Lord’s final appearance a dream come true for James

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James Poulson had a hectic few days last week with an appearance at Lord’s, and a graduation ceremony in Oxford, writes Ken Watkins.

Poulson, 21, rounded off his Oxford MCCU career with a victory in the MCC Universities Challenge final at cricket’s headquarters last Tuesday.

Three days later he graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in sports coaching and education studies.

Poulson, from Long Melford, will be studying for a teaching degree at Cambridge in the next academic year, and has his sights set on primary school teaching.

Oxford beat Loghborough MCCU by 37 runs at Lord’s.

Oxford made 267 in their 50 overs, and Loughborough swiftly reached 132 off 23 overs in reply.

But then Poulson and Steve Green were introduced into the attack, and Loughborough were dismissed for 230.

Poulson (2-38) and Green (3-28) were both in contention for the man of the match award, with Green just shading it.

“It was an incredible day,” said Poulson. “It was so surreal. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play there, and this was a dream come true.

“I’d been to Test matches there, but to actually play at Lord’s, with all its history, was amazing.”

Oxford had finished runners-up in the universities league, with Loughborough taking the title. The top two teams contest the Lord’s final.

“It was nice to win,” said Poulson. “Loughborough expect to win everything.”

Poulson has appeared in all of this season’s Oxford MCCU matches, with the exception of the first class games at the start of the season.

“It’s a compressed season, and fitting matches in with studies is quite intense.

“We’ve played against top universities in other parts of the country, and against several players who play County Second XI cricket, some real tests against the best.”

The switch to Cambridge will mean Poulson is more available to put in regular appearances at Sudbury Cricket Club.

These have been curtailed so far this season because of commitments to the Oxford MCCU.

“I will be more available to help out with the coaching as well as playing,” said Poulson.

His appearances may have been limited, but with 12 wickets at an average of 12.75 he is Sudbury’s most economical bowler so far this season.

“I feel that I am bowling well, and I’m delighted the club is back in the East Anglian Premier League.

“We have a lot of Suffolk players at the club and the EAPL is a test of the best.”

Poulson feels that Sudbury’s players can only benefit from playing at the higher level, and the club will benefit long-term because it can offer top level cricket.

But next season, as well as turning out for Sudbury, he has his eyes set on Lord’s again and the Varsity match.