University Centres of Cricketing Excellence to get £1.2 million April 8, 2005

MCC to back university cricket

MCC has announced that it is to invest almost £1.2million over the next three years in the University Centres of Cricketing Excellence. The six centres - at Cambridge, Cardiff/Glamorgan, Durham, Leeds/Bradford, Loughborough and Oxford - will each receive £65,000 per annum and will be known as MCC Universities for the duration of the investment.

The ECB introduced the University Centres of Cricketing Excellence in October 2000 to provide talented and aspiring young cricketers who wish to further their education with unrivalled opportunities to develop their cricket at university. MCC has now become the sole source of external funding of the initiative. ECB will no longer contribute financially, but will continue to have an input in the scheduling of fixtures and umpire allocation, as well as appointing a Performance Manager to the MCC Advisory Panel which will monitor the programme.

"The MCC Universities give young players the ability to further their cricket careers without compromising their education; in fact, they will be able to do both to a very high standard," explained TonyLewis, the chairman of cricket at the MCC. "For example, the Durham scheme has already produced players of the calibre of Andrew Strauss, James Foster and Caroline Atkins, all of whom have gone on to play for England. We hope that, with increased funding over the next three years, more talented young players will emerge from university cricket and make the transition to the professional game."

Cricketers at the university centres will be encouraged to become Playing Members of MCC and represent the club in out-matches and on overseas tours. Indeed, Mark Phythian, a member of the Durham UCCE, travelled to Namibia and Uganda with the MCC tour in February. Mark Pettini, from the Cardiff/Glamorgan Centre, has been included in the squad to play the Champion County at Lord's. Nicky Shaw, who represented England Women in their 2005 World Cup campaign and is currently studying at Loughborough, was an MCC Young Cricketer in 2003-04, and Caroline Atkins, formerly of Durham UCCE, has joined the Young Cricketers for the 2005 season.

An MCC-produced prospectus, which lists the academic institutions involved in the MCC Universities, together with information on how to apply, is now available from the MCC Cricket Office by e-mailing or by telephoning 020 7616 8605.