British Universities cricket team
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The British Universities cricket team is a cricket team whose players are drawn from university sides primarily in Great Britain as the name suggests, but not exclusively those of Oxford and Cambridge. The team played under the title of Combined Universities until 1995.
Combined Universities' first matches in senior cricket came in the 1975 Benson & Hedges Cup. In their first game, on 3 May, they beat Worcestershire by 66 runs thanks largely to an outstanding all-round performance by Imran Khan, who top-scored for the team with 35 then returned figures of 8.3–6–4–4 with the ball. From 1975 to 1992 inclusive, the team played only in this competition. Perhaps their most successful year was 1989, in which a team led by future England captain Mike Atherton and containing two other future Test batsmen (Nasser Hussain and Steve James) beat Surrey and Worcestershire in the group stages, then fell short by just 3 runs against Somerset in the quarter-finals.
June 1993 saw the team make its first-class debut, against the Australians at The Parks. The tourists won by 166 runs, but Russell Cake made a career-best 108 for the students. Combined Universities also played first-class games against the New Zealanders and the West Indians in the following two seasons, both of which were drawn, as well as continuing in the Benson & Hedges Cup.
From the 1995 season onwards the team was renamed British Universities, partly to reflect the fact that players were now increasingly coming from outside Oxbridge; the team played under its new title for a few more years in the Benson & Hedges Cup until that competition was restructured after the 1998 season. They continued to play one first-class game a year against a touring international side until 2006, although their weakness when compared to the opposition meant that they did not come close to winning any of these games.
Combined Universities played a total of three first-class matches from 1993 to 1995, all against touring teams. Having been renamed British Universities in 1996, the team played eleven first-class matches from then until 2006 and, again, all of these were against touring teams.
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