The women’s fixture has never been played at Lord’s beforeJohn Sutton/Geograph

Marylebone Cricket Club has suggested that the women’s Varsity cricket match could be played at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the first time from next year.

The men’s match has a rich history of being played at Lord’s, with full-length first-class fixtures contested there intermittently from 1827 to 1850, and then all matches played there from 1851 to 2000. In 2001, the fixture was reduced to a 50-over one-day format, and the full-length first-class status has since applied to a single annual match, which takes place alternatively between Fenner’s (Cambridge) and The Parks (Oxford). This year’s men’s fixture is due to take place at Lord’s next Sunday (23/05).

Conversely, the women’s match, which is due to take place at Wormsley this year on Monday 28 June, has never been played at Lord’s, with the Telegraph reporting that a request to the MCC to hold the women’s fixture at Lord’s was only received on 12 May, which did not allow enough time to bring the match to fruition logistically amidst Covid-19 arrangements.

However, Guy Lavender, the chief executive and secretary of the MCC, has suggested that the women’s fixture could be played at Lord’s from next year if both the men’s and women’s fixtures were to be reduced from 50-over matches to a Twenty20 format, in order to fit both matches within the same match day.

This reportedly follows a letter which Vanessa Picker, Oxford’s captain from 2017 to 2020, wrote to members of the MCC, arguing that “denying the women’s Blues access to Lord’s, while allowing our male counterparts to maintain exclusive access, reinforces damaging narratives about the inferiority of female cricketers.”

Roisin McCallion, a former Vice-President for Welfare and Equality Opportunities at the Oxford Student Union, who is involved in ‘Stump out Sexism’, a gender equality campaign calling for the inclusion of women’s fixtures at Lord’s, also told the Telegraph that parity for the men’s and women’s fixtures at Lord’s is only the campaign’s first goal.


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McCallion additionally told Varsity that the campaign, which she has launched alongside Picker, has “attracted a great deal of support across both Oxford and Cambridge which is growing by the minute”, and that it now has “a vast amount of interest from professional cricketers, fans and other equality advocates across the globe.”

As for the campaign’s future aims, she said that they “hope to work towards complete gender parity within Oxbridge cricket as an initial goal, before moving on to analysing and campaigning for equality on a broader scale within cricketing circles, and beyond. We wish to bring people who are passionate about gender equality together, and mobilise them to take direct action, in order to stump out sexism, once and for all.”

Meanwhile Jonathan Orders, the chairman of Oxford University Cricket Club, said that “the development of women’s cricket is a high priority for both universities, and both unis merged the men’s and women’s sections recently with this aim in mind [in reference to the merger of Oxford University Cricket Club (OUCC) and Oxford University Women’s Cricket Club (OUWCC) under the umbrella of OUCC in February 2019].”

Varsity has approached Cambridge University Cricket Club for further comment. This article was updated at 16:45 to include comment from ‘Stump out Sexism’.