Portugal Colonial - 19th century all out: Lord's dumps Oxford v Cambridge, Eton v Harrow games

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19th century all out: Lord's dumps Oxford v Cambridge, Eton v Harrow games
19th century all out: Lord's dumps Oxford v Cambridge, Eton v Harrow games

19th century all out: Lord's dumps Oxford v Cambridge, Eton v Harrow games

Two of English cricket's oldest fixtures, Oxford v Cambridge and Eton v Harrow, will no longer be staged annually at Lord's after this year.

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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns 'the home of cricket', said both matches would take place in late June but added they "will no longer be played as regular annual fixtures at Lord's after 2022".

The club, often portrayed by its critics as elitist, said 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.

Oxford and Cambridge, England's two oldest universities, 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.

Last year, the Stump Out Sexism campaign was launched by a former Oxford captain, Vanessa Picker, in protest that Lord's had never staged a women's fixture between the universities.

This year Oxford and Cambridge will play a T20 double-header on June 27, although the women's match could now be the first and last between the two universities played at Lord's.

And although the institutions have produced several former England captains, including Colin Cowdrey and Mike Smith (Oxford) and Mike Brearley and Mike Atherton (Cambridge), the universities no longer have first-class cricket status.

Eton and Harrow, two of England's oldest and most exclusive fee-paying schools, have played each other at Lord's since the early 19th century, with the poet George Byron taking part in the inaugural edition in 1805.

Once a highlight of the English summer social season, the match between Eton and Harrow once attracted tens of thousands of supporters but crowds have declined significantly in recent years.

V.Dantas--PC