GRAHAM Charlesworth was enthused by the way his Oxford MCCU side battled against some of the best cricketers in the world.

Rain saved the students against a strong Hampshire team in their only home fixture with a first-class county in The Parks earlier this week.

It came after Oxford earned a draw with Middlesex, whose side included England internationals Eoin Morgan, Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn, at Merchant Taylors’ School.

Hampshire dominated in The Parks, dismissing the students for 114 in 67 overs on Monday after posting 448-8.

Oxford did hit back to reduce their opponents to 66-4 in the second innings, but still trailed by 430 runs when rain wiped out the final day.

Sam Northeast (118) and England’s James Vince (139) dominated Hampshire’s big first innings score, however both were dropped as the students were punished.

Head coach Charlesworth believes his side will learn from the last week.

He said: “We were a bit disappointed with the first day (against Hampshire).

“We dropped a lot of catches, including people like James Vince and Sam Northeast and they make you pay.

“We didn’t do ourselves any favours on day one by wasting a few chances.

“Day two was always a battle against county bowlers.

“We did pretty well against Middlesex, but this week it was a real struggle and a tricky pitch with variable bounce made it difficult.

“Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards, Gareth Berg and Liam Dawson – they’re all a handful for anyone.

“The guys were trying their hardest, but we ultimately got bowled out reasonably cheaply.

“We managed to get four wickets quite quickly in the evening session, which was good – it can be difficult to go into the field after you have been batting most of the day.”

Charlesworth added: “There are positives, especially last week.

“The guys batted well, putting some partnerships together.

“This week we were not quite at the same level, but it was a good experience for the guys to play against some really class players.

“They were really stretched and they did their best to be competitive.”

Oxford continue to prepare for their MCCU and BUCS campaigns when they face Gloucestershire in a three-day match in Bristol, starting on Friday.

Charlesworth is hoping to see some improvement.

He said: “I want to start the game a lot quicker on Friday and try to get into it in the first session whether we’re batting or bowling.”