Arylebone Cricket Club, Lord’s Guardians, has informed its members that the decision to remove Eton v Harrow and Oxford v Cambridge from its fixture list ‘did not result from any anxiety to bow down to the police awake'”.
The MCC announced last week that the two matches between state schools and major universities would no longer be held annually at Lord’s from next year. Matches have been played between Lord’s teams since the 19th century.
MCC chief executive Guy Lavender wrote to the club’s 23,000 members on Tuesday saying it “was not a decision that was taken lightly”. He also did not rule out the possibility of the fixtures taking place on the pitch in the future, “so as to mark an anniversary or an important event”.
Lavender explained that the decision was made for two main reasons.
The first was to reduce the amount of cricket played on the ground because “MCC’s top priority must be to ensure that we are able to provide the highest quality grounds for professional cricket.
“All Members will recognize the importance of this objective; it is essential not only to maintain Lord’s status as a major cricket venue, but also to preserve and develop England’s competitiveness, particularly in the game of red ball. The expectations of professional teams are higher than ever and this is an area where we still have a lot of work to do.
The second was a set of “guiding principles” for the dating roster.
“The fixture list has evolved over the years, but it’s been an organic process, for the most part, rather than with reference to a central rationale,” Lavender said.
These principles are:
– More “Finals-Day” matches, creating “The Road to Lord’s” in current or new competitions;
– A greater diversity of teams;
– More playing opportunities for women’s cricket;
– More playing opportunities for junior cricket;
– Cricket for MCC members (men and women) on the main ground.
As a result, the MCC “concluded that it was no longer viable to use two-day Main Ground cricket to stage, on an annual basis, the same four institutions”.
Lavender responded to criticism of the decision from members and the media, and said the club could not allow tradition to hold her back.
“This decision was not made as a result of ‘anxiety to bow down to the woke police,’ as the media recently reported,” he wrote.
“I have no doubt that the members wish to allow young people to play at Lord’s based on their talent and success in reaching the finals of the competitions. Faced with constraints on the number of matches that can be played on the Main Ground, the Committee took this decision in favor of this objective.
“All Committee members are acutely aware of the role that lore has played in Lord’s history and in the development of the game in general. The best of this shared heritage is to be cherished and is abandoned at our peril, but we cannot let our history hold us back if we are to maintain our relevance and our goal of developing cricket for all.