Cricket: Crawley picks up the pace

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Oxford 182-7 dec and 115-1 dec

Cambridge 60-7 dec and 238-3

Cambridge win by 7 wickets

TO CAMBRIDGE the spoils, to Oxford a right, if unjust, ragging. Set 238 off what became 52 overs, the Light Blues atoned for their first innings shipwreck by docking with an over to spare, John Crawley celebrating his re-election as captain with an elegant, unbeaten century that emphasised his vast promise.

If the 1870 Varsity duel was immortalised as Cobden's Match, in memory of the Cambridge bowler who stole victory with a hat-trick, this may well go down as Gupte's Gaffe.

On as substitute, Chinmay Gupte twice downed Crawley, then on a shaky 20, off successive balls at cover, with 144 still needed, 21 overs remaining, and three men already gone.

Had either chance been accepted the block would have been on. Instead, Crawley caressed the next delivery through the covers and never looked back, he and Marcus Wight peppering the short Tavern boundary as they plundered 166 from 26 overs. For resuscitating a still-born contest, Gupte deserves thanks rather than infamy.

Proceedings began much as they had ended the previous evening, Jon Arscott and John Carroll bidding a speedy adieu to leave Cambridge languishing on 37 for 6. Simon Johnson mounted a belated counter-attack then drove to mid-off to cue the declaration.

Sitting on a lead of 122, Oxford capitalised briskly, courtesy of Jason Gallian, and Richard Montgomerie. Of the two, Gallian, an Australian of English stock currently in the process of qualifying for Lancashire, was the more forceful, spanking nine fours in his 66 before being stumped.

The ensuing declaration left his partner averaging 164 in this fixture, a feat that will look distinctly more impressive in Wisden than the circumstances warrant. Like Crawley, his most meaningful figures are ahead of him.