Kensington Oval – In Brief
Kensington Oval (http://kensingtonoval.org/) is Barbados’ oldest cricket ground.
Located west of the nation’s capital, Bridgetown, Kensington Oval has played host to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket World Cup, as well as a variety of other international sporting events, concerts, and even private functions.
The Oval was the grounds of a plantation house (Kensington Plantation) until 1882 when 4 acres of pasture land was developed into a cricket ground and clubhouse for the Pickwick Cricket Club.
In 1914, the Barbados Cricket Committee (now the Barbados Cricket Association – BCA) bought Kensington Oval and financed several upgrades and redevelopments of the ground and its surrounds.
By 2004, the ground was expanded to 7 acres, and when the West Indies was selected to host the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, Kensington Oval again underwent another major redevelopment, estimated at $135 million.
In 2005, the Government of Barbados became an additional shareholder in the Oval to secure extra land for the ground’s expansion and to provide assistance with construction works.
The redevelopment included new stands and seating, pitch irrigation, a player’s pavilion with accommodation and club terraces, and even a media center including commentary booths and press desks.
Did you know? The redevelopment also included the construction of temporary stands to boost the Oval’s capacity for the ICC Cricket World Cup from the current 11 000 to 27 000.
Kensington Oval successfully officially reopened in 2007, in time to host seven matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup, including the Final.
The redeveloped Kensington Oval now occupies just over 12.5 acres of land, of which 3.5 acres make up the playing field, including six cricket pitches in the center.
A statue of Barbadian cricket legend and national hero, Sir Garfield Sobers, also stands at the Oval’s entrance.
Cricket Fever In Barbados
The first international cricket match played at Kensington Oval was in 1895, and the first Test cricket match was held at the Oval in 1930.
Kensington Oval was also the venue for the World Twenty20 finals in 2010.
It’s well known that Barbadians love their cricket, and Bajans can boast numerous cricketing legends including Sir Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, and Sir Clyde Walcott.
So much so, further stands were added at Kensington Oval and named in honor of these legendary ‘three W’s,’ amongst other legends of the game.
Did you know? The Oval also hosts daily guided tours from Monday to Friday, every ½ hour, from 9 am to 3.30pm (last trip). You’ll walk on the field of this historic ‘Mecca of cricket’ and learn all about its early history and redevelopment.
But Wait, There’s More!
Kensington Oval has also been home to many other non-cricket sporting events such as national football, hockey, inter-school athletics, Miss Barbados pageants, and even musical events like the Barbados Reggae Festival.
Although there was a lot of attention surrounding the building of the new stands, there was also significant work and investment put into world-class technology at Kensington Oval to ensure pitch and field-related preparations were of an international standard, putting Kensington Oval on the map as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.
Using technology employed by professional football grounds across Europe, the irrigation system for the cricket ground serves as a water catchment area, with underground tanks to hold the water, which is then recycled and used for watering the pitch. The outfield is sand-based (as opposed to soil) to assist with drainage in the event of rain. It also has Tifyway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass, due to its high resistance to disease, denseness, and allows for close mowing.
Did you know? Kensington Oval was part of the portfolio which won the English-based design team who worked on Kensington Oval the prestigious Leisure and Sports Building Design Architect of the Year Award in 2007.
Want To Know More?
For more information, please phone Kensington Oval on (246) 274-1200, email [email protected], or visit http://kensingtonoval.org/.
Author: Brett Callaghan