There has been a lot of debate over the last couple of days regarding the first class status of all six MCC Universities (MCCU’s).
Cardiff and Leeds/Bradford were granted first class status for the 2012 season along with Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Loughborough who obtained first-class status in 2001.
The argument brought by a lot of cricket fans and even some players is that the MCCU’s are not showing enough quality to be granted first class status. There has been a long tradition of batsmen boosting their averages against the universities and bowlers picking up cheap wickets.
The 2012 season has already commenced with all six of the Universities in action and ultimately failing. Spending far too little time at the crease and far too long in the field. Essex scored 840 for the loss of 12 wickets over two innings against
. Middlesex racking up 509 for 11 against Cambridge . Glamorgan got 513 for 9 over two stints at the crease and skittled Durham for 123 and 137. Oxford Somerset posted 642 for 3 in their first innings with Hildreth and Compton helping themselves to double hundreds against and Nottinghamshire racked up 528 in their 1st innings against Loughborough, setting the students a target of 671. Leeds/Bradford came within three runs of a win although Cardiff Surrey did change around the order and take their foot off the gas.
James Hildreth helping himself
Steve James, formally of Glamorgan and
England, played for in the 80’s and has backed the stripping of first class status from Uni’s in his Sunday Telegraph column. Cambridge
"For too long the matches against counties have been both embarrassment and farce, Some batsmen greedily inflate their averages; others donate wickets deliberately after sufficient practice has been had."
I feel that the MCC and ECB are well aware of the concerns and think that if they lose their status in the next season or two, it will be put down to the increasing number of games played by counties and them not being able to schedule such games, rather than a condemnation of the universities themselves.
One way or another, there must be a change.