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan.

See "MLB checking out European venues for games in '07", ESPN, September 8, 2005.

[edit] See also

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[edit] External links

Current Test cricket grounds in England
Edgbaston | Headingley | Lord's | Old Trafford | The Oval | Riverside | Trent Bridge

Coordinates: 51°29′02″N, 0°06′54″Wde:The London Oval

The Oval

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