MCCU Scheme gets ECB funding boost

LB- 2018

MCC and ECB have revealed a change to the operation and funding of university cricket from 2020.

After the MCC’s decision to conclude its financial support for the current programme in two years’ time, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has stepped in and agreed to resume the funding of university cricket.

MCCU centres, additional Universities, British Universities Colleges Sports (BUCS) and the First Class Counties will be consulted as part of the evolution of the scheme and the ECB website article below references a possible emphasis on white-ball cricket plus enhanced support for elite women cricketers in higher education.

Much to discuss and no doubt there will be news filtering through in months to come – but crucially, funding has been secured through the governing body.

You can read the full ECB article here – https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/691592/ecb-to-resume-university-cricket-funding

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Interview: Leeds Bradford MCCU Captain Steve Bullen

steve-bullen (right)

Our shirt sponsor and media partner, Cricket Yorkshire, recently caught up with our captain Steve Bullen to chat about the season so far; life as a university cricketer chasing a county contract and much more.

The interview gives a good insight into the MCCU scheme, the importance of the first-class status of fixtures against the counties and how the class of 2018 is faring.

If you haven’t had a listen, here’s the audio clip below:

https://anchor.fm/cricketyorkshire/embed/episodes/Captain-Steve-Bullen-on-MCCUs–his-league-ban–fresh-start-e1ema7

Rain and Defeats

RAIN AND DEFEATS

The season for Leeds Bradford MCCU has, to put it mildly, not started well.  At the beginning of the month the team travelled to play Worcestershire at Flagge Meadow, the Royal Grammar School ground.

No play was possible on the first scheduled day as both outfield and square were too wet. Heavy overnight rain caused the match to be abandoned early the following morning and the team returned to Yorkshire rain, sleet and snow.

We were due to play Yorkshire the following week but the match was cancelled as the Headingley ground was unfit. A few days later we welcomed Derbyshire to Weetwood but the weather was cold, damp and overcast and the ground was not drying. Early on the second morning the umpires decided that there was no real prospect of any play in the match.

Nine days cricket had now been lost and we travelled to Fenners for a BUCS National one-dayer and a MCC Championship 2 day game without any match practice in England.

Winter was left behind and summer had arrived in Cambridge – with a temperature over 22 degrees C. Skipper Steve Bullen won the toss and elected to field. The Cambridge openers, Palmer and Greenidge, batted steadily taking the score to 62 in the 16th over before the introduction of slow left-armer, Taylor Cornal, saw Palmer well stumped by Jack Potticary for 30. Another wicket for Cornall and one each for Max Maciver and Josh Holling had Cambridge rocking at 99 for 4 before a stand of 55 between Brierley and Handley took the total past 150 before the next wicket fell; Handley bowled by Ollie Graham for 30.

Reduced to 178 for 7 it looked as though Cambridge might struggle to get much past 200 but Cantrell’s 42 not out from 28 balls pushed the final total to 253 for 9 from the full 50 overs. Would the 23 extras conceded prove to be costly?

An asking rate of under 5 an over should have been well within Leeds Bradford’s capabilities but they lost Martin Andersson for 5 chasing a very wide one from Bulpitt and feathering a catch to the keeper. Next to fall was Jack Potticary LBW to Rippington from a very poor shot after scoring 51 from 35 deliveries when a big match-winning hundred was beckoning.

Steve Bullen was the next to fall leaving the score at 95 for 3 in the 17th over – well ahead of the required run rate. The two Ollie’s, Batchelor and Graham, took the score to 157 in the 31st over, before Batchelor was LBW playing a poor shot. The run rate steadily subsided through the remainder of the innings despite the best efforts of Darren Ironside with 29 from 25 deliveries. We finished 10 runs short in a match we should really have won.

The following day saw even higher temperatures peaking at around 28 degrees C. Cambridge won the toss and batted. At lunch they had progressed at one day pace to 140 for 2 from 31 overs against an all seam attack.

It wasn’t until the 40th over that the left arm spin of Taylor Cornall was introduced, unfortunately without success as he leaked 20 runs from his 2 overs. He was replaced by off-spinner Harry Killoran who started to slow the run rate before making the next breakthrough in his 6th over trapping Seabrook LBW for 42 with the score at 236.

Harry and fellow off-spinner, Max Maciver, bowled the 32 overs in the innings for just 88 runs with Harry returning the excellent figures of 6 – 47 in 19 overs. With the spinners having so much success on wonders why they weren’t introduced earlier. Cambridge finished on 323 all out.

Harry Killoran –  6-47 & 48*

The Leeds Bradford innings got off to a bad start with Taylor Cornall LBW to a beauty from left-armer Bulpitt for just 2 runs. Steve Bullen and Martin Andersson batted nicely taking the score to 75 before Martin was caught for 25. With only a few overs left in the day Josh Holling was promoted in the batting order;  no further wickets fell before the close.

The following morning Josh and Steve added a further 26 runs until Josh was caught by Brierley from the bowling of Bulpitt – 109 for 3 in the 35th over.  Wickets began to fall at regular intervals, including that of a decidedly unhappy Steve Bullen – LBW for a well-made 65 (including 11 fours), until, at 182 for 8 in the 64th over, Dan Houghton joined Harry Killoran.

These two began to give the team some hope as the runs started to flow.  By the time that Dan was caught at slip by Palmer for 59 (with 9 fours and a six), they had added 97, a record 9th wicket stand against Cambridge in the MCC Championship, and the total had reached 279 for 9.

The innings closed on 285 when Ollie Bocking was bowled by Cantrell for 1.  This left Harry not out on 48 (with 9 fours) and we had lost on the first innings by 38 runs.

Dan Houghton – 59

Against Solent University in the BUCS National on 24 April, Steve Bullen won the toss and decided to field first. Play was halted for rain just before lunch with Solent on 134 for 4 after 31 overs.

Interesting to note that Dan Houghton, Darren Ironside and Max Maciver each took a wicket in their first over. Continuous further rain ensured that there would be no further play and the match was abandoned just after 15:30 hrs.

DEBUT TON FOR ANDERSSON

Middlesex youngster Martin Andersson scored a superb century in his first competitive game for the Yellows in the teams’ first BUCS fixture of the year against Bristol University.

Andersson played against the MCC last Friday and impressed then, even though he only scored 17. In his first ‘proper’ knock thought – at the wonderfully named Coombe Dingle – he looked at home from the start. After winning the toss and deciding to bat Andersson and Steve Bullen were positive from the start and when Bullen was unfortunately run out for 26 at the beginning of the 12th over, there were already 88 runs on the board.

Billy Root then added a further 119 in 18 overs with Andersson before he fell for 62. Andersson became the 3rd victim of the innings – but not before he’d reached 111 from 106 balls with 14 x 4s – a wonderful knock.

Ton on Debut
Ton on Debut

Christian Davis and Logan Weston both continued their good starts to the campaign by adding 94 in 89 balls before both falling in quick succession – Logan being caught out on 48 and the skipper being run out for 49.

Ryan McKendry chipped in with a breezy contribution of 20 from 11 balls taking the team to 343 for 6 – our highest total in the BUCS competition beating the 305 for 2 we made at Solent last year.

The target was always going to be a tough one for Bristol but they showed they have a number of talented batsmen, particularly Charlie Warren who scored an undefeated 102 in helping his team to a more than respectable 263 for 7.

Nathan Hill picked up a couple of wickets on his Leeds Bradford BUCS debut, but it was Moin Ashraf who took the main bowling honours, picking up 4 for 27 from 8 overs.

On the Oxford for a BUCS game on Tues 19th followed by our first 2-day game of the year on Wednesday and Thursday.DEBUT

ROOT STARS, BULLEN & DAVIS SPARKLE

Following their strong performance last week against Warwickshire CCC, Leeds Bradford enjoyed another successful First Class outing, this time down on the south coast against Sussex CCC at Hove.

After winning the toss and electing to bat on a flat early-season track, the pros were in a bit of trouble early on thanks some accurate and consistent bowling from Moin Ashraf and Alex Lilley. It was Lilley who claimed the first wicket when Wells edged to Henry Thompson in the 11th over with the score on 15. Archie Ogden claimed two wickets, accounting for Ed Joyce and Matt Machan, and when Chris Harwood bagged a maiden wicket on his first-class debut, they were in need of a rebuilding job at 129 for 4.

However, Ben Brown and Harry Finch mastered a terrific recovery with an unbeaten 5th wicket partnership of 258, Brown finishing the day on 126* and Finch bagging his maiden first-class ton to end on 135*.

A wet start on Day 2 saw Sussex declare on their overnight score of 387 for 4. Facing this daunting target the Yellows suffered an early setback when Henry Thompson was caught behind for 4 – to George Ganton’s first ever first-class delivery. Steve Bullen and Billy Root then combined to put the students back on track, adding 89 in 26 overs before Bullen fell for a well made half century – his first at this level – his 56 coming from 117 balls (8x4s).

Skipper Davis then joined Root in yet another productive partnership, closing the day on 192 for 2 with Root on 84 and Davis on 38.

Root & Davis - yet another century partnership.
Root & Davis – yet another century partnership.

Resuming the next morning the pair took their partnership to 142 – the 5th century partnership they have shared. Davis eventually perished for a career best 65, but thereafter it was the Billy Root show as he went on the record a maiden first-class hundred from 173 balls. He was eventually dismissed for 133 – to go with the 62 he scored in the previous game at Edgbaston.

The left-hander amassed exactly 1000 runs for the Yellows last year and with 195 already under is belt has started well to repeat the feat. Twitter then went into overdrive with congratulations arriving fem the cricket world – including one from his over-excited brother:

IMG_3138

Rain again curtailed proceedings though just before lunch, and no further play was possible, Leeds Bradford closing on 290 for 4 from 88 overs.

All in all, two good, solid first class performances against strong county teams. Now on to meet the County Champions!!

SUSSEX NAME STRONG SQUAD

Sussex CCC have named a strong squad ahead of their 3-day first class game agaiSussex CCCnst the Yellows. Under new Head Coach, Mark Davis, following the departure of Mark Robinson to head up the England Women’s team, the only notable regular first team player to miss out is Australian quickie Steve Magoffin. Former Loughborough MCCU bowler Stuart Whittingham is included though. The full squad is:

Luke Wright (capt), Danny Briggs, Ben Brown (wk), George Garton, Lewis Hatchett, Ed Joyce, Matt Machan, Chris Nash, Ollie Robinson, Ajmal Shahzad, Luke Wells, Stuart Whittingham.

Andrew Lawson has named the same 12 who performed solidly against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, where Bill Root & Alex Lilley both hit maiden first class half-centuries:

Davis (c), Ashraf, Bullen, Gowers, Harwood, Lilley, Ogden, Root, Scott, H Thompson, Watkinson, Weston.

Play starts each day at 11 am, entry is free and the scorecard can be found here: SCORECARD

SOLID START at EDGBASTON

Going into a game where one team boasts six international players and 1582 first class appearances and the other team’s corresponding figures are zero and 41 would, on paper, suggest a pretty unlevel playing field. Reading the scorecard (link here) at the end of the game wouldn’t.

The Yellows performed solidly throughout the first two days of their opening first class game of the 2016 before rain prevented any play on the 3rd day, scuppering any hopes of being set a challenging target by the Bears.

Having won the toss and inserting the home team on a good wicket at the famous Test venue, the Warwickshire opening pair of former captains Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood compiled an opening partnership of 152 before the Lancashire duo of Ash Gowers (on his first class debut) and Liam Watkinson combined for the first of three wickets between the two of them in the innings, Gowers whipping the bails off with Westwood out of his crease. Alex Lilley then claimed the prized scalp of Ian Bell by hitting his stumps and Archie Ogden, also a first class debutant, bagged the wickets of Jonathan Trott and Sam Hain.

With the exception of Hain, all the Warwickshire batsmen managed to get in without any of them completely dominating, which was all credit to the Yellows attack. They declared on 350 for 6 from 85 overs, Watkinson taking 3 for 123, Ogden 2 for 80 and Lilley 1 for 50 – Lilley and Moin Ashraf in particular bowling good lines to both have economy rates of well under 3 an over.

The Yellows had 11 overs to survive at the end of Day 1, Henry Thompson falling to a slip catch off the bowling of Chris Woakes. Steve Bullen saw it through to the close with the score 30 for 1.

Bullen started day two cautiously (!) by driving his first ball through the covers for four, before falling to Woakes for 18. Christian Davis and Root then both looked at home on this stage in compiling a stand of 62 from 18 overs before an ugly mix-up led to the skipper being run out for 36. Root went on to record a maiden first-class half century but became the 5th wicket to fall when bowled by Barker for 62.

Billy Root 2016
Maiden 50 for Root . . .

Logan Weston and Liam Watkinson both got in, but when they fell for 22 and 16 respectively  the students were 180 for 7 – still 20 short of avoiding the follow on. Ash Gowers then rubber-stamped an impressive debut by adding 55 for the 8th wicket with Lilley, scoring 38 (60 balls) and on his departure our other debutant, Archie Ogden, chipped in with 24 in a 9th wicket stand of 56 – a record for us in 3-day County games.

Lilley went of to record a well-deserved maiden first-class half century and was on 51 from 76 balls when Davis let him preserve his average by declaring on 291 for 9. Warwickshire had reached 45 for the loss of Hain (c&b Lilley) at the close – a lead a 104. However, overnight rain which continued through the morning put paid to any play on day 3 and hands were shaken on a draw at 11.45.

Alex Lilley 2016
. . . and for Lilley too.

Despite the clear difference in experience between the two teams (as highlighted in the stats at the start of this article), the team once again showed that they are not phased by competing at this level. The boys now head down to Hove where they start a 3-day game against Sussex CCC on Tuesday 5th April.

Celebrating university cricket in Yorkshire