We don't subscribe to cricket being elitist, generally, especially since the advent of the ace Twenty20 Cup but the MCC is definitely the ultimate in elite club exclusivity. Accompanying a member into the Long Room at Lords is an oppressive experience even when you’ve made an effort to meet the dress code, are really quite sober and excessively polite to everyone in a bacon and egg tie.
But the "Home of Cricket" and revered "Guardian of the Spirit of Cricket" is finally looking beyond the Grace Gate as economic reality bites. With the prospect of losing one of its International Test matches to a regional location Lords is cautiously opening up to other activities.
Next Monday sees the first ever International Archery Tournament on the hallowed turf. Archers from UK, India and China will shoot arrows over 70m. Baby steps indeed, though, as the tournament lasts just 2 measly morning hours. It will be free admission, however! Spectators are encouraged to bring binoculars (it’s not exactly an action sport). And buy things from the shop please.
Chief Executive, Keith Bradshaw, has bigger plans and an Oxford Street retail vision for the historic and insular institution, "I aspire for us to be like a Nike brand" but with a cricket bat swoosh on straw panama hats we presume.
The pragmatic Aussie has bagged an open air production of Romeo and Juliet for 2nd September (although only members and local residents can get tickets) and hopes for a winter ice rink.
One can’t help thinking that only a non-Brit would ever even attempt such tiny efforts at diversification. His internal "Master Plan Working Party" suggests closet evil genius but involving the membership is clearly the only way forward:
We're not going to stage an AC/DC rock concert…. But perhaps we could have opera.
The membership will be consulted in October.
The triangular International Archery Tournament takes place on Monday 6 August between 10am and noon, admission is free, BYO binoculars.
Image of the Lords' Pavilion courtesy of Courtesy of Cricinfo's Will Luke, who also runs The Corridor