The Oval

The Oval
The Kia Oval
The Kia Oval logo.png
OCS Stand (Surrey v Yorkshire in foreground).JPG
The OCS Stand, completed in 2005
Ground information
Location Kennington, London, England
Establishment 1845
Capacity 23,500
Owner Duchy of Cornwall
Tenants Surrey County Cricket Club
End names
Pavilion End
Vauxhall End
International information
First Test 6 September 1880: England v Australia
Last Test 18 August 2011: England v India
First ODI 7 September 1973: England v West Indies
Last ODI 9 September 2011: England v India
Domestic team information
Surrey (1846 – present)
The clock outside the Members' Entrance.

The Kia Oval, still commonly referred to by its original name of The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth. In the past it was also sometimes called the Kennington Oval. In past years it was officially named as the 'Fosters Oval', 'AMP Oval', 'Brit Insurance Oval', and, presently, as the 'Kia Oval' due to commercial sponsorship deals.

The Oval is the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club, and also traditionally hosts the final Test match of each English summer season in late August or early September. The Oval was the first ground in the United Kingdom and second in the world (after the Melbourne Cricket Ground) to host Test cricket.

The nearest Tube station is Oval, but Vauxhall is only half a mile away.



In 1844, Kennington Oval was a market garden. The Oval was then (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 grass turfs came from Tooting Common.

In 1868, 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England, the first tour of England by any foreign side.

Thanks to C. W. Alcock, the Secretary of Surrey from 1872 to 1907, the first ever Test match in England was played at the Oval in 1880 between England and Australia. The Oval thereby became the second ground to stage a Test, after the MCG. In 1882, Australia won the Ashes Test by seven runs within two days. The Sporting Times printed a mocking obituary notice for English cricket, which led to the creation of the Ashes trophy, which is still contested whenever England plays Australia. The first Test double century was scored at the Oval in 1884 by Australia's Billy Murdoch.

The current pavilion was completed in time for the 1898 season.[1]

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 foreign 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 the venue.

The Brit Oval under lights

During the Second World War, the Oval was intended for use as a prisoner of war camp, although it was never employed as such. The Oval is referenced by the poet Philip Larkin in his poem about the First World War, "MCMXIV".[2]

The first One Day International match at this venue was played on 7 September 1973 between England and West Indies. It had the privilege of hosting matches of the 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1999 World Cups. It also hosted five of the fifteen matches in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, including the final. No floodlit day/night international match has been played here to date, although Surrey have played several floodlit one-day matches. In fact, Surrey's ground is noted as having the first floodlights at a sport arena in the form of gas-lamps dating back to 1889.[3]

The ground also had a Zeppelin and later a hot air balloon employed for aerial views during tests but this was never commercially viable and was gone by the turn of the millennium. Several other British grounds had this feature also such as Edgbaston. The Oval once held the record for the largest playing area of any Test venue in the world, but that record has since been surpassed by Gaddafi Stadium in Pakistan (though it is still the largest in Britain).

The billionaire Paul Getty, who had a great affinity for cricket and was at one time Surrey CCC President built a replica of the Oval on his Wormsley Park estate.[4] The famous gasholders at the Oval are actually newer than the ground by several years, having been built circa 1853. There has been much speculation of late as to whether they should be demolished; however, many believe they are part of the Oval's landscape and therefore their future looks secure.

End names

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

21st century redevelopment

The OCS Stand as pictured from the Bedser Stand
The Pavilion

At the end of the 2002 cricket season, Surrey started redeveloping the Vauxhall End. The development included knocking down the outdated Surridge, Fender, Jardine and Peter May north stands and creating in their place a single four tier grandstand known as the OCS Stand. This work was completed in May 2005, increasing ground capacity to around 23,000.

In January 2007, Surrey announced plans to increase capacity by a further 2,000 seats, this time by redeveloping the Pavilion End. The Lock, Laker and Peter May south stands will be replaced with a new stand, which will have a hotel backing on to it. The Surrey Tavern at the entrance to the ground will be demolished and a new pedestrian plaza will be created in its place, improving access to the ground and opening up views of the historic pavilion. These plans were delayed by objections raised by the Health & Safety Executive as the ground is close to a gasometer. Planning permission was eventually granted, but not before the credit crunch struck. As of November 2010, Surrey still plans to proceed with the development when its hotel partner can obtain funding.[5]

In 2009, permanent floodlights were installed for use in day/night matches. The floodlights are telescopic and can be retracted when not in use.


The Oval was also an important site in the historical development of football, before the game had its own separate national stadium. Football had been played in this part of London for many years prior to the inauguration of the Oval: "The Gymnastic Society" – arguably the world's first Football club – met regularly at Kennington Common during the second half of the eighteenth century to play football[6]

First international football match

The Oval was home to the first ever international football match on the March 5, 1870, England against Scotland, organised by the Football Association[7][8] The game resulted in a 1–1 draw. Similar international matches between England and Scotland took place at the Oval in 1871, in February 1872 and 1873. On 8 March 1873, the England national team beat Scotland 4–2. England would continue to play occasionally at the Oval until 1889.

An illustration of an 1872 England vs Scotland match. The background shows the distinctive gas holder of The Oval
Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
Date Result Competition Winner
5 March 1870 1–1 Friendly Draw
19 November 1870 1–0 Friendly England
25 February 1871 1–1 Friendly Draw
17 November 1871 2–1 Friendly England
24 February 1872 1–0 Friendly England
8 March 1873 4–2 Friendly England
6 March 1875 2–2 Friendly Draw
3 March 1877 1–3 Friendly Scotland
5 April 1879 5–4 Friendly England
12 March 1881 1–6 Friendly Scotland
21 March 1885 1–1 Home International Draw
13 April 1889 2–3 Home International Scotland

First FA Cup final

On 16 March 1872, The Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1–0 to win the first ever FA Cup. This final was notable for the Engineers' modern footballing style of teamwork rather than individual play.[9] C. W. Alcock, Secretary of the Football Association, was the prime mover of the competition. He had just become Secretary of Surrey, so that The Oval was the natural choice of venue for the final. Alcock also captained the successful Wanderers side. The Oval hosted all subsequent FA Cup finals (1873 excluded) up until 1892.

The Oval is one of two grounds (Bramall Lane in Sheffield being the other) to have staged both England Football and Cricket internationals, and also FA Cup Finals. The Oval also hosted the second ever Rugby Union international between England and Scotland in 1872 (the first was hosted at Raeburn Place a year earlier).

In recent years, the Oval has held an exhibition match for Australian rules football in October each year, between better performing Australian teams or to show the rivalry between certain clubs. In 2005, a record crowd for Australian rules football in England (18,884) saw the Fremantle Dockers Football Club defeat the West Coast Eagles.

Results of FA Cup finals at the Oval

Year Attendance Winner Runner-up Notes
1872 2,000 Wanderers 1 Royal Engineers 0
1874 2,000 Oxford University 2 Royal Engineers 0
1875 3,000 Royal Engineers 1 Old Etonians 1
Replay 3,000 Royal Engineers 2 Old Etonians 0
1876 3,500 Wanderers 1 Old Etonians 1
Replay 1,500 Wanderers 3 Old Etonians 0
1877 3,000 Wanderers 2 Oxford University 1
1878 4,500 Wanderers 3 Royal Engineers 1
1879 5,000 Old Etonians 1 Clapham Rovers 0
1880 6,000 Clapham Rovers 1 Oxford University 0
1881 4,500 Old Carthusians 3 Old Etonians 0
1882 6,500 Old Etonians 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
1883 8,000 Blackburn Olympic 2 Old Etonians 1
1884 12,000 Blackburn Rovers 2 Queen's Park 1
1885 12,500 Blackburn Rovers 2 Queen's Park 0
1886 15,000 Blackburn Rovers 0 West Bromwich Albion 0 2–0 in replay at Racecourse Ground, Derby
1887 15,500 Aston Villa 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
1888 19,000 West Bromwich Albion 2 Preston North End 1
1889 22,000 Preston North End 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
1890 20,000 Blackburn Rovers 6 Sheffield Wednesday 1
1891 23,000 Blackburn Rovers 3 Notts County 1
1892 32,810 West Bromwich Albion 3 Aston Villa 0


Between 1872 and 1879, the Oval held 7 full cap international rugby union matches, as follows:

Date Competition Home team Away team
5 February 1872  England 1G  Scotland 2G
23 February 1874  England 1G  Scotland 0G
15 February 1875  England 2G  Ireland 0G
6 March 1876  England 1G  Scotland 0G
5 February 1877 1877 Home Nations Championship  England 2G  Ireland 0G
4 March 1878 1878 Home Nations Championship  England 0G  Scotland 0G
24 Mar 1879 1879 Home Nations Championship  England 3G  Ireland 0G

On Wednesday 3 March 1875, the Oval held the final of the United Hospitals Challenge Cup, the oldest rugby union cup competition in the world.

Other events

The ground has hosted many other events, including hockey fixtures, as well as concerts.

In October 2011 the grounds served as the practice facility for the NFL's Chicago Bears. The Bears were in London to play a match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium.

Floor directory

Bedser Stand

4th floor Executive Boxes 33–41
CEO and Finance Department
3rd floor Executive Boxes 21–32
Communications Centre
2nd floor The Montpelier Club
Surrey Cricket, England and Visiting Player Facilities
1st floor Staff Administration Offices
Upper Bedser Stand Seating
Ground floor Ken Barrington Cricket Centre Reception
The Brit Oval Retail Store
Prince's Trust Team Room
TriNorth Offices
Staff and Player Entrance
Basement floor Ken Barrington Cricket Centre

OCS Stand

4th floor Roof Terrace
3rd floor Executive Boxes 43–57
Broadcast Centre
Legends Lounge
2nd floor England Suite
John Major Room
India Room
1st floor Australia Suite
Press Box
Debenture Lounge
Ashes Suite
Suite 3
Pakistan Room
Ground floor Reception


5th floor Library
CW Alcock Room
Guildford Room
Mickey Stewart Surrey Club's Room
4th floor Pavilion Café Bar
Counties Room
Pavilion Top Seating
3rd floor Pavilion Restaurant
Captain's Room
Pavilion Shelf Seating
2nd floor Committee Room
Prince of Wales Room
Pavilion Balcony Seating
1st floor Long Room and Ali Brown 268 Bar
Laker and Presidents Rooms
Members Museum
Pavilion Terrace Seating
Ground floor Members Entrance

Transport connections

Service Station/Stop Lines/Routes served Directions
London Buses London Buses Oval Station Handicapped/disabled access 36, 185, 436
Camberwell New Road Handicapped/disabled access 155, 333 0.1 mile walk[10]
Oval Station Handicapped/disabled access 155, 333 0.1 mile walk[11]
London Underground London Underground Oval Northern line
Vauxhall Victoria line 0.5 mile walk[12]
National Rail National Rail South West Trains

See also

  • Archbishop Tenison's School – an historic school located next to the ground, often used as a vantage point for TV cameras and crews


  1. ^ Surrey CCC history.
  2. ^ "As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park..." Philip Larkin, "MCMXIV".
  3. ^ Cricket's Strangest Matches page 34 ISBN 1-86105-293-6
  4. ^ [Deathwatch] John Paul Getty II, billionaire , 70
  5. ^ Exciting ground developments continue at the Oval,, 18 January 2007.
  6. ^ Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge 2005, page 54
  7. ^ When and where was the first football match held? – Times Of India
  8. ^ BBC – A Sporting Nation – The first international football match
  9. ^ Details of the 1872 FA Cup Final (PDF file)
  10. ^,+Oval+(Stop+N)+%4051.482330,-0.111780&daddr=51.482853,-0.113506&geocode=FdqOEQMdXEv-_w%3B&hl=en&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=18&dirflg=w&sll=51.48288,-0.113334&sspn=0.001677,0.003449&ie=UTF8&ll=51.482719,-0.112803&spn=0.003354,0.006899&z=17 Walking directions to The Oval from Camberwell New Road bus stop
  11. ^,+Oval+(Stop+Q)+%4051.481490,-0.112870&daddr=Kennington+Oval&geocode=FZKLEQMdGkf-_w%3BFdSQEQMdoET-_w&hl=en&mra=prev&dirflg=w&sll=51.482367,-0.112497&sspn=0.000885,0.002642&ie=UTF8&z=18 Walking directions to The Oval from Oval Station bus stop
  12. ^,-0.121247&sspn=0.003541,0.010568&ie=UTF8&ll=51.484403,-0.117781&spn=0.003541,0.010568&z=17 Walking directions to The Oval from Vauxhall Station

External links

Preceded by
FA Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Lillie Bridge
Preceded by
Lillie Bridge
FA Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by

Coordinates: 51°29′1.39″N 0°6′53.93″W / 51.4837194°N 0.1149806°W / 51.4837194; -0.1149806

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  • The Oval — mit den inzwischen unter Denkmalschutz stehenden Gasbehältern The Oval, genauer: The Oval Cricket Ground, ist der Name eines der bekanntesten Cricket Stadien der Welt und Heimat des Surrey County Cricket Club (SCCC). Es liegt im Londoner… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Oval — Généralités Noms précédents Pavilion End, Vauxhall End Surnom Kennington Oval Adresse …   Wikipédia en Français

  • (the) Oval — the Oval UK [ˈəʊv(ə)l] US [ˈoʊv(ə)l] a place in London where many international cricket matches are played the.htm Thesaurus: crickethyponym sports events and competitionshyponym …   Useful english dictionary

  • The Oval — durante un encuentro de críquet. The Oval, llamado por razones de patrocinio The Kia Oval, es un estadio de críquet ubicado en Kennington, Londres. En él juega como local el Surrey County Cricket Club, y tradicionalmente alberga el último partido …   Wikipedia Español

  • the Oval — UK [ˈəʊv(ə)l] / US [ˈoʊv(ə)l] a place in London where many international cricket matches are played …   English dictionary

  • The Oval Cricket Ground — The Oval mit den inzwischen unter Denkmalschutz stehenden Gasbehältern The Oval, genauer: The Oval Cricket Ground, ist der Name eines der bekanntesten Cricket Stadien der Welt und Heimat des Surrey County Cricket Club (SCCC). Es liegt im Londoner …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Oval (Belfast) — The Oval Généralités Adresse Belfast Coordonnées …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Oval (Belfast) — The Oval Daten Ort Nordirland …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Oval Portrait (band) — The Oval Portrait Origin Paterson, New Jersey, USA Genres post hardcore, post punk, psychedelic rock, experimental metal Years active 2000 2004 Labels …   Wikipedia

  • (the) Oval Office — the Oval Office UK US Etymology From the oval shaped room in the White House that is the private office of the President of the United States. the power and authority of the president of the United States… …   Useful english dictionary