OXFORD MCC Universities give first-class debuts to five players in their opening three-day game of the season against Worcestershire, which gets under way in The Parks today (11am).

Batsmen Luke Webb – who has played for Dorset and is a member of Hampshire Academy – and Jack Grundy, who has represented Warwickshire 2nd, get their chance alongside Zimbabwe Under 19s all-rounder Malcolm Lake.

Off-spinner Jack McIver, who has played grade cricket in Australia, and wicket-keeper Ed Ellis, who plays for Lymington, will also make their bows at this level.

Oxford, led by Sam Weller, also include Steve Leach, Lloyd Paternott and Abi Sakande, fresh from representing Combined MCC Universities in Abu Dhabi, along with Oxfordshire and Banbury opener Lloyd Sabin.

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Head coach Graham Charlesworth said: “They are the pros and we are amateurs and the odds are in their favour, but we have seen through the winter, with lots of cricket around the world, what the underdogs can do.

“We are up for the fight and are hoping to get ourselves into a position on day three where we are in the game.”

England star Moeen Ali is missing from the Worcestershire squad, which includes two former Oxford MCCU graduates, paceman Charlie Morris and batsman Tom Fell.

New signing Alex Gidman also features following his move from Gloucestershire on a two-year contract.

Oxford MCCU: S Weller (capt), S Leach, L Paternott, A Sakande, L Sabin, J McIver, J Grundy, E Ellis, H Hughes, L Webb, M Lake. 12th man: M Kidd.

Worcestershire: from R Oliver, D Mitchell (capt), T Fell, A Gidman, A Kervezee, T Kohler-Cadmore, B Cox, B D’Oliveira, G Andrew, J Shantry, C Morris, J Leach.