MCC agrees compromise on Lord's hosting Oxford-Cambridge, Eton-Harrow matches
Historic fixtures will retain status for next five years ahead of planned review in 2027
Lord's will continue to stage Oxford vs Cambridge and Eton vs Harrow fixtures for the next five years after a compromise was brokered between the MCC committee and a group of members who had opposed the removal of the "historic" games, which are among the longest-running annual sporting contests in the world.
The MCC had initially attempted to remove both and "broaden the scope of the fixture list" last year, only to make a U-turn after a group of members protested against the plans.
The rebellion led to the formation of the Historic Fixtures Group (HFG), looking to mobilise support for the matches, which have been held at Lord's since the early 19th century. A vote on their future was called for the MCC's Annual General Meeting, to be held in May, with a survey by the club suggesting members were divided on the issue.
An agreement has now been struck, with the HFG supporting the extension, which will be reviewed in the winter of 2027 ahead of a potential vote at the subsequent AGM.
MCC will also extend invitations to the organisers of competitions open to all schools and universities around the country to hold their finals at the ground from 2024, as part of the club's "Road to Lord's" initiative.
"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," Bruce Carnegie-Brown, MCC chair, said.
"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."
Michael Hall, chairman of the HFG, said: "We fully endorse this outcome. Finding room at Lord's for both the historic fixtures and the finals of the Road to Lord's competitions is something that everybody should applaud. No-one could have foreseen quite how divided the club became on this issue and the committee deserves credit for implementing a pragmatic solution that gives those divisions the opportunity to heal, yet also leaves a sensible review mechanism in place. We will now all work towards making the historic fixtures and the Road to Lord's a resounding success."