Surrey versus Middlesex 31st August 2017
It having been a good week for red ball cricket, to the Oval to see the final afternoon of the London derby. A Middlesex rear guard action and a game heading for a draw after tea, when the players suddenly and unexpectedly left the field. No announcement was forthcoming although after a few moments some sort of security alert seemed very probable.
Time and other things are suspended rather in these situations, two security staff walked round the boundary edge on the Harleyford Road side of the ground, up the steps, passing by this spectator, being good enough to indicate an arrow being carried by one of them, onwards in the direction of the hospitality custom above, where (presumably) they thought they might find a bow. I gather they didn’t.
Meanwhile members in the pavilion looked around at each other awaiting communication as did other spectators; after a period of 10-15 minutes, perhaps more than that, a plainly nervous gentleman on the PA apologised for the delay in making an announcement, but would spectators please take cover now, which being sensible people they did. The BBC commentary team spoke of lockdown although this spectator and others simply headed out of the ground and down the road to Vauxhall Station.
From a distance of about two feet the arrow certainly looked like it would have done a serious damage to someone had it struck them; luckily as well as happily this day it didn’t.
The individual response by the security staff was good; as for their managerial co-ordination there was a rather long delay in telling spectators to take action and before the episode is passed into the filing cabinet, mental and otherwise, what could be done to shorten it on any future such occasion should be somewhere near the top of the list of priorities.