Match Day Centre Pakistan trail England by 48 runs with 7 wickets remaining

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Student centurions catch the eye

MCC Universities’ early season county fixtures continued to provide a perfect platform for emerging student cricketers.

The six MCCUs are yet to record a win over the county sides in 2011 but three batsmen impressed with centuries in the latest round of fixtures.

Alex Blake of Leeds/Bradford, George Thurstance of Cardiff and Loughborough’s Robert Taylor all racked up three figure scores.

There have now been seven individual three figure scores by MCCU players against the county sides as well as two five wicket haul.

Judging success

MCC Universities Manager Fraser Stewart highlighted the importance of young players impressing in county matches.

He said: "It’s always pleasing to see players from the MCCUs impressing against the county sides.

"Performances against first-class counties catch the eye of county coaches and prove that a player has the ability and application to do well at a higher level.

"The scheme is on two levels - as much as we want to see teams do well against the counties and each other it is also important that individuals perform well.

"The barometer of the MCCU scheme is not so much whether one team is better than another but how many players impress and move onto the next level."

Blake makes his mark

Blake, 22, signed a three-year contract extension with Kent before the start of the season after impressing during a brief stint with the county in 2010.

He has divided his time so far this season between MCCU and county cricket, playing in Kent’s opening two LV County Championship fixtures against Essex and Northamptonshire.

After struggling for form at county level, Blake has been Leeds/Bradford’s standout performer with the bat, plundering 265 runs in four innings against Hampshire and Worcestershire.

Despite losing to Worcestershire, Blake played the innings of the match, hammering 146 from just 114 balls - including four sixes - in Leeds/Bradford’s second innings.

Ton up

Thurstance was making his first county appearance for Cardiff MCCU against Gloucestershire and the 18-year-old celebrated with an innings of 107. The knock lasted 224 balls an included 15 fours.

Three ex-MCC Young Cricketers - Ian Cockbain, Hamish Marshall and Will Gidman - made centuries for Gloucestershire in reply as they reached 553-5 but Cardiff held on for a fighting draw.

Taylor meanwhile made his first first-class ton in Loughborough’s draw with Leicestershire. The all-rounder’s innings of 101 not out helped guide his team to a draw on the final day.

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