Please find details of our recent varsity matches against Oxford below. CUCC bounced back from a defeat in the 50 over game to claim victory in the 4 day, first class fixture against OUCC.
50-over match – loss by 78 runs
In a precursor to the four-day first-class University Match later in the week, the Blues took on Oxford in a 50-over contest at the Parks, with the match unsurprisingly switched from its usual home at Lord’s. In what was the first competitive run-out of the season for both sides, Oxford won the toss and chose to bat first in the morning sunshine on a dry but slow wicket. Tight opening spells from Karthik Suresh and Tom Balderson were patiently negotiated by the Oxford openers before Balderson deservedly struck in the ninth over and the subsequent introduction of the spin twins Aaran Amin (2-46) and Niel Botha (2-30) continued the good work, helping limit the Oxford scoring rate through the middle overs – at 27 overs the innings was finely poised at 112-3.
Then followed the crucial partnership of the game, as Oxford noticeably looked to accelerate – Cambridge’s fielding was uncharacteristically sloppy through this period (including both a “parachute” and “reverse parachute” attempt at catches) and aided the two batsmen somewhat. With six overs to go and Oxford 234-4, a big chase was in prospect; excellent death bowling from James Vitali and Botha, after Alex Moen removed the dangerman with a well-disguised slower ball**, resulted in Oxford ending up on 262-8 from their allotted overs. Skipper Nick Taylor’s marshalling of the troops at the death was superb and prevented further damage.
In reply, Cambridge got off to a woeful start, with 3-2 being quickly followed by 12-3, including one calamitous run-out. Moen and Alex Agedah (35) rebuilt with a 50 partnership, yet Moen’s untimely dismissal following a loose shot let Oxford back in just as Cambridge was beginning to get back in the game. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, meaning the target always seemed to be just out of reach. Botha, Amin and Suresh (in his last game for the Club after years of service – thank you) played attractive cameos, but in the end, Oxford’s above-par total proved well enough as Cambridge finished up 184 all out. Despite the result, there were positives in the performance, with the biggest being the strong desire to avenge the defeat in the four-day game that was to follow!
Scorecard available here.
Written by Alex Moen, Magdalene College
**Editor’s Note: author’s artistic licence in play here.
4 day Varsity Match report – win by 249 runs
The CUCC Blues played against the University of Oxford’s Cricket Club (OUCC) in cricket’s University Match from 3-6th September 2020 at Fenner’s. What made this year’s University Match extra special is not only that it is the 200th anniversary of cricket at CUCC, but also that it is the final year that the fixture will have prestigious first-class status, as accredited by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The fixture, originally scheduled for July, was played behind closed doors at Fenner’s, which has been the home of Cambridge University cricket since 1848. The Light Blues produced an impressive all-round team performance to beat OUCC by 249 runs.
On the morning of day 1, Cambridge won the toss and elected to bat. CUCC did well to bat through the first day and into the second morning, eventually posting 307. Everybody contributed with the bat but there notable performances from Ed Hyde (55) and Alex Moen (41). Oxford struggled in response to some excellent bowling, losing two wickets before scoring a run. The two openers James Vitali and Padraic Flanagan put in a clinical performance, bowling with impressive control and getting plenty of movement in the air and from the pitch. Vitali claimed an impressive 6-34, whilst Flanagan claimed 3 key wickets, ending with figures of 3-30, leaving Oxford 178 runs behind.
Cambridge elected to bat again rather than follow on. In the second innings Pieter Daneel scored a stunning 125 which allowed put CUCC into a very strong position with huge lead of 436. It was a perfectly paced, extremely classy innings, and set up the game. Daneel also took 4 outstanding slip catches in the match, adding to an impressive overall fielding performance, in contrast to the one-day match earlier in the week. In the second innings Niel Botha posed a real threat, taking 4-43 off 26 overs, including 13 maidens. Padraic Flanagan took 2 important wickets. Vitali again picked up 4, leaving him with 10 wickets and Botha with 5 wickets in the match. It was an excellent way to conclude a frustrating season for CUCC, with little cricket being possible due to the pandemic.
CUCC are looking forward to meeting next year’s cohort and building on a dominant performance this year. Next year the Blues will be competing in the National BUCS Premier League, representing the University at the highest standard of University cricket. Whilst we lose some highly valued players to graduation, we retain a lot of strength next year, with 12 Blues returning and a high quality intake expected.
Written by Blues Captain Nick Taylor, Clare College, with contributions from Pieter Daneel, Jesus College