Hertfordshire's County Cricket side are preparing to take part in a unique occasion at the home of English cricket, Lord’s, on Sunday, June 22.
A selected team will take on Marylebone Cricket Club in a one-off match to open the celebrations of the famous ground’s two-hundredth anniversary.
The first game ever played at Lord’s was on June 22, 1814, when MCC took on Hertfordshire and this rematch, which will be a 40-over a side game starting at 2pm, launches a summer of events to mark the milestone.
“This is a huge honour for our county to play a significant part in such a milestone celebration for the largest, most influential, historic and famous cricket club that exists in world cricket,” said Nick Gilbert, the chairman of the Hertfordshire County Cricket Association.
“We have every wish for the cricketing community in Hertfordshire at whatever level to come to Lord’s on June 22 to join us and help MCC mark the day.”
He continued: “I’m pleased that many organisations have really bought into the day, even to the point where some clubs are laying on buses to take their members to Lord’s.
“This is fantastic for us and hopefully a significant crowd on the day will not only help cheer our boys on but will add to the festival type atmosphere that I know MCC would love to see.”
“It is a huge privilege,” added Iain Fletcher, Hertfordshire's director of cricket. He will announce the team next week and selection for a place in the side has been keenly contested.
Fletcher said that in selection and playing terms, the team would be trying to treat the occasion as a one-day trophy game.
Marylebone will be led by the club’s head of cricket, John Stephenson, the former Essex and Hampshire batsman who played one Test for England.
Their side is expected to include two players from Hertfordshire clubs in Aaron Laraman, the Welwyn Garden City all-rounder, and Radlett fast bowler Chad Barrett.
The event promises to be a great day at Lord’s, with fans receiving unprecedented access to the hallowed and historic pavilion which is usually open only to members and limited guests.
However, for this day, the club are issuing 1,000 tickets for the pavilion, half of which can be booked in advance and the other half are available on the day.
There will be plenty of attractions and festivities on the day including a children’s fete, bicentenary Lord’s tours, cricket master classes, live music, Victorian food stalls, wine and champagne tasting, real ale bars and film shows in the Lord’s museum.
There is also the chance to sit and watch from the outfield in front of the grandstand, which has not been possible since 1987.
Admission to the ground is £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s.
Meanwhile, not even a superb Minor Counties Championship debut by former Stevenage and Potters Bar all-rounder Tanveer Sikandar could prevent Hertfordshire from sliding to a disappointing six-wicket defeat to Cambridgeshire in their opening three-day game at Hertford.
Sikandar, 27, only became eligible for Herts this season and made an almost instant impact after Nesan Jeyaratnam won the toss and decided to bat first on a glorious day and on a perfect batting surface.
Sikandar (116) and Eddie Ballard put on a partnership of 155 to help the Herts side post a final total of 351 from their first innings.
Cambridgeshire’s first innings started excellently with Ben Howgego and Alan Burton put on 198 for the first wicket.
It allowed the side to build an impressive score and they were eventually dismissed on 371.
Herts’ second innings started poorly as James Scott, Ballard and Hamsa Qayyum found themselves back in the pavilion with the score on just 19.
Sikandar again impressed and together with a determined Jeyaratnam, took the score up to 108.
Sikandar was the only hope of putting Cambs under pressure, and he completed his second century. But when he was caught at long on for 127, made off 178 balls with 18 fours and a six, the writing was on the wall.
Herts were dismissed for a disappointing 243 and Cambridgeshire went on to secure victory with six wickets in hand.