Varsity cricket match reduced to one day


06-06-2001

One of cricket's oldest annual fixtures - the Oxbridge varsity match - has been reduced to a one-day game in the hope of boosting its popularity.

In what promises to be the most radical change in its 174-year history, the traditional three-day match has been replaced by a 50-over slog.



Cricketing chiefs hope the change will create an event to rival the boat race in Britain's sporting calendar.



The inaugural one-day match is set to be played at Lord's on Thursday, June 28.



MCC secretary and chief executive Roger Knight said: 'In time we hope to transform the day into a popular summer event to rival the corresponding fixtures of the boat race and the rugby match.



'One-day cricket has proved to be a popular and exciting form of the game and I see no reason why we can't start attracting to Lord's the sort of crowds we see at Twickenham year in year out for the varsity rugby match.'



Oxford and Cambridge University Cricket Clubs and the MCC have all approved the change.



Simon Porter, Oxford University Cricket Club chairman said: 'It was widely recognised that something needed to be done to inject some life into this prestigious fixture.



'It was unanimously agreed that a one-day game was the only way forward.'



He said as a compromise the universities will still play an annual four-day match alternating between Cambridge's venue Fenners and Oxford's The Parks.



Prof Ken Siddle of Cambridge University Cricket Club said: 'I have every confidence that the match will flourish in its new format.



'I very much hope that both the general public and the universities themselves get right behind the event to ensure its success.'



The Varsity Cricket Match dates back to 1827 and is the oldest annual fixture to take place at Lord's.



There have been 155 official matches between the two sides, with Cambridge leading by 56 victories to 48.



Cambridge University has a tradition of producing first class cricketers.



Famous names who played for the university include former England captains Mike Atherton and Ted Dexter and all-rounder Derek Pringle.



By Stuart Leithes

 

The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

University of Cambridge (cam.ac.uk)