27 April 2008

Question: Where in the UK can one see live first-class cricket, featuring England internationals, for free? Well, yards away from my office, for one. The visit of Nottinghamshire to play the Oxford UCCE student team in University Parks last week (as well as the previous weeks' well-earned draws with strong Middlesex and Glamorgan teams) certainly led to a few 'extended' lunch breaks around the boundaries.

A full-strength visiting team included Stuart Broad and forgotten gloveman Chris Read, but still took three days to force a sporting student first-innings declaration at 324-4 (Bradshaw 127 n.o.) in a rain-affected match. With an innings then forfeited by each team, Notts just managed to chase down the total in the remaining two sessions to win by five wickets.

It was good to see that the Notts dressing-room had been indulging in a good, old-fashioned game of first-shot bingo, with Graham Swann pulling out a sublime reverse-sweep first ball before shoring up with an elaborate defence in order to allow his captain Read to make his half-century.

With the pavilion car park apparently closed, another nice touch was seeing superstars Broad et. al. having to haul their kit on foot across the park to some remote parking space. We've all been there!

Meanwhile far lesser student mortals in Cambridge were offering far more traditional cannon-fodder to the Somerset batsmen.

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