County Championship 2021 – Surrey to screen Lord’s derby clash at Oval as county cricket gears up for return of fans

0

When Surrey play Middlesex in the County Championship this week, it will be the first time this summer that members have come to the Kia Oval to watch their side play. Since last week, tickets have been on sale to buy a lunch package for the first three days of the game, which will allow them to eat and drink on the roof terrace at the top of the JM Finn Stand, sitting in the sun while they settle into the rhythms of early-season county cricket.

The catch? The game is being played at Lord’s, and Surrey’s members will be watching via Middlesex’s live stream on the big screens across London. It is a bizarre situation: fans are allowed into The Oval to watch an away fixture, and were sat on the terrace to watch the squad train ahead of the game against Leicestershire last week, but are locked out on matchdays for the next month.

“It does look strange,” Richard Gould, Surrey’s chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo. “It is very frustrating in this part of the lockdown. Supporters are coming in on non-matchdays to use the balcony, have lunch, and watch the players train, but they’re not allowed to come back the next day – even in small numbers.

“We have two elements of control upon us: our entertainment licence, and our safety certificate. It was explained to us that on a matchday, it’s our safety certificate that takes precedence, not our licence, which means that we’re not allowed to bring any supporters in on matchdays.”