Thursday, 12 April 2018

Leeds/Bradford MCCU v Derbyshire preview

Back in the day, when my reflexes were good and my eyesight more acute, I opened the batting for Manchester Polytechnic, as it was then (now Metropolitan University).

We had a pretty good team, drawn from all over the country of course and we won three rounds of the national colleges and polytechnics cup, or whatever it was called. My opening partner, Nigel, was like our Virender Sehwag, while I played a more controlled, common sense role in the vein of Alan Hill. I scored less quickly and prolifically, but it worked and I had the nous to work him onto strike when the chance was there and keep the scoreboard moving.

Then came the day when we were drawn against Crewe and Alsager College, away from home. We left in good spirits, which were dampened a little when we realised  our opponents had some good players, specifically four who played county second eleven cricket and a couple who played Minor Counties.

They put us into bat and Nigel's class shone through with a typically breezy fifty, peppered with cover drives and pulls. At the other end, I was finding it more of a challenge, managing to hang on in there but struggling to get better quality bowling away, though my rib cage and thigh pad served me well.

Nigel finally went for one big shot too many and from 60-0, our innings subsided to around 130 all out. I made twenty-odd and was, I think, eighth man out, the batting developing a somewhat binary look thereafter.

The point being, of course, that we all reach our limit in the game. I had reached mine, but was pleased I at least battled it out. Our opponents won by eight wickets and, on the way back in the minibus, Nigel told us he was chucking cricket. His rationale was that he had got to a standard he wanted, and was going to take up something else that interested him more.

I'd have loved Nigel's talent, but that lengthy preamble leads nicely on to the thoughts of the Leeds/Bradford batsmen as they head to be tonight. They haven't had any cricket yet, because of the weather, yet tomorrow walk out to face an attack that may well include three international bowlers.

They will all be much better players, of course, but some will find that a challenge, even against bowlers who at this stage are looking for rhythm, rather than outright pace. Others? Well, they may have one or two Nigels, as one might expect from a source that was represented by Luis Reece and Ben Slater

A strong Derbyshire side has been announced, largely because it is a much smaller squad and only so many can be omitted.

It reads:

Billy Godleman
Ben Slater
Luis Reece
Wayne Madsen
Alex Hughes
Matt Critchley
Gary Wilson
Tony Palladino
James Taylor
Ravi Rampaul
Will Davis
Hamidullah Qadri
Hardus Viljoen
Duanne Olivier

There's a good look to that squad, whichever eleven take the field, a nice look of youth and experience - and doubtless a degree of trepidation and excitement for those about to face what should be a testing attack.

I wish them well, but hope that Derbyshire start as they mean to go on, playing purposeful and aggressive cricket from start to finish.

Then next week, the real stuff starts, just as the weather improves (allegedly) and I make my first summer trip to Derbados.

Bring it on.


  1. Tim, Chesterfield12 April 2018 at 21:45

    I don't envy anyone trying to play cricket in this weather. As for the poor groundsman, they must be going mad. I doubt my local club's ground will be ready much before June at this rate.

  2. HI ,

    Just back from Leeds, for the supposed match against the students. cant believe the match was called off today, I went up to ground (Weetwood ) checked the outfield the pitch was near enough perfect, its an embassament to call this match off. then you wonder why fans don't come to watch cricket anymore, when umpires call it a day for next to nothing. Maybe they fancied a day in front of the TV watching the grand-national instead??????


  3. Hi Paul I get your frustration but there's a long way between what fans and club players deem fit and what really is for first class cricket.
    And we don't want a key bowler slipping and sustaining an injury that rules them out for several weeks.
    A shame, but key personnel would have made an informed decision


Please remember to add your name. Avoid personal comment at all times. Thanks!