MCCU Season Review

Wednesday 04 September 2013

Having enjoyed huge success in 2011 and 2012, it was always going to be difficult for the MCCU squad to live up to their own high standards in 2013. The cyclical nature of sport at this level saw the likes of Rob Woolley, Pete Turnbull, Craig Park and Ben Ackland move on to pastures new and with Zafar Ansari regularly called away by Surrey and Paul Best injured, it was a much changed side which played the majority of fixtures. While this allowed coach Chris Scott to blood the next generation of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin cricketers, it meant the season just gone was not one in which Cambridge were involved in MCCU Cricketís biggest days.

Pre-season visits from Leicestershire CCC and Essex 2nd XI tested even the hardiest Fennerís followers, played as they were in bitterly cold April conditions. Jumpers and hand-warmers remained in high demand for the now annual visit of Essex 1st XI to kick start their first-class season, and the county were as strong as ever. Matt Salisbury bowled an inspired spell to leave his county colleagues in a level of bother on the first morning, inducing edges from three of the top four. However, the wicket flattened out in the afternoon and Mark Pettini brought up his century just before the Essex declaration, with Tom Westley, James Foster and Greg Smith all registering fifties. A seam bowling attack including the pace of Tymal Mills, as well as Maurice Chambers, Graham Napier and David Masters was always going to provide a stiff yet memorable challenge for the Cambridge batsmen and so it proved. Some late order resistance from Alasdair Pollock, including seven fours and two sixes, both off the bowling of Mills, provided some entertainment for a healthy crowd, but unfortunately the Cambridge batting line up did not perform as they would have liked. The Essex top three of Rob Quiney, Ben Foakes and Westley each helped themselves to a century in the second innings, and the only man to miss out was Ravi Bopara, dismissed LBW, first ball, by an Akbar Ansari googly. An early Essex wicket in the second innings may have left Cambridge fearing the worst, but the batsmen acquitted themselves well second time round, with contributions from both Ansari brothers and 82 on first-class debut for Nipuna Senaratne as the match finished a draw.

Middlesex visited Fennerís at the end of April and although not boasting Ashes cricketers Chris Rogers and Steven Finn as they did in 2011, still put out a strong line-up, including James Harris, Corey Collymore and Joe Denly. Batting first, the county lost a couple of early wickets to left-arm seamer James Cowan before David Malan and Adam London came together to form the major partnership and propel their side towards a significant score. London fell for 81, agonisingly short of a maiden first-class hundred, but Malan carried on to end 156*. Assuming it is possible to upstage an innings of such substance, then Adam Rossington certainly managed it. He came to the crease with 14 overs remaining in the day, brought up his half century with four overs remaining in the day, and ended up registering his century from the first ball of the last over, in 55 balls and 49 minutes. The frustration about the Cambridge reply was that four batsmen made good starts, without any progressing past Dean Bell and his 47. A collapse from 126-4 to 157 all out was also disappointing; Gurjit Sandhu did the major damage with four wickets. Middlesex manipulated their order to allow batting practise for those that needed it as they pushed for a second declaration, and that came at the start of day three. Zafar Ansari top-scored for Cambridge with 72 in the second innings, but that was the only major contribution from a Cambridge batsman as the side were bowled out for 179 to lose by 234 runs.

The third and final county fixture of the season, against Gloucestershire, saw Cambridge deprived of several of their most experienced players due to the impending exam period. Cambridge bowled tidily on the first morning and Alasdair Pollock helped himself to a couple of wickets in helpful conditions for swing bowling. A partnership between Alex Gidman (140*) and Hamish Marshall (98) took the game away from the MCCU in the afternoon and it was a position from which they would never recover in the game. Missing both Ansaris, Paul Best, Tom Elliott and Nipuna Senaratne left Cambridge understrength with the bat, and they were bowled out cheaply twice to lose by an innings. Amit Gupta made a typically lively 55 in the second innings, but it was too late to launch an attempt to save the game.

The BUCS one-day competition brought the best out of Cambridge MCCU in 2011 and 2012, with spectacular semi-final victories away to Loughborough followed by victories in Wormsley finals over Cardiff and Durham. This yearís campaign got off to a flying start with a memorable one-run victory over Oxford, secured from the final ball of the match, at Fennerís. Cambridge were on the wrong end of a similarly narrow defeat against Leeds the following week, before comprehensive defeats to Exeter, surprisingly, and Loughborough left Cambridge effectively out of the running for a semi-final berth. A thumping win over Southampton Solent secured top flight status for next year, but the one-day season ended with home defeats to Cardiff and Durham, revenge for the 2011 and 2012 finals, and Cambridge finished a disappointing sixth out of eight.

The start of the defence of the two-day title appeared to be going the way of the light Blues as they racked up a commanding first-innings score in their opening fixture against Oxford, but heavy rain prevented any play on day two and the chance to get an early victory, and maintain the momentum which had been so crucial to the title charge in 2012, was lost. Leeds has been a difficult place for Cambridge to visit in recent years and the Yorkshiremen were a very strong side this year, ultimately winning the same double Cambridge had secured in 2012. A poor batting performance let down what had been a reasonable bowling effort to restrict Leeds at Weetwood, and the trip north saw Cambridge return home empty handed after successive defeats. A fantastic win against Loughborough would prove to be the highlight of perhaps the entire season, with James Johnson, Amit Gupta and James Cowan, at the very end, the heroes with the bat. Home defeats to Cardiff, a match which included a bizarre, and somewhat pointless, refusal to declare from the visitors, even having secured a first innings victory and bonus points, and also Durham, compounded a disappointing summer in the longer form.

The T20 qualifiers for the South group saw Cambridge exit the competition at the first hurdle, losing to Oxford and Cardiff at the Parks. Defending 124 against Cardiff, Cambridge were very much in the game before some lusty blows towards the end saw the Welsh side to victory in the 19th over. The Cambridge batting failed to fire against Oxford and a total of 74 all out fell well short of what was required. Three wickets from Matt Salisbury gave Cambridge a glimmer of hope, but victory was never realistic and Oxford ran home comfortable winners by six wickets.

Four Cambridge players, Josh Poysden, James Johnson, Matt Salisbury and Dean Bell travelled to Abu Dhabi on a pre-season tour with the MCCU Combined Universities squad, with Poysden and Johnson also representing them in the county 2nd XI Championship over the course of the summer. Poysden also travelled to Sri Lanka to represent a British Universities XI in an international T20 tournament, alongside his Cambridge team mate Ben Wylie.

James Johnson has been named MCCU captain for 2014, and took the reins for the final game of the 2013 season. Hopes will be high about his ability to lead from the front with the bat and in the field, and for Cambridge to use the experience gained in 2013 to get back to pushing for honours over the coming year.

Close Item

Double over Oxford MCCU- sign of things to come?
The question coming out of today's conclusion of the 2 day clash against Oxford MCCU is what can you declare ...more

Cuppers Quarter-Final lineup finalised
After the group stage fixtures were completed over the past weekend, the 8 teams that have made it into this ...more

Cambridge strike first in the battle against Oxford
After a disappointing away trip to Exeter last week ending with defeat, the MCCU needed to bounce back to avoid ...more

Match Report: Crusaders vs Army
The Crusaders continued their season with their first home game, at Clare against the Army. A strong side included a ...more

Blues defeat touring UTT side
The Blues side managed to win their second game of the season yesterday against the touring University of Trinidad & ...more

Blues unable to back up superb chase against Teddington
The Blues suffered an unfortunate loss in the annual match against the Quidnucs but some notable performances bode well for ...more

Difficult few days in Leeds for MCCU
The team endured a tough few days up in an unbelievably chilly Leeds, with a big defeat in the One-Day ...more

Ansari in England ODI squad
CUCC offer their congratulations to Zafar Ansari on his call up to the England ODI squad for the match against ...more

Feature - Greg Loveridge
Greg Loveridge describes his two years in Cambridge as 'probably the best two years of his life'. Whilst a freak ...more

MCCU stun Durham with epic chase
After defeat in the One day game on Monday, the MCCU went into the 2 day match looking to avenge ...more

Blues notch first win versus Teddington
One of the great wins was how this game was dubbed after the match and upon reflection, it remains so. ...more

Blues suffer defeat in opening 3 fixtures
The Blues endured a tough start to the season with 3 defeats in a week. The away trip to Hampstead ...more

Match Report: Crusaders vs The Perse School
CUCC Crusaders vs. the Perse School, 15 April CUCC (172-5; Day 46) beat the Perse (171-7; Day 3-15) by 5 wickets As ...more

Team News: Blues vs Cambridgeshire CCC
The Blues take on Cambridgeshire CCC in their second game of the season and their first match at Fenner's this ...more

Match Report: Crusaders vs The Leys
CUCC Crusaders vs. the Leys School, 14 April CUCC (142-7 in 35 overs, Martin 56) lost to the Leys (144-1) The Crusaders ...more

Quidnunc wins University Challenge
Michael Taylor (Blue - 2010) helped Gonville & Cauis College to victory in the prestigious quiz show, beating Magdalen College, ...more

Match report: Blues vs Hampstead CC
The first Blues' match report of the season comes courtesy of Izhan Khan. 'The Blues' season kicked off against Hampstead ...more

Team News: Blues vs Hampstead CC
The Blues start their 2015 season off tomorrow with an Away trip to Hampstead CC, looking to avenge last year's ...more

Day 3 Report: MCCU vs Leicestershire
After a tough second day, the third and final day was to be no different for the MCCU. It wasn't ...more

Day 2 Report: MCCU vs Leicestershire
With hopes high after the first day, the first hour of play today did not go to plan. Starting on ...more

Day One Report: Leicestershire
After an eventful day on which 14 wickets fell, we can now look back on the first day of the ...more

MCCU vs Leicestershire
After the draw with Northants, the MCCU's attention now turns towards the second of 3 county games. The game against ...more

Wet outfield denies day 3 action
Unfortunately, there was no play possible at Fenner's on Day 3 of the match with Northants. As such, the game ...more

Rain ruins day two at Fenner's
Northants were only able to bowl six overs at the Cambridge students on day two, as the early-season weather held ...more

MCCU vs Northants: Day One Report
Cambridge MCCU made an excellent start to the 2015 season, competing well against a strong Northamptonshire side on day one ...more

Squad announcement for Northants game
Coach Chris Scott has today named his 12-man squad which will take on Northamptonshire CCC in the 3-day, first-class fixture ...more

Match Report: Essex 2nd XI
The rain has just about managed to hold off until this evening to allow the MCCU 2 warm up friendly ...more

MCCU vs Unicorns
Cricket returned to Fenner's on Friday as the MCCU welcomed the Unicorns for a 50 over friendly. The game provided ...more

Season upon us
As we enter the second half of March, the season is very much just round the corner. All 4 squads ...more

Captains' Previews: Blues
As posted on Monday, Blues captain Ali Pollock spoke to the Blue Bird recently. Here are a few of his ...more

Blues captains talk to the Blue Bird
The two Blues captains (Alasdair Pollock and Chloe Allison) spoke to the Blue Bird last week, an online newspaper founded ...more

Captains' Previews: Crusaders
The third instalment of the Captains' Preview sees Akshat Agarwal, Crusaders captain, giving us his thoughts on the upcoming season ...more

Blues fixtures 2015
The fixtures for the 2015 season have been finalized and here are a few of the fixtures to immediately put ...more

Captains' Previews: MCCU
In the second of our Captains' Previews of the season ahead, Will Barrett, MCCU captain, gives us his thoughts. 'I am ...more

Captains' Previews: Women's team
The first of the Captains' Previews sees Chloe Allison, women's captain, giving us her thoughts on the upcoming season for ...more

2015 Varsity Dates Confirmed
The dates of all three Varsity matches have now been confirmed. The first of the Varsity series will once again be ...more

Reasons to look forward to the summer of 2015
With the New Year underway and the World Cup drawing closer and closer, it seems a good time for cricketers ...more

Ray Markham featured on ECB website
Former CUCC scorer Ray Markham has been featured on the ECB website, discussing his current role as the press box ...more

What next after University?
As we head into the heart of the cold and dark winter, away from any form of cricket, former MCCU ...more

One-Day Varsity Match 2015
The 2015 One-Day Varsity Match will take place on Saturday 27th June. Always a fantastic day, Cambridge will be desperate ...more

David Evans
All at CUCC were saddened to hear of the passing of loyal supporter David Evans earlier this month. Always keen ...more

MCCU 2015 county fixtures announced
With the announcement of the 2015 county fixtures this morning by the ECB, also came the news of which counties ...more

CUCC Winter Training Squad announced
Having completed trials over the last two Sundays, CUCC are delighted to announce the Blues winter training squad for 2014/15. ...more

Discover Cambridge MCCU
MCCU coach Chris Scott, all-rounder Will Barrett and Quidnuncs Mike Atherton and John Crawley all feature in the new

Blues Season Report 2014
Captain Tom Elliott, and his squad, went into the 2014 season with high hopes of avenging the heavy defeat in ...more

Ansari selected for England Performance Programme
Former Cambridge man Zafar Ansari has been rewarded for his strong season with Surrey with a place on the England ...more

UPDATE: CUCC Trials 2014
All those wishing to attend the trials this term should note that there has been a change in the dates ...more

Crusaders Season Report
As the Summer of 2014 draws to a close, now is the ideal opportunity to review the season just passed. ...more

Cricket's Bounty: New Book, G.H.G. Doggart
Hubert Doggart (CUCC - 1948-1950) has added to his extensive bibliography with a new book,'Cricket's Bounty'. The book contains amongst ...more

CUWCC End of Season Report
CUWCCís 2014 season was full of frustration, with many fixtures cancelled because of both unreliable weather and oppositions being unable ...more