>The report attributed the non-charity reason for the match to
>fundraising for a redevelopment of The Oval, with new grandstand
>constructions which among other things would slightly reduce the size of
>the field (at the Vauxhall End). Am I right in saying that this end is
>typically roped-in anyway?
Well, yes, but then all our grounds use ropes inside the fence to mark
However, it depends which bit of the pitch they're talking about.
Looking towards the Vauxhall End, there's a rather large area to your
left where they have the nets and so on and which bulges outwards from
what would be a general oval shape. That's always roped off because
you'd end up with an enormous boundary there: Godfrey Evans once drove a
ball in that direction and, seeing Fred Rumsey lumbering off in pursuit,
called to his partner "Come five!"
I'm sure they could lose at least some of that piece to seating and not
>The thimbleful of cash raised from this
>event would be added to the bucketloads that Major and Surrey CCC hope
>to score from the National Lottery (no, not by winning it, silly).
>Major is Chairman or President or Whatever Title of Surrey.
However, it's a good cause. I don't much like what they've done at the
Pavilion End of the ground: the concrete brutalism of the new buildings
sits ill next to the Victorian grandeur of the Pavilion - but what was
there before was pretty grotty and on balance it's an improvement. But
the Vauxhall End is worse than the Kirkstall Lane End at Headingley, and
the Kirkstall Lane End is vile. Surrey CCC can hardly be blamed for the
housing and antique gasometers surrounding the ground, and the Duchy of
Cornwall made it hugely difficult for them to do anything good to the
ground even if they'd had the money for donkey's years, but it is still
an ugly ground.
Admittedly, neither the Vauxhall nor the Kirkstall Lane End is as
ghastly as the old Hill at the SCG was made - at least for 1994-5,
although they may have done something to improve it since then, he said,
in case they have - but that's hardly saying very much. It's a shame
when people do things like that, because it's so unnecessary. The Great
Southern Stand at the MCG, the new Grand Stand at Lord's, or the new
buildings at Trent Bridge show what can be done if people only put their
minds to it.
I think, though, that the worst ground I've ever been to was
Northampton, which was frankly a tip in about 1990 (or 1992 - Ambrose
was playing for them, anyway). I gather it is much improved now, so I
must go back and visit someday, but then they shared the ground with
Northampton Town FC, and couldn't have home games when the football
season was underway. Since they played across the football pitch rather
than along its length, on the grounds that short straight boundaries
produce better cricket than minuscule square ones, one of the stands was
about 45 yards from the edge of the pitch, and the players could only be
observed through binoculars from there. From the pavilion, it looked a
barren wasteland indeed.
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