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David Masters

David Masters returned figures of 4-20 to help Essex strengthen their grip over Leeds/Bradford MCCU at Chelmsford

The first-class counties extended their dominance over the MCC Universities in the opening round of domestic fixtures.

Essex were once again the most impressive of the four counties in action, taking firm control of their three-day clash with Leeds/Bradford MCCU at Chelmsford after bowling the students out for just 139 in reply to their 318 for eight declared.

David Masters took three of the first four wickets to fall en route to fine figures of 15-7-20-4, while Ryan ten Doeschate, yesterday’s centurion, and Chris Wright, who made 46 not out, claimed three apiece.

Essex had extended their advantage to 331 by the close, reaching 152 for three in their second innings on the back of half-centuries from Billy Godleman and John Maunders.

Chris Dent was the biggest beneficiary as Gloucestershire made up for lost time against Cardiff MCCU at Bristol.

Only 10 overs were possible yesterday, but the 19-year-old opening batsman hit 135 in a total of 316 before Anthony Ireland’s two early wickets left Cardiff tottering on 37 for three by stumps tonight.

Surrey reduced Cambridge MCCU to 212 for eight at Fenner’s after converting their overnight 326 for five into 385 for seven declared.

Steven Davies - 94 not out overnight - finished unbeaten on 122 off as many balls, while Gareth Batty, who followed Davies from Worcestershire to New Road in the close-season, fell for 67.

Only Adam Wheater - the Essex youngster - amongst the students passed 50, as Jade Dernbach claimed three wickets and Tim Linley two for Surrey.

Northamptonshire made a sporting declaration against Oxford MCCU at the Parks on a day limited to 52 overs by inclement weather.

Resuming on 72 for three, the visitors progressed to 168 for four - of which Mal Loye’s 42 was the most noteworthy contribution - before Oxford reached 34 for one in the 16 overs possible before the close.

No play was possible for the second day in succession at the County Ground, where Derbyshire are set to host Loughborough MCCU.

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