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Universities keep counties at bay

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Ryan ten Doeschate

Ryan ten Doeschate again showcased his strong early-season form with 81 off 73 balls, but Essex could not take the win

The MCC Universities successfully thwarted their illustrious LV= County Championship opponents on the final day of the opening round of domestic fixtures.

Essex came closest to prevailing against Leeds/Bradford MCCU at Chelmsford but they could not claim the final four wickets they required on the last afternoon, having established a lead of 491 with Ryan ten Doeschate hitting 81 following his first-innings century.

Leeds/Bradford rallied around a resolute and accomplished 73 from Alex Blake as they reached 160 for six in their second innings.

At Bristol, Gloucestershire dismissed Cardiff MCCU, who started the day on 37 for three, for a first-innings total of 158 with Anthony Ireland grabbing two more wickets to the pair he claimed the previous day.

But doughty resistance from Anthony Barber, with 51, meant Cardiff MCCU batted our the remainder of the day to reach 159 for five - a notional lead of one run.

Surrey sensed the slim possibility of victory after bowling Cambridge MCCU out for 247 on the final morning at Fenner's.

They raced to 105 for one declared in their second innings, with Arun Harinath unbeaten on 50, but Cambridge lost just one wicket before the captains agreed on a draw.

Oxford MCCU responded strongly to Northamptonshire's first-innings 168 for four declared at the Parks as the hosts amassed 244 for five with Ed Young hitting 79 and Eddie Abel making 60.

But a decisive result was never on the cards in this rain-affected match.

Rain prevented any play for the third day in succession at the County Ground, where Derbyshire were due to host Loughborough MCCU.

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