County News - Kent March 8, 2005

Kent to replace the lime tree

Cricinfo staff

Robert Neame, the former Kent president, conducts the tree-planting ceremony © Getty Images

Kent have replaced the famous lime tree that grew within the playing area of the St Lawrence ground at Canterbury, after the original blew down in strong winds back in January. A short ceremony took place at 11am on Tuesday, March 8, one that was made all the more poignant by the recent death of the club president, Brian Luckhurst, who succumbed to cancer last week.

Luckhurst had been due to conduct the ceremony, but instead the duties were carried out by his precedessor, Robert Neame, who oversaw the repositioning of a sapling that had been planted on the boundary's edge in 1999, when the club first became aware of the poor state of the old tree.

Chris Cowdrey, the former Kent and England captain, read a poem entitled "Farewell the St Lawrence Lime", which was written by a Kent fan shortly after the January storm. The show must go on," Cowdrey said, in reference to Luckhurst's untimely death. "We'll try and make it a celebration rather than a sad occasion."

"There has been a lime tree on the boundary's edge for as long as cricket has been played on the St Lawrence Ground," said Carl Openshaw, the club chairman. Under special rules that were adapted for Kent's - and the tree's - benefit, it was deemed that any shot that struck the tree, no matter how high or low on its branches, would count as four runs.

Kent are hoping to make a range of mementos from the wood of the original tree, which was over 200 years old.