KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Two former MCC Young Cricketers (YCs) have made a strong start to their LV County Championship careers after being handed first-team opportunities.
Goucestershire opener Ian Cockbain and Durham wicket-keeper Michael Richardson both made half-centuries in their first County Championship matches with Richardson adding an unbeaten 73 in Durham's second innings
Cockbain (who captained the YCs last summer) and Richardson (who joined the scheme in 2008 and skippered the side in 2009) both started the season brightly.
Four current MCC University players also featured in the opening round of County Championship fixtures.
Cockbain, 24, made his first-class debut in Gloucestershire’s opening match victory over Derbyshire.
Opening the innings, Cockbain fell for just five in his first knock for his new county.
He then faced a long wait for a second innings after Gloucestershire forced Derbyshire to follow-on.
Cockbain kept his nerve to lead a match-winning run chase with an unbeaten 59, helping his side over the line for a seven wicket win.
His innings was all the more impressive as he negotiated a bowling attack which left Gloucestershire 34-3 in their pursuit of 146.
Along with captain Alex Gidman, who made 70 not out, Cockbain weathered the storm to seal victory on his debut.
Richardson, son of former South Africa international Dave, was making his first County Championship appearance since joining Durham in 2009.
The 24-year-old's two previous first-class appearances had both come in fixtures against Durham MCCU (opens in a new window).
After being called up at the last minute for injured Durham skipper Phil Mustard, Richardson made a crucial first-innings 67 from 97 balls against rivals Yorkshire.
Richardson's efforts in both innings allowed his side to set up a 145-run win over a stubborn Yorkshire outfit. His dream championship debut was completed with seven catches behind the stumps, including five in the second innings.
MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson was delighted with the efforts of both players.
He said: "It is always pleasing to see products of the MCC Young Cricketers scheme moving into county cricket.
"Ian and Michael both applied themselves wonderfully during their time with the YCs and it is no surprise to us that they have moved on to the professional game.
"I wish them all the best in their, hopefully lengthy, county careers."