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Cricket Varsity: Everything You Need to Know

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With less than a week until T20 Cricket Varsity, Holly Tasker took the time to answer some questions about both that Varsity and Lord’s varsity on the 23rd of June.

Can you provide a break-down of the 2 day’s events?
The Greene King IPA Twenty20 Varsity – Friday 16th June, Fenner’s Cricket Ground, Cambridge
This will be the perfect way to kick-off May Week! The cricket is fast-paced and exciting – with lots of colour and music filling the day! The actual game only lasts around three hours as each innings is only 20 overs, so it is certainly not ‘boring’. Alongside the cricket, we will also have food/drink vendors at the ground – Greene King beer tent, Nanna Mexico, Hot Sausage Company and Toni’s Ices – so there is something for everyone! Tickets are only £4 on the door.

The Lord’s Varsity – Friday 23rd June, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
This is our most prestigious Varsity – held at the home of cricket. The game is of One-Day format, so 50 overs and innings (it normally lasts the whole day). This format requires less aggressive play, and more tactical awareness and stamina – this can make it really quite exciting, but less ‘flashy’ in comparison to T20.

Does cricket varsity have any unique traditions?
Each player is presented with a traditional Cambridge blue baggy on their first Varsity! I have been assured that they were the height of fashion in the 1820s! Now they are more ceremonial, but it is still great to receive the hat.

What are the main competitions in the lead up to varsity? How do the teams tend to perform?
CUWCC play in the Midlands 1A BUCS league – this includes both Loughborough (always tough opposition) and Oxford (a good chance to scout them out before Varsity). We tend to approach these games as opportunities to try out different team combinations, and batting/bowling orders – so it is not results that we aim for. Having said that, we have had some really close games!

What’s your favourite memory of playing cricket at Cambridge?
Captaining the T20 Varsity in O*ford last year was such an honour – especially as I was just a Fresher! Although it didn’t quite go to plan, I certainly learnt a lot! Other than that, it is simple things like seeing a teammate take an absolute screamer of a catch, or bat so beautifully, that really make me smile.

Do you prefer T20 or Lords Varsity?
I prefer to play aggressively – hit the ball hard, and bowl the ball fast – so the T20 Varsity is more suited to my style of play. I enjoy the music and the crowd – it is such a buzz! Having said that, Lord’s is such a prestigious event and it really is so special to be walking out on hallowed turf in whites representing the Light Blues. So it’s hard to choose! I prefer playing T20, but love the history of the Lord’s Varsity.

What was last year’s varsity outcome?
Last year was really tough for CUWCC. Many of our key players had graduated (including our 2015 captain), and it was a struggle to rebuild a team. On top of all that, our opening bat had an exam on the day of the T20 Varsity, so was unable to play! Although it was incredibly disappointing to lose the T20 Varsity, O*ford had the stronger side on the day.

How is the team looking this year? What do you think the outcome will be?
This year we are so much stronger. Our 2015 captain has returned to CUWCC (as a post-grad student), and overall we have much more experienced squad – this has led to quite some selection dilemmas! When we faced O*ford in the BUCS fixture earlier in the season, we only lost by 3 runs – and we were missing several key players! So the T20 Varsity really could go either way – it is sure to be a very close and exciting game! Of course, we believe we can produce a Light Blue win!

Jargon-Buster

Wicket – the cut strip of grass at the centre of the cricket pitch, it is also what bowlers aim to ‘take’ and batsmen aim to protect.
Stumps – the three wooden pegs at either end of the wicket.
Over – this is a series of 6 legal deliveries from the bowler.
Run – one run is scored when the batsman hits the ball and swaps ends with the other batsman.
Four – this is scored when the ball crosses the boundary rope having already touched the ground.
Six – this is scored when the ball crosses the boundary rope without touching the ground.
Duck – this is when a batsman is given out without scoring any runs.
Wide – this is when the bowler delivers a ball that is deemed to be too far away from the batsman (the umpire will make a T-shape with their arms).
No-ball – this is when the bowler delivers a ball that is too high, too short, or over-steps the line (the umpire will put one arm out).
LBW – this means ‘leg-before-wicket’, and it is when the batsman is given out because their pad is judged to have blocked the ball from hitting the stumps.
Innings – this is the number of overs one team bats for, e.g. in T20 cricket it is 20 overs.
Square leg – this is the fielding position perpendicular to the batsman on the leg-side, and is also where one of the umpires stands.

Watch out for the team lists and live coverage on the day.

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