KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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MCC Universities had a mixed start to their First Class county fixtures despite excellent innings' from Loughborough’s Sam Billings and Oxford’s Ed Young.
Loughborough skipper Billings made 131 on his First Class debut as his side secured a competitive draw against Northamptonshire.
Billings missed out on Loughborough’s First Class fixtures last year, his first at the University, through illness but made amends with a superb second-innings knock.
Loughborough Coach Graham Dilley was delighted with Billings’ performance.
"Everything was impressive about Sam’s innings." said the former England fast bowler.
"It was his first First Class match and he was captaining the side as well so to play such a good innings was a great effort."
For the majority of Dilley’s side it was their first taste of First Class cricket and he was pleased with the way they performed.
Loughborough face two more county fixtures in 2011, against Kent and Leicestershire, and Dilley hopes they can build on their excellent start.
"There were seven of the side who have not played First Class cricket so you’d like to think it is a good platform to build on." he added.
"You never know, players build on things in different ways, but they’ve put in one good performance and there are two more matches to go.
"I hope they build on that performance because that’s what we’re here to do."
Elsewhere, the MCCU’s found it tough going against their more experienced county opponents.
Oxford MCCU captain Young made his first First Class century with a magnificent 133 against a strong Lancashire attack including Sajid Mahmood and Glen Chappel.
Young is in his third year with the Oxford MCCU side and has won a two year deal with Gloucestershire during his time in the set-up.
Cardiff MCCU collapsed on the final day to 46 all out - losing to Glamorgan by 281 runs, despite some excellent bowling from seamers Tom Friend (6-98) and Jon Denning (7-79).
Durham MCCU, who count Andrew Strauss among their alumni, were comprehensively beaten by their county neighbours Durham despite 85 from Greg Smith who has been signed up by Leicestershire.
At New Road, Leeds/Bradford MCCU took an impressive first innings lead against Worcestershire, Alex Blake top scoring for the students with 72.
Cambridge MCCU’s draw with Essex rounded off the first set of matches. Cambridge opening bowler Peter Turnbull took 4-40 in Essex’s first innings - including the wicket of England’s Ashes hero Alastair Cook for ten.
Cook had his revenge in the second innings though, smashing 120 from 128 balls to get his season off to a prolific start.