Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is a cricket club founded in 1787 and based since 1814 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which it owns, in St John’s Wood, London. The club was formerly the governing body of cricket retaining considerable global influence.
In 1788, the MCC took responsibility for the laws of cricket, issuing a revised version that year. Changes to these Laws are now determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC), but the copyright is still owned by MCC. When the ICC was established in 1909, it was administered by the secretary of the MCC, and the president of MCC automatically assumed the chairmanship of ICC until 1989.
For much of the 20th century, commencing with the 1903–04 tour of Australia and ending with the 1976–77 tour of India, MCC organised international tours on behalf of the England cricket team for playing Test matches. On these tours, the England team played under the auspices of MCC in non-international matches. In 1993, its administrative and governance functions were transferred to the ICC and the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB).
MCC teams are essentially ad hoc because they have never taken part in any formal competition, but have always held first-class status when playing against first-class opposition.
The present president of the club is Stephen Fry, who assumed the twelve-month office on 1 October 2022, replacing Clare Connor, the first woman to hold the post. In May 2023, he named his successor as Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain.
History and role :
The origin of MCC was as a gentlemen’s club that had flourished through most of the 18th century, including, at least in part, an existence as the original London Cricket Club, which had played at the Artillery Ground through the middle years of the century. Many of its members became involved with the Hambledon Club through the 1770s and then, in the early 1780s, had returned to the London area where the White Conduit Club had begun in Islington. It is not known for certain when the White Conduit was founded but it seems to have been after 1780 and certainly by 1785. According to Sir Pelham Warner, it was formed in 1782 as an offshoot from a West End convivial club called the Je-ne-sais-quoi, some of whose members frequented the White Conduit House in Islington and played matches on the neighbouring White Conduit Fields, which had been a prominent venue for cricket in the 1720s. Arthur Haygarth said in Scores and Biographies that “the Marylebone Club was founded in 1787 from the White Conduit’s members” but the date of the formation of the White Conduit “could not be found”.
This gentlemen’s club, which was multi-purpose, had a social meeting place at the Star and Garter on Pall Mall. It was the same club that was responsible for drafting the Laws of Cricket at various times, most notably in 1744 and 1774, and this lawgiving responsibility was soon to be vested in the MCC as the final repose of these cricketing gentlemen. When the White Conduit began, its leading lights were George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea (1752–1826) and the Hon. Colonel Charles Lennox (1764–1819), later succeeding as the 4th Duke of Richmond. White Conduit was nominally an exclusive club that only “gentlemen” might play for, but the club did engage professionals and one of these was Thomas Lord, a man who was recognised for his business acumen (becoming a successful wine merchant) “as well as his bowling ability”.
The new club might have continued except that White Conduit Fields was an open area allowing members of the public, including the rowdier elements, to watch the matches and to voice their opinions on the play and the players. The White Conduit gentlemen were not amused by such interruptions and decided to look for a more private venue of their own. Winchilsea and Lennox asked Lord to find a new ground and offered him a guarantee against any losses he may suffer in the venture. Lord took a lease from the Portman Estate on some land at Dorset Fields where Dorset Square is now sited; and the ground was prepared and opened in 1787. It was initially called the New Cricket Ground, perhaps because it was off what was then called “the New Road” in Marylebone, when the first known match was played there on 21 May but, by the end of July, it was known as Lord’sAs it was in Marylebone, the White Conduit members who relocated to it soon decided to call themselves the “Mary-le-bone Club”.The exact date of MCC’s foundation is lost but seems to have been sometime in the late spring or the summer of 1787. On 10 & 11 July 1837, a South v North match was staged at Lord’s to commemorate the MCC’s Golden Jubilee. Warner described it as “a Grand Match to celebrate the Jubilee of the Club” and reproduced the full scorecard.
On 25 April 1787, the London Morning Herald newspaper carried a notice: “The Members of the Cricket Club are desired to meet at the Star and Garter
Each President is required to nominate their successor at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place during his/her term of office. The club chairman and the treasurer serve a three-year term. Both are appointed by the committee (but subject to approval of the voting members). Both can serve terms in succession. The secretary and chief executive (a joint role) is the senior employee of the club and is appointed solely by the MCC committee.
The committee consists of the above officers plus the chairmen of any other committees that may exist at the time of any meeting plus twelve elected members. Elected committee members are appointed for a three-year term. An elected committee member cannot be re-elected upon retirement unless there is a gap of at least one year between terms of office.
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