Getty Images (representational photos)
The Oval ground Getty Images (representational photos)

Police said The Oval cricket ground in London was in the process of being evacuated Thursday after a bizarre arrow attack halted play in the match between Surrey and Middlesex. The arrow, reported to have a metal tip, landed near the Surrey fielder Ollie Pope and close to the pitch during the County Championship fixture. The players alerted the umpires, who promptly halted play, with fielders and batsmen running to the safety of the changing rooms. No one was injured and, according to a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police, it is believed the arrow was fired from outside The Oval in Kennington, south London.

“Police were made aware at 16:35hrs (1535 GMT) on Thursday, 31 August of reports that an arrow or crossbow bolt had been loosed into The Oval cricket ground,” said the police statement. “Officers are on scene. The ground is in the process of a controlled evacuation. There are no reported injuries.” The statement added: “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 match was heading towards a draw at the time of the incident. Surrey cricketer Stuart Meaker tweeted: “Well… we have just officially gone off the field because a metal tipped arrow just landed on the pitch!!” A Surrey spokesman told Britain’s Press Association news agency: “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.”