Kensington Oval is Barbados' oldest cricket ground, having been established in 1882 when Pickwick Cricket Club leased 4 acres of pasture land from the Kensington Plantation and started to develop it as a cricket ground with a clubhouse.
In 1914, the Barbados Cricket Committee, the forerunner of the current Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), bought the Oval but continued to allow Pickwick to lease the ground until 2004. The ground was expanded and upgraded over the years and by 2004 had grown to just over 7 acres. The field was surrounded by stands, with a seating capacity of 14,500, plus a players pavilion and media centre and the Oval had been used for events other than cricket such as soccer, hockey and other field sports, pageants, cultural events and concerts.
With the West Indies approved as the venue to host the International Cricket Council's Cricket World Cup in 2007 (ICC CWC 2007), the decision was taken in 2003 to completely redevelop Kensington Oval to international cricket and safety standards and in June 2005 it was vacated by the BCA to allow the redevelopment to take place.
The Government of Barbados became a shareholder in the Oval by acquiring additional surrounding land for the expansion of the Oval and by providing the human and financial resources to execute the construction works. The Oval was formally reopened on 17th February 2007 and hosted seven matches of the ICC CWC 2007 including the Final on 28th April 2007.
The redeveloped Kensington Oval also known as the "Mecca" of Cricket, now occupies just over 12.5 acres of land, of which 3.5 acres constitutes the playing field with a diameter of 140 yards. The outfield is constructed of 2.5 feet of graded layers of stone, gravel and sand planted with a hybrid Bermuda grass which allows the field to drain rapidly even after torrential rain, The drained water is captured in a network of perforated pipes and led to the perimeter of the field where it is stored in 280 plastic cells. The six cricket pitches in the centre are of similar construction to the field except that the top layer is of 8 inches of specially selected clay planted with Bermuda Princess grass.
As a result of its design, Kensington Oval-Barbados was part of the portfolio which won Arup Associates the prestigious Building Design 2007 Architect of the Year Award in the Leisure/Sport category.
The current capacity of Kensington Oval is 11,000 spectators but for ICC CWC 2007 this was boosted to 27,000 by the introduction of two large partly covered temporary stands on the eastern side of the ground, one of which was the largest such structure ever built at a sporting event. In addition, the Oval has a media centre with six commentary booths and 85 press desks; a players pavilion with accommodation for 50 players, a 148 seat press conference room, 46 suites, 2 club terraces, 6 bars and 18 concessions, A statue of His Excellency, the Right Honourable Sir Garfield Sobers, National Hero of Barbados, universally recognized as the world's greatest cricketer and in whose honour the Players Pavilion is named, dominates the entry to the Oval.
|CAPACITY OF VENUE|
|WORRELL WEEKE5 WALCOTT STAND|
|George Challenor Suites (16 no.)||3841|
|HALL & GRIFFITH STAND|
|Emmanuel Martindale Suites (7 no.)||84|
|GREENIDGE & HAYNES STAND|
|Atkinson & Nurse Suites (16 no.)||312|
|HEWITT & INNISS STAND|
|Conrad Hunte Suites (7 no.)||172|
|CURRENT GROSS CAPACITY||10,948|
|1. Capacity can be increased by 36 by adding bar stools|
|2. Capacity can be increased by 46 by adding VIP chairs|
|3. Capacity can be increased by 64 by adding bar stools|
|Kensington Oval Management Inc|