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Brilliant Cardiff show their battling qualities; CRICKET.

CARDIFF MCCU, who are in line for first-class status next summer, continued their early season promise with an outstanding display of application in the second innings to draw the match against a strong Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Batting first, Cardiff collapsed from 215 for three to 260 all out, but an impressive innings from opening bat, 18-year-old George Thurstance, compiling 107 on his debut, gave the score some respectability.

Gloucestershire, though, put the students to the sword and amassed a total of 533 for 5. Faced with the mammoth task of saving the game, Cardiff, mainly through the efforts of Balbirnie and wicket-keeper Elkin, batted with immense application adding 150 for the seventh wicket.

The partnership against seamers and spinners alike was based on sound defence and sensible accumulation of runs on a pitch that became increasingly uneven in bounce. Balbirnie eventually was lbw for 82, which allowed Tom Friend to play an array of some very impressive straight drives before being brilliantly caught at mid-on for 61 in the last over of the final day.

Zac Elkin carried his bat for 75 not out ensuring Cardiff a drawn game, which in the circumstances was a display of real team character, batting the whole of the final day against a unit of professional bowlers.

Then it was on to Easter Sunday, and a trip to Exmouth CC to play against Devon CCC, one of the strongest Minor Counties in the country in a 40-over contest. Winning the toss and batting first on a very easy-paced pitch in hot sunshine, Cardiff again played with sound method, accompanied with impressive running between the wickets and a partnership for the third wicket of 192 between Balbirnie and captain Siddique, ensuring a decent total of 221-5. Balbirnie, within sight of another century, disappointingly was caught at long-on for 96, while Siddique lost his off stump on 78.

Devon were never really in touch with the required run rate and off-spinner Stuart Ransley (UWIC), who opened the bowling, captured early wickets and returned the analysis of 2-34 in eight overs, whilst Steffan Kelly (UWIC and Bermuda) bowled with unerring accuracy with the new ball and at the conclusion of the innings to finish with 2 -10 in his allocated eight overs. Devon were all out for 180 and Cardiff won by 41 runs.

Coach Kevin Lyons said "Both the games have revealed attributes you need to become a good cricketer, both individually and as a team.

"George Thurstance's batting from the start of play through to tea on the first day at Bristol was a fine effort on his debut, and then the middle order batting nearly the whole of the third day with no chance of winning the game showed a team tenacity that will hopefully remain for the season. "Against Devon, two top-order batsmen quickly seized the advantage to control the innings and the bowlers responded to their efforts by ensuring that the home side were always behind the required run rate."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 27, 2011
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