KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
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2013 is drawing to an end and before the Champagne corks fly and dodgy versions of Auld Lang Syne are sang in all four corners of the world we just have time to take a look back at the year gone by.
The year started with the tragic news that former MCC President Christopher Martin-Jenkins had lost his battle with cancer. The journalist and broadcaster enjoyed a long and warm relationship with MCC, and President Mike Griffith paid tribute to his good friend.
The UK suffered it’s harshest winter for many a year and Lord’s didn’t escape as WG’s statue was shrouded in snow.
February remained cold, but former England captain Andrew Strauss received some news to warm the cockles as he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of MCC. And there was more good news for some of the next generation as MCC Head Coach Mark Alleyne announced his squad for the 2013 season.
On February 21 an MCC side captained by former international referee Alan Lewis and featuring Darren Maddy and Steve Kirby departed for a six-match tour of Argentina. This tour was just in time for a new Law, announced by the MCC Committee, whereby a No ball will be called should the bowler break the stumps during the act of delivery.
Spring still seemed far away in March as the winter dragged on, but new shoots did flower at the Home of Cricket as the Lord’s Podcast was launched. But it was an old pro that inspired victory for MCC in the opening match of the Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition in Dubai, as Rahul Dravid produced a fine performance.
Also in the UAE, MCC’s Young Cricketers and MCCU combined teams impressed against county opponents during their 12-day, warm-weather training camp and Warwickshire claimed victory in the four day Champion County match.
April began with Lord’s taken over by schoolchildren, as they helped to create the silver outline of a giant Ashes urn on the outfield to mark 100 days until the start of the Investec Ashes Series. And it was an ex-MCC Universities player who started the season for Middlesex in fantastic form as Toby Roland-Jones picked up 6/63 against Nottinghamshire on the opening day of the season at Trent Bridge.
It was the previous season that was the subject of the winner of the Wisden and MCC Photo of the Year. Anthony Au-Yeung of Photosport, New Zealand, picked up the award for his mid-air shot of Zimbabwe’s Tatenda Taibu.
Another winner in April was Gideon Haigh as he picked up the 2013 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award for his biography ‘On Warne’.
Some sad news followed as former England captain and MCC Honorary Life Member Mike Denness OBE died aged 72 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The month closed out with Leeds/Bradford MCCU recording their first ever first-class victory, after a convincing 102-run win against Leicestershire.
May opened up with some news about the Home of Cricket itself, as MCC announced a Masterplan for the development of Lord’s Ground. Integral to the Masterplan is the preservation of the Nursery Ground, and on May 5 this was highlighted as over 1,000 spectators packed the second Lord's arena to watch MCC take on Japan to mark 150 years of cricket in the country.
At the other end of the Ground there was more history on offer in May, as the MCC Museum unveiled its innovative new literary exhibition, Cricket’s Crown Jewels.
The main event at Lord’s in May of course was the first Test Match against New Zealand, and MCC plays a key role in all proceedings as we caught up with the three twelth men on duty.
Before the Test started though there was just enough time for MCC to announce some exciting news for 2014, as a series of firsts was revealed to celebrate the bicentenary of the Ground.
The Test was a great spectacle as Stuart Broad ripped through New Zealand on the fourth day and forced himself onto the Honours Boards. And before the game former MCC Young Cricketer and New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor caught up with his old MCC Coach Clive Radley.
The month ended with an ODI against New Zealand, and this time it was the tourists that dominated proceedings as Martin Guptil powered his side to victory. Whilst he was doing this, Lord’s TV went down into the cellars.
Over in Ireland, MCC Young Cricketer Stuart Poynter made his senior international debut against Australia A and back in England Her Majesty The Queen announced that MCC Chairman, Oliver Stocken, was to be awarded a CBE.
A huge range of people pass through Lord’s each year, and this was highlighted in June by two Nepalese Young Cricketers, a plethora of English gentlemen and our finest servicemen came through the Grace Gates.
Leeds/Bradford MCCU capped off a fantastic season with a tense three wicket win over Cardiff MCCU in the MCC Universities Challenge Final, but it was some younger students that made their mark at Lord’s at the end of the month as MCC welcomed 600 school children to the Home of Cricket on Tuesday 25 June for the first ever Spirit of Cricket Open Day.
July was a month dominated by Royal visits, the first of these being by HRH the Princess Royal as the MCC Royal Charter was unveiled. The second royal visit was to be by the Queen herself for the first day of the Lord’s Test Match between England and Australia and the Ashes effect was being felt everywhere.
Also ahead of the much anticipated Ashes series a new partnership was announced, as MCC, Nottinghamshire and Durham formed the Ashes Legacy Partnership.
A cricketer who shared many Ashes partnerships at the Home of Cricket was Sir Donald Bradman, and in July his Granddaughter, singer Greta, popped in and delivered a performance of her own.
Just before the Investec Ashes Test at Lord’s the MCC World Cricket Committee met and following some bad press surrounding DRS they reiterated its place in the game and that the technology is set to stay.
Following that performance was going to be hard, but Simon Taufel was up to the task as he delivered the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.
As the month closed out, Joe Root’s name was added to the Honours Board and another digital innovation was launched by the Club as Lord’s facebook fans had the chance to also get their name on the iconic boards.
Twenty20 season was in full flow by August and an odd reunion took place half way through the month when Paul Stirling was reunited with the ball he hit out of Lord’s!
Away from the smash and grab of Twenty20 though the Women’s Ashes was getting serious as the series reached Lord’s, as England marched to Ashes victory - despite a defeat in the ODI match.
To close out the month, Lord’s TV spent a day in Canterbury to find out all about the MCC Universities scheme.
The highlight of the village cricket season came to a climax in September when Cleator CC of Cumbria defeated Gloucestershire’s Rockhampton Rams by one wicket to win the Davidstow Village Cup final.
In another final, Samit Patel inspired Notts Outlaws to an 87-run victory over Glamorgan in the last match of the YB40 competition to enter the MCC Archives forever more. And the archives is exactly where Lord’s TV went to find out what goes on in the depths of the MCC Museum.
October 1 was a busy day as former England Captain Mike Gatting took office as MCC President and MCC launched the latest iterations of the Laws of Cricket – on this occasion animated with voiceover provided by Stephen Fry.
Earlier in the year school children had taken over Lord’s and this time it was the turn of the OAPs on Silver Sunday.
The month of October finished with the first ever Sports Literary Festival being held at the Home of Cricket.
November saw the retirement of one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Sachin Tendulkar - and Lord’s TV paid tribute.
A slightly more well publicised tour was that of England to Australia to fight for the Urn once more and the first day of the series in Brisbane was marked with a sleep over in the MCC Museum for charity Chance to Shine.
As the year entered its final month, both the future and the past were being discussed. Looking forward, MCC unveiled plans for a new Warner Stand as part of the Masterplan, while the year just passed was reviewed with the first ever film version of the Cricket Annual.