Lord’s strike deal to host Oxford vs Cambridge and Eton vs Harrow fixtures until 2027

Lord’s strike deal to host Oxford vs Cambridge and Eton vs Harrow fixtures until 2027

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has confirmed a five-year extension to which Lord’s Cricket Ground will host the fixtures between Oxford and Cambridge and Eton and Harrow, from 2024 onwards.

The longer-term future of the fixtures will then be considered again in the winter of 2027 and a vote and the Club’s 2028 AGM could be necessary.

The MCC will also be inviting the organisers of competitions open to all schools and universities to stage the final of their respective competitions during that period, starting in 2024.

Stephen Fry, in his capacity as MCC president, spoke in support of the changes and said they would help challenge a "turgid image of snobbery and elitism" but both were played in 2022 amid the threat of a special general meeting and a damaging split.

A consultation of members was subsequently conducted and the executive have now resolved to guarantee the fixtures, which date back to 1805 and 1827 respectively, until 2027. At that stage a further review will be held, with the prospect of a formal vote over the matter to follow.

It had been argued that the dates given over to two private schools and varsity matches might be used more meritocratically, to host the finals of open tournaments available to all comers. As part of the new arrangement, organisers of such competitions will be invited to stage their showpiece games at Lord’s from 2024 onwards.

That means a marginal increase on active playing days at the main ground, up from 60 to 62, which could further squeeze the work of groundstaff as they attempt to provide the best possible pitches for international and domestic cricket at the famous venue.

Additional reporting from PA