Hartlepool cricket umpire caught up in crossbow bolt drama at Oval

Cricket Umpire Michael Gough at the Park Drive home of Hartlepool Criket Club. Picture by FRANK REID
Cricket Umpire Michael Gough at the Park Drive home of Hartlepool Criket Club. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool umpire Michael Gough was one of the officials in charge when a crossbow bolt that landed on the Oval field led to Surrey’s County Championship clash with Middlesex being abandoned.

Middlesex batsmen John Simpson and Nick Compton and Surrey’s fielders were ushered inside by Gough, and fellow umpire, Paul Baldwin, following the incident while the 1,068 spectators were urged to take cover before armed police carried out a “controlled evacuation”.

Officers and an armed response team from the Met Police arrived within 15 minutes and a full search of the ground was carried out by police and around 30 security staff.

A statement from the Met Police said there had been no reported injuries and that the “arrow or crossbow bolt” had been fired “from outside the ground”, landing on the square roughly 10 yards from the pitch.

No arrests have been made and the incident is not being treated as terrorism-related.”

The Division One encounter – which was meandering towards a stalemate in the final session, with Middlesex holding a 181-run lead with three second-innings wickets in hand – was called off at 5.05pm.

Surrey skipper Gareth Batty, who was fielding about 25 yards from where the pink-coloured bolt, landed, said: “The umpires dealt with it very well. There were no questions asked – we went off very quickly.”

“Someone saw it in flight, there was a noise when it landed but it happened so quick. It is a deadly weapon for sure, if it had hit someone it would have caused some serious damage. It just shows the world we live in.

“You have to be diligent, it would be stupid not to be but if you’re constantly worrying about what is going to happen that is not a great place to be.

“If it is a crossbow rather than a longbow it is probably someone messing around and not understanding the implications of firing something into the air.

“Let’s hope it’s a couple of people who will feel pretty ashamed in the morning when they realise what happened.”