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MCC to shelve annual Oxford-Cambridge, Eton-Harrow fixtures at Lord's

Decision taken in order to "further MCC's goal to broaden the scope of the fixture list"

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
A general view of Lord's as Sam Robson drives, Middlesex vs Somerset, County Championship, Lord's, April 8, 2021

MCC has vowed to "broaden the scope" of fixtures played at Lord's  •  Philip Brown/Getty Images

The MCC will remove Oxford vs Cambridge and Eton vs Harrow - two of the longest-running fixtures in English cricket's history - from the annual rotation of matches at Lord's next year.
Both fixtures will be staged this summer, in late June, but the MCC said when publishing its full schedule that they "will no longer be played as regular annual fixtures at Lord's after 2022".
The club said that the decision had been taken in order to "further MCC's goal to broaden the scope of the fixture list" and give "a wider range of players" the chance to play at Lord's. "We would like to thank all four institutions for their support and co-operation and we look forward to hosting them in June," the MCC added.
Oxford and Cambridge have played annually at Lord's since 1851, with the exception of the years of the two World Wars and the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. They played men's first-class fixtures until 2000 and a men's limited-overs fixture until 2021.
The universities will play a T20 double-header this year on June 27, but will no longer be guaranteed a fixture in future seasons.
Cambridge University Cricket Club said in a statement: "CUCC is grateful for the opportunity to play the 2022 T20 Varsity matches at Lord's and enthusiastically welcomes the MCC decision to make way in following seasons for a wider range of people to realise their ambition of playing at Lord's, which chimes with the university's own ambitions on widening access and participation."
Eton and Harrow, two of the country's oldest and most prestigious private schools, have played each other at Lord's since the early 19th century, with very occasional interruptions. The fixture used to attract tens of thousands of supporters but crowds have dropped off significantly in recent years and the 2022 fixture on June 28 is likely to be the last at Lord's.
An MCC spokesperson confirmed that the fixtures could be played again in future in different formats or as part of wider events, but without the guarantee of being an annual fixture.
The news follows confirmation of ESPNcricinfo's story that England Women will play at Lord's for the first time since the 2017 World Cup final this summer, when they play an ODI against India on September 24.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98