The Oval

For the shape, see oval For more coverage of cricket, go to the Cricket portal.

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The famous gasholders, which are now listed buildings.

The Oval is a cricket ground in Kennington, London. It has also been known as 'Kennington Oval', 'Fosters Oval' and 'AMP Oval' and is currently known as the 'Brit Oval'. It is the home ground for Surrey. The nearest tube station is also called Oval, but it can also be easily reached from Vauxhall, .

Crowd leaving the Oval via the Hobbs gate.
Crowd leaving the Oval via the Hobbs gate.

The Oval traditionally hosts the last Test match of each English summer in August or September.



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The clock outside the Members' Pavilion.

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 turfs came from Tooting Common.

In 1868, 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the 'Aboriginal Black Australian' tour.

The first 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 carried a bogus obituary notice which mentioned of the 'Ashes' of English cricket. 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 ever 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 this 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 hosted five of the fifteen matches in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy including the final. No day and night international match has been played here, although Surrey have played some one-day matches.

During the Second World War, the Oval was used as a prisoner of war camp.

End names

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

Vauxhall End development

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The new OCS Stand as pictured from the upper seating of the Pavilion.
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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 Surridge, Fender, Jardine and Peter May north stands, and creating a 'bowl'. Completion is scheduled for 2005, by which time capacity will be increased to around 23,000.

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The OCS Stand as pictured from the Bedser Stand


The Oval has also been important in the 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 FA Cup. The Oval continued to host all FA Cup finals (1873 excepted) up until 1892.

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

The Oval is one of two grounds (Bramall Lane being the other) to have staged England Football and Cricket internationals and an FA Cup Final.

See also

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