Match Preview: Leeds/Bradford UCCE

Saturday 30th March 2024
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire’s second game of the 2024 season is a three-day friendly against Leeds/Bradford University Centre of Cricketing Excellence (UCCE) at The County Ground, Derby, beginning on 31 March.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

This is not a first-class fixture but players will doubtless want to take the opportunity to blow the winter blues away while some will be looking for a chance to stake a claim for a place in the first team ahead of the opening Vitality County Championship match.

This will be Derbyshire’s 17th non-first-class game against a UCCE (or MCCU as they used to be known), and seventh against Leeds/Bradford. The sides also met in a first-class match at Derby in 2019 when Wayne Madsen (123) and Harvey Hosein (138*) scored hundreds in a huge 336-run win.

Five of the previous non-first class games between these sides took place at Derby while the sixth was scheduled to be played at Weetwood, Leeds in 2018, but fell foul to heavy rain and was abandoned without any play possible.

Over the years, Derbyshire’s players have taken the opportunity to get some pre-season runs under their belts against Leeds/Bradford, with hundreds for Michael Di Venuto and Luke Sutton in 2001, Steve Selwood and Dominic Herson in 2003, Steve Stubbings, Wavell Hinds, Ross Whiteley and John Sadler in 2009, and Chesney Hughes in 2011.

Tom Knight took seven for 153 for Derbyshire in 2011, but these fixtures also offered a glimpse of two opposition bowlers with huge promise who subsequently went on to have excellent careers; Toby Roland-Jones took five for 81 in 2009 and Joe Leach five for 50 in 2011.

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