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Westley impresses with Essex

Durham MCC University’s (MCCU) student Tom Westley scored 132 on Wednesday playing for Essex against Kent.

Batting at four, he came to the wicket with just thirteen runs on the board after England’s Alastair Cook had made a duck.

Westley was released by Durham’s coach Graeme Fowler to play in the match - he has already played in the County Championship this year, scoring 69 and taking 1-7 against Hampshire.

The Sports Science student has enjoyed a strong start to the season, scoring 158 against Cardiff and 142 against Loughborough in the MCC Universities Championship. He is captain of Durham MCCU, which currently sits top of the MCCU table.

Speaking before scoring his second first-class ton, Westley said: "Essex has a strong history of sending players to Durham - the likes of Nasser Hussain, James Foster and Will Jefferson, went there so it was an obvious choice for me, and in return Durham are very understanding about releasing contracted players.

"Last season was my most successful and I’m sure that the maturity that comes from having gone to university really contributed to that."

Durham and Essex work together on a match-by-match basis to decide which games Westley will play in, explained Durham coach Fowler: "Essex are absolutely brilliant to deal with and understand that Tom has commitments to both academic work and captaining the MCCU.

"In the past week I’ve released him for one game - this one against Kent - but kept him in Durham for another one in order to give him chance to complete the work he needed to do for his upcoming exams.

"It’s a two way street. The counties know we look after the players in the winter and at the end of their degrees they’re getting a better cricketer with more life experience and good qualifications.

"It’s the coaches’ job to prepare the players as well as possible for first-class cricket whilst also keeping their academic commitments."

More success

In more success for MCCU cricketers against county sides, on Tuesday Leeds/Bradford bowled out Warwickshire for 180, and on the final day of their match are ahead in the second innings.

In late 2009 MCC committed to giving the six MCCUs £225,000 each over a three-year period to run their playing programmes and ensure they can provide top-class coaching structures and facilities to students.

Around a fifth of all England-qualified players in the county system attended an MCCU.

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