Cricket spectators at The Oval were urged to “take cover” after a “crossbow bolt” was fired on to the pitch, landing between players who were rushed away.Play was suspended in the County Championship clash when the metal-tipped “projectile” – said to be around 18 inches long – ended up in the ground just yards from players and umpires. The match between Surrey and Middlesex was later abandoned.Armed police were at the venue as the ground was evacuated on Thursday afternoon amid a major security scare. Among them was retired police officer Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, who said: “I didn’t see what happened, but it’s pretty clear the bolt was fired into the ground by some idiot from outside.”It’s a bit of a shame for everyone, though to be honest it wasn’t a great day’s cricket.” He said: “I was sitting by the players’ entrance talking to a fan and all of a sudden I saw all of the players and the umpires run off the pitch.”I thought, ‘it’s not raining, what’s going on?’ and one of the Surrey cricketers, Rikki Clarke, said ‘somebody’s fired an arrow onto the pitch’.”Mr Lawrence said he thought it looked “like a crossbow arrow” and that nobody was sure where it had come from.”It was a very ghastly-looking thing,” he said. He added: “It could have done damage to everybody, it’s by the good grace it hasn’t.”Surrey cricketer Stuart Meaker described the projectile as a “metal tipped arrow” in a post on Twitter: Have taken refuge inside at #TheOval after a crossbow was fired into the stadium and stopped play. Surreal scenes. pic.twitter.com/tLEzfaao9R— Bradley Hatchett (@bradleyhatchett) August 31, 2017 Around 1,000 spectators were in the ground when the incident took place, along with 400 people attending networking events. Scotland Yard said it believed the object, reported to be either an “arrow or crossbow bolt”, had been fired outside the ground.Police are keeping an “open mind” about the motive, but are not treating the incident as terrorism-related. No one has been reported injured and no arrests have been made. Scotland Yard said it had been called to “reports that an arrow or crossbow bolt had been loosed into the Oval Cricket ground”.In a statement, the force added: “Officers, including firearms officers, are on scene. There are no reported injuries. Fans stream out of The Oval amid the evacuationCredit:Paul Grover for The Telegraph The object – reported to be either an arrow or crossbow bolt – is carried by a steward at The OvalCredit:David Rowe/Alamy Ms Edmondson said she was worried about staying in the vicinity of the ground, with the person responsible for firing the bolt still at large.As she spoke, a police helicopter flew overhead, apparently trying to spot the suspect in the streets and estates surrounding the famous ground, by now ringed by several patrol cars. Jeremy Lawrence, a Middlesex fan, saw players being rushed off the pitch shortly after the arrow landed. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Players begin to leave the pitch after the ‘crossbow bolt’ was fired onto the pitchCredit:Surrey County Cricket Club But Nick Compton, the England and Middlesex batsman, shared a joke with his Twitter followers: Richard Gould, chief executive of Surrey Cricket Club, said: “Security is always close to our heart and we’ll of course review the situation to see if there are any further measures we can consider.”But we can’t build a wall high enough to prevent this kind of thing happening. These bolts can be fired hundreds of feet into the air before landing.” Speaking during the incident, a Surrey spokesman said: “We were about to bowl the next ball and the arrow appeared two pitches to the side of the pitch we’re playing on at the moment.”The umpires took it out of the ground and got the players off as quickly as possible. Everybody in the ground has now been asked to take cover, there is nobody out in the stands or out in the open in any form.”All the seating hangs over the concourse, so they’re all under the seating at the moment in the concourse area, which is fully covered.”The police are on their way. We don’t know much more at the moment. We’re not sure if it’s deliberate or accidental or whether it’s come from inside or outside the ground.” Around 1,000 spectators were in The Oval when the incident unfoldedCredit:Paul Grover for The Telegraph Armed police outside The Oval on Thursday afternoonCredit: Paul Grover for The Telegraph According to the competition’s official Twitter feed, the object was fired from outside the ground.It said: “Play suspended at Kia Oval after a ‘projectile’ was fired into the ground from outside. Fans urged to move indoors.”Middlesex County Cricket Club tweeted: “Play suspended at the Oval on advice of security. Players have left the field after a crossbow bolt landed on the square.”It later said: “Understandably, after the earlier suspension of play, the game at the Oval has been abandoned with the game ending as a draw.” Rachel Edmondson, 34, from East Grinstead, West Sussex, was among dozens of people attending a business networking session in The Oval’s suites who were suddenly asked to leave.”We were told a bolt or arrow had been fired into the ground and we had to leave and get out,” she sad. “It was really worrying. Something like that could have killed someone.” Well…we have just officially gone off the field because a metal tipped arrow just landed on the pitch!! 👀— Stuart Meaker (@SMeaker18) August 31, 2017 Dan Norcross, the BBC Test Match Special commentator, said the object had landed between two players, around 30 feet (10m) from the strip.”To aim at a particular player is very, very hard to do, it’s about 150m to the nearest vantage point,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.”It’s a very difficult target for somebody who is trying to do specific damage and it feels more like an act of mischief. But it could have done serious damage – I’ve seen the tip and it’s very sharp and it was poking into the ground.”I can’t stress enough what a dangerous weapon this arrow was – 18 inches long with a long metal tip. It could so easily have hurt someone and it landed eight yards from about five players.” Play suspended at the Oval on advice of security. Players have left the field after a crossbow bolt landed on the square….. pic.twitter.com/V5fJADvuKK— Middlesex Cricket (@Middlesex_CCC) August 31, 2017 Another spectator, who gave her name only as Jacqueline, said: “We were at a corporate networking event when we were suddenly told to leave and move to the England Suite. Now being evacuated from #TheOval after crossbow incident. Strong armed police presence 👀 pic.twitter.com/ztVoYjCzhB— Bradley Hatchett (@bradleyhatchett) August 31, 2017 Armed police outside the Oval ground after play was suspendedCredit:Jonathan Brady/PA “From there we made our way our with everyone else. It’s frightening on reflection, something like that happening at a cricket match.”Police were called to the ground in Kennington, South London, at 4.35pm. Middlesex were leading by 181 runs with three wickets in hand when players left the pitch.An announcement went out at The Oval: “On the advice of our security team, please take cover. We urge you to move inside.” Empty pitch at The Oval after fans, players and umpires were urged to take coverCredit:dcdulwich/Twitter “There has been a controlled evacuation of the ground and the match has been suspended.”It is believed that the object came from outside of the ground. At this stage, the incident is not being treated as terrorism-related.”Officers from Lambeth are investigating. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.” Spectators leave the County Championship clash Credit:Paul Grover for The Telegraph Mr Gould said bags were not routinely searched on entry for this kind of low-profile match, but said there was nothing to indicate the bolt had been fired from inside the ground.One player described the object as a “metal tipped arrow” that was fired on to the outfield, not far from the players and umpires. Police outside the ground amid the major security scareCredit:Jonathan Brady/PA Another 400 people had been attending networking events at The OvalCredit:Paul Grover for The Telegraph Compton and his colleague John Simpson were at the crease as the arrow landed on the field.The match was stopped after the first ball of the 69th over with Middlesex at 214 for seven in their second innings on the fourth and final day. Sir Robin of Loxley has just arrived at the Oval 👀 #bowandarrow 💪🙏🏻— Nick Compton (@thecompdog) August 31, 2017 The metal-tipped arrow that was fired into The OvalCredit:Surrey Cricket Club Outside The Oval, hundreds of spectators were streaming away from the ground, their day ruined by an apparent act of stupidity.