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The Bourda Oval in Georgetown is one of the oldest grounds in the Caribbean, the only Test venue on mainland South America and the only one in the world below sea level - the venue itself is surrounded by a moat, used by local fishermen, to protect the ground. The Bourda, which was opened in 1884 and first staged Test cricket in 1930, has a very old-world feel about it with the splendid wooden pavilion at fine leg an imposing structure. The Ladies stand is as fascinating, but the more modern, such as the Rohan Kanhai stand, blend in well. The liveliest part of the ground with the ubiquitous music and DJs is at The Mound, an unprotected area.
While the crowd are passionate about their cricket, they are also among the most volatile, with mini riots and pitch invasions not uncommon. The worst incident was in 1979 during a World Series Cricket SuperTest when the pavilion was ransacked and players hid in the changing rooms wearing their helmets for added protection.
It is one of the largest grounds in the region, with a capacity of around 22,000, but has been dogged by poor weather as it is often scheduled matches in Guyana's wetter period. Despite this, it is a very special place to watch cricket.
The awarding of the 2007 World Cup to the Caribbean signalled the end of the Bourda as an international venue with the construction of a state-of-the-art cricket arena in the district of Providence on the outskirts of Georgetown. The Guyanese authorities, however, insisted that the Bourda would still be used for first-class cricket.
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