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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 14:26 GMT
Ashes urn mended
The Ashes urn
The urn is now in much better shape than before
The MCC's Roger Knight
Experts have completed repair work on the 122-year-old Ashes urn, the most famous trophy in world cricket.

They have repaired a number of cracks and the MCC say it is now in a "stable but still delicate condition".

"The project revealed the urn was in an even more precarious condition than x-rays had suggested," MCC secretary Roger Knight commented.

They now hope to revive plans for the urn to be sent to Australia, who have dominated Ashes series since 1989.

Arrangements were made to transport the urn and its velvet carrying bag to Australia two winters ago to mark the centenary of the first Ashes series.

But that plan was halted after it was deemed too fragile to transport overseas.

The Ashes urn
The damage to the Ashes was plain to see ( MCC)

The repair work was entrusted to Plowden and Smith Ltd after an x-ray examination of the 4ins high trophy was undertaken just over a year ago.

The main damage was a crack in the stem between the body of the urn and its foot.

"Repairing the Ashes urn was both an enormous privilege and a very daunting experience," company spokesperson Maryam Collins told the MCC website.

"It is perhaps the most famous sporting artefact in the world - and surely the most fragile one too."

The trophy is housed at the MCC museum at Lord's.

The Ashes were created after Australia's first Test series win in England, which prompted The Sporting Times to publish a mock obituary for English cricket.

The bails from the match were later "cremated" and placed in the tiny urn.

Cricket Australia has a replica of the trophy, presented in 1948 after the 4-0 series victory by Don Bradman's "Invincibles".

But Prime Minister John Howard called for the real thing to be handed over following their most recent series victory over England in 2002-03.

Keeping the Ashes safe
05 Dec 02  |  The Ashes
Ashes urn to tour Australia
05 Dec 02  |  The Ashes
Keep the stinking thing
04 Dec 02  |  The Ashes
Howard: Hand over the Ashes
04 Dec 02  |  The Ashes


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