The University Match (cricket)

The University Match (cricket)
The University Match
First contested June 4, 1827
Number of meetings 165
Most recent meeting July 5, 2011
All-time series 58-54-54, Cambridge

The University Match in a cricketing context is generally understood to refer to the annual fixture between Oxford University Cricket Club and Cambridge University Cricket Club. Since 2001, in most of their fixtures Oxford have appeared as the Oxford University Centre of Cricketing Excellence (Oxford UCCE, incorporating Oxford Brookes University), and Cambridge have appeared as the Cambridge University Centre of Cricketing Excellence (Cambridge UCCE, incorporating Anglia Ruskin University), but this does not apply to the University Match(es).[1]



See also: History of English amateur cricket#University cricket from 1827 to 1863

The match was first played in 1827 at the instigation of Charles Wordsworth who was also responsible for founding the Boat Race in 1829. It was traditionally an annual three day first-class fixture, normally held at Lord's.[2] From the 1830s until 1939, it was among the most important fixtures of the season, attracting large crowds and widespread press coverage. It was still a major social, as well as sporting, event as recently as just after World War II . According to The Cricketer (1954), the 1954 match attracted over 13,000 paying spectators as well as MCC members.

In terms of the clubs concerned, the University Match dating from 1827 is the oldest first-class fixture still being played. However, it should be noted that fixtures involving certain county teams prior to formation of the current county clubs do have a much longer history. The oldest known county fixture is Kent v Surrey, which dates back to 1709 at least. The oldest county club is Sussex CCC, founded in 1839.

The next two University matches were in 1829 and 1836. From 1838 it has been played annually, except for the war years of 1915-1918 and 1940-45. (From 1941-45, a one-day fixture was played at Lord's, but these matches are not counted in the official records.) The first match was played at Lord's, but it was only in 1851 that Lord's became the permanent venue, five of the early matches having been played in the vicinity of Oxford.

Some of the most dramatic matches in the long history of the fixture occurred in the 1870s. The first of these was 'Cobden's Match' in 1870. F. C. Cobden took the last three Oxford wickets in consecutive balls to give Cambridge victory by 2 runs. The following year S. E. Butler took 10-38 in the Cambridge first innings (the only instance of a bowler taking all ten), followed by five more wickets in the second innings. In 1873 Oxford won by only three wickets. The 1875 match was almost as close an affair as that in 1870. Needing 175 to win, Cambridge were 161-7 at one point, but were all out for 168 to lose by six runs.

Another notable match was in 1923, which became known as the "Thunderstorm match". Oxford had run up a good score, and a torrential storm for much of the night rendered the pitch almost unplayable, so that Cambridge were quickly dismissed in two innings.

William Yardley of Cambridge has the distinction of scoring the first two hundreds made in the series: 100 in 1870 in Cobden's Match and 130 in 1872.

Robin Marlar's bowling figures for Cambridge are worth noting:

  • 1951: 5-41 and 1-64
  • 1952: 7-104 and 2-25
  • 1953: 5-94 and 7-49

Players who became (or in a few instances were already) famous to have appeared in the match include: Alfred Lyttelton (Cantab. 1876-9), Allan Steel (Cantab. 1878-81), Stanley Jackson (Cantab. 1890-3), C. B. Fry (Ox. 1892-5), K. S. Ranjitsinhji (Cantab. 1893), Pelham Warner (Ox. 1895-6), Gilbert Jessop (Cantab. 1896-9), R. E. Foster (Ox. 1897-1900), Bernard Bosanquet (Ox. 1898-1900), Percy Chapman (Cantab. 1920-2), Douglas Jardine (Ox. 1920-1, 1923), Gubby Allen (Cantab. 1922-3), K. S. Duleepsinhji (Cantab. 1925-8), Nawab of Pataudi snr (Ox. 1929-31), Ken Farnes (Cantab. 1931-3), Martin Donnelly (Ox. 1946-7), Abdul Kardar (Ox. 1947-9), Peter May (Cantab. 1950-2), David Sheppard (Cantab. 1950-2), Colin Cowdrey (Ox. 1952-4), M. J. K. Smith (Ox. 1954-6), Ted Dexter (Cantab. 1956-8), Nawab of Pataudi jnr (Ox. 1960-1, 1963), Mike Brearley (Cantab. 1961-4), Majid Khan (Cantab. 1971-3), Imran Khan (Ox. 1973-5) and Mike Atherton (Cantab. 1987, 1989). It can be seen that the majority were batsmen rather than bowlers and that the 1890s and 1950s to early 1960s were particularly fertile periods. At the time of writing, the most recent Oxbridge international cricketers are Ed Smith (Cantab. 1996-7) in Tests, and James Dalrymple (Ox. 2001-3) in limited-overs internationals.

From 2001 the match has been replaced by two fixtures each year: a one-day match played at Lord's and a four-day first-class fixture played in alternate years at Fenner's in Cambridge and The Parks in Oxford. Blues are awarded to those appearing in either match for Cambridge players but only to Oxford players who appear in the first-class four-day game. Unless otherwise stated, statistics quoted in this article are for the first-class fixtures only.

In 2008, for the first time a Twenty20 fixture was also played.[3]



Up to and including 2011, 168 matches have been played. Cambridge have won 58, Oxford have won 54, 54 have been drawn and one match (in 1988) was abandoned.

Highest and lowest scores by each side

  • 604 Cambridge University v Oxford University, The Parks, 2002
  • 611-5d Oxford University v Cambridge University, The Parks, 2010
  • 39 Cambridge University v Oxford University, Lord's, 1858
  • 32 Oxford University v Cambridge University, Lord's, 1878

Individual double centuries

Century on first-class debut

  • 185* AS Sharma, Oxford, The Parks, 2010
  • 112 Anand Ashok, Cambridge, Fenner's, 2009[5]
  • 172 N Kruger, Oxford, The Parks, 2008[6]

Best innings bowling

  • 10-38 SE Butler, Oxford, Lord's, 1871
  • 9-? GB Lee, Oxford, Lord's, 1839
  • 8-44 GE Jeffery, Cambridge, Lord's, 1873
  • 8-52 GJ Toogood, Oxford, Lord's, 1985
  • 8-62 AG Steel, Cambridge, Lord's, 1878
  • 8-66 RHB Bettington, Oxford, Lord's, 1923
  • 8-68 EM Kenney, Oxford, Lord's, 1868
  • 8-99 PR Le Couteur, Oxford, Lord's, 1911
  • 8-161 JC Hartley, Oxford, Lord's, 1896
  • 8-? GE Yonge, Oxford, Lord's, 1845

Best match bowling

  • 15-95 SE Butler, Oxford, Lord's, 1871
  • 13-73 AG Steel, Cambridge, Lord's, 1878


  • FC Cobden, Cambridge, Lord's, 1870 [7]
  • AG Steel, Cambridge, Lord's, 1879 [8]
  • PH Morton, Cambridge, Lord's, 1880 [9]
  • JF Ireland, Cambridge, Lord's, 1911 [10]
  • RGH Lowe, Cambridge, Lord's, 1926 [11]

Match double (100 runs & 10 wickets)

  • PR Le Couteur, Oxford, Lord's, 1910: 160 and 11-66
  • GJ Toogood, Oxford, Lord's, 1985: 149 and 10-93

See also


  1. ^ The Oxford and Cambridge UCCE teams were rebranded as Oxford MCC University (MCCU) and Cambridge MCCU prior to the 2010 season.
  2. ^ Until 1854, with the exceptions of 1841 and 1850, it was played over two days instead of three.
  3. ^ Scorecard of 2008 T20 fixture
  4. ^ Oberoi and D.R. Fox put on 408 for the third wicket, the highest partnership in the fixture. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 2006 edition, p290 & p925.
  5. ^ Cricinfo,
  6. ^ Playfair Cricket Annual 2009, p133.
  7. ^ "Scorecard University Match 1870". 
  8. ^ "Scorecard University Match 1879". 
  9. ^ "Scorecard University Match 1880". 
  10. ^ "Scorecard University Match 1911". 
  11. ^ "Scorecard University Match 1926". 


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of social activities at the University of Cambridge — This is intended to be a complete list of articles detailing clubs, societies and other common leisure activities associated with the University of Cambridge. Sports General * Varsity match, the annual match for each sports team against the… …   Wikipedia

  • University of Oxford — Coordinates: 51°45′40″N 1°15′12″W / 51.7611°N 1.2534°W / 51.7611; 1.2534 …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in World War Two — Cricket in England in World War Two was all but non existent due to the absence of many players and the austerity measures introduced. The 1939 cricket season in England, during which the 8 ball over was introduced and the wicket widened from 8… …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in the Great War — The onset of the Great War in 1914 brought an end to the Edwardian Golden Age of English cricket. Surrey called off their last two matches without forfeiting their position at the top of the County Championship, which they thus won for the first… …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in New Zealand — Governing body New Zealand Cricket National team New Zealand Nickname(s) …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket pitch — (not to scale) …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in fiction — The sport of cricket has long held a special place in Anglophone culture, and a specialised niche in English literature. Cricket is the official summer sport in England, and it is widely known as the gentleman s game , owing to the unique culture …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in Wales — Cricket is a popular sport in Wales. With its roots beginning in the late 18th century, Cricket has been played throughout Wales ever since. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is Wales only first class team, and Welsh players are eligible to represent …   Wikipedia

  • Cricket in Bangladesh — Cricket is a game which has a massive and passionate following in Bangladesh. There is a strong domestic league which on many occasions also saw Test players from many countries (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, England) gracing the cricket fields of… …   Wikipedia

  • University Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram — University Stadium is located in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and is used for multiple sports predominantly Football and Cricket matches. The stadium is part of University of Kerala campus and was built in 1952. The stadium is used as… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.