Drama of a more serious sort at Middlesex county game after crossbow arrow ‘could have killed someone’
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There was a far more serious type of drama at a Middlesex game on Thursday – after armed police were called to their County Championship match against Surrey at the Kia Oval – leading to players, officials and spectators being evacuated after a crossbow bolt landed close on the pitch.
It is believed a 12-inch long metal-tipped bolt was fired from outside the ground at around 4.20pm.
The deadly object flew around 800 metres before landing ten yards from the pitch.
Officers and an armed response team from the Metropolitan Police arrived and conducted a full search of the ground with 30 security staff after spectators were told to evacuate outdoor seating areas and move inside.
The match was abandoned at 5.05pm by which time the 1,000 crowd had been told they could leave.
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The Islington Gazette spoke immediately after the incident with a player and official from Middlesex who confirmed there were no injuries and that the team were safe.
A Surrey spokesman said the home side were about to bowl before an arrow appeared two pitches to the side of the pitch where the teams where playing before the umpires took the arrow out of the ground and ensuring the all players got off as quickly as possible.
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Surrey chief executive Richard Gould said: “It is the sort of thing that could easily have been fired some distance from outside the ground if it came from a crossbow.
“It could very easily have killed someone. It had a pointed end and stuck in the turf when it crossed the outfield and landed, although we are not ballistics experts.”
Police were concentrating their search on where the bolt could have been launched around an area to the north-east of the Oval, close to the gas-holders but terrorism has been ruled out.
The game was abandoned as a draw with Middlesex reaching 214 for 7 in their second innings, a lead of 181 runs.
Surrey’s Sam Curran had earlier taken three wickets in ten balls and Middlesex slumped to 94 for 6, a lead of just 61 runs, shortly after lunch.
But John Simpson added 64 in 16 overs with Ollie Rayner (30) and 56 with Nick Compton (28 not out) when the incident occured. Simpson finished 88 not out from 150 balls with 13 fours.
Once everyone was confirmed safe and sound gallows humour came to the fore to relieve some of the tension, especially from Middlesex’s Nick Compton who tweeted with tongue firmly-in-cheek: ‘Sir Robin of Loxley has just arrived at The Oval #bowandarrow’, as well as ‘Good fighting from the boys today especially from John Simpson – glad we dodge that arrow #hungergames’.