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Surrey v Middlesex: Play abandoned after crossbow arrow lands on pitch

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 31, 2017 in Warren Fyfe Site

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5 Live Sports Extra commentary as arrow lands on pitch

A County Championship game was abandoned after an arrow fired from outside the ground landed on the field.

Spectators watching Surrey’s match with Middlesex were asked to take cover and the players taken off after the crossbow bolt was shot into The Oval.

Armed police carried out a “controlled evacuation” of the ground after the incident was reported at 16:35 BST.

A Met Police statement said the incident “is not being treated as terrorism-related”.

No-one was injured, while the force added that there have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

The game ended in a draw, with John Simpson’s unbeaten 88 helping Middlesex into a lead of 181 runs with three wickets in hand when the players were taken off the pitch.

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Police were called to The Oval at 16:35 BST
  • Arrow halts play at The Oval – as it happened
  • LISTEN: TMS’ Dan Norcross on the arrow fired into The Oval

BBC Test Match Special commentator Dan Norcross said the crossbow bolt landed between two players, around 10 metres from the strip.

“To aim at a particular player is very, very hard to do, it’s about 150m to the nearest vantage point,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“It’s a very difficult target for somebody who is trying to do specific damage and it feels more like an act of mischief. But it could have done serious damage – I’ve seen the tip and it’s very sharp and it was poking into the ground.

“I can’t stress enough what a dangerous weapon this arrow was – 18 inches long with a long metal tip. It could so easily have hurt someone and it landed eight yards from about five players.”

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Spectator Jeremy Lawrence said he was “shocked it happened at a county cricket match”.

“All of a sudden the players came running off the pitch closely followed by the umpires. I thought it must be raining but it wasn’t raining,” he told BBC Sport.

“Someone asked Rikki Clarke, the Surrey cricketer, what was happening. He said an arrow had fallen into the ground. I saw the umpire holding it and took a picture. It looked like a particularly nasty crossbow arrow.

“The ground staff told everyone to remain under cover – they did an excellent job. I’ve now left the ground and there were at least a dozen armed police outside.”

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Firearms officers were among police in attendance at The Oval

Surrey chief executive Richard Gould thanked the public and the players for their reaction after play was suspended.

“The umpires took immediate action because they saw it fall, brought the players off the pitch and we then ensured that all the supporters were moved to a position of safety,” he told BBC Radio London.

“We always focus on safety in the first instance and remove people from any potential risk.

“We don’t know whether this projectile was placed deliberately or whether it was simply fired by somebody from a distance and we just happened to be the landing spot, so we don’t even know necessarily that it was done on purpose.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/41103549

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