Crowd antics mar cricket final

23rd August 1996 at 01:00
The first ever under-l5s cricket world challenge final at Lords last week was marred by a pitch invasion.

A group of Pakistani supporters forced India's batsmen, just six runs short of a victory over Pakistan, to retreat into the pavilion.

The supporters ran from the Mound Stand and stole the stumps, stopping the game until police cleared the ground of some 200 spectators. The Indians went on to win by four wickets.

The pitch invasion was the third of the game, which was also marked by obscene chanting at the winners and can-throwing. Police reinforcements, some with dogs, had to be called to deal with it - creating scenes unprecedented at the home of cricket. Shocked Lords members watched policemen frog-march a spectator through the pavilion's hallowed Long Room.

Some supporters kept up a barrage of chanting from the start - just like the crowds at last winter's World Cup in the Indian sub-continent. Nevertheless, the atmosphere around the ground was for the most part good-natured, with many families enjoying a free day at Lords.

A spokesperson for Lombard, sponsor of the event, stressed that, although it was a shame that the game had ended as it did, it was a small incident in a highly successful three-week event that had seen some wonderful cricket.

Some 7,000 free tickets had been distributed to schools and clubs by Lombard, and the semi-finals, televised on BSkyB, had attracted local supporters, especially from west London's Asian community.

The championship, organised by the English Schools Cricket Association, involved 10 countries. England lost a semi-final to Pakistan.

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