Lord’s to host first wedding

How Neil bowled his maiden over - with a little help from Freddie Flintoff

In almost 200 years at its St John’s Wood home, Lord’s cricket ground has played host to countless unforgettable moments.

From Ashes successes to World Cup finals, millions of people have witnessed events that will live long in their memory.

But this summer, a new milestone in the history of the grand old ground will be reached when the home of cricket hosts its first ever wedding.

On Saturday August 6, Neil Nicholson and Kelli Fish will leave the home dressing room – as thousands of cricketers have done before them – walk down the steps in the pavilion and enter the Long Room for their big day.

Mr Nicholson, 35, said: “I have been to most Test matches at Lord’s over the past decade. We didn’t want a religious ceremony and thought that as the majority of people coming would be from central London or overseas, we should have a central London venue.

“Kelli went off to research it and Lord’s came up as an option for the reception. She asked me how I would fancy getting married at the home of cricket and obviously I thought it was a fantastic idea.

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“We booked it for the reception and they told us they had applied for a marriage licence.

“We were originally booked into Marylebone registry office for the ceremony and were about to send the formal invites when Lord’s told us they had the licence and we jumped at the chance.

“It’s definitely a cool thing to do if you like cricket. For most guys the whole preparation for a wedding is a bit of a chore but because it’s at Lord’s, it’s a lot more interesting.”

Previously strictly reserved for the privilege of Marylebone Cricket Club members, the Grade II*-listed pavilion, including the iconic Long Room and Writing Room, will see a number of couples take their wedding vows this year.

Aspiring cricketers who never quite managed to play on the hallowed turf can also enjoy special messages screened on the giant Lord’s electronic scoreboards to mark the occasion.

Mr Nicholson and Miss Fish’s big day may never have taken place at Lord’s had it not been for Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and the five wickets he took to give England victory against Australia in 2009.

“Kelli wasn’t into cricket at all before she met me but I was quite lucky because I was able to take her to the last day of the Test in the 2009 Ashes,” said Neil.

“There was a great atmosphere and Freddie did his thing. She said she quite liked it and wouldn’t mind coming again. It’s fair to say that Freddie’s performance definitely helped.”

But even though there won’t be any action on the pitch, some things never change for the nervous spectator on the morning of a trip to Lord’s, wary of a day of rain.

“There’s meant to be a champagne reception on the roof but we have to decide at 9am on the day whether to do it there or inside the pavilion,” said Neil.

“I’ll be nervously trying to read the signs to see if it will be a nice day when I wake up – just as I have for every other day I’ve been to Lord’s.”