A steward says he almost broke a thumb as a result of the behaviour of drunk cricket fans

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Two stewards tasked with overseeing the conduct and safety of fans at Edgbaston cricket ground have been injured by spectators during the second day of the Test match between England and New Zealand. 

The Test is part of a pilot event meaning that the Birmingham stadium has welcomed back 18,000 cricket fans on each day of the match so far. And while the event has been one conducted largely in celebratory mood, the sunshine and alcohol has made the job of the stewards particularly difficult.

"Two of us have been injured already today," said one steward, whose job has been to oversee spectators in the infamous Eric Hollies stand. "I almost broke my thumb with one of those beer snakes while my colleague had his shoulder done in ejecting a drunk member of the public."

"The rest of the ground is great but this bit isn’t. [The fans] are too drunk and there’s [sic] too many of them. And there aren’t enough police. [The fans] are out of control."

The role of a safety steward at Edgbaston, which is advertised at three pence above minimum wage, is described in the job advertisement as one which is to help ‘create a safe and fun environment for everyone. […] You’ll be part of a large collaborative team helping create amazing experiences for all types of people.’

The last time England men’s Test team played in front of a home crowd of this size was almost two years ago, when the Ashes series culminated before a full house at The Oval. Last week the first Test unfolded in front of around six thousand spectators at Lord’s, which hosted a 25 per cent capacity crowd in line with government regulations. 

However, unlike the Lord’s Test, the Edgbaston pilot event means that spectators, who need to present a negative NHS lateral flow test on arrival, do not need to be socially distanced nor wear face masks while watching from the stands. Further, all ticket-holders must be aged 16 or over, in contrast to Lord’s, which prioritised junior tickets in order to encourage a younger crowd during the school holidays.