Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Inside the Boundary

The famous tree inside Kent's cricket ground has fallen.
TWO centuries of cricketing folklore crashed to the ground at St Lawrence when Friday's gales felled the world-famous lime tree at Kent's Canterbury headquarters.

Estimated to be at least 190-years-old when last surveyed, the lime has provided the back drop for cricket since the game was first played there in 1847 - some 23 years before the formation of the county club. The only tree positioned within the boundary ropes of a first-class cricket ground anywhere in the world, the lime became renowned throughout the game as a quirky sporting icon of Kent.

Down the decades numerous Kent supporters have scattered the ashes of loved ones at the foot of the tree, and poignantly, a single red rose still lay at its base on the day the lime finally came to rest.
"The replacement is a little on the small side right now and would have to be protected, as they do with the base of rugby posts, just in case a fielder ran into it.

"But I feel we need to keep such traditions going as people came here from all over the world, even when there was no cricket being played, to have their picture taken next to the Canterbury lime."

Though often well within the boundary ropes only three batsmen have 'officially' hit sixes over the Canterbury lime in first-class play - though many others have laid claim to the feat.

West Indies' all-rounder Learie Constantine first cleared the lime from a delivery by Kent leg-spinner C.S. 'Father' Mariott in 1928. Constantine's countryman and former Kent overseas professional, Carl Hooper, did likewise in 1992, while batsman Jim Smith also hit over it for Middlesex in 1939.

Important questions of our time: as the replacement tree is smaller than its predecessor is it still a six over the tree?

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