Lord’s is to play host to more leading school cricket competition finals as part of a new five-year agreement that will see it continue to stage historic university and private school matches.
Following months of discussions, Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) committee has agreed to a five-year extension of the period in which Lord’s will host the fixtures between Oxford and Cambridge and Eton and Harrow, from 2024 onwards.
In addition, the MCC will be inviting the organisers of competitions open to all schools and all universities to stage the finals of their respective competitions in those years, starting in 2024. There had been disagreement for some time as to how the historic fixtures stood alongside many members’ desire to promote cricket as a game for all.
The MCC said it has been in discussions with the Schools Cricket Conference, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and ECB for over a year now to establish how it can help support their existing national competitions and encourage participation by offering finalists the opportunity to play at Lord’s.
The MCC said the addition of schools and universities to the groups already competing on the Road to Lord’s supports MCC’s wider Cricket Strategy to provide more opportunities for the best cricketers from all backgrounds to play at the ground. The Main Ground will host the MCC Foundation National Hubs Finals, the ECB Junior National Club Championship Finals, the ECB National Club Championship Final and the Voneus Village Cup Final in 2023.
Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the MCC’s chair, said: “This announcement demonstrates that we are listening to our Members who want us to play our part in making cricket a game for all and to respect our history and traditions.
“With a number of initiatives in place for the 2023 season, including a variety of men’s and women’s matches, a simplified membership application process, a rapidly growing MCC Foundation and community programmes for under-represented cricketers, we look forward to welcoming new players and new audiences to Lord’s this season and in the years to come.”