The old Kensington Oval, Barbados – RIP

The Kensington Oval in Barbados is one of the world’s famous cricket grounds and every cricketer wants to play test cricket there.

Many a historic match took place on the Mecca as it was called. For many years I organised a group of 10 to 20 friends when England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India or South Africa were playing against the West Indies. The ladies would bring the food and the men the drink. We went to the Hall & Griffith stand and later to the Mitchie Hewitt stand. A good time was had by all.

The Greenidge & Haynes Stand was the one I went to “after” work when  a test match got interesting. One evening I watched Michael Holding bowl a few VERY fast overs to the MCC team with Geoffrey Boycott as opener. Boycott hardly saw the ball especially the one that removed his center stump and sent it to the wicket keeper.

Another evening in 1999 I watched Brian Lara and Courtney Walsh fighting to win a test match against Australia. Lara made 153 n/o in that innings. The tension in the ground was unbearable, especially when Walsh was facing as he was not known as a batsman. When Lara hit the winning run there was need for serious drinks to calm the nerves.

When the World Cup tickets went on sale I was told by the ICC that I could not buy 10 tickets nor could I book specific seats. I could only purchase a maximum of 2 and they will tell me where to sit. Additionally we could not bring in noise makers, flags, food or drink. The nut and snow cone vendors would not be allowed in. This attitude killed the game for many and the matches across the Caribbean were lacking the atmosphere that the West Indies were famous for.

I have to thank my mother for suggesting that I take these pictures before they destroyed Kensington Oval.

What they built has no history or atmosphere and is a white elephant.

You can click on the thumbnail image to see a larger image with captions.

For the history of the Kensington Oval click here.

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