Cricket: Cambridge Looking First-Class for Varsity Clash

With just a month to go before Varsity, CHRIS McKEON looks at the Cambridge cricket season so far.

cambridge university cricket club cricket CUCC MCCU Oxford University Cricket Club Paddy Sadler Varsity zafar ansari

With one month to go until the One Day Varsity Cricket Match at Lord’s on 15 June, captain Paddy Sadler tells The Tab that, despite a few mixed results for the Blues, he feels the club is shaping up well for the contest against the other place.

Another One Bites The Dust - Cambridge on the way to victory at Lord's last year

Another One Bites The Dust: CUCC on the way to victory at Lord’s in 2012

He has reason to be encouraged. Even though the Blues have been defeated by Cambridgeshire CCC, Combined Services and the Duke of Norfolk’s XI, individual performances from the likes of Matt Hickey, Mike Carson, Akbar Ansari, Tom Elliott and fresher Alex Hearne, who made a match-winning 127 on debut against Scottish Universities, suggest that there is more than enough talent available in the squad.

Indeed, perhaps too much talent has been the cause of the less than perfect Blues results as eight players have been called up for the MCCU side (joint with ARU) in first-class games against Essex and Middlesex. Elsewhere, Zafar – the younger Ansari brother – continues to play for Surrey and Sadler himself has been called up to the Scottish Squad for the Yorkshire Bank 40 over competition.

First Class: Ansari in action for Surrey

First Class: Ansari in action for Surrey

These are high honours, though the depleted Blues squad has suffered as a result, with ‘valiant’ perhaps being the best description for the unsettled side. Still, with plenty of competition for places, captain Sadler is feeling optimistic.

‘The results on paper have been mixed but this time of year is mostly about the individual performances and people staking their claim for Varsity selection,’ he told The Tab.

‘We haven’t had a settled side with MCCU and work commitments but I think we’re shaping up well for the Varsity challenged that lie ahead. We have a strong squad and it is great to have so much Varsity and other experience to count on, guys with the quality of Zafar and Akbar Ansari, and Paul Best, could really help make the difference when it matters.’

This week, the MCCU will host 2nd division Gloucestershire this week while the Blues continue to build towards the Varsity clash. With tough games against Durham Academy in the week beforehand, they should be well prepared for the Varsity season. Lord’s will be followed by the T20 contest at Fenner’s on 20 June (with accompanying garden party) before the first-class match begins on the same ground on 2 July.

Varsity T20 Action - Coming to Cambridge, 20 June

Varsity T20 Action: Coming to Cambridge, 20 June

With 11 returning Blues and plenty of others making a case for inclusion in the squad, Sadler will be hoping his embarrassment of riches can coalesce into Light Blue force to be reckoned with.