Play at the Oval was suspended and spectators ordered to take cover after a crossbow bolt was fired into the ground during Surrey’s clash with Middlesex.
The crowd at the Test match venue were ordered to move inside following the incident, before the ground was evacuated, with the players taken off after the bolt landed in the middle of the field. The match was later abandoned.
It is thought the object was fired from outside the ground, with an armed police presence arriving at the scene following the incident.
The umpire holds the crossbow bolt, fired onto the Oval pitch during play on Thursday
The bolt fired into the ground is carried by a steward during the controlled evacuation
Armed police arrived at the ground soon after the incident at the iconic cricket venue
Fans were moved inside before being evacuated from the ground amid the police presence
There are so far no arrests and police are keeping an ‘open mind’ as to a motive, but have ruled out the incident being an act of terrorism.
A Met Police spokesman confirmed officers were aware of the incident and that it was being investigated, with a controlled evacuation being undertaken.
A statement read: ‘Police were made aware at 4.35pm on Thursday, 31 August 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. There are no reported injuries. At this early stage it is believed that the object came from outside of the ground. There have been no arrests. We retain an open mind as to motive. Enquiries continue.’
The players react just moments after the bolt landed on the outfield, to the left of the pitch
Bowler Scott Borthwick, bottom left, can be seen cowering after the bolt lands on the field
Surrey player Stuart Meaker tweeted soon after he and his team-mates left the field
A Surrey spokesman 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.
‘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.
‘The police are on their way.
Armed police in discussions at the Oval, with no injuries reported following the incident
The Met Police also insisted there were no injuries to any of the spectators
‘We don’t know much more at the moment. We’re not sure if it’s deliberate or accidental or whether it’s come from inside or outside the ground.’
The club later released a statement insisting there had been no injuries, and that the spectators had been allowed to leave the ground.
‘There are no injuries to report after a metal arrow was fired on to the field of play at the Kia Oval,’ it read.
‘The police are now dealing with the matter.
‘It happened at 4:20pm on the final day of play of the Division One Specsavers County Championship match between Surrey and Middlesex.
‘The umpires immediately asked the players to leave the field of play before an announcement was made within the stadium requesting fans to move inside.
‘The public have now been allowed to leave the ground.’
The match was being live streamed by Surrey on Youtube and was played in front of a crowd thought to be around the 1,000 mark. Play being abandoned resulted in the match ending as a draw.
Surrey player Stuart Meaker, who is playing in the match, tweeted: ‘Well…we have just officially gone off the field because a metal tipped arrow just landed on the pitch.’
Nick Compton, the Middlesex batsman who was at the crease when the crossbow bolt was fired, was able to see a lighter side of the situation as he referenced Sir Robin of Loxley, an alternative name for famous bow and arrow uses Robin Hood.
The issue of the ground’s security was brought up in the aftermath of the incident but Surrey chief executive Richard Gould said it would have been almost impossible to defend against this sort of unusual event at a low-profile fixture.
The incident happened during the Championship match between Surrey and Middlesex
Middlesex opener Nick Compton was able to see the funny side of the situation at the Oval
Around 30 security guards were at the Oval on Thursday.
Gould said: ‘We do not know if it was fired deliberately or if it was fired and just landed on our green space.
‘It’s a lightweight projectile but one which looked as if it could have travelled 800 metres.’
Surrey captain Gareth Batty was fielding about 25 yards from where the pink-coloured bolt, with red and yellow fletching, landed, and he said: ‘It was a pretty tasty arrow with a proper metal end.
‘I did archery as a kid and that was not a normal archery arrow. The umpires dealt with it very well. There were no questions asked – we went off very quickly.
‘Someone saw it in flight, there was a noise when it landed but it happened so quick. It is a deadly weapon for sure, if it had hit someone it would have caused some serious damage. It just shows the world we live in.
‘You have to be diligent, it would be stupid not to be but if you’re constantly worrying about what is going to happen that is not a great place to be.
‘If it is a crossbow rather than a longbow it is probably someone messing around and not understanding the implications of firing something into the air.
‘Let’s hope it’s a couple of people who will feel pretty ashamed in the morning when they realise what happened.’
Crossbows are not illegal to own in Britain but are illegal to hunt with and can be considered an offensive weapon if carried in public.
The view looking back inside an empty Oval after play was abandoned and the match drawn