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MCC 'graduates' shine again

Former MCC Young Cricketer Alex Hales and MCC Universities graduate Tom Craddock both turned in eye catching performances in the LV County Championship.

Hales, already a County Championship winner with Nottinghamshire, was with the MCC Young Cricketers (YCs) scheme in 2007.

Earlier this year he told how the YCs were the 'last throw of the dice' for his cricket career but his performances this season have seen his name mentioned as a possible future England international.

Form man

In his county's most recent County Championship match, against Somerset at Trent Bridge, the 6'5" right-handed batsman scored a mammoth 184.

Batting at three he was called from the dressing room with his side 28-1 following Somerset's impressive 386.

He kept his head impressively as wickets fell around him, steering Notts to 303-5 at the close of day two and reaching his second first-class century in the process.

When he was, finally, out on day three he'd notched his first-class best score and his side were 469-9 - a considerable first innings lead.

As with many of his batting strokes Hales' timing was perfect - the England selectors were in town to keep an eye on his famous team-mate Stuart Broad ahead of the India Test series. They cannot have been anything other than impressed with Hales' batting.

The 22-year-old has now scored more than 500 first-class runs so far this season, averaging 63.44, and was also the second highest scorer in the Friends Life Twenty20 group stages with 465.

Craddock's contract

Meanwhile, at Grace Road in Leicestershire, 21-year-old Leeds/Bradford MCC University (MCCU) (opens in a new window) student Tom Craddock was impressing for Essex.

In June he joined the county on a two month trial contract and the Sport, Leisure and Culture degree graduate has seized his chance.

At the end of June he took 4-70 against Northamptonshire on his County Championship debut. In his latest outing against Leicestershire the legbreak bowler took 4-59 in the Foxes' first innings.

The 21-year-old (who would have celebrated his 22nd birthday on the fourth day of the match) then helped wrap up a three day win with 2-12 in the second innings - to end with match figures of 6-82, as Essex won by 254 runs.

The MCC and the MCC Universities scheme have been integral in Craddock's development.

In 2010 the Club paid to send the promising spinner to Mumbai to hone his skills at the Global Cricket School - where the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh have trained.

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