Kensington Oval

Kensington Oval

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Cricket Ground Information

Ground NameKensington Oval
AddressPresident Kennedy Dr, Bridgetown BB120004, Barbados
Establishment1882
Capacity28,000
As known asThe Mecca of Cricket
First Match Held18 March 1883
Official Websitehttps://www.kensingtonoval.org/
OwnerKensington Oval Management Inc.
OwnerKensington Oval Management Inc.
TenantsBarbados Cricket Team, West Indies
Phone+1 (246) 426-5282

Nestled in the western part of Bridgetown, Barbados, the Kensington Oval stands as a revered sporting landmark, serving as the island's premier cricket facility for over 120 years.

Its rich cricketing heritage is evident in the numerous significant and thrilling matches it has hosted, featuring local, regional, and international teams.

Established in 1882, the Kensington Oval has witnessed the evolution of cricket, adapting to the changing game while preserving its timeless charm.

Initially, the ground served as a pasture on a plantation, gradually transformed into a cricket haven by the Pickwick Cricket Club.

Over the years, the stadium has undergone several renovations, including the 2007 redevelopment in anticipation of the Cricket World Cup, which increased its capacity to 28,000.

Throughout its illustrious history, the Kensington Oval has hosted an array of memorable cricketing encounters.

It holds the distinction of being the first ground in the Caribbean to host a Test match in 1930, featuring the West Indies against England.

The stadium has also played a pivotal role in nurturing cricketing talents, including legendary figures like Sir Garfield Sobers, Everton Weekes, and Clyde Walcott.

Beyond its cricketing legacy, the Kensington Oval holds immense cultural significance for Barbados.

It serves as a gathering place for passionate cricket enthusiasts, fostering a vibrant atmosphere that resonates with the island's sporting spirit.

The stadium's iconic floodlights and distinctive architecture have become instantly recognizable symbols of Barbados, their presence evoking memories of cricketing triumphs and the unique camaraderie that only a large stadium can provide.

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Kensington Oval


Kensington Oval

The Kensington Oval, established in 1871 in Bridgetown, Barbados, stands as the island’s foremost cricket venue with over 120 years of history.

It can accommodate up to 28,000 spectators, distinguishing itself among elite cricket grounds. Kensington Oval is renowned for its dynamic pitch, favoring fast bowlers with its pace and bounce, presenting a riveting bat-ball contest.

This ground has been a crucible for unforgettable cricketing events, including the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup final and the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final.

The atmosphere here is electrifying, with the Caribbean crowd’s enthusiastic cheers, the rhythm of steel drums, and the unique blend of cricket and local culture creating an immersive spectator experience.

Moreover, the Kensington Oval is not just limited to cricket; it has hosted diverse events, from football matches to concerts, enhancing its versatility.

It’s also the home ground for the Barbados Tridents, a prominent team in the Twenty20 Caribbean Premier League.

Summary & Key Takeaways

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Kensington Oval: The Home of Caribbean Premier League

Home to the Barbados Cricket Association and the Barbados Tridents of the Caribbean Premier League, the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, is a historic cricket stadium established in 1871.

With a seating capacity of 28,000, it ranks among the best cricket stadium globally. Kensington Oval’s pitch is notable for its fast-bowler-friendly characteristics, contributing to the thrilling nature of matches played here.

This stadium has been the backdrop for significant cricketing milestones, including the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup final and the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final.

Beyond cricket, it’s a hub for various events, offering a vibrant atmosphere enriched by the Caribbean culture and the lively spirit of the local crowd.

The History of Kensington Oval

The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, has been a pivotal cricket ground since its establishment in 1871. Cricket commenced here in 1882 under the stewardship of the Pickwick Cricket Club.

It first welcomed international cricket in 1895 with a match against Slade Lucas’ side. This ground marked its Test debut in January 1930 with a West Indies vs England match that ended in a draw.

Over its lengthy history, Kensington Oval has hosted 43 Test matches, with the West Indies team claiming victory in 21 of these encounters.

A major redevelopment took place in 2007, costing BDS$90M (US$45 Million), in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. This renovation included a complete overhaul of the stands.

The historic names of the stands, like the George Challenor stand and the Three Ws stand, were retained, preserving a part of its rich legacy.

Kensington Oval’s outfield underwent significant reconstruction in 2004. The existing soil, a mixture of sandy clay loam over coral reef limestone, was replaced with a more robust system including amended root-zone, root-zone sand, a blinding layer, and a gravel drainage layer.

Tifway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass was chosen for its resilience and disease resistance. The pitch square was also reconstructed, featuring a clay, sand, and gravel profile, ensuring top-notch playing conditions.

The Kensington Oval serves as the home ground for the Barbados Cricket Association and the Barbados Tridents, a team in the Caribbean Premier League.

Its history is adorned with iconic cricketing moments, including hosting the finals of the 2007 Cricket World Cup and the 2010 ICC World Twenty20, both pivotal events in the cricketing world.

Stadium Capacity

The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, has evolved significantly in terms of seating capacity. Originally accommodating 12,500 spectators, it underwent a substantial expansion in 2005, raising its capacity to 28,000.

This expansion was part of a $67.5 million reconstruction project, highlighting Kensington Oval’s commitment to enhancing fan experience.

In comparison with other cricket stadiums globally, Kensington Oval’s 28,000-seat capacity places it among the more sizable venues, though it doesn’t rank among the world’s largest cricket grounds. This capacity is notable given the size and population of Barbados, reflecting the island’s passion for cricket.

The design and layout of Kensington Oval have been instrumental in this capacity enhancement. The redevelopment retained historic stands like the Hall & Griffith and Hewitt & Inniss, while adding more spectator facilities.

Notably, the ground features a jacuzzi area for relaxed viewing and a large grassy hill for picnics, contributing to a unique fan experience.

The highest recorded attendance at the Kensington Oval was during the 2007 Cricket World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka, attracting 20,108 spectators. This event underscores Kensington Oval’s ability to host large-scale international cricket matches effectively.

Fan experience at Kensington Oval is distinct, shaped by the vibrant Caribbean culture. The stadium’s atmosphere is electric, particularly during high-profile matches, with local hospitality and the enthusiastic Barbadian crowd enhancing the experience.

The close proximity of the seating to the action allows fans to feel an integral part of the game, making each visit memorable.

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Pitch and Conditions

The pitch at the Kensington Oval is a batting pitch, typically characterized by its fast and bouncy nature. This makes it a challenging yet exciting ground for both batsmen and bowlers.

The soil composition of the square includes 71% clay, 14% silt, and 14% sand, offering a balanced playing surface. This composition was carefully developed during the ground’s major redevelopment, completed in May 2006.

Over the years, the behavior of the Kensington Oval’s pitch has seen some changes. Historically, the pitches in Bridgetown, where Kensington Oval is located, have been quick and bouncy, favoring batsmen while providing ample opportunity for bowlers to exploit the pace and bounce.

This combination has resulted in a sporting pitch where teams typically prefer batting first. However, in recent times, the surface has become somewhat easier for batting as the game progresses, without becoming a completely flat track.

The weather in Barbados generally offers hot conditions with little chance of rain, contributing to consistent playability of the pitch.

This climatic consistency ensures that the pitch retains its characteristic behavior throughout most matches.

Historical data on pitch behavior shows a balanced record of home and away wins in Test matches, with 23 home wins, 17 draws, and 11 away wins recorded in 51 Test matches.

The last ten tosses indicate a preference for batting first, though this strategy has not always guaranteed success.

Memorable Matches and Moments

Kensington Oval, located in Bridgetown, Barbados, has hosted many important cricket games in its 120+ years history, becoming a prime sporting facility for cricket.

Iconic Matches

  • The first international match was in 1895, while the inaugural Test match occurred in 1930 between West Indies and England, ending in a draw.
  • 2007 Cricket World Cup Final: Australia vs. Sri Lanka, with Australia winning. Adam Gilchrist’s remarkable 149-run innings was a highlight.
  • 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Final: England achieved its first-ever victory in a global limited overs tournament, defeating Australia.

Historical Significance

  • Kensington Oval’s history spans back to 1882, and it has been a stage for international cricket since 1895, marking significant progress in the sport’s global expansion.

Record-Breaking Performances

  • Adam Gilchrist’s 149 in the 2007 World Cup Final stands out as a record for the highest individual score in a World Cup final.

Dramatic Finishes

  • The 2007 World Cup Final was notable for its dramatic conclusion, where the match was played in near darkness due to a mix-up with the rules, resulting in Australia’s win by 53 runs.

Facilities and Features

Spectator Amenities

The Kensington Oval underwent a significant transformation in 2007, expanding from 7 to 12.5 acres. The redevelopment included a substantial increase in spectator capacity, allowing the ground to hold up to 27,000 spectators for large events, though the current capacity stands at 11,000.

Features like a jumbo TV screen and a jacuzzi-type area enhance the spectator experience, offering unique views of the game.

Hospitality Services

Kensington Oval boasts 46 comfortable hospitality suites suitable for a range of events, from large trade shows to smaller group meetings.

Additionally, the grounds contain 46 suites, 2 club terraces, 6 bars, and 18 concessions, catering to various hospitality needs.

Parking and Transportation

As part of the 2007 redevelopment, significant improvements were made to nearby roads and utility infrastructure, enhancing access and transportation to Kensington Oval.

Technological Infrastructure

The ground is well-equipped with modern facilities including a large screen for live broadcasts and replays, contributing to an immersive spectator experience.

Player Facilities

Kensington Oval includes a players’ pavilion accommodating up to 50 players, reflecting its status as a premier cricketing venue.

The pitch and outfield have undergone substantial improvements, offering a good bounce for bowlers and run-making opportunities for batsmen. The outfield was specifically redeveloped to prevent waterlogging, a past issue.

Visitor Information: Location and Tips

Location and Address

  • Address: President Kennedy Dr, Bridgetown BB120004, Barbados.
  • Kensington Oval is seated on the immediate outskirts of Bridgetown, near Holborn and Fontabelle, St. Michael.

Accessibility

  • Public Transport: A majority of visitors prefer traveling by car to Kensington Oval.
  • Parking: Street parking is available, and local businesses offer paid parking options.

Entry Gates and Ticket Information

  • Guided tours are conducted every half hour, with the last tour at 3:30 pm.
  • Contact information for further details: Phone: +1-2462741200.

Best Time to Visit

  • Kensington Oval is open from 09:00 am – 04:00 pm, with the preferred visiting time between 10:00 am and 02:00 pm.
  • Busiest days are typically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Match Day Tips

  • Alcohol is not allowed inside the stadium.
  • Visitors can bring one bag per person, fitting comfortably under the seat.
  • No animals except guide dogs are allowed, and only foldable pushchairs for babies are permitted.

Architecture of Kensington Oval

Kensington Oval features a modern architectural style. The design maintains the spirit of the original ground but in a contemporary building that responds to local climatic conditions.

Design Philosophy

The design prioritizes uninterrupted views, lighting, and comfort, achieved through natural ventilation and daylight. It also considers factors like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and extreme light levels.

Meanwhile, the stadium’s layout facilitates multifunctional use, including other sports and cultural events.

Architects and Builders

The reconstruction of Kensington Oval was led by Arup Associates, a renowned architecture firm.

Structural Details

  • The reinforced concrete structure is combined with light steel structures for the roof, designed to handle seismic loads and high winds while maintaining sightlines.
  • Materials used include locally available concrete, masonry, and wood, with steel and aluminum coatings.

Stadium Layout

  • The stadium can accommodate 14,500 spectators, expandable to 27,000 with temporary structures. It includes a media center, player pavilion, conference room, suites, club terraces, and bars.
  • The 3Ws stand, a notable feature, maximizes airflow and maintains shade and visibility.

Iconic Features

  • The 3Ws stand, designed as overlapping rings, is an iconic element, along with a statue of Sir Garfield Sobers.
  • A water management system ensures efficient irrigation of the playing field.

Renovations and Upgrades

  • Major renovations occurred in 2005-2007, significantly modernizing the stadium and expanding its capacity and facilities.
  • In 2008, Kensington Oval won an award from The Institution of Structural Engineers for its sports and leisure structures.

Final Words: The Kensington Oval – A Timeless Cricket Icon

The Kensington Oval, nestled in the heart of Bridgetown, Barbados, stands as a testament to the island’s enduring passion for cricket.

For over a century, this iconic ground has hosted countless cricketing legends, witnessed unforgettable matches, and played a pivotal role in the sport’s evolution.

From its early days as a simple pasture to its transformation into a world-class cricket stadium, the Kensington Oval has evolved alongside the game itself.

The ground’s rich history is etched in the very fabric of the stadium, evident in the historic stands that bear the names of cricketing greats.

Beyond its sporting significance, the Kensington Oval serves as a cultural hub, a vibrant gathering place where the rhythm of steel drums mingles with the roar of the crowd, creating an atmosphere that is uniquely Barbadian.

The Kensington Oval is more than just a cricket ground; it’s an embodiment of the island’s spirit, a place where passion, tradition, and community converge.


All You Need to Know about Kensington Oval

Which country is Kensington Oval in?

Kensington Oval is located in Barbados, an island country in the Caribbean Sea. It is situated in the western part of the capital city, Bridgetown.

Is Kensington Oval a batting or bowling pitch?

Kensington Oval is generally considered to be a balanced pitch that offers a fair contest between bat and ball. However, the conditions can vary depending on the time of year and the weather. In general, the pitch is more conducive to batting early in the season, when the wickets are drier and harder. Later in the season, as the wickets become more worn and uneven, the pitch can become more difficult to bat on.

What is the highest score in Kensington Oval ODI?

The highest score ever made in a One-Day International (ODI) match at Kensington Oval is 330 for 5 by India against West Indies in 2007.

What is the record of India at Kensington Oval Barbados?

India has a mixed record at Kensington Oval in Barbados. They have won 9 matches, lost 12 matches, and tied 1 match in ODI cricket at the venue. In Test cricket, India has won 3 matches, lost 4 matches, and drawn 2 matches at the venue.

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