Sir: In reply to Simon O'Hagan's article "Using a hammer to crack a few nuts" (24 May). I was the police commander at the Oval Texaco Trophy Match on 23.5.96. I have policed The Oval for seven years and would agree wholeheartedly with the comments about the "vibrant atmosphere". The officers on duty tend to be cricket lovers and as such we want everybody to have a good time and enjoy themselves.
All the organisations involved in events at The Oval work closely together and, where possible, matters inside the grounds are dealt with in the first instance by stewards. But, at times, it is necessary for police to intervene because of the serious nature of the incident. We act to protect public safety and to ensure that no spectators spoil others' enjoyment of the match by their rowdy behaviour.
On the day in question it was necessary to eject two people due to behaviour which was unacceptable to those around them. Two other people were arrested and removed from the grounds for an affray and an allegation of assault on a senior steward.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the India and England supporters who revived the atmosphere. I hope it lasts all summer and we have a similar five-day Test with Pakistan.
From Katherine Sinderson
Sir: Your story on Harriet Slynn (30 May), obviously a modern day Babe Zaharias or Lottie Dod, is certainly heartening in an age of supposed couch potatory. It does however, highlight the muddled thinking of some of our sports authorities on the question of males and females competing in mixed teams beyond childhood. Why should arbitrary age limits and some feeble excuses about changing facilities be substituted for common sense and a bit of forward thinking?
Maybe Miss Slynn should add the mixed-sex game of Korfball to her repertoire, where presumably such practical difficulties are overcome. This is provided of course she could fit it in to her already admirably active schedule.
From Simon Malloni
Sir: In response to the headline in today's Euro 96 pull-out (Is this Britain's favourite German?, 3 June) You should instead have written; `This is the media's favourite German!" Just because you and your professional peers are enthralled by Klinsmann, it does not follow that the real world shares your infatuation. I have had my fill of reading such sycophantic views. Do you think supporters of London clubs other than Tottenham care either way about him?
From Peter Britcliffe
Sir: I have just read "Around the Grounds" - No 4 County Ground, Taunton in today's edition (3 June). I'm in Taunton and suggest nobody tries to "book a bed at the County Hotel" as it is being demolished!
From Paul Bristow
Sir: Could you please explain to me the logic behind building Hillsborough's South Stand extension with its associated footbridge giving access from Parkside Road with steps at the main entry.
As a wheelchair user I find it extraordinary that any new construction should not be designed with total accessibility for everyone. I thought there was legislation about this sort of thing. What a poor example to show to the rest of Europe.
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