The press and social media have recently been awash with comments querying the quality of university cricket and whether the MCCUs should have been afforded first class status. The debate on this subject was inflamed when Durham MCCU were dismissed by Durham CCC for just 18 a couple of weeks ago. As Durham’s head coach Graeme Fowler said, this was an absolute ‘car crash’ for the Durham boys, although they haven’t all suddenly become poor players overnight and will hopefully bounce back to prove the doubters wrong.
We are one of the two ‘new kids on the block’ as far as first class status goes. Ourselves and Cardiff were only bestowed with the honour over the winter. Leeds Bradford have now played two games at this level – against Surrey at the Oval and Yorkshire at Headingley. We lost against Surrey by 2 runs after chasing 315 to win and then had the better of a drawn game against Yorkshire in our own ‘local derby’. To redress the balance of negative comments about the MCCU’s status, here are a few snippets from the media during and following our match at Headingley.
YCCC coach Jason Gillespie on Twitter (end of Day 1): “Not an ideal day today in our game v Leeds Bradford Uni. We were outplayed today” “Leeds Bradford bowled well today. We have no excuses.”
At end of Day 2: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a game on our hands. Looking forward to a run chase v Leeds Bradford at some point tomorrow.”
And at the end of Day 3: “Thank you for the game Leeds Bradford. Was a good contest, great hit out for us. Some talented players in their side. Pity about the weather.”
James Buttler on YCCC’s official website: “The rain fell to spoil what looked like it was going to be an exciting climax to the three-day fixture at Headingley. Yorkshire were two wickets down and 180 short of the winning line when the heavens opened. The Leeds Bradford MCCU can take huge credit though for the way they played their cricket to make their county opposition fight hard.”
“The students have been an impressive bunch, particularly in the field.”
“One thing cannot be debated – the Leeds Bradford MCCU, after narrowly losing to Surrey and more than worrying Yorkshire at Headingley, have done a lot to calm the debate on whether university matches should be first-class fixtures. The students at Headingley over the last few days have been first class.” FULL REPORT HERE
Chris Waters in the Yorkshire Post: ”At a time when there is much debate around whether universities should even hold first class status . . . one is unlikely to hear too many dissenting voices from Headingley Carnegie. For after running Surrey close at the Oval earlier in the month Leeds Bradford once more did themselves proud against a Yorkshire side who, in truth, struggled at times against less vaunted opponents.”
“For long periods of the game it seemed as though the young men of Leeds Bradford might spring a surprise on their county opponents.”
“On a competitive pitch that offered something for everyone, Leeds Bradford actually bowled in a fashion that would have put several counties to shame. Ivan Thomas and Joe Leach were particularly impressive, the former looking a real prospect as he bowled some splendid material from the Kirkstall Lane end.” FULL REPORT HERE
YCCC bastman Anthony McGrath in the Telegraph and Argus: “Last week’s game against Leeds/Bradford MCCU was a really good workout for the lads. I said to their coach after the game that I thought it was the best University team I’ve played against. They made it really competitive and were a really good unit. We were all very impressed with them. In truth it was a disappointing end to the game, because it was boiling up to be a good finish.” FULL ARTICLE HERE
Finally, the Yorkshire CCC Forum on their official website had some interesting chat, to say the least. Probably the best comment on the Yorkshire v Leeds Bradford match thread came from ‘Triple Centurion’ who, when after the game had finished was wondering about Yorkshire’s selection for their next game against Essex , wrote:- ”Unfortunately we have a few selection headaches for Thursday as Higginbottom, McQueen, Reece, Thomas and Hodgson are unavailable for consideration due to examinations.”
When you add to this the number of positive words from the YCCC players, messages to the players and coaching staff on Facebook, Twitter etc and the congratulatory emails from various members of staff at Headingley, the whole squad comes out in an extremely positive light. We now have to transform this form to our matches against the other universities starting with our visit to Oxford at The Parks this coming Weds, Thurs and Friday.
The Year of the Yellow??