Home to Surrey County Cricket Club (SCCC) since its official opening in 1845, The Oval has a long and colourful past. The first recorded cricket match took place in June 1724 between London and Dartford but it wasn’t just cricket that dominated the use of the former Kennington Common. At the same time, the ground was put to far more gruesome use and regularly held public executions. From the darkest of associations to the lightest, the mid-nineteenth century saw it transformed into the cabbage patch and market garden of the Duchy of Cornwall. And believe it or not, this historic ground’s fascinating associations only continue, from being the first ground to have artificial lighting in the form of gas lamps, to hosting concerts with international sensations like The Who, Frank Zappa, and Genesis, and being referenced in Philip Larkin’s poem about the First World War, ‘MCMXIV’, the list goes on. During the Second World War, The Oval was even intended as a prisoner-of-war camp for enemy parachutists (thankfully none ever did come, so that one was short-lived). And amongst all of this, its cricket accolades are just as impressive, being the fourth test venue in the world to host its hundredth test on 27 July 2017 against South Africa after Lord’s, Melbourne, and Sydney Cricket Grounds.
Today, the ground is as lively as ever, hosting some of the greatest cricket matches, summer parties, and corporate events. You can even book one of their two cricket centres for the development of cricketers of all ages and abilities. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, read on for four ways you can make the most of The Oval and its history this summer.
Perhaps the most important and exciting thing about The Oval is, of course, its matches. Where better to watch the cricket than the first ground in England to host international test cricket? And after the excitement following the last Ashes test at the ground, the buzz continues through August and September. So get your whites on and make your way down to the 175-year-old ground for history in the making. Kicking things off for Surrey CCC at The Oval in August for the One Day Cup is Kent. Following that, The Hundred kicks off multiple matches at The Oval starting with the Invincibles against the Manchester Originals. Better still, Greg James and Felix White have now become co-chairmen of the Oval Invincibles. Matches continue at the ground up to 21 August before the eliminator round on Saturday 26 August ahead of the final at Lord’s. If that isn’t enough to satisfy the itch then don’t miss England take New Zealand on 13 September for the One-Day International, a contest repeat of the 2019 ICC World Cup Final. Jos Buttler’s England side could include such Surrey stars as Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, and Reece Topley, while New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, and Jimmy Neesham will be eager to have a repeat win on this famous ground.
The secret to a good summer party? An even better rooftop bar! The Oval has several as well as a range of covered terraces and indoor afterparty spaces for when the sun goes down (or that nasty bit of summer rain creeps in). The views truly are unmatched and much of it is due to giving you the opportunity to peek at the huge Victorian main gasholder that is as much of a landmark of The Oval as its ornate pavilion. Each event receives a bespoke and tailored service dealing with aspects from staff, food, AV, and third-party supplies. Spacious enough to cater to 900 and intimate enough to make a group of 30 feel at home, it’s as versatile as you want it to be.
If you’re hoping to broaden your employment opportunities ahead of September, then be sure to sign up for the London Jobs Fair on 30 August between 10am-1pm. The event is completely free to attend and gives you the opportunity to speak to employers and HR teams face-to-face, rather than tackle the often frustrating online application process. Here, you’ll be able to leave employers with a real impression of who you are as well as discover job opportunities in sectors you hadn’t even thought possible. As well as applying to jobs directly on the day, there’ll be career and CV advice as well as apprenticeship, training courses, and self-employed opportunities.
Whether you’re an amateur looking to develop your cricketing skills, or a team looking for somewhere dependable to train, The Oval has two indoor cricket centres for exactly that. The Ken Barrington Cricket Centre in The Oval itself and the Surrey County Cricket Centre in Guildford are both focused on cricket coaching and are open to cricketers of all ages and abilities. As well as facilities such as a six-lane indoor cricket centre, net hire for private and club bookings, a bowling machine, and a public viewing gallery, there is a range of bookable services to make the most of the space. Professional cricket coaching is available for both adults and juniors, as well as one-to-one or group coaching sessions, and an adult coaching course which runs from October-April on Fridays 7-9pm.
And that’s not all! As summer draws to a close, The Oval hosts two unmissable events in September. From the UK’s largest Gin & Rum Festival to Fashion Show Live’s SS24 runway collections, the fun is set to continue well into the autumn. Don’t miss out!